Selecting a Home Builder- Tips & Advice

Karen KesselAdvice, Planet Realty

builder_1847060bBuying a new home is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.  Preparing yourself and doing your homework is the key to being able to make this important decision with total confidence.  Before you sign on the dotted line use the following tips and advice to assist you through the process.

  1. Where and What to Buy – There is a vast array of new communities and new condominiums to choose from, so first make the decision on where you want to live and the type of home that best fits your lifestyle.  Check out prices and stay on budget with what you can afford, as you may want to buy that new couch or kitchen table when you move in.   Once you have decided upon the community location, home design and price, you now need to roll up your sleeves and do your research to find the right builder for your dream home..
  2. Builder Reputation – In my professional opinion, this is one of the most important items to consider with the biggest investment that you will make in your life.  When speaking with the Sales Representative at the Sales Office, ask questions and get answers to things that are important to you.  How long has the builder been in business?  Are they a small local builder or large development company?  How many homes do they build annually?  What is their background and experience?  What do their customers say about them?  Stop and ask the construction workers building the new homes – would they buy a home from this builder?  What is the builder’s after sales service program like?  Are their hidden costs?  Don’t rush your decision, as you may want to go back 2 or 3 times to ensure that you feel comfortable with the builder you are selecting.
  3. Tarion –   In Ontario, all new home and condominium builders must register with Tarion.  Tarion is a private corporation which was established in 1976 to protect the rights of new home buyers and regulate new home builders.   They basically administer the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, which outlines the warranty protection that new home purchasers are entitled to in Ontario. This program protects consumers when builders fail to fulfil their warranty obligations.   They assist and resolve disputes about warranty coverage, investigate illegal building practices and promote high standards of new home construction.  Contact them at and see if the builder you are considering has a good record for their building practices.
  4. Quality and Workmanship  –  All builders will provide you with a list of their Features and Finishes.    Most will offer model homes and suites for you to view.  This is an excellent opportunity to touch and feel for yourself.   Get an understanding as to what is a standard finish and what is upgraded.  Take the time to sit in the living room or kitchen and see if the space is functional for living.  Check out the appliances, open doors and drawers.  Is this home environmentally friendly?  Are materials used to construct this home going to save you money on your heating and cooling bills, as well as improve good indoor air quality?  So much to review and consider.
  5. Customer Satisfaction –  The best way to check out a builder is to talk to people who live in the community or condominium building you are interested in.   Ask them if they are happy with their new home and their experience buying from the builder.  How quickly were issues resolved, and if they were resolved, did it meet their satisfaction.  Having worked with a number of home and condominium developers in my career, the best story I can share with you is a women who downsized from a large home and purchased a new condominium.  A big lifestyle change.  She advised me that when she conducted her Pre-Delivery Inspection, there was not a single defect, and on moving day when she opened the door to her new condo, it had been completely cleaned with a gift basket waiting for her on the counter – a thank you from the builder!  Now that is satisfaction!!

I hope these comments and suggestions have been helpful to you and my hope is that you have a great and memorable new home/condo buying experience!