Look before you build

You’ve been searching for what seems like ages for a new home but nothing quite meets all your wants and needs. So you’ve decided, instead, to hire a builder to construct your dream home on property you already own.

While friends and neighbours may want to help by recommending builders, it’s crucial that you get professional advice to protect your investment before the first hole is dug. Negotiations for any kind of service can be tricky so it’s a good idea to consult with a real estate lawyer who knows about contract homes and can help ensure your rights are protected in your contract with your builder.

Make sure your builder is registered

First thing to find out is whether or not the builder you want to hire is registered with Tarion. The law requires that a builder be registered with Tarion before building or selling a home. To be registered, builders must meet certain criteria including that they have the financial and technical wherewithal to complete the build and provide warranty service thereafter. If they are building but not registered, they are operating illegally and have not been vetted by Tarion. You should confirm that the builder you want to hire is registered by visiting the Ontario Builder Directory at www.tarion.com.

Get your agreement in writing

Make sure you have a written contract with the builder that includes the plans, specifications, features and construction and payment schedules that you and the builder have agreed to.

Make sure you have a written contract with the builder that includes the plans, specifications, features and construction and payment schedules that you and the builder have agreed to.  In the event of a dispute, having your agreement in writing  can bolster your side of the story.

If a builder stops working on your new home, or you have a major dispute about the construction, contact Tarion for help. If you’re able to show that your builder failed to substantially perform your contract, you may be entitled to compensation from Tarion.  If the payments you made to your builder exceed the value of the work and materials provided by the builder, Tarion may compensate you for that shortfall, to a maximum of $40,000.

No one wants to have a dispute, especially on such an expensive and personal investment. So make sure you can do as much as possible ahead of time to protect yourself. And if things do go wrong, Tarion is here to help.