Do your homework
In Ontario, real estate salespersons or brokers must be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). RECO administers the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, which regulates real estate brokerages, brokers and salespersons.
A registered real estate professional has deposit insurance. This insurance protects consumers from losing their deposit money if the brokerage or salesperson commits fraud or has financial trouble. In these cases, consumers may be covered up to $100,000 per claim. This insurance is administered by RECO.
Realtors have met educational standards set by RECO and must follow laws and a code of ethics. If you have a complaint about a broker or salesperson, RECO will investigate and take appropriate action. Before working with a real estate agent or broker:
Ask for references or recommendations;
Confirm that they are registered by using RECO’s registrant search;
Make sure you read and understand the contract you are signing with them.
Choosing a builder
In Ontario, all builders must be registered with Tarion Warranty Corporation. Tarion is responsible for enforcing the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, which regulates new homebuilders. Tarion also administers a warranty program for newly-built homes. Builders must also enrol a new home or condominium with Tarion before they begin construction. Tarion investigates illegal builders and vendors who are not registered and/or do not enrol new homes. Registered builders have completed technical tests based on the Ontario Building Code and meet financial qualifications set by Tarion. You should always research a builder before buying a newly built home. You can use Tarion’s Ontario Builder Directory to check:
If a builder is registered with Tarion;
How many homes they have built and where these homes are;
If Tarion has had to resolve warranty claims for a builder in the past 10 years.
If you buy a home from an unregistered builder, you are putting yourself and your investment at risk.
Illegal builders may not have enough technical knowledge to be registered, may not meet Tarion’s financial qualifications, are part of the underground economy, and can be subject to investigations and criminal charges. Contact Tarion if you have a complaint about a builder. Tarion does not inspect homes to see if they meet Ontario’s Building Code. Your municipality is responsible for enforcing the Building Code in your area.
When you buy a newly built home or condo in Ontario, it comes with a warranty. You are entitled to this warranty by law.
Newly built homes have oneyear, two-year and seven-year warranties. They cover bad workmanship, water penetration and major structural defects. The warranty also covers delayed closing and deposit protection. The warranty takes effect on the date of possession. It stays in effect even if the owner sells the house or condo unit before the end of the warranty period. Coverage may vary depending on the type of home you buy. For example, homes built on existing footings or foundations are not covered.
A good home inspection help home buyers make informed decisions. Inspectors can help you understand a home’s condition. If you are selling your home, an inspection can help you determine its value. A home inspection is an on-site, in-per- son examination of a home’s condition and structure. It is a visual inspection of major elements and systems, like the foundation, the electrical and plumbing systems, the attic ventilation and the roof. A home inspection is not a pass or fail test. It doesn’t assess if a home meets zoning or building codes.
A home inspector will typically examine the foundation, doors and windows, roof, exterior walls, attics, plumbing and electrical systems, heating and air conditioning systems, ceilings, walls and floors, insulation, ventilation systems, drainage away from buildings, slopes and natural vegetation, overall assessment of structural integrity of the building, common areas in a condominium.
Home inspectors complete a report of the property’s condition, as observed at the time of inspection. It will normally show the condition of every major system and component of the home, areas or parts of a home that are unsafe, need to be repaired or replaced, or may need to be repaired or replaced in the near future, if something is not working properly, is unsafe, or needs to be changed any evidence of past problems.
After getting the results of a home inspection, a buyer may decide to ask the seller to make certain repairs, accept a defect and deal with its consequences, ask for a price adjustment, not buy the home. Some sellers may have an inspection done before selling a home. Although seeing a current inspection report can be helpful, buyers should have their own home inspection done too. It is important for a home buyer to be present during an inspection. This gives them a chance to ask questions and see any issues first hand. You should also keep in mind that inspectors cannot see everything. For example, they may not find mould nor be able to be able to inspect a roof that is covered with snow.