So you've decided to buy a new home. Now begins the exciting
journey filled with anticipation, questions, and perhaps a bit
of stress. After all, this may be the most important decision
and investment you will make in your lifetime.
Let us help you make your dream of owning a home a reality. By
asking the right questions and following the right steps, you
will become more focused and enter your journey of new home ownership
on a positive note.
Research Your Finances
Before you walk out your door to begin looking at Show Homes,
take a close look at your financial position. If you begin looking
at homes before researching your finances, you may be swayed by
homes beyond your financial grasp. And, let's face it, its pretty
easy to rationalize and convince yourself you can afford that
beautiful home that you fell in love with the other day.
Begin by asking a few questions:
- How much can you comfortably spend each month on a
mortgage, property taxes, and utilities?
- How much will you spend on decorating and furnishing?
- Do you have any financial debt? How long take will it take
to dissolve it?
- Are there any upcoming financial obligations to consider,
other than your new home? New car? Children? Vacation?
- Will there be any anticipated changes in income in the future?
Tip: Use the mortgage
calculator located on the CMHC web-site to help you with your
Choose a Builder
Choosing the right Builder may be as important as choosing your
home. This is the person responsible for building your dream home
- your future. Look for a Builder that YOU feel comfortable with.
Everyone is different, with specific needs - so using your neighbour's
Builder may not be right for you. Do some research. Word of mouth
is usually a good place to start. Keep in mind though, that many
lending institutions insist that your mortgage be taken out on
a home built by a member of a warranty program. Visit our Builder
Members page for a list of Builders in our Program. Take your
time meeting with potential Builders and discussing your needs
with them. Don't be afraid to ask questions or take notes. Here
are some questions to start with:
- Do you belong to the New Home Warranty Program of Manitoba?
- What areas of the city do you build in?
- Do you have any Show Homes we can visit?
- Can you meet our specifications within our budget?
- When could you begin construction, and how long will it take
- What if we want to make changes during construction?
Arrange Your Mortgage
Now that you have chosen your Builder and have a good idea on
how much you can spend, it is time to secure a mortgage. Not all
lending institutions are the same. You will want to take into
consideration: interest rates, your past history with that institution,
access (online banking, hours of business, location), and the
type of mortgage they are willing to provide to you (loan amount,
lending rate, amortization, insurance, etc.).
Establish a Relationship with Your Builder
You will now want to begin serious negotiations with your Builder.
Don't let this get in the way of forming a positive working relationship.
If you have problems in the future, you want to be on good terms
with your Builder. Take your time to get to know and understand
this person/company - their building methods, design types, materials
used, building standards, and the other persons who will be involved
in this project. And don't forget to ask questions - no matter
how insignificant they may seem.
Choosing the Right Home
Be absolutely 100% positive on what you want your new home to
look like, feel like, and operate like. A home should be both
functional and comfortable. Discuss this with all members of your
household, as every member will have specific needs and wants.
Start by visiting your Builder's Show Homes (if available) and
looking over his/her building designs. Keep in mind all future
considerations, such as additions to your family. Here are some
other things to consider:
- number and size of bathrooms & bedrooms
- number of stories
- storage/closet space
- attached or detached garage
- do you want a fireplace? Jacuzzi?
- extra rooms for an office, den, library, sitting room, etc.
- types of appliances
- materials used in construction
- *While choosing the components of your home, keep in mind
that not everything will be covered under warranty. For more
information on our warranty, click here.
When discussing your new home with your Builder, be very specific.
At the same time, listen carefully to his or her suggestions.
Keeping the lines of communication open at all times will help
the Builder take your vision of the perfect home, and turn it
into a reality.
Making the Purchase
You've now decided on the specifics of your new home and are
ready to sign on the dotted line. Be sure you have read your contract
thoroughly and questioned anything that is not clear. Remember
- no question is too small! Don't feel awkward about taking your
contract to a lawyer for further clarification. We cannot stress
how important it is that you are satisfied with every detail,
right down to the colour of your cabinets. When you sign your
contract you are forming a legally binding agreement between you
and your Builder. So, what happens if later on you change your
mind on the colour of your cabinets? You should ask your Builder
this question long before your contract is drawn up.
Your contract will vary greatly according to the agreements made
between you and your Builder, such as your method of payment.
Typically, a Builder will draw from the funds you have set aside
for each phase of the construction. In other words, you are paying
only for work done and materials used as the construction progresses.
However, it is standard practice for a Builder to ask for a deposit
before beginning construction of your home, as a means of binding
your agreement with the Builder. The amount of the deposit will
vary depending on the price of your home. The New Home Warranty
Program offers protection on your deposit if your Builder is a
Member of the Program. In the event that a Builder cancels construction
or goes bankrupt before completing your home, or commits fraud,
our Program offers deposit coverage up to a maximum of $25,000.
This does not cover disputes over the contract between you and
Now that construction has begun, you may simply be comfortable
sitting back and relaxing for the next few months. Or you may
be the type of person who may visualize themselves camping out
on the lawn, watching every moment of construction. We suggest
a middle approach. Keep in touch with your Builder, but don't
interfere with construction. If you made an informed and confident
decision in the beginning when choosing your Builder, choosing
your home, and defining the specifics of your contract, you should
feel confident that your Builder will meet your expectations.
However, this does not mean you shouldn't remain involved to some
degree. Your Builder may have already set out specific dates following
each phase of construction when you can meet to view the home.
If not, discuss this in advance with your Builder before going
down to check out the progress on your own. With your Builder
present, you can ask questions, and he or she can point out important
aspects of the construction process that may benefit you in the
future. Remember, if you opted to choose a Builder from our Warranty
Program, you can rest assured that any warranty item not met with
during construction will be resolved following possession.
Construction is winding down, and you are now approaching the
possession date. Prior to possession, your Builder will arrange
a date and time for your "walk-through". This is your
opportunity to inspect your new home, to ensure that the details
of your contract have been met. If you have established a good
relationship with your Builder, you should feel comfortable pointing
out any items that you question or disagree with. At this time,
you and your Builder will compile a list of these unfinished items
or corrections to be made, with an estimated time of completion.
Be thorough in your inspection, and honest with your Builder.
At this time you will also sign any closing papers, of which
will include the deficiency list, and your Certificate of Possession
and New Home Warranty. If you haven't already done so, read your
warranty carefully. (For more information on our warranty, click
here.) Be sure that all information on your certificate is
filled in correctly, especially your date of possession. Finally,
make sure both you and your Builder have signed and dated at the
bottom. You will retain the white copy of the certificate, the
Builder will keep the yellow copy, and the pink copy will be forwarded
by the Builder to the Program. It is a good idea to make a copy
of your certificate immediately and then place the original in
a safe place. Once we have received our copy, we will send you
an informational package by mail. This may take up to three weeks.
If you decide to sell your home, you will want to include your
certificate in the sale. Our Warranty states: "In the
event the original homeowner sells the home and transfers this
Warranty Certificate to a subsequent homeowner, all the obligations
of the original homeowner and the terms of this Warranty Certificate
shall be binding upon any subsequent homeowner. Any prior acts,
omissions, defaults or waivers of the original homeowner shall
be binding upon the subsequent homeowner. In the event the home
is sold further, this clause shall apply to any subsequent homeowners
without limitation as if the homeowner from whom the home was
purchased was the original homeowner."
First Year of Ownership
Within the first year you own your new home, it is not uncommon
for you to encounter some minor problems. For example, a house
will go through a period of shifting and settling causing minor
cracks to appear in your walls and ceiling. Your Builder will
most likely explain to you that this is quite normal. This is
the most common concern among new homeowners. Please be advised
that this is considered a 'maintenance item' and is not covered
under your warranty. Most Builders will go in and repair these
minor cracks and nail pops within the first year - but are not
obligated to do so.
During your first year of ownership, keep track of any deficiencies
you encounter. Your Builder will most likely do a final inspection
a couple months prior to your one year anniversary. Remember -
if you had your home built by one of our Builder Members and you
signed a Certificate of Possession, you must make any warranty
claims in writing to the Program prior to your one year anniversary
of possession. Visit our online Certificate
of Possession and New Home Warranty for more detailed information.