3 Things to Consider When Buying a House from a Builder

So you are ready to buy a new home – congratulations! And if by new, you mean ‘never before owned or lived in by another’, then you are buying a brand new home from a builder.

Buying directly from a builder is completely different in every way (process, paperwork, rules, finances, timelines, etc.) from dealing with a resale home seller, but because most people only purchase at most a handful of properties in their lifetime, they may not realize this.

Whether you are purchasing an infill project, a luxury McMansion or a small condominium, there are special things to consider when buying from a builder.

Here are three of them.

3 Things to Consider Before You Buy a New Build

The benefits of buying new are many, especially for first-time home buyers. After all, there’s that shiny ‘new car smell’, the idea that no one has in any way put their stamp on the home but you. You can customize your home, and it will be ultra-modern and energy efficient, so you won’t have to put much into maintenance for a long time…right?

This is true, but there are also things to be careful of before you make this important decision.

  1. Understand that buying new construction means things can and will change. Change is a dirty word to many people, who may insist that they have signed a contract that must be adhered to. Guess what? Builders build change right into their (extremely long and fine-print-filled) contracts! Here are some of the things that can change between the time you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the moment you receive the keys to your new home:
  • The floor plan. Yep, the actual floor plans you bought your home based on, can be changed ‘within reason’ without even informing you, let alone asking your permission – certainly a shock if you haven’t had your contract reviewed by an independent legal professional who understands the leeway the builder is giving himself. Also, artists’ renderings are not reality and can differ substantially from the finished product, both in your unit and in common areas.
  • Completion date. As long as a builder gives notice, they can extend the completion date more than once – so don’t count on the completion date as being the day you will actually move in to your new home.
  • Did you know that additional costs can be due upon closing, such as utility connections from the street, development fees and special assessments for lobby features like fountains and artwork?
  1. You could be living with construction for a long, long time. Even if your new home is move-in ready by the completion date, if you’re buying into a new development, you could be dealing with dust, noise and mud for up to a decade before all the homes in the surrounding development are built, trees planted and amenities installed. When it comes to condos, you could move in while elevators and amenities are still being installed, and many features aren’t actually covered by Tarion or other warranties in practical terms, so if they never get completed at all, you might just have to deal.
  2. You aren’t getting the model suite. When you visit a site and tour the model, you’re seeing it ‘fully loaded’, with the finest upgrades and professional décor, much like a vehicle with all the extras. Customizing your own new home or suite with those extras can cost a fortune. But it’s not all bad news; you can take advantage of the builder’s ‘free’ upgrades like flooring, then get that gorgeous, polished look of custom renovations by calling Trillium Kitchens & Baths to complete the your custom upgrades and finishes that truly make your house a home.

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