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GST charged. purchaser is entitled to request a statement of common expenses.) Always use a written contract with a builder. This contract should out- line the payment schedule and other details of the construction process, such as who is responsible for deal- ing with public authorities, getting building permits and arranging wiring inspections. You’ll want to know if there are restrictions on whether your unit can be renovated or leased. New condominiums If you’ve made an offer to purchase a condominium before the development is registered, you should ensure that the bylaws and other regulations you were shown at the time are the same ones that are registered. Specify materials as precisely as possible. Be specific about finishes, the type of tile or broadloom. Provide brand names and model numbers, Know your financial limits before you start negotiating. The process of buying a home has its ups and downs. As long as you’re prepared for them, the ride can be exciting and rewarding. Especially on the day the deal is done! Any major differ- ences may give you legal grounds to termi- nate the agreement. if possible. Ensure that any special upgrades or finishes you’ve specified to com- plete your unit are outlined in the Offer to Purchase. A typical payment schedule begins with a deposit of 10% of the agreed-upon total cost of the home when work starts. New home warranties are avail- able in most provinces, but check with your home warranty program to see if they cover condominiums. Payments are then made in scheduled instalments, in accordance with the percentage of work com- pleted. Don’t make the final payment until the entire job is finished, inspected and approved by the build- ing inspector. These warranties guarantee deposits and down payments to a specified maximum, in the event a developer is unable to complete a condominium project. They also insure units and common elements against defects for a given time period. In some provinces, construction lien legislation requires that you hold back 10% of the total cost of each payment to the builder until 45 days after the building is completed. This protects you from any liens against the property by subcontractors. Check for details of this legislation in your province. Building your own home If you are hiring a contractor or builder to construct your home, there are some special considerations. Custom-built homes are usually con- tracted at a predetermined fixed cost or on a cost-plus contract, which means you pay the builder the cost price of labour and materials and an agreed-upon overhead charge. That charge is either a fixed fee or a per- centage of the cost of the job. Finally, check for provincial and private programs that offer war- ranties for new homes. Ready for the llast step? It is important to detail all trades used in construction of the home if you want to claim a rebate on the



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