August 26th 2021
What Should You Look For in a New Home?
By Lucas Samuels
There are countless home-buying resources available to help you find the right home. Still, the house-hunting process can be overwhelming. And when you’re looking at new builds in particular, there are tons of factors that should influence your decision to buy. Below are some of the things you should keep in mind as you go through the process.
Educate yourself on the new home buying process
Before any large endeavor, research is key. And home buying is no exception.
Learning about mortgages and contracts from a third-party source — like a local real estate agent — is an excellent way to make a more informed purchase and avoid any problems down the line.
You can also use your agent to find the right location for your lifestyle, get to know the area you choose, and learn about the home buying requirements in that locale. However, if you’re purchasing a home based on location alone, there’s no substitute for doing your own research — think: reaching out to other people in the community to see what they think of the area or walking through the neighbourhood to get a better sense of its feel. You can find out just about anything if you do a quick search online.
Work with a lender on a mortgage
To find a mortgage broker who’s suited to your needs, do a thorough check of their online presence. Ask about their experience in the industry and ask for information regarding satisfied customers who can vouch for them. This will give you an inside look into how qualified they are before you get started with your purchase.
Research the builder when buying new construction homes
Research the company you are buying from by looking them up in the Ontario Builder Directory to confirm that they’re licensed to build new homes in Ontario. The directory will have information on the builder including how many homes they’ve built, if they have a claims history, and which projects they’re currently working on. The directory also indicates if the company has been associated with any illegal building convictions.
Online reviews can also be useful to see what others experienced during their purchase process.
Creative negotiations when buying a new home
If you’re purchasing a new construction home, ask the developer to include items like appliances, cabinetry, and fixtures in your purchase price. Typically, builders are hesitant to lower their prices as they don’t want to set precedent for future deals, which is why it’s important to be creative with your negotiating. You can even be strategic by asking for upgrades that will increase the value of the property, such as stainless steel appliances or granite countertops.
Get everything in writing
Everything from the terms of the contract to what upgrades are included should be written down and signed by both parties. Never sign anything until the negotiations are completed and included in the contract.
Remember: verbal conversations are not legally binding, and getting every little detail in writing will help prevent any misunderstandings in the future.
Find out what’s covered by the warranties
Your new home should come with a written warranty. This guarantees that the builder will have the home ready on time and is prepared to make any fixes or adjustments necessary to keep your house in good shape for years. It's important to know what's covered — and what’s not — so you can decide if it's enough protection for you. Ontario has a legally mandated warranty coverage for new builds, including condos.
Check out the neighbourhood and model home
To avoid living in an undesirable area, check out the neighbourhood and talk to locals before purchasing a new construction home. Make sure to ask about other new developments in the area in addition to any other questions you have.
If you’re planning to purchase a pre-construction property, model homes offer a closer look at the actual design and layout of a new home, making them a great way to see if it's something you’d really like. You can also speak with builders and other staff about what's included in that specific model, such as appliances or features. Take note of things that you do and don't like.
Be willing to walk away
It’s important to remember that your purchase agreement obligates you to buy a home even if it doesn’t end up being what was promised. That said, be willing to walk away from the deal if you feel that you bought the wrong home for your needs. It’s better to walk away from an expensive mistake than to buy a house that doesn’t meet your requirements.
Final thoughts on new home buying
Finding the right home is a big step. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to find out what kind of house will best meet your needs, and have an honest conversation with yourself about whether you’re really ready for a new home and what it entails emotionally and physically.
If you follow these tips, you’re sure to make the right decision when buying a new construction home in Toronto.
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