Buying New Construction

Buying a brand new house or condominium can be exciting. 

New residential developments pop up every week. Before you make a move, talk to an Axess Law real estate lawyer (Toronto, Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa) about your draft agreement of purchase and sale. 

We explain what’s different about buying directly from developers and review your offer to purchase for common errors or omissions that could trip you up. Offers and counter offers to buy a new build property are legally binding. 

Have Axess Law Ontario lawyers near you ensure your contract covers all the important details. We do virtual real estate closings anywhere in Ontario.

5 Tips For New Home Buyers

  1. Add “subject to” clauses allowing your Axess Law real estate lawyer to review the offer to purchase before the contract becomes binding. New home contracts typically include a right to legal advice, but confirm it before you sign. 
  2. Put everything you want in your contract, from granite counters to custom blinds. You can negotiate upgrades, often for significantly more, but should not be charged for extras you didn’t agree to in writing.
  3. Make offers conditional on securing mortgage financing. Progress draw or completion mortgages release funding as construction proceeds. You could jeopardize your deposit if you act before your mortgage loan is approved.
  4. Inspect your new home before you accept the keys. Pre-delivery inspections are walkthroughs to catch defects and ask questions about your new home’s features. Resale home offers to purchase regularly include a home inspection clause. As a new home buyer, you can bring a professional home inspector or rely on the builder’s assurances your home is built to the standard you expect.
  5. Get warranties for appliances and a list of subcontractors who worked on your home. Use your new home maintenance binder to schedule regular check ups and locate local suppliers.

(See Realtor Recommendations for Home Inspectors to find a licensed professional.)


Who Gets the Deposit if the Deal Falls Through

Deposits on new home construction are insured by Tarion. The New Home Warranties Plan returns your deposit if your home is not completed and your builder goes bankrupt.

You are covered for up to $20,000 for condos, $60,000 for homes priced at $600,000 or less and 10% of purchase price, up to $100,000, for homes over $600,000. Deposits you pay for upgrades or extras over and above the purchase price are also protected, if you buy a new freehold property or condo.

Higher deposits are not insured. Be wary if a developer asks for more than Tarion will repay.


Your New Home Warranty

New homes come with warranties. Read yours carefully before you assume you are covered for everything that could go wrong. 

Exceptions to your Tarion coverage:

  • normal wear and tear from everyday living
  • improper home maintenance
  • personal or property loss, such as lost income from supervising contractors during repairs
  • materials you provide or install yourself
  • defective work you approve
  • elevators, heating or cooling systems and more.

Go to to register your home as soon as you get the builder’s Certificate of Completion and Possession. 

Occupation Delays and Your Options 

Your Tarion warranty gives you options. How many times can a builder delay closing in Ontario? You could be surprised.


Freehold Home Buyers

You get a delayed closing warranty when the agreement of purchase and sale is signed. It includes a mutually agreed upon closing date — firm if your developer is confident your home can be completed on time (you’re owed delayed closing compensation if not). A tentative closing date lets the builder extend the closing twice, for up to 240 days total, without compensating you.


Condo Buyers

Condo developers can set completion dates ranging from first tentative occupancy dates. the earliest your home will be ready, to outside occupancy dates, the latest you can expect to move in. You get 90 days advance notice every time the occupancy date shifts. 

Be careful not to time selling your current home based on tentative occupancy dates in your agreement of purchase and sale. You could be stuck paying rent while you wait for completion.


Why You Need a Lawyer

Your Axess Law real estate lawyer is your ally. They will:

  • review the “subject tos”
  • look for hidden costs for upgrades
  • find clauses that commit you to certain costs or actions
  • inspect your contract for irregularities such as materials the builder may substitute in the final built product
  • tell you if you own or lease the lot or if it is a vacant land condominium
  • explain or negotiate closing costs
  • hold your down payment until the deal is completed
  • advise you what to do if delays occur and
  • answer questions about what is involved, from pre-delivery inspections to bank appraisals.

Axess Law real estate lawyers handle all of the details so you aren’t surprised when you open the door the first time. Before you sign, ask us about your rights and obligations. (See 25 questions you ask our real estate lawyers.)


Flat Fee Lawyers Near You

Axess Law real estate lawyers (Ontario) do document searches, find property surveys and register your new home with the local land titles office. 

We discharge existing mortgages and arrange signatures for mortgage insurance and mortgage documents with your bank or private lender. We answer all your questions, like what is title insurance and more. 

You receive a final statement of adjustments showing your costs to purchase the home and pay expenses like legal fees.


Real Savings for New Home Buyers

Our real estate lawyer flat fees make new home buying affordable. You pay less than for traditional lawyer services and get great service too.

Our flat fee legal rates start at $999.99 and up plus HST to buy a new construction home or condo. We give independent legal advice for $349.99 if you are uncertain about what is a construction lien or how to resolve disputes. 

Our trusted legal partners can take over your case if you take a new home developer to court or have questions about Ontario real estate law.

Book an Appointment Online or By Phone Today

We have a real estate closing lawyer near you who can video conference online anywhere in Ontario. 

Arrange an in person appointment if that fits your schedule better. Axess Law locations in Ottawa and Greater Toronto Area have onsite parking and easy transit access.

Make day or evening appointments — whatever works for you, 7 days a week. Dial our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line (toll free to 1-877-402-4207) or book appointments online. It just takes minutes of your time. 

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