Buying a new home is serious business. For many, it will be the biggest economic transaction of their life. The quality of its construction is therefore an essential component. We have identified the top ten things to verifying when purchasing a new home.
1. The choice of lot
It is very important to make sure than the lot is in a risk-free zone (e.g. not one that can be easily flooded, has loamy soil, is likely to have radon emission or the presence of iron ochre). Having a soil analysis done before buying is a good idea.
2. Is the promoter GCR-accredited?
The protection offered by the GCR warranty is a definite advantage for a buyer. A GCR-accredited entrepreneur is generally financially solvent. The GCR also employs a team of inspectors that visit construction sites.
But watch out: not all new buildings are covered by the GCR. This warranty is applicable to isolated, semi-detached or row homes, to multi-family buildings with two to five buildings not contained in a divided co-property (duplexes, triplexes, etc.) and to condo building containing four or less superimposed units.
3. Make a "case" for the promoter
When you buy a car, you don't take that responsibility lightly; the same thing should be done when buying property. A thorough "inspection" of the promoter is therefore a good idea. For example, you should verify if the neighbors who bought a property from the same promoter are satisfied, checking on the RBQ website if the promoter has ever been part of a legal dispute and verifying that the promoter has their RBQ 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 license. The following should also be investigated:
- How long has the promoter been in business and how many completed projects do they have under their belt?
- Have they often changed their corporate name or been embroiled in legal trouble? To find out, visit http://jugements.qc.ca
- Have they received complaints through the Office de la protection du consommateur? You can check by visiting http://opc.gouv.qc.ca
- Is the promoter registered with the RBQ? The full list can be consulted at the following link: https://www.rbq.gouv.qc.ca
- Are the documents they give you clear? Is it easy to obtain additional information?
- Is the staff in the sales office open and able to answer your queries precisely?
4. Check the soundproofing
When buy a co-property, occupants want to make sure that the shared walls and floors are soundproof. The best way to ensure this is go for a concrete construction, as this material provides great soundproofing.
Read: Condominium Soundproofing: When Noises Affect the Quality of Life
5. Consider the insulation
The buyer-to-be must also make sure that the property was built with the highest insulation norms in mind. This will avoid a nasty surprise when receiving the first heating bill. Novoclimat 2 or the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification have high requirements in that field.
To maintain a good air quality in an airtight home, the buyer must make sure that the heat recovery ventilator (or HRV, now required in all homes) is of good quality and that it maintains a good overall interior air quality.
6. Good doors and windows
You must also make sure that you have good insulated and soundproof doors and that your windows have been correctly installed (namely, from the inside rather than the outside), that your frames are well insulated and draftproof and that the interior of your double windows contains a low E film in order to lower thermal losses.
7. What are the current construction codes?
Any municipality is free to apply their desired code of construction throughout their territory. Using the most recent construction code is likely to correspond to the best possible construction quality.
8. Validate the quality of the materials used
Certain promoters will use cheaper, more flashy material rather than sturdy and long-lasting ones. You must be careful to check their quality and durability. For example, a quartz countertop will be more durable than one made of laminate or melamine; hardwood floors are certain to last longer than pergo floors.
9. Hire an inspector
For the length of construction, the homebuyer can hire an insprector (preferably one that is a member of a professional order like an architecte or engineer, since they are insured). The inspector will verify the different steps of the construction and ask the promoter to correct some things or fill the walls with higher-quality insulation, etc. The promoter may not appreciate the suggestion, but the buyer is within their rights to require it.
10. Purchase a LEED-certified home
Purchasing a LEED-certified home is slightly more expensive when compared to a regular home, but the buyer will benefit since they will be living in a healthy building made from longer-lasting material; they'll also save on heating costs. They'll also be able to up the resale value when it comes time to sell.
For an even more complete list of aspects to verify, refer to the GCR's Régie-approved pre-reception inspection checklist.