When buying a resale home, many prospective buyers hire a home inspector. It's not a requirement of course, but it makes sense. Why not check under the hood before spending all that money?
When buying a new home from a builder things are very different. Often there is no house to inspect. There may not even be a hole in the ground. You are buying the future. It may take weeks, months or even years before you get to step over the threshold to that new home but when you do it should be for an inspection. In fact, builders are required to do a thorough, floor-by-floor walk through with you before they hand over the keys.
This introduction to your new home is called a Pre-Delivery Inspection, or PDI. It's part of the new home warranty process. All new home builders in Ontario must provide a warranty that lasts for seven years on the homes they build. This first inspection may have implications on your warranty later on, so it's crucial to pay close attention. Listen carefully, know what to look for and take notes.
During the PDI, the builder will provide you with essential information about your new home, including how it works. Your builder will show you how to operate your home's systems, like heating, electrical, air conditioning, and plumbing, and provide you with operating manuals. It is also your chance to ensure there is no damage, everything is complete, nothing is missing, and everything is working properly. You should carefully examine both the interior and exterior. Look for things like chips in bathtubs and sinks, scratches on counter tops, damage to floors, walls, cabinetry or other finishes, and doors and windows that are not secure or do not open and close easily. Outside, check things like the quality of brickwork and siding, whether window screens have been installed, and the appearance of the driveway and landscaping. Sometimes, due to weather or other factors, you may not be able to inspect a certain item. If you are unable to assess something at the time, simply make note of it on the form. Feel free to take pictures of any damaged or incomplete items. If necessary, those photos can be submitted to Tarion at a later date.
Your builder will note everything down on the PDI form. Review it carefully, make sure it's complete and keep a copy. This form will become the official record of the condition of your new home before you moved in. Tarion which regulates new home builders and guarantees your new home warranty, may refer to your PDI form if there is disagreement over whether any damage occurred before or after you took possession.
Even after the initial inspection is done, you should continue to inspect your home's condition regularly. If there are items that fall under warranty, your builder is responsible for resolving them, but if he/she doesn't, Tarion will step in. If you have any questions about your new home's warranty, visit www.tarion.com.