There is no denying the appeal of a condominium in a new building. You can choose your own finishing’s and decorate to your taste rather than having to accept that of a resale owner. There are pitfalls to be on the lookout for however, so you may want to consider the following in your search for a new condominium.
Hire a Buyers Agent
Before you go visiting the builders’ sales office hire your own buyer’s agent to represent you. The sales people at the sales pavilion represent the interests of the builder, not yours. And they are very well trained. If you walk in without your own buyer’s agent to begin with you may lose the ability to use one later if you decide to buy. Buyers agent won’t cost you anything but could save you money and a great deal of headaches later.
Real Estate Lawyer
Find a good real estate lawyer. If you don’t know one, ask your buyers’ agent for a couple of recommendations. Decide on a lawyer before you visit any sales offices.
When you are inspecting model suites, remember to take along a tape measure. Don’t be afraid to use it to check the measurements of the unit against the floor plans given to you by the sales office. It is not unusual for there to be discrepancies. Agreement of Purchase and Sale When you settle on a unit you will be asked to sign an agreement of purchase and sale contract. This is a lengthy document and should be approached with caution. Builders are usually reluctant to lower their price; however your buyers’ agent can negotiate extras to be included for you. The many pages of clauses in the sales contract are all drafted in favour of the builder. On every new condominium sale in Ontario there is a 10 day cooling off period, which you should use to have your real estate lawyer examine and explain the contract to you.
Your contract will contain an expected delivery date usually filled in by the sales office. Hidden away in the small print however will be a clause allowing the builder to change this date, perhaps several times, making your move-in date open ended.
Floor Plan Changes
It is not unusual for square footage to change between the time you originally looked at floor plans and the day you take delivery of you new condo unit. A clause buried in the contract allows the builder to change the layout of your unit with no notice to you. So you may find that walk-in closet in the master bedroom that was so important has been replaced with an ordinary one.
Change of Fixtures
You may receive a call from the builder sometime in the future asking you to choose another kitchen to replace the one you spent hours picking out originally. There could be a hidden clause in your contract allowing the builder to make this change at their discretion for any reason whatsoever. All of these issues and more can be uncovered by going over your sales contract with your real estate lawyer. They can then be addressed with the builder by your buyers’ agent and possibly resolved before they become a source of future headaches for you. If there is no flexibility on the part of the builder, you can at least make an informed decision as to whether or not to buy the unit.
The Best Time to Buy a New Condo
The best time to buy a new condominium unit is at the very beginning before the public release. Prices and selection are the most attractive at this time. A buyer’s agent will usually know about these new buildings before you do, which is another good reason to hire one.
John Lavin is a full time realtor with 24 years experience helping buyers and sellers of homes,