Buying a newly built home from a builder is different than purchasing a resale home. Your attention should be placed not only on the home itself, but also on the reputation of the builder.
All new homes in Ontario come with a warranty that lasts seven years from the date of the first possession, guaranteed by Tarion Warranty Corporation. The warranty ensures homeowners receive homes that are constructed in a workmanlike manner, free from defects and constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code. There are many reputable builders in Ontario that will freely offer this information to any potential purchaser. A buyer should be suspicious of a builder who does not want to discuss the mandatory new home warranty.
Check the builder’s customer service record
All builders in Ontario must be registered with Tarion. The first step, before purchasing, is to learn whether your builder is registered. This can be done by visiting the Ontario Builder Directory on Tarion’s website. Every registered builder in Ontario is listed in this database. The directory shows a 10-year history that includes chargeable conciliations and the number and amounts of certain claims paid by Tarion.
A chargeable conciliation occurs if a builder and a homeowner disagree about whether an item is covered under the Ontario new home warranty program and, after an inspection by Tarion, the item is found to have been covered under the warranty. Claims refer to situations where the builder did not resolve a homeowner claim and Tarion stepped in to work directly with the homeowner either by making repairs or providing a cash settlement. You may want to consider these numbers in comparison to the number of homes the builder has built over the years. This number is listed in the database as “number of possessions.”
The directory shows if a builder has been a Tarion Award of Excellence finalist or recipient in the past three years; a breakdown of the types of homes built over a 10-year span into freehold homes and condominium units; and lists the names of officers and directors for each company, providing links to companies that share the same officers and directors. You will also find a list of builders who are no longer registered with Tarion. The directory will confirm whether a builder’s registration has expired or whether Tarion has revoked their registration or refused to renew it.
Ask for references
The next step is to ask around. You may want to walk around neighbourhoods where this builder has built homes and inquire about these homeowners’ experiences. You can also ask for references. Speaking to other homeowners will give you a good indication of whether the builder stands behind his/her construction and is attentive to customers.
Finally, if you don’t find your builder listed in Tarion’s database, or if he or she gives you any reason not to offer the mandatory new home warranty, call Tarion at 1-877-9-TARION.
For more information about buying a new home visit tarion.com or like Tarion on Facebook for ongoing updates.