Thanks to Canada’s housing boom, many new homeowners end up buying a new-build—a home or condo they’ve either bought from floorplans or after it has just been finished. And while a brand-new space with shiny floors and never-used appliances has a certain kind of appeal, there are certain shortcuts you should watch out for.
Cheap or Poorly-Laid Flooring
Floors that aren’t durable won’t stand up to daily wear in the long run. They may scuff or scratch easily. Floors that are poorly laid—that don’t extend to the wall or have gaps between the planks, for example—might warp or buckle as they age. Floors can be expensive to replace, not to mention disruptive.
Often builders will lure prospective buyers in by promising high-end, name-brand appliances, like Miele or Kohler. Some high-end brands, however, also manufacture lower-end appliances, similar to the way fashion lines sometimes have cheaper “sister brands.” Make you sure you clarify this upfront.
Minimal Electric Work
Developers will sometimes wire new homes pretty minimally, which might seem fine if you’re viewing it during the day or buying from a floorplan. The risk, however, is that you might find yourself needing more lighting or electrical power on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, installing a single electrical outlet could cost several hundred dollars in Canada, so it’s best to make sure upfront that your new home will have all the outlets and fixtures you think you’ll need.
Don’t forget that new-builds usually come with the walls covered only in builder’s paint, which is a type of primer that has a chalk-like feel to it. It’s dull to the eye and absorbs scuffs and stains easily, so painting the walls—even if you intend them to be white—is one of the first things you should do when you move in.
A lot of shortcuts like these come down to the developer’s reputation. A good real estate agent will be able to help you find a quality builder who has a good track record.