Written on July 28, 2017
Moving to Vancouver Island? Great idea!
Here’s some things you may want to consider:
The logistics of moving into a new town, city or province are challenging.
Often Buyers come to Nanaimo (commercial center of Vancouver Island) to stay for a weekend or even a week, to shop for a future home. They are planning a move in a month or two and need to find their new home.
Competition for resale homes in Nanaimo and much of Vancouver Island is fierce. Most homes are selling within the first few days. That makes it very difficult for Buyers who are coming from afar. You may find a suitable home online, book a flight and race out here to view it in person, only to find that the home is sold by the time you arrive.
One solution to this dilemma is purchasing new construction.
When you buy new construction you can buy yourself the time you need. There is less competition for new homes, so as an out-of-towner you will have a little more time to consider your purchase and a little more time to organize your move.
Buying new has some great advantages and also some significant drawbacks. Here’s some things you should keep in mind:
Top 3 Advantages when buying new construction:
1. AVAILABILITY – On the top of the advantages is availability. If you are not able to stay in the area for an extended period of time, you may not be able to access a resale home that meets your needs. Inventory is very low and timing is everything when you have this much competition.
2. NEW HOME WARRANTY – All new homes in BC must be covered by a New Home Warranty or an Owner-Builder Declaration. The New Home Warranty is a 10-year warranty for your home, but it is better to call it a 2-5-10 warranty. There is a 2-year warranty on labor and materials. A 5-year warranty on the building envelope, including water penetration and a 10-year warranty on the structure of the home. Owner-Builders who build their own homes and occupy them are not required to purchase a New Home Warranty. If they sell their home within 10 years then they are personally liable for any defects that would be covered by a New Home Warranty. As you can imagine, this comes with its challenges.
3. CHOICES – If you buy early enough you may have some choice regarding colours, finishes and appliances. Most new construction homes are Spec Homes. These are homes where the builder has planned and some times completed the home before having a committed buyer. In this case you will be buying the home as planned by the builder. You may have some input, but it will be limited. If you want to have control over more detail you will need to hire a custom builder. This comes with a higher price tag because it is very time consuming for the builder.
Top 3 Disadvantages when buying new construction:
1. TIME DELAY – While the timing may have been easier for you at the time of purchase, the timing of completion is much harder to predict. There is no way around the unpredictability of construction. Weather, illness, supply problems, labour shortages can all slow a project down. As a Buyer you must have a contingency plan in mind in case your move in date is delayed. Be prepared to put your goods into storage and find a vacation rental while you wait. Make sure you’ve allowed yourself some cash reserves to cover any delays. Possible delays and their consequences should be dealt with in your contract of purchase and sale.
2. SURPRIZES – It’s possible that you may arrive and find that the home is not as you expected. When you are negotiating your contract, make sure that you signing off on a specific floor plan and finishes list. Significant variation from these specifications may then be a breach of contract. However, in a rising market, the builder may be happy to back out of a contract and put the finished home back on the market to sell at a higher price.
3. CONSTRUCTION ZONES – If you are one of many new homes in a development you may be moving into a construction zone. This can be trying. Noise, dirt and congestion are the top 3 of many challenges.
Top 3 Pieces of Advice when buying new construction:
1. BUYER’S AGENT – Get an experienced Realtor to act as your Buyer’s Agent on your side. This will not cost you anything extra. The Seller usually pays buyer’s Agent fees.
2. LEGAL ADVICE – Ask a local lawyer (one who knows the local market) to look over your contract to make sure that you are protected in case of major delays or departures from your plans.
3. RESEARCH YOUR BUILDER AND THEN PLAN IN SOME FLEXIBILITY – Most builders have great intentions and take pride in their work. Their reputations are very important to them. Even the best builder cannot control every aspect of your project. A bit of flexibility on your part can keep communications open and cooperative getting you moved in as soon as possible.