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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You planned the perfect camping trip with your best friend. You’re both excited to camp at your favourite site near the water and watch the bright stars. But when you get to the meeting spot your friend isn’t there. After waiting over an hour, you give them a call and realize you’ve been waiting at different sites. Turns out your favourite camping spot isn’t your best friend’s favourite spot. You both assumed you agreed on what the best option was and now you’re angry with each other and an argument follows. Seriously, how did nobody think to confirm the name and location of your destination? It’s not so much that people disagree, but sometimes they don’t clearly say what needs to be said when it needs to be said. How often could an argument have been avoided or quickly addressed if there had been better communication or compromise?
This kind of conflict can happen between homeowners and builders as well when there is a breakdown in communication.
Tips on maintaining good communication:
- Be specific about what you want and expect;
- Explain the reasoning behind your choices;
- Keep in touch throughout the construction process and do so frequently;
- Get your agreements and selections in writing
As a home buyer you should ask as many questions as you need to understand what you will be receiving and paying for.
Many new home buyers haven’t bought a pre-construction home before so they rely on the expertise of the builder to help them through the process of making decisions about the home, such as selecting finishes. As a home buyer you should ask as many questions as you need to understand what you will be receiving and paying for. After all, it’s your home, and understanding what goes into building it will help you maintain it once you move in. Let’s say as new homeowner you want your home to have hardwood floors throughout the main floor. Your builder may know that solid hardwood is more likely to be vulnerable to moisture. So your builder decides to install engineered hardwood because it’s generally more resistant to shrinkage and cupping caused by uncontrolled humidity levels. Moisture control is very important when it comes to maintaining your new home and protecting your warranty rights. Maybe you knew about the moisture resistance, or maybe you didn’t. But either way you were expecting to find solid hardwood installed and now you may not be happy because you didn’t get what you wanted. Will the warranty cover it? Now here’s the thing - unless the homeowner actually chooses the solid hardwood under the purchase agreement or the purchase agreement specifies that they will receive solid hardwood, this situation probably wouldn’t qualify for coverage under the warranty as an unauthorized substitution. The key to avoiding this type of situation is to be specific in your requests, have them recorded in the purchase agreement or selection sheet and have a lawyer review your documents so you know what you’re getting and agreeing to.
How can you tell if your builder is a good communicator?
Some of the best builders take the time to explain their recommendations to home buyers. They walk them through the processes of choosing a floor plan, selecting finishes and the other decisions required. During your builder search ask around to find out which builders went the extra mile and discussed the implications of decisions before the work began so the home buyers could make an informed choice! Good builders want you to love your home and the best builders ensure their customers feel supported after they’ve settled into their new home. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to get all the information you can. And for anyone meeting up with friends, note to self - confirm where you are going before you lose half the afternoon driving to a different spot. Good communication helps everyone out. More tips for new home buyers can be found at Tarion.com or download the MyHome Planner app.
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.