MoneySense Magazine ran an article back in November on the 10 mistakes people make when buying a brand-new home rather than purchasing a resale property. In order:
- Falling in love with the show home
- Trusting the floor plan
- Not getting a lawyer involved until after you sign the contract
- Not getting an inspection from a professional
- Accepting delays without any questions
- Forgetting that you will be moving into a construction zone
- Thinking that you have a warranty [note: Ontario is one of three provinces with mandatory warranties in place]
- Procrastinating in submitting a claim under your warranty
- Not reviewing estimated closing costs in the agreement
- Buying at the wrong time – meaning both after the VIP sales are gone, and pre-build before a change in the market
There is a lot of truth to all of these points. Buying a new home has a lot of allure to it: you can to customize your house in whatever manner you like. What you need to be aware of is that all builders are not created equal, and, more importantly, builders are in the house-building business to make a living, just like the rest of us. If they can get a buyer to pay for something, they will, and there is nothing illegal or really even underhanded about it.
I see a lot of agreements come in for new homes where the builder has pushed a lot of costs onto the purchaser, such as hydro meter installation, Tarion enrolment fees, Law Society levies, etc.; without proper review of the agreement by the purchaser’s lawyer, the purchaser will be stuck with them. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but ultimately, if you want to protect yourself, be sure to put in a condition on solicitor review of your agreement and pay a lawyer to look it over before you’re stuck with a house you don’t want any more.