Tips on Buying a New Home
Home buying is an important personal decision and a big financial investment. You want to find the home that’s right for you and the builder who provides the best overall value and service. Home buyers and professional home builders agree there are a number of things you can do to make the buying process enjoyable and successful.
Do your research.
Know what you want, what’s available and how the buying process works before you start thinking seriously about signing a contract. Browse through newspapers, magazines and industry/government publications. Consult with family, friends and co-workers. Attend consumer seminars and check the Internet. Most importantly, visit model homes and talk with builders and salespeople.
Pre-arrange your mortgage.
If you plan to borrow funds to finance your home purchase, talk to your lender about mortgages early in the process. Knowing in advance how much you can spend comfortably and getting pre-approval for a mortgage means you can proceed from “just looking” to a signed contract with confidence.
Check the builder’s qualifications.
There are many reputable, professional builders in the industry who provide great homes and great service. As you talk with builders or their salespeople, ask a few questions: How long has the company been in business? Is it a member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association? Will the builder give you references? What after-sales service does the builder offer? Does the builder supply a guaranteed third-party warranty and what does it cover? “Personal fit” is also important: Does the builder (or salesperson) listen to you? Understand your needs? Offer useful advice? Do you feel confident that the company would be good to work with?
Check the home carefully.
Whether a builder has a model home, a sales office or sells directly from drawings and plans, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to look closely at the quality of the builder’s home and what’s included. The builder’s “spec” list will detail the construction materials and finishing products. Ask to see a description, and samples, of the standard features included in the base price of the house, along with the description and cost of options the builder offers. When viewing a model home, don’t hesitate to try out windows, open drawers and look into every nook and cranny-the builder wants you to be convinced of the home’s quality and solidity.
Understand the total cost of buying.
Get detailed prices and estimates on everything involved in buying a home. Your builder and lender can advise you on the costs of securing a mortgage, taxes and so on. Ask your lawyer to give you a detailed breakdown of closing costs, including land transfer taxes where applicable. Call movers for estimates. Determine if you need to buy new appliances, window coverings or furnishings.