FOR NEW TOWN HOME BUYERS
Here's the real skinny on buying town homes :
Ending up with the kind of home you want means some careful study and focus to ensure that you get it.
Obtain and read carefully the construction specifications provided by each builder, and compare them.
Find the model you want and then add $10,000-$15,000 to the price to allow for a few upgrades and closing costs.
Make sure you understand the terms under which your deposit will be returned to you if you decide not to proceed with a purchase.
Check the builder directory at www.tarion.com or click the NEW HOME BUYERS menu on my home page - www.streetsofkingston.ca .
You can check the after-sales service records of every builder in Kingston. If buyers experience problems with their home and it is goes to mediation under Tarion, and the builder can’t or won’t resolve it, it will appear on their record.
If you’re considering new or resale and there are existing adjacent homes, talk to the neighbors! Chances are they will happy to tell you what they think of their new homes by the builder you’re considering. If it’s a resale of an older attached home, it’s a great way to get intel on prospective neighbors and possibly insights into the quality of the resale you’re considering.
Older town homes and semis sometimes have problems with sound transmission through the common walls, and it’s the neighbors who can tell you if there’s a concern.
Most local builders now construct common walls out of two off-set stud walls with sound batting insulation and carrying a Sound Transmission Rating of 57. Ontario Building Code calls for a minimum STC of 50 (the same rating as for between hotel rooms). A wall with an STC rating of 60 allows practically no audible sounds to pass through.
I have saved my three most important pieces of advice for last:
1. Pass up the granite if necessary and buy the best quality home you can afford! Don’t count on the Tarion Warranty coverage to bail you out if you discover problems with your new home. It is heavily weighted in favor of the home-building industry which carries substantial political clout with the province due to the vast number of jobs it represents.
Enough homeowners have been hung out to dry by Tarion that disrespect for the warranty is now relatively widespread, and hopefully this will translate into growing political pressure to change the current warranty system. Tarion's monopoly on new-home insurance needs to be challenged.
2. Consider making your purchase agreement contingent on a final home inspection, as most resale buyers do, but with a clause giving the builder the right to remedy any defiencies and conclude the sale. Even the best home builder can sometimes miss things.
3. Be a savvy buyer - get a Realtor to help you compare and navigate and negotiate in the new home market. At no cost to you, this is one of the best kinds of insurance to have.
For current info on new town home developments by Kingston builders, read my blog post,
"Town Home Buyers Guide"
Best of luck to all new town home buyers :-)