Did you buy a new pre-construction condo as your first home? As your occupancy approaches, you’re probably getting super excited to move in, but there are a few things that many first-time buyers forget about at this important milestone moment.
Here are a few things to remember around your occupancy date:
Yes, your new condo unit will have electricity and water when you move in, but you need to create an account with the provider. When you do your pre-delivery inspection, the developer will likely provide the forms you need to complete your setup with the utilities provider. If not, then remember to ask about it during the PDI.
When you buy pre-construction, your deposit (typically 20%) is staggered, sometimes over the course of a year or two. Usually, the final deposit is due on occupancy. If your condo took three year to build, then there’s a chance the final deposit slipped your mind over the last two years. This is your reminder! Make sure you have enough in your chequing account because you won’t get your keys unless that cheque goes through.
Just because your unit is ready doesn’t mean the condo is. The hallway on your floor may not even be complete yet. You’ll likely be sharing the elevator with construction workers for a little while. Construction timelines vary depending on the size of the condo. If you bought on a lower floor, then you will move in sooner than people on higher floors, which means you’ll live in a construction zone a bit longer. Again, this is your reminder and warning. Don’t be shocked if the elevator is lined with plywood and your hall has exposed concrete (not the stylized kind).
Not the same as closing
Your occupancy is NOT your final closing (usually). Occupancy is when the builder has permits for you to move in, but technically the building isn’t registered with the municipality yet, and you can’t get your mortgage without the building being registered. So technically, the condo isn’t yours yet - you’re just paying the developer rent. These are called interim occupancy fees, and you’ll likely owe a set of post-dated cheques in order to get your keys.
Some developers request six months of post-dated cheques, some up to a year. They’re just playing it safe. For the most part, experienced condo developers register three to six months after the first occupancies take place. At this time, you should be preparing to get your mortgage. As final closing approaches, you’ll receive a notice from the developer. You may even receive a registration date estimation during your PDI, but you have likely already experienced some delays, so take that date with a grain of salt.
This is probably the least important reminder of this list, but it’s worth mentioning. Builder paint isn’t great. It’s white, thin, flat and shows marks easily. We just want to mention it so you remember that painting is factored into your move-in schedule and planning. If your condo is made of wood, you may be advised to let the frame settle before painting because there may be some nail pops.
We hope these tips help your occupancy go smoothly! Congrats to everyone moving into your new condos soon!