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What to Expect When Buying a New Build Home

Posted: December 22, 2016

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December 21, 2016

If you’re looking to buy and considering a new build home, it’s easy to see the appeal. Not only will everything be shiny and new, you’re also able to select the exact house you’ve dreamed of. While the house starts off as just a plot of land, you get to watch it go from blueprints to a brand new home for you and your family.

While purchasing a new home can be exciting, it can also prove to be a bit nerve-wracking – especially if this is your first home. To help alleviate some of those jitters, here’s what to expect when buying a new build home.

Browsing

When looking at new builds that are coming available in the foreseeable future, you first need to consider your budget. If you haven’t already been preapproved for a mortgage, you’ll want to do this first to determine what you’ll be able to afford. Look for developments offering homes in your price range and this will help narrow down the search.

Next, consider the location. Do you want to live close to family or have a short commute to work? Maybe you want to be near amenities – such as shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. If you have children, find out if there are schools or daycare centres nearby. Are there parks and greenspaces in the neighbourhood? What about access to public transportation? It’s also important to consider the future plans for the community. If this is the first phase out of five, expect a busy neighbourhood with many homes one day, and don’t forget about the ongoing construction. Map out what factors are most important and expect to compromise on some.

Know Your Builder

Before you commit to anything, do your homework on the builder company. Make sure they are a licensed builder and find out if they belong to a provincial new home warranty program, such as Tarion [http://www.tarion.com/homeowners/Pages/default.aspx]. If possible, talk to others who have purchased from them in the past and find out how their experience was. Choosing the right builder and developing a positive relationship with them will be essential to a smooth home purchasing process.

Planning

Now that you’ve found a community that suits your needs and budget, you can work with the staff at the sales office to find the right house for you. Explore the different home models and layouts available and choose the one that will suit both your current and future needs. Will you use a home office or a double garage? Do you want multi-purpose rooms that you can change as your needs change? Is there enough room for your family to grow? If you are downsizing for retirement, consider your future health needs. A house with a lot of stairs may not be suitable for an individual with mobility issues.

Don’t forget about the lot. While you may or may not have choice of the lot depending on the model of home you choose, think about where in the neighborhood you’d like to live. Some lots may offer more privacy and back out onto trees while other backyards might connect directly with their neighbour’s. An empty field may not always stay a field depending on development plans, so make sure you find out all the info available on the land before settling on a spot.

Sometime during the planning phase you’ll also have to decide on finishes and any upgrades for your home. Find out what costs are associated with these before you commit.  Ask questions and take your deciding on these, as they will be harder and more costly to change once your house is built.

Nitty Gritty

Once your home selection has been made, the financial aspect of the purchase and all of the details including the closing date will need to be settled. Before finalizing your contract, you’ll want to ensure it covers everything agreed upon, a full breakdown of cost, and fine details such as “Schedules” which cover any neighbourhood restrictions in place like if you’re allowed install a satellite dish or if you can run a home business. Like a resale home purchase, consider having a real estate lawyer review the contract before you sign, as there can still be a degree of negotiating with builders. Once both parties have accepted and the contract is firm, you can say hello to new home ownership!

The Build

The time it takes for a new home to be built will vary depending on different factors such as when construction begins and how far along the development is. Your builder will keep you up to date with the progress of your build and you’ll be able to schedule some visits to see your home during different stages.

Making any changes once construction has begun may delay your closing date, so it is essential to make the right decisions early on. Closing dates with a builder are not always set in stone either, as delays can happen as a result of things like labour or material shortages. With a tentative closing date, as long as proper written notice is given to the homeowner, a builder is typically permitted two closing date extensions of 120 days each without having to pay delayed closing compensation. If the house is still not complete after 240 days, you might be eligible for compensation to cover things like living expenses, moving and storage costs. However, if you are given a firm closing date by the Builder at the time of purchase, you may be eligible for delayed compensation right away. Check with your provincial new home warranty program[http://www.tarion.com/homeowners/makingthepurchase/Pages/Delayed-Closing-Coverage.aspx] for more information on your closing date rights.

Final Walk-Through and Close

Before you close the deal, make sure to do a final walk-through of the entire house. If there are things you want corrected, changed, or added, now is the time to voice your opinion. It is a good idea to bring along a home inspector to make sure there are no building defects in the home and that everything was built properly. Once everything is settled, the close can be completed and you’ll receive possession. Now it’s time to move in, decorate and enjoy your brand new home!

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