A new home worth waiting for
Why new home construction may not always go according to plan
One of the hardest parts of buying a new home is the waiting. You sign the purchase agreement and then you wait, and wait, and wait some more. There’s a lot riding on your move-in date – the timing of the sale of your current home or the termination of a lease, packing, scheduling of movers and setting up services like internet and phone. All you want is a 100 per cent guarantee that your home will be ready on a specific date. Is that too much to ask?
Unfortunately, sometimes it can be.
Construction timelines aren’t an exact science and there are many factors that can interfere with the completion of your home.
One of the most common reasons for delay is the weather. It’s out of anyone’s hands and it has a major impact on how fast a new home goes up.
Heavy rains, high winds, thunderstorms, extreme heat – they can all impact site conditions, materials and work schedules.
As our climate becomes increasingly unpredictable, weather delays are likely to become more common.
What else can slow down construction? Earlier this year there were some strikes involving trade unions in the new home building industry. In the past, these types of labour disruptions have had serious impacts on the delivery of new homes. The industry is also experiencing shortages in available trades as many of the current tradespeople are beginning to retire and there aren’t enough young people stepping in to take their places.
There can also be issues with material shortages. Let’s say the builder can’t get enough drywall or there’s manufacturing delays with the furnaces ordered for the development or the hardwood you selected has been discontinued. While these issues might only slow things down by a week or two, the time can add up – especially if it prevents other work, like the electrical or painting, from being completed.
And finally, there can be catastrophic events like fires or floods that might cause setbacks lasting months.
So how do you know when your home is likely to be completed?
When you buy a new home, your builder must include a closing date in your purchase agreement. If a builder is confident as to when the home will be finished, they’ll set a ‘firm’ date, which is something a lot of home buyers will ask for so they can coordinate all the logistics of their move. If a builder isn’t sure exactly when your new home will be finished, they can set a ‘tentative’ date. That gives them the flexibility to delay the completion date several times as long as they follow specific rules.
The important thing to know is that the details about what are referred to as your ‘critical dates’ are spelled out in a document called the Addendum which is attached to every Agreement of Purchase and Sale. It also indicates if and when you’re entitled to legally back out of your agreement if you choose to do so.
And the good news is that the new home warranty provides protection against delayed closing under certain circumstances. So while it may not be possible to prevent all the factors that could impact the final delivery of your home, there is compensation for a number of costs – for example accommodation or storage – that you might incur as a result of a delay.
So after you’ve signed your purchase agreement, keep in touch with your builder to get updates on the progress of your home. And if you’re trying to plan, it also makes sense to give yourself some wiggle room. Just as you wouldn’t schedule a connecting flight 20 minutes after your first flight is supposed to touch down, leave time between the projected completion date of your new home and the closing date of the sale or the end of a lease on your current home.
When all’s said and done, eventually you’ll get where you want to be – your new home – and it will have been worth the wait.
Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.