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Article: How honest is your builder?

Friday June 13th, 2008.

A good indication of the integrity of your builder can be seen in the way they handle the warranty process. Every new home sold in Ontario is covered by the Ontario New Home Warranty Plan Act. This warranty is administered through Tarion and your builder. Your builder has options when implementing the process.

The first exposure to the warranty process, for most new home purchases, is when they receive Tarion's Home Owner Information Package. Tarion guidelines indicate that this package may be given to the purchaser at any time, up to and including the Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI). This package contains vital information on your home warranty. Most important at this stage is the information on how to conduct a proper PDI.

Builders Option 1: They can give this warranty package to the homeowner at any time before the PDI.

The builder will usually have many opportunities to do this during the construction process, as you will meet with your builder to discuss the different aspects of building your new home. Even if your new home is already built, you will usually still meet with the builder at some point before the PDI.

Builders Option 2: They can give the warranty package to the homeowner at the PDI.

In most cases, this will be the first time that the homeowner has seen the finished house. Many people are preoccupied with the viewing of their new home, concentrating on the finish or the obvious errors and omissions of the builder, or just filled with excitement at this stage. This is also the first opportunity for many home owners to find out about the systems and features of a new home. Many home owners attending the PDI do not realize that it should take 2-4 hours to complete and rush themselves through it. The PDI, without a doubt, is an overwhelming experience for most.

The question becomes, when should you get that all important warranty guide: at the PDI or at some point earlier in the new home process?

A reputable builder will want you to be informed. It actually makes their job easier if they are dealing with educated people. Also, as a home owner, you need to protect your warranty rights. The onus is on you to do this, not the builder. You can not protect your rights if you do not know the steps involved. I am surprised to find that at many of the PDI's that I attend with home owners, the builder is just introducing the warranty information package to them at that time.

Ask your builder for Tarion's Home Owner Information Package at your first meeting. If they give you an excuse, and there are many, it should give you cause for concern. At the very least, the builder should direct you to Tarion's web site. Make sure that you read about the PDI process before you get there. Both the BBB and CMHC recommend that you should consider bringing along an experienced new-home inspector with you to the PDI to help protect your warranty rights and save you money.

For most people a house is the largest investment of their life. The new home warranty is put in place to help protect your investment. However, if you do not take full advantage of the information that is given to you about this process, it will cost you money.

Neil Suter, C. Tech. Certified (Building and Building Design) Technician

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News & Blog

A corner picture to set the mood for the page. This newspaper dates to June 16, 1927. The page is partially torn, and the comic strip shown is entitled Now You Ask One.

Article Series: What you need to know about your New Home's Warranty.

  1. How honest is your builder?
  2. New home warranty: How does it really work? (Coming Soon)
  3. What the Builder does not want you to know about the PDI. (Coming Soon)
  4. Get it in writing and read what you are signing. (Coming Soon)
  5. Don't miss the dates (Coming Soon)
  6. Don't want to hear, "it is not covered under warranty" (Coming Soon)
  7. Grading. The most common complaint that is not covered under warranty? (Coming Soon)