How to Buy a New Home

Home Buyer’s Guide
For Investors

The Ultimate Buyers Guide for Investors

Getting ready
for closing day

At this stage, your level of involvement will increase as you make more decisions on potential additional investments for the home, do more research on preparing the home for the rental market, and work with professionals to start your property investment business well ahead of receiving the keys to the house.

Design choices

Many new home buyers — even those who have done it before — find the process of choosing their features and finishes challenging.

And these decisions are often needed quickly to keep to the construction timeline. However, the design centre specialists are experienced at guiding you easily through the process ensuring the home appeals to your prospective tenants while meeting your budget. Look for online design centre resources from builders too.

Budgeting time and finances

One of the exciting parts of buying a new construction home is being able to choose your features and finishes. But that means you need to be available for the appointments required to make those decisions, which typically have to be scheduled during the work day.

More financial considerations
  • Make a visit to the design centre in person if possible, or by browsing design centre resources online before signing your deal. This will give you time, without feeling pressured by a deadline, to consider the available selections. 
  • Not sure what style you want your home to have? Your design centre Design Centre Consultant can help you determine a look and feel that is most likely to appeal to the type of tenant you are seeking.
  • Share your budget with the design centre consultant so they can better advise you on design options. That’s the best way for them to help you get the most out of your budget and determine where it’s best to spend.
  • If you’re on a tight budget when it comes to additional investment, choose ones that are better done while the home is being built, like structural adjustments such as an optional ensuite layout.
  • Re-visit or take online virtual tours of the builder’s models to get ideas on design choices you might like to include in your home. Watch for things like where outlets are located, cabinet heights and styles of trim.
Did you know?

Most builders will look to avoid repetition between homes on a street by using architectural control guidelines. So, if you are one of the latter buyers in your block, in order to ensure diverse colours and textures between the homes, your exterior selections may not be as extensive as your neighbours’. For townhomes and condominiums, exterior elevations and colour packages are pre-selected by the builder.

During construction

Once you’ve made all the decisions, construction can begin. At this stage you’ll adopt a more passive role, but while you watch the progress, take care of the following:

  1. Keeping in touch: Check in regularly with your builder, usually through a dedicated customer service representative. They can keep you up to date on what’s happening with your home and can make sure you’re notified early if there might be delays in your home’s construction.
  2. Accessories checklist: What will the home will need? You may be leaving it to your tenant to furnish the home, but some things will fall to you, like appliances, possibly window coverings, etc.
  3. Your reading: Read over any information your builder has given you about next steps.
  4. Mortgages: If you can, keep mortgage shopping for better rates.
  5. Calculate costs: Confirm all fees that you can expect on closing and costs for maintenance.
  6. Research property insurance: If you already have home insurance then it will likely be easy to add on rental property insurance with your current insurance provider. However, if you currently do not have home insurance then you may find standalone commercial insurance can be expensive unless you really do your research to find insurance providers that meet your needs.
  7. Communicate: Stay in touch with your lawyer, your mortgage specialist, and/or real estate agent to be prepared for closing day.
  8. Landlord prep: Learn more about tenant/landlord responsibilities, laws, regulations, insurance, how to find high-quality tenants, and how to screen prospective tenants thoroughly. Create a clear written lease on tenant expectations and prepare to list/advertise your rental property.
  9. Monitor: Continue monitoring the rental market.

Construction tour

Many builders (Minto Communities included) will allow buyers the opportunity to check out their new home once it has been framed. It’s not offered by all, and not for all housing types, but if your builder offers it, take advantage!

The framing walk-through is scheduled — appropriately — once the home is framed. The mechanical, plumbing and electrical will have been installed, but the drywall will not yet be up. This is your first opportunity to see inside the home and it’s your chance to make sure things are located where they are supposed to be.

Explaining the pre-delivery orientation

The pre-delivery orientation (PDO) happens about a week or two before your closing date, when your home is almost ready. This step is part of your new home warranty and is usually the first time you will see your finished home. You and your builder will go through your home’s features and you’ll be shown how everything works. You’ll also identify anything in your home that needs addressing, which will usually be dealt with before you close on the home. This PDO process takes about one hour per 1,000 square feet.

Steps on closing day

Don’t expect to get the keys until later in the day, so if you are scheduling any service calls or have tenants ready to move in, save that for the following day.

Your lawyer will have been busy getting everything ready to transfer ownership to you from the builder: checking the title, registering the home in your name, reviewing documents from the builder, figuring out down payment and closing costs, explaining everything to you and getting you to sign documents.

Funds will then be released by the mortgage company to your lawyer, who then gives the funds to the builder’s lawyer. When the builder’s lawyer receives these funds, documents are registered with the province, triggering the ownership change that means you can be given your keys.

The process is a bit different if you’re buying a condo, particularly if other units are still being finished. In that case, the builder retains ownership until construction is complete and you are granted “interim occupancy”, paying monthly fees to your builder. Final closing will happen when the condominium is registered after completion.

Your lawyer plays a big role on closing day, including transferring your money to the builder’s lawyer and handing you the keys to your new home.

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