RESOURCES FOR NEW HOMEBUYERS IN ONTARIO

Whether you’re buying a condo or a family home, the process of having a new home built for you can be a bit intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. Empire has pulled together a bunch of great resources to help you along. If you have any questions, just contact us.

WHY HAVE A NEW HOME BUILT FOR YOU?

New home versus resale? Which is better? Which costs more? Which appreciates faster? Which comes with a warranty? We dare to compare.

Getting a little lost in the new homebuying lingo? This glossary defines some of the terms you might come across.

FINDING A FANTASTIC COMMUNITY

Urban, suburban or country? Not sure what type of community suits your needs and style? We have an article with a slider that you might find helpful.

Jump right in and check out all of Empire’s communities.

GETTING YOUR FINANCES READY

Empire’s homebuyer guide to finances slideshow spells out what you need to know, from getting pre-approved to rebates available to new homebuyers.

What can you afford? Get some estimates with Empire’s mortgage calculator and monthly budgeting tools.

PURCHASING YOUR NEW HOME

Do you need an agent to buy? What about a lawyer? Empire walks you through the entire purchasing process in a helpful Infographic.

DESIGNING YOUR NEW HOME

Get ready for some fun. The Empire design team walks you through the whole process of personalizing your new home in our Decor Process Article.

Where do you go to review your options and make your design selections? To the Empire Decor Studio, of course. Take a video tour or visit our Decor Studio page for more information.

CLOSING YOUR NEW HOME

Help make your big day efficient! Empire’s homebuyer’s closing guide makes sure you have all your bases covered. Read the article and download our handy Closing Checklist.

PROTECTING YOUR INVESTMENT

As a new homebuyer in Ontario, you’re protected by Tarion. Visit the Tarion website for everything you need to know.

Your investment requires seasonal maintenance to ensure it continues to run smoothly. View our seasonal checklists and other home maintenance resources to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Still have questions? Check out our frequently-asked-questions section to find an answer.

Q:What is a PDI?

A:A PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) consists of a walk-through and visual inspection of the suite. It provides you with an opportunity to view your new home prior to taking occupancy and to document any damages or missing items. While inspecting your new home for any scratches, chips or dents to your finishes, you should also verify that all upgrades and specific selections that you made during your colour selection are accurately installed.

Q:Can I add or delete an item after I complete my final appointment with my Decor Consultant?

A:Your Decor Consultant will find out whether the production schedule allows for the change. Changes and/or cancellations made after the finalization of the Options Agreement and/or the Colour Chart will be charged a fee of $500 per item, plus a 10% restocking fee.

Q:Why do upgrades cost more than at the local home renovation store?

A:Upgrades provided by Empire Communities will be fully installed when you move in, which eliminates potential scheduling changes or the inconvenience that may result from making an independent purchase after closing. Depending on the product, there may also be an extended warranty with the manufacturer. What’s more, the upgrade pricing you’re given at your Décor appointment is guaranteed until closing.

Q:Why don’t we negotiate pricing at Decor?

A:We like to think that we’re giving you the best home for the best price with the best builder upgrade prices. We also believe in treating every single purchaser in a fair and consistent manner. The best way to treat every one equally is for us to charge everyone the same price.

Q:How do I submit my warranty forms?

A:You can now complete your warranty forms on the Tarion website at www.tarion.com. The homeowner information package will also be emailed to you prior to your closing date. You can submit a copy to the on-site Customer Service Office. Once they receive the warranty form, they will schedule an appointment to review the noted items.

Q:Can I change my exterior colour package? Can I get a different colour for my front door?

A:For your own safety and for quality assurance reasons, we cannot allow you to do any work in your home prior to closing day. Should you wish to perform any work on your own you must wait until after closing day. Any independent work will be removed immediately as it can interrupt the production schedule, impede the certification process and void your warranty with Empire Communities.

Q:When can I start renovating my basement?

A:We recommend that you wait at least two years after closing to do any renovations in your basement. Your home is warranted against water penetration for two years after closing; therefore any finishing (i.e. dry-wall, shelves, etc.) will be removed and not restored to address a leak, should one occur.

Q:I’m installing my own air conditioning unit after closing. Is there anything I need to know?

A:Please check the municipal regulations regarding the placement of the condensor unit. These regulations usually call for air conditioning units to be placed at a certain distance from the property line, away from your neighbours’ windows or outdoor living space. You also have to ensure that the subcontractor used does not create a deficiency with Empire’s installation as this can potentially void your warranty.

Q:Can I install a fence as soon as I close?

A:You won’t be able to install a fence until final grading approval. Grading approval is a two-step process. Once an engineer hired by Empire Communities approves the grading, the report is sent to the Municipality which must then inspect your lot and approve the grading. This sometimes takes up to two years, which is why we caution homeowners who choose to install a fence prior to this final approval. If a fence is installed and the grading is altered, the Municipality will not give their approval and they will instruct us to do any necessary grading repairs. This would involve us asking you to remove your fence and giving us access to your yard to make these repairs in order to comply with the Municipality’s regulations. Grading deposits will be released only when the grading is certified by Empire Communities and the Municipality.

Q:I paid for a tree; does that mean I’ll have one? If not, will I be refunded the money I paid?

A:All homeowners pay for tree planting/landscaping, which ensures the community is sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. This landscaping also adds value, enhances the quality of life, provides shade to pedestrians and provides a natural environment. However, the location of the trees is determined by the distance from the driveways, hydrants, lights and more. This means the Municipality’s pre-approved plan may not allow for a tree to be planted on your property. In this case, no fee will be refunded as it’s meant to cover tree planting and landscaping in the entire community and not just on a particular property.

Q:Who is responsible for setting up the utilities for my closing day?

A:You should contact the utility companies and post office to set up an account. This should be done approximately one month prior to your closing day. (Empire will provide you a list of helpful phone numbers).

Q:Why can’t I perform any work on my own prior to closing day?

A:For your own safety and for quality assurance reasons, we cannot allow you to do any work in your home prior to closing day. Should you wish to perform any work on your own you must wait until after closing day. Any independent work will be removed immediately as it can interrupt the production schedule, impede the certification process and void your warranty with Empire Communities.

Q:How do I get my keys on my close date?

A:The Site Administrator will contact you when the keys are ready for pick up. Closings occur between 2-5pm once the transfer of title has taken place.

Q:What does ‘Interim Occupancy’ mean?

A:Also known as interim closing, your interim occupancy period begins the day you occupy your suite and ends the day you take ownership. During interim occupancy the building is typically still under construction and most of the common elements and amenity spaces are left partially unfinished. The reason for this is to focus on completing the sold suites. All common elements and amenity spaces will be completed by final closing. During this time, occupied residents must pay a monthly fee to the developer; please note that these fees are not credited to the final purchase.

Q:How long does Interim Occupancy Last?

A:Although Empire attempts to have registration take place as soon as possible, it can take up to a year following the commencement of interim occupancy.

Q:What does it mean when a building is registered?

A:Registration refers to the point in time when the developer (Empire) has met all the requirements to transfer ownership of the suites to the homeowners and the condo corporation that will maintain the building thereafter. At this point, homeowners stop paying interim occupancy fees and are able to rent, sell or continue to live in their suite.

Q:What do my condo fees cover?

A:The maintenance or condo fees cover your share of all expenses pertaining to the common areas (amenities), including utilities and landscaping. Generally, monthly maintenance does not include cable, internet or telephone. Hydro and water are separately metered as well.

Q:How do I book an amenity space?

A:Your Property Manager will deal with the day-to-day operations of the building, including the maintenance, appearance and amenities. Many common areas, such as the gym and pool are open to anyone during regular hours, however, there are some amenities, such as the entertainment room that you’ll have to book through property management; this is often facilitated by your concierge.

Q:What does Tarion cover and who are they?

A:Tarion is an independent non-profit corporation; a regulatory body that oversees and licenses all Homeowner builders in Ontario, ensuring that all Homeowner buyers receive the benefits and protection of their Builder’s Warranty in accordance to the Ontario Home Warranties Plan Act. There are a number of items covered under your Warranty based on a one, two and seven year period. You can review the specifics of these items in your Homeowner manual or with your Empire Customer Care representative.

Q:How do I book the elevator?

A:During construction, moving hours are preset. To book your move-in, you can contact your Concierge. Moves and deliveries must be booked with the Concierge at least 24 hours in advance to allow for scheduling. Reservations are made on a first come first served basis. A damage deposit is often required and will be returned once move-in / move-out are completed, provided there is no damage.

Q:What insurance do I need and how do I get it?

A:Insurance is required upon interim occupancy as well as after final closing to cover contents, liability, upgrades and improvements. This includes any upgrades that were purchased from Empire. Please contact your insurance agent for this coverage prior to taking occupancy. It remains your responsibility to ensure that proper homeowner insurance is in place, even if the suite is being rented.

Q:When is final closing and what happens on this day?

A:Final closing refers to the day when the ownership of your unit is transferred to you. This occurs after the end of the interim occupancy period. On this day, your lawyer will receive the transfer of ownership to your suite on your behalf and any outstanding fees or balances, as set out in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale with Empire will need to be paid.

Q:When do I get my keys?

A:You receive your keys from Empire’s Customer Care team on the date that you take possession of your suite. You will also receive your access fobs for the parking garage, amenities and mailboxes on this day.

Q:Are pets allowed in my condo?

A:Pets are generally allowed in Empire condos, however it is important to note that during interim occupancy, construction of the building is ongoing and loud noises may frighten unattended pets. It’s also advisable to confirm the pet policy of your building prior to purchase.

Q:Can I buy additional parking spaces or a locker?

A:The availability of parking spaces and lockers differ from community to community, and cannot often be determined until interim occupancy or later. Speak with your sales representative or Customer Care representative if you wish to purchase additional spaces or lockers.

Q:Can I rent my parking space or locker?

A:You are able to rent your parking space or locker after your final closing date. Please note that the rental process is not undertaken by Property Management and but it is advisable to inform Property Management that you intend to do so.

Q:Am I allowed to paint or do other work to my condo?

A:You are permitted to paint your unit after your final closing date. For other small renovations, it is advisable to inform Property Management team, as there are certain renovations not permitted and they will need to inform your neighbours of any noise disturbances.