You’ve finally found the dream condo you’ve been searching for and are ready to make it your own. But before you sign your deal, understand your rights as a new home buyer. Here are some steps to take:
Have a lawyer review your agreement.
Before you sign, remember these are lengthy documents with lots of technical language. So, have your lawyer review your purchase agreement and the accompanying disclosure statement to identify, for example, which items and areas will be part of your unit, which will be common elements shared with other unit owners, which items will be rented instead of owned, and what’s included in the purchase price. Any details agreed to by the sales representative should also be set out in writing. If you decide to sign without legal advice, you may risk being bound to terms you don’t want or understand.
Read the addendum.
This is a document that all builders must attach to every purchase agreement. It contains details about the condo status – from construction start dates to the status of required approvals, and more. It covers key critical dates regarding occupancy and important information about closing costs, such as utility expenses, realty taxes and municipal taxes, that are added onto the condo purchase price. Closing costs can add significantly to the budget, but with the details listed in one area, buyers can recognize the full costs associated with their purchase.
Take advantage of cooling-off period.
After signing the purchase agreement, there is a 10-day cooling off period. This gives you a chance to have your lawyer thoroughly review your contract after it’s signed. If you don’t like what you find, you can back out of the deal and receive a deposit refund. However, once the 10 days pass, the purchase agreement becomes final.
Customize your finishes.
Buying a newly built condo gives you the opportunity to customize it to your preference. Depending on your builder, you can select the wall colours, the style and colour of countertops and cabinets, the fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen, the floor finishes and the interior trim styles. Your personal selections should be agreed to in writing to ensure they’re safeguarded by the people who backstop your warranty. If your agreement includes the right to select certain items of construction or finishes, these cannot be substituted without your written consent.
Understand termination conditions.
Your purchase agreement will include either a “tentative” or “firm” occupancy date as well as an “outside” occupancy date. If your builder is unable to meet your outside occupancy date, you have a 30-day period to terminate the agreement and may be eligible for delay compensation. If you terminate your agreement and the builder fails to refund your deposit, you can make a claim.