Buying a brand-new home is a very different process than purchasing one on the resale market. And more often than not, it is less known! It is important to be well prepared before visiting a sales office because you want to avoid nasty surprises. Here are some expert advices.

1. What is the price?

Get all the possible information about the pricing of your dream home. Does the price include taxes? Is it possible to get a refund for these taxes? Furthermore, get information about the ownership access programs for first-time and second-time home buyers. Many municipalities have such programs and you could get help to navigate through the process at the sales office.

2. When will the construction begin?

Ask if the constructor has already obtained a permit from the city. "People often forget to ask this question and are disappointed when they find out that the delivery date is only in a year!", says Alex Roy, sales director at District Atwater.

3. What is the buying process

This information will allow you to have a better idea about the different steps regarding the purchase and the construction of your house, and also regarding the deposit.

4. Can you see the technical package?

The technical package is a document that the promoter gives to the buyer. It details, among other things, the different types of materials that he will use. It is particularly useful when it comes to the walls and the soundproofing.

5. What is the level of experience of the constructor?

In order to evaluate the competency of your (perhaps) future constructor, ask for a list of his projects. You can even visit them. You will see by yourself if you like his style and appreciate his work.

6. What is included?

We are talking about the home specifications: for example, is the air conditioning included? Are the countertops made of quartz? "This information allows you to efficiently compare the different projects that interest you,” says Felix Cotte, real estate consultant.

Alex Roy also suggests getting more information about the real floor space. "Are we talking about gross or net square feet? Is the balcony included in the area advertised?"

7. What are the condo fees for?

In the case of condominiums, it is important to ask what is included in the condo fees. "For example, all our projects include an annual window washing for the first year, then it is the responsibility of the syndicate of co-owners. Some may decide not to keep that service in order to reduce their fees,” underlines Alex Roy. Depending of your financial priorities and your needs it is worth taking it into consideration.

8. Does the warranty apply?

Some criteria need to be respected for the project to be covered by the Garantie de construction résidentielle - GCR (residential construction warranty). To find out if you are eligible, contact the organization in charge of the warranty. The warranty is very important since it protects you against many future problems and also guarantees your deposit.

Also, one should not forget to ask these basic questions that many new owners often overlook.

- How much can I really afford? "If the budget is not determined before starting to visit houses, it is a waste of time for both the buyer and the seller," says Felix Cotte.

- Where do I want to live? By taking in consideration your preferences, but mostly your needs (proximity of public transportation, of your family, etc.) you should focus in specific neighbourhoods. And this has a direct impact on the budget issue.

In the end, it is better to be realistic and ask yourself what criteria is a must and which one is negotiable. Here are a few more things to consider: do you need an indoor parking? A courtyard?  What is the minimal number of bedrooms you need? Does the orientation of the sun matters to you?