To give first-time buyers an idea of what to expect as their occupancy approaches, we chatted with a first-time buyer who will be moving into her new condo in just a few weeks!
Elliot and Olivia (names changed for privacy) purchased a one-bedroom pre-construction condo in downtown Toronto in 2016. Occupancy is approaching and they shared their thoughts and a few tips with us! We also recently posted about things first-time buyers sometimes forget at the time of occupancy, so you should check that out too!
Newinhomes.com (NIH): Since you’re moving soon, we assume you did your PDI. How did that go? Any tips for other first-timers?
Olivia: The PDI went well, there were a couple things that need to be addressed before we move in, but that’s the point of the PDI. The builder guaranteed the big changes would be addressed before we get our keys. One thing to keep in mind is that some of the smaller touch-ups won’t be addressed until after you move in. My tip would be to use your time wisely and mark any scuffs and scratches with painter’s tape. Even if it’s the tiniest thing, you might as well make a note of it! Also, we used this time to take measurements so we could start buying new furniture.
NIH: Have you encountered any challenges leading up to this point?
Olivia: For the first couple years and a bit all we had to do was watch construction progress. The greatest challenge arose when we started receiving tentative dates from the builder. My other tip for first-time buyers is to not make any plans until you receive a “final” occupancy date. Even then, it can be delayed, like ours was. In addition to the first estimated occupancy date, we received two other estimated dates before our final date was delayed. I’ve learned that this is typical in the pre-construction market. One thing to keep in mind is that if the builder delays after you’ve received your final occupancy date and they haven’t offered financial compensation, then you can make a claim with Tarion after you move in.
NIH: How are you preparing for your move?
Olivia: I’ve moved many times, but always as a renter. It’s really not that much different, but since this is our first home, we decided to invest in some new furniture. After we did our PDI and we had our measurements, we felt confident buying furniture for the space. After a year of window shopping it was exciting to finally start ordering things. So our small space is filling up with boxes pretty quickly. My tip for moving would be to start packing early. Do it gradually even if it means you’re living in a big mess for a month. Pack all non-essentials first. It starts to feel real when you do this.
NIH: Is there anything first-timers should know about dealing with lawyers and getting their keys?
Olivia: Our lawyer requested our Tarion Certificate of Completion, which we received at our PDI, and they also needed a void cheque and proof of tenant’s insurance. It’s tenant’s insurance because you’re still technically renting from the builder during interim occupancy. To get our keys, we need to meet with our lawyer and provide ID, post-dated “rent” cheques for the builder, and also half of our payment for the lawyer. I’m not sure if this is standard procedure in all pre-construction cases, but it seems pretty straightforward.
Big thanks goes out to Olivia for taking the time to share her experience at this exciting point in her new home buying journey. We look forward to catching up with her and Elliot after they move in!