Photo by Alan Cleaver

The following is a guest post by Darlene Freeman, President of DF Consultants. Darlene has over 14 years expertise as a Customer Care Manager in the new home construction industry and experience with both single family homes and high rise condominiums. She has worked closely with Tarion Warranty Corporation and has attended construction and customer care seminars hosted by BILD and Tarion. She decided to start her own company, DF Consultants, when she realized that through knowledge and education on the After Sales Service procedures, she could help purchasers alleviate the stress and anxiety that goes along with buying a new home.

Buying a house or condo from a builder is more than just signing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. There is
so much more to know besides choosing interior finishes and waiting for the closing date. There are rules and regulations that every purchaser should be aware of. Much of what you need to know is for your own protection and more importantly, for your peace of mind.

Frustration and anxiety seem to go hand in hand after you have purchased your new home. This is particularly true when unforeseen things happen like finding out there will be an extension of your closing date. This can be very unnerving. Builders are allowed to take the extra time if they need it, but they must provide you in writing proper notice if an extension is required. If they do not, they will be paying you compensation, as per the Tarion Warranty Corporation rules. The only good news is the builder can no longer invoke that horrible 5 day grace period extension which was devastating to purchasers, especially when they had no place to go.

Although builders do try to give their purchasers enough information to get them through the buying process, purchasers don’t always understand the After Sales Service procedure and this is where most of the anxiety begins. Pre Delivery Inspection: some people aren’t even aware of what that means. This is really the very first official viewing of your home, and the opportunity to do an inspection.

It is very important to do a thorough PDI. Make sure, however, to keep things in perspective. This is not the time to nitpick small items like a paint drip on the wall. This is the time to look at the main items inside your new home like counters, cabinets, flooring, plumbing, heating and windows, and on the exterior — if you have purchased a house — the quality of the brickwork, driveway, garage, gas proofing and landscaping. These are the items that will end up costing you big money if you miss any deficiencies during the PDI.

Maintaining your home is very important. Now that might sound like a redundant statement because who wouldn’t maintain their own home? However, many people believe that the builder is responsible for any maintenance issues during the first year of occupancy. This is a very big misconception. Builders are only responsible for issues having to do with structural defects, defects in material, or deficiencies that are found and noted on the PDI. It is up to the
homeowner to take care of any deficiencies caused by normal wear and tear during the day-to-day living in their home.

One of the most important things that I stress over and over again to my clients is to develop a good relationship with their builders. Working cooperatively with your builder will be to your benefit. It just makes sense that if the builder had a choice, who do you think they prefer to work with, the homeowner who continually threatens them and is disrespectful, or the home owner who is pleasant and accommodating? As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey, and it’s very true. Even if you are at your wits end, your builder needs to be your ally not your enemy.

Buying a new home should be a happy and exciting time. It’s up to you to do your homework. Get educated on everything you need to know about the After Sales Service procedures so that you will not experience any surprises along the way. Believe me when I say that a savvy purchaser becomes a happy homeowner.

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