Steps To Owning A New Home

The key to a successful buying experience is to be well prepared and well informed.

Find out about the typical buying process at a glance and check below for more in-depth information. Download checklists and other items from the tools section to guide you through your purchase.

Review the Contract Before you Sign - Review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale carefully before signing it. Professional new home builders will go through the contract with you, point by point. This helps to eliminate errors or misunderstandings, and it is a great opportunity for you to ask questions. Here are some pointers for your contract review. Check for correct spelling of names. Verify the description of the home—e.g. lot, model, elevation (orientation on the lot). All attachments or schedules that form part of the contract must be referenced in the main contract document. This includes site plans, drawings, specification list, design and approvals process for customized homes, and so on. Make sure you understand what's included and not included in the base price of the home—particularly important if you have based your decisions on a model home with a mix of standard and upgraded features. Check that any extras and upgrades you have chosen are documented accurately (e.g. model, brand name, size, colour, price).…

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Understanding Change Orders - Signing a contract with your professional new home builder for a brand new home is the culmination of an exciting process. You have found the home you want and made the commitment to go ahead with the purchase. In many instances, though, this may not be the end of your decision-making. It is not uncommon for homeowners to continue to fine-tune the vision of their new home for weeks afterwards. A visit to the lighting supplier may trigger a desire for security lighting not included in the contract for your new home. You may decide to go for the fireplace after all or to enlarge the foyer after seeing working drawings. Or you may simply want more electrical outlets. Professional new home builders will gladly attempt to accommodate any changes or additions you want to make before construction of your home begins, or even when it is in progress. But before you make any decisions, talk with your builder. Sometimes even small changes can have a significant impact on cost or scheduling, particularly…

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When You Own the Land - If you are entering into an agreement with a contractor to build a home on land you already own, there are some additional items that should be covered in the contract. The builder must have liability insurance and provide workers' compensation insurance for workers on site; otherwise you run the risk of being responsible if something goes wrong or someone gets hurt. Ask to see proof of coverage. Also talk with your own insurance company to make sure that you are protected in all circumstances. For more information, check www.HiringAContractor.com.

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Keep a Record of Your New Home Purchase - Home buying should be an exciting and enjoyable experience. It is also a legal transaction that involves a series of steps and a number of companies and service professionals. Keeping a record of the transaction from beginning to end will help to ensure that everything moves along smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks. Buying a home is based on promises and agreements, which all need to be documented. As a home buyer, you should have a copy of every document that is part of the transaction. These documents may include all or some of the following. Your application for mortgage pre-approval, and the pre-arranged mortgage confirmation certificate from your lender. The certificate should include such details as the maximum amount you can borrow, the interest rate you will be charged, and the length of time the rate is guaranteed for. You also want to know how to proceed once you have signed the contract with the builder. The contract with your home builder. Always get a written contract…

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Typical Construction Process - Most home buyers have a lot of questions about the construction of their home: How long will it take to build? What happens when? What does each step involve? When can we visit the site and see our home in progress? When do we have to make final decisions about cabinets, fixtures, flooring, and so on? When do building inspections take place? Will we have a chance to inspect it ourselves before we take possession? Below is an outline of the typical construction process today. Bear in mind that this is a generalized description—your own new home builder may use a different approach. The process and schedule will also be affected by the size and style of the house; the lot; the construction techniques used; the amount of customization required; the number of municipal inspections; whether the home is located in a large development; availability of labour, and many other factors. Ask your builder to explain the process for your home. Phase One: Pre-Construction Before any construction begins,…

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Taking Possession - Getting Settled - When you buy a brand new home, you have an opportunity to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase before you take possession of it. As your home gets close to completion, usually a few days before you are due to move in, the builder will take you on a tour of the entire house. There are two reasons for doing this. First, the builder wants you to inspect the home in detail to make sure everything has been done right and according to plan; this is usually also a prerequisite for the builder's new home warranty. Secondly, the builder wants to familiarize you with the systems and products in the home—how to operate, maintain and service them. The Inspection Your builder will use an inspection sheet that you will be asked to sign at the end of the tour. Anything that requires attention or correction should be noted on the sheet, even very minor imperfections. That way, there is no debate later about who is responsible. Minor corrections are usually made before you move in; anything…

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Factory Built Housing - Thinking about buying a brand new home? One of the images that springs to mind is the construction site, bustling with activity as a succession of workers and subtrades build your home from the ground up. The reality is that increasingly your new home is built in factories and then assembled on your building site. Pre-fabricated roof trusses, pre-assembled wall panels, ready-to-install kitchen cabinets, pre-finished flooring…these and many other components used to be built piece-by-piece on site. Today, the vast majority of new home builders take full advantage of the quality, precision and just-in-time delivery of manufactured building components. This allows them to provide their customers with a high-quality home efficiently, cost-effectively and within a shorter timeframe. As manufacturing processes have become more sophisticated, opportunities for moving the construction of homes inside the factory have expanded. Factory-built housing is a growing industry in Canada, reflecting…

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Buying a Condominium - Condominium living can be very attractive to people who put a high premium on convenience, security, amenities and a community where some of the obligations of home ownership are reduced. It can also be an affordable alternative to owning a single-family home. Before you buy a new condominium (or "strata lot", as it is known in some regions), you may want to spend a little time becoming familiar with the "ins and outs of condos". To begin with, it's important to understand that a condominium is a type of ownership, not a type of housing. An apartment in a low- or high-rise building, a townhouse or a bungalow can all be a condo. In essence, you buy two things when you buy a condo—a unit and an interest in the common elements. The latter may include driveways and landscaping; roofs and windows; heating and cooling systems; and elevators and corridors in apartment buildings. You may also share recreational facilities, a banquet room or a guest suite. Condominiums…

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