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    The Open Door Blog


Whether you own a new home or condo, are considering buying one, or just love to dream about it, the Open Door blog is here to share stories that can help you protect what is likely the biggest investment of your life.

The Open Door blog is published by Tarion, a non-profit corporation that administers Ontario’s New Home Warranty Plan and registers all new home builders in Ontario. Click here to learn more about us.


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Talk is cheap. Put it in writing.
September 8, 2016
Talk is cheap. Put it in writing.

Meet Joe (which is not his real name). Joe recently bought a brand new home. At some point during its construction, Joe believed that his builder agreed to finish the area around his basement walk-out with drywall. But once construction was complete, Joe noticed that his builder had left the entire basement unfinished. When Joe approached his builder about it, his builder claimed to have no recollection of any agreement to drywall even a portion of the basement. So what did Joe do? He submitted a warranty form to Tarion.

After Tarion took a look at Joe’s contract with the builder, we didn’t have good news for Joe. Any promises the builder may have made about drywalling part of the basement weren’t documented at all in the written purchase agreement. Because it was never documented, the “missing” drywall in the basement couldn’t be covered under the warranty. Tarion’s hands were tied, and Joe was out of luck.

Don’t be like Joe.

A handshake is not a proper agreement. Ever. When it comes to new home warranty protection, it is very difficult to assess exactly what your rights are if there is no documentation of what was agreed to between you and your builder. That’s why it’s so important for new home purchasers to resist the temptation of getting caught up in all the excitement of buying a new home, and remember to put in writing every construction detail agreed upon with the builder.Binder with papers on office desk.

As a new home buyer, it is essential to protect yourself and ensure everything you expect regarding the construction of your new home is written into your contract.

We have blogged about this before. You can read about the dangers of not insisting on a proper contract here. So why do we keep talking about this? Because, unfortunately, it keeps happening. You have every right to get these important details in writing. And remember, good builders will always appreciate someone who takes the construction of their home as seriously as they do.

In the world of homebuilding and warranty protection, if a construction specification isn’t documented or written into the contract purchase agreement, it will be very difficult to make a claim for it months or years later.

Documentation helps define building promises, expectations and warranty responsibilities; so don’t be shy when speaking to your builder.
Buying a new home is a huge investment, possibly the largest one you will ever make. Protect that investment with a detailed written contract. Yes, handshakes can seem nice and friendly, but they can’t help you much when it comes to protecting your new home warranty rights. What does? A written contract. Now that’s something worth talking about.

Lessons Learned 

  1. It is crucial for new home purchasers to get every construction detail regarding their new home in writing from their builder.
  2. Tarion can only rely on what is included in a proper contract. We cannot enforce verbal agreements made between you and your builder.
  3. Check out our tips on how to develop a proper contract with your builder.

The goal of this blog is to provide you with general information about the warranty process by sharing real experiences from new homeowners. The blog should not be relied upon as legal advice. For privacy reasons, we will not address or resolve current cases in a public forum, so any comments or questions that are posted on this site that describe individual cases cannot be discussed. If you have a question about your warranty or Tarion generally, we would be pleased to discuss your issue, in the context of your particular circumstances and in confidence. We exercise reasonable care to avoid offensive, illegal or defamatory content from being posted, as well as comments that are intended solely for self-promotion or considered to be spam.