Tips & Advice
The following organizations offer advice and/or services of interest to new home buyers in Ontario.
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers a helpful booklet called Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Home. CMHC’s website also dedicates an entire section geared to home buyers. Visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/index.cfm or call (toll-free) 1-800-668-2642.
Canadian Bankers’ Association
Canadian Bankers’ Association offers two helpful financial brochures called Mortgage Wise and Managing Money. Visit www.cba.ca/lang.php or call (toll free) 1-800-263-0231.
Law Society of Upper Canada
If you would like help selecting a real estate lawyer, call the Law Society of Upper Canada’s lawyer-referral service (toll free) at 1-800-268-8326 or visit www.lsuc.on.ca. In Toronto, call (416) 947-3330.
Ontario Home Builders’ Association
The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) is a good place to start to source builders, developers and contractors in your area. Call (toll-free) at 1-800-387-0109, or search among OHBA’s 3500 members by visiting www.ohba.ca.
Homebuyer’s Road Map
Getting Your House Ready
Utility Reference Sheet
Top Ten Tips for New Home Buyers
#1. Choose the type of home that meets your lifestyle
Do you like being close to downtown, or would you prefer living outside the city? Do you like or dislike the prospect of maintaining a lawn and garden? Where would you like your children to attend school? These are lifestyle decisions that play a large role in the new home buying process.
You also have more design choices than ever before. Would you like a ‘smart’ home that’s pre-wired for your media and entertainment needs, or a gourmet kitchen for entertaining? Or both?
It’s also helpful to read the home sections in major newspapers as well as real estate publications such as www.homesmag.com and www.condolifemag.com to find out more about new developments that may suit your specific needs.
One other point to consider is that there are two major types of new homes available to you – freehold and condominium – and each has different types of new home warranties (these warranties are discussed in more depth in Tip #7) and varying construction timelines. Generally, condominiums take longer to build than freehold homes.
#2. Determine what you can afford
Once you’ve chosen the location and the type of new home that fits your needs, meet with a financial representative to determine a mortgage amount that you can comfortably afford. This will ensure that you spend your time wisely on homes within your price range. You should also consider getting a pre-approved mortgage, which will allow you to shop with added confidence.
For more information on new home financing, visit the Canadian Bankers Association website. It offers two helpful brochures called Mortgage Wise and Managing Money. Visit http://www.cba.ca or call (toll-free) 1-800-263-0231
#3. Research your builder
Talk to homeowners in the neighbourhood(s) you’re interested in. Find out if they were satisfied with the level of after-sales service that they received from their builder.
We also recommend that you look up any builder you’re considering on our website. Simply visit the Licensed Builder Directory section to ensure the builder is registered with Tarion and to review their track record. You’ll learn how many homes they have built in the last ten years, and whether they have had any claims with us over this period.
J.D. Power and Associates, a U.S.-based consumer research firm, also offers ratings on new home builders in the Greater Toronto Area, which you can view on their consumer website.
#4. View our Online Education Seminars
We have a number of online education seminars designed to help new home buyers learn about their statutory warranty coverage and the process for addressing warranty-related matters.
You can watch them at your convenience and move through each of the presentations to areas that interest you most. For example, in the Understanding Warranty Coverage seminar, you can learn about deposit and delayed closing protection, what is and what is not covered under the work and materials warranties, and how to make a warranty claim to your builder.
We will be adding new seminar topics regularly, so if you have any suggestions that will allow us to serve you better, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.
#5. Talk with a real estate lawyer
Before you sign your Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS), which is the contract for the construction of your home or condominium, there are a number of steps to take. One of the most important is to have your APS reviewed by a qualified real estate lawyer. There are additional steps and issues for you to consider, and we have created a list of them for you to review when you’re making the deal.
If you would like help selecting a real estate lawyer, you can contact the Law Society of Upper Canada’s lawyer-referral service (toll free) at 1-800-268-8326 or visit www.lsuc.on.ca/public_en.jsp. In Toronto, call 416-947-3330.
#6. Read our Homeowner Information Package
This document outlines a number of very important items: your new home’s statutory warranty, the responsibilities of both you and your builder, and how Tarion will handle a statutory warranty claim.
Whether you purchase a freehold home or a condominium, we encourage you to read this document in its entirety – and because of its importance, we recommend that you file your booklet with your other new home documents so that you can refer to it in the future.
A copy of the Homeowner Information Package should be given to you by your builder before or during your Pre-Delivery Inspection. You can also view or download a copy of the Homeowner Information Package.
#7. Prepare for your Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI)
The Pre-Delivery Inspection is probably the first time you’ll visit your new home in its completed state – and it’s your primary opportunity to learn how to operate and maintain your new home as well as to ensure that everything has been built according to your Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS).
To help you prepare for this important stage of the home buying process, read more about the Pre-Delivery Inspection, order a copy of our brochure Getting Ready for the Pre-Delivery Inspection or print off a copy of our comprehensive PDI Checklist.
#8. Complete and submit any required Statutory Warranty Forms on time
A new home is a complex structure, and even though most builders will do everything they can to produce a perfect home, sometimes items are missing, not working properly, or appear to be defective.
To help you better understand what is and isn’t covered under the Statutory Warranty, we encourage you to review the Construction Performance Guidelines prior to submitting a Statutory Warranty Form. Additionally, if you believe that there is an item(s) missing from your home, we recommend that you refer to your PDI Form or your Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) to confirm this before you submit a Statutory Warranty Form.
To get an item resolved, you should contact your builder and you can follow our statutory warranty process that is also outlined in the Homeowner Information Package. If you are submitting a 30-Day Form, please ensure that it is filled out correctly and submitted on time. Tarion will only accept and act on the first 30-Day Form that is properly completed and submitted on time. If we do not receive a 30-Day Form from you on time, then you will have to wait until the last 30 days of the first of year of possession of your new home to notify us of outstanding warranty items.
If you’d like additional assistance on warranty related issues, we invite you to watch a video from our online seminar library.
#9. Maintain your home through the seasons
You’ve made a big investment in your home, so you should take care of it all year round. It’s important to remember that the ongoing maintenance of your new home helps to ensure that your statutory warranty rights are protected.
To help you, we’ve created a maintenance guide that addresses common questions and provides tips on how to look after your new home through all four seasons.
#10. Enjoy all your new home has to offer!
You’ve done a lot of research, decision making and waiting by the time you reach this point.
Now it’s time to enjoy your new home!