7 Things to Ask Before Buying A Home
We encourage home buyers to take a deep breath and SLOW DOWN. There are many, many things to consider when making one of the biggest purchases of your life. Here are seven things we encourage you to think about to truly have peace of mind that you’re making the best decision.
Work that has been carried out in a home that is not “original to it” often requires permits. Find out from the vendor and/or your lawyer what work has been done and whether or not appropriate permits were obtained (where required), including the “final” inspections from the authorities having jurisdiction. For example, some work requires building permits from the municipal building department. Work of an electrical nature may require permits from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA).
Seller Property Information Sheet (SPIS)
Consult your professional realtor® or lawyer about having the seller of the property you want to buy complete a SPIS (vendor disclosure document) for your review. In fact, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) recommends obtaining an SPIS, as when it is completed accurately, it protects both the seller and the buyer. The discovery of defects that were known but undisclosed at the time of purchase can spoil what should be one of the happiest moments in your life. More information through full disclosure can help reduce the risks.
Owner’s Manuals, Material / Installation Specifications
Does the vendor have the owner manuals or material/installation specification sheets or booklets for the home’s systems and components? Think of things like manuals for the furnace, air conditioning, thermostat, appliance, security system, doors, garage door openers etc. What about information regarding the windows, doors, shingles, flooring and other upgrades to the house? Knowing who made what or who installed what and when is important to know the cost of repairing and replacing them in future.
Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies are under no obligation to insure a property you want to buy. Consult your insurance broker before purchasing your home to ensure coverage is available and that the premiums are satisfactory. Some things ring alarm bells with insurance companies.
Talk to your professional mortgage broker to ensure you are not only pre-qualified but pre-approved so you know ahead of time what you can afford to buy. Lock in your interest rate while you’re shopping for your dream home. Ask your broker about insured high ratio mortgages, their best interest rates, various types of payment plans, portability, what the term and amortization periods are as well as any pre-payment and other options available to you that will help reduce your costs.
Warranties & Guarantees
Ask the seller of the property what remaining warranties or guarantees are available to you regarding the materials and workmanship in the home. Things like windows, doors, shingles, garage door openers, flooring, appliances, foundation wall crack repairs etc.
New Home Warranties
TARION Warranty Corporation is responsible for administering the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan ACt, which outlines the warranty protection that new home and condominium buyers must provide, by law, to their customers. The primary purpose of TARION is to ensure builders abide by the legislation, and to step in to protect consumers when builders fail to fulfill their warranty obligations. Review TARION’s “Construction Performance Guidelines”. It’s a handy reference guide intended to help builders and homeowners understand which work and material defects are covered under the statutory warranty.