Law Office of
Clifford E. Dresner

Barrister & Solicitor, Notary Public - Newmarket Ontario

Cliff Notes

Buying a new home from a builder

Often I will get a call from a former, or new, client and they say "I just bought a new home from a builder. They gave me a whole pile of documents. Can you look at them for me?"

Yes, a builder''s offer is a lot of paper. Pages and pages of it. And much of it seems to be written in a language other than English. It is called "Legalise". I am here to provide a translation.

First, it is important to have the offer looked at by a lawyer. There is often a deadline by which any questions or objections must be submitted. If the deadline passes the condition expires and the offer becomes firm. It is important to arrange to bring the in the offer at least a few days before the deadline passes.

Second, it is important to remember that the offer is as long and complicated as it is because that is the way the builder wants it to be and in most cases the builder will not agree to any major changes to their form. Essentially it is a "take it or leave it" situation.

The construction of most new homes is covered under the Tarion Warranty program which I will discuss in more detail in a future posting. There is a Tarion schedule attached to all builder offers which is the first part of the offer I look at. It cannot be changed but it spells out the critical dates in the transaction. It sets out the initial closing dates and potential extended closing dates. It also sets out the date at which the buyer can terminate the transaction without penalty if the transaction is not yet closed. In addition, in recent years it also lists the closing adjustments which are usually the most annoying aspects of builder offers for most purchasers but in all liklihood one of the only parts of the offer that can be changed. What are closing adjustments?

Closing adjustments are add-ons to the purchase price. These are amounts added by the builder for such things as meter installations, tree planting, survey charges, driveway paving, Tarion Warranty etc. etc. Closing adjustments will vary greatly from builder to builder. Some builders include most of these charges in the purchase price and others will add most of them on top of it. These adjustments can amount to thousands of dollars. I carefully review them and suggest which ones might be eliminated by the builder or capped at a maximum amount. Many builders will agree to one or both and this gives the purchaser some cost certainty.

After looking at the closing adjustments I will review the balance of the offer with the purchasers and explain just what they have agreed to. There is generally not much else in the offer that the builder will agree to change so it is most important that the purchasers are prepared to live with these terms.

Finally, I discuss strategies that the purchaser can employ during the construction process to reduce the chance of the builder making a mistake in the construction of the house and not following the plans. This will happen most often when the standard plan presented by the builder is amended during the initial negotiations.

So, as you can see, there is lots to talk about when you are buying a new home from a builder, and a great deal I can help you with in order to make your experience a positive one. So call me when you have signed your builder offer and arrange to bring it in for a NO COST review.', 'Buying a New Home from a Builder in Newmarket...or Anywhere!