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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Buying a home is an exciting adventure – it’s one of the biggest purchases most of us will make in our lifetime. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when buying a pre-construction house or condominium. So one of the best ways to get organized and feel more confident is by getting as much information as you can.
What are the advantages of buying a new home?
- You get to customize your home to your personal taste. If you buy a resale home and you don’t particularly like the décor, you might need to undertake some renovations, and that will cost extra on top of the purchase price of the home. But when you buy a new house or condo, you can have it tailored to your preferences.
- You get the latest innovations. Home construction is always evolving, and when you buy new you can feel confident that the way your home was built, the materials that go into it, and its systems will maximize your home’s comfort and quality.
- New homes come with a warranty. There’s protection for your deposit and there’s compensation if your new home or condo gets delayed beyond a certain point. Your warranty on the home’s construction kicks in as soon as you take possession, or occupancy for condo units, and it lasts for seven years.
The key difference in buying resale versus pre-construction is that a resale home already exists, which means it’s already physically available for viewing and you can decide if you like what you see. But with new builds, the home may not be built yet. And unless you’re buying a model home or an unsold unit in a condo project, you may be buying based only on the plans.
That’s why it is important to do as much research into a builder as possible – and there are multiple ways you can do so.
Ontario Builder Directory
The Ontario Builder Directory is a listing of all builders and vendors that are licensed to build and sell new homes in the province – and it’s all online. You can access it from the Tarion website or by googling Ontario Builder Directory. There are several ways you can look up a builder:
- Company name – Search the name of the company, the project they’re building, or the name of one of the company’s directors or officers.
- Location - If you’re interested in buying a new home in a certain region, you can type in a city or town and it will compile a list of builders who are located there.
- Type of Home – You can filter the settings so that your results only show builders who build freehold homes or condominiums.
Every builder or vendor in the directory has their own profile page – you’ll see the company’s registration status, their registered timeline with Tarion, their registration number and additional company information, such as addresses, contact information and more. It also shows a ten-year summary of the number of homes they’ve built, and whether Tarion has had to resolve warranty claims on their behalf and how much Tarion has had to pay out to resolve those claims with homeowners.
Tarion also presents two awards annually to builders. One of them is the Homeowners’ Choice Awards, which honours service excellence based on homeowner survey results. The other is the Ernest Assaly Award – only builders with perfect records are invited to participate. And if a company is a recipient of one of these awards, it will also be indicated on their profile.
What other methods can you use to learn more about builders?
- Check the builder’s website. They usually provide a vast amount of information about the company and the homes they build. You might even be able to see floor plans, unit layouts, or special features offered.
- Digital platforms and communities. There are lots of forums and social media channels where people ask questions and share their own personal experiences. It’s a great way to find other home buyers’ testimonials, as discussions can range from selecting décor to delays experienced.
- Visit the sales office or model homes and suites. This gives you an idea of the builder’s work. However, most builders use model homes and suites to show off their best work and materials. The reality is most of them contain expensive finishes that aren’t included as standard items in their new homes or units. So find out what’s included in the new home and what’s an upgrade.
- Check out current communities. Ask the builder to point you to one of their neighbourhoods. This is an opportunity to go and look at the homes from the outside or to ask people in the community who are eager to share their experiences.
The earlier you can learn about the warranty coverage, the better.
When should homeowners learn about the new home warranty coverage?
The earlier you can learn about the warranty coverage, the better. The warranty doesn’t just apply after your home has been built and you take ownership – it affects purchasers at various points in the buying process such as when you’re preparing to sign a purchase agreement, when you’re selecting décor, when construction delays occur, or when you’re ready to go through your new home as part of the pre-delivery inspection.
The new home warranty touches each of these stages, so learning about it can make your experience an easier one.
MyHome Planner is an app that was developed by Tarion and helps you with shopping for a new home. The app is connected to Tarion’s records, so you can select what type of home and area you’re interested in and you’ll be able to see the enrolled developments that resemble your search.
The app also connects you to the Ontario Builder Directory, so that when you have a builder in mind, you can search their profile. And once you’ve signed the deal on a new home, you can enter your details into the app and it will track important milestones in the process, like your pre-delivery inspection, and your closing date.
When shopping for a new home, be sure to thoroughly research your builder, learn about your warranty coverage on your new home and get to know Tarion – there are plenty of resources and tools we have available for buyers of newly built homes.
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.