Housing


20. Who repairs the defects discovered after buying a house?
It depends on what kind of house you buy: a new one from the builder or an old one, which the owner has lived in for many years. Buying a new home, you can at the same time buy a guarantee for one, two or seven years. Such a guarantee is sold by the organization Tarion (www.tarion.com/About-Tarion/Pages/default.aspx). The one year free repair warranty will cover defects in materials or work, if they are in contravention of the Building Code. A warranty for two years will cover the repair of water pipes as well as heating, electricity, water supply and sewerage. A seven-year warranty will cover major defects such as cracked walls, or the deformation of the foundation. If you buy an old house, after the technical inspection of the house, you can ask the owner to fix the noticed defects or reduce the price of the house, after which you can fix the defects at your own expense.

21. What is a technical inspection?
The technology of building houses in Canada has its own peculiarities, and to understand this you need a professional technical inspector, who will determine the condition of the house and how much money is required for repairs. Home inspection takes 5-6 hours or more, depending on the size and age of the house, as well as the area where it is located. The average inspector's fee per hour is $100. The inspector will make a written report on the technical condition of the house and all of its [communications?]. The buyer has the right to cancel the purchase if he is not satisfied with the results of technical inspection. You can also use reports on the technical inspection of the house when bidding on the cost of the house to reduce the price.

22. What documents do I need to keep after buying a house?
Once you buy a house, you have to save all the documents related to the purchase: the agreement on the purchase of the home; documents provided by the former owner of the house; an act of technical inspection with identified defects and list of repairs; documents relating to a loan; the topographical plan of location of the house; documents related to home insurance; the warranty from the builder, if you bought a new house; and other documents which are provided by your real estate agent. You will need for the maintenance of the house, as evidence of your ownership, and you will use them if you later decide to sell the house. All documents must have the necessary signatures and seals.

23. How much does the maintenance of the house cost?
So, now you are the owner of your home! What things require your attention? When you rent an apartment, for any question you can contact the owner. Now you are the owner and all questions you have to answer for yourself. Reserve some money for the care of the home, pay taxes and make contact with companies or workers for repairing electrical lines, water supply, sewerage, lighting, heating and so on. Install smoke alarms and sensors and keep fire extinguishers ready. Do not forget to tell all the right people and organizations that you have changed your address (see www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/hostst/wosh_014.cfm). At the post office you will be able to arrange that for some time correspondence bound for your old address will be automatically redirected to your new address, and you'll receive it at the new location. This is called "mail forwarding”. Be sure to pay your debt to the bank regularly and enjoy your life in your own home!

24. Can I rebuild the house I bought?
Private homes in Canada are often rebuilt for larger living space or just for comfort. If you have a one-storey house, you can build a second floor or attach a dwelling on the side or on the rear; you can build a porch or turn the garage into a bedroom. It is better to hire a licensed builder who will make an architectural design, obtain building permission from the municipal authorities and, if necessary, liaise with your neighbours, who can complain if they feel their rights are being violated. Each municipality has bylaws that govern demolition and renovations to a house and permits and inspections that must be obtained. Consult your city’s website or call the appropriate department before acting.When you agree upon the price, you should know that in fact the work can be 15-20% more expensive, because in the construction process, which could take over a year, materials and services could become more expensive, or in your house, which will be partially destroyed, some unexpected defects might need to be fixed.

25. What do I need to know about buying a condo?
Recently in Canadian cities, condominium apartments, or condos, are popping up everywhere. They are heavily marketed and many newcomers might be attracted to the stylish modern units and be interested in purchasing one. Before signing anything, be aware of how owning a condo works. Usually, you need to take out a mortgage when you purchase a condo, which you will have to make monthly payments on. Then, you must pay condo fees for maintenance that average around $500 a month in Toronto. Then you have to pay property taxes on top of that, and if the building needs repairs, you are required to help pay for those as well. If you want to have a parking spot, you will have to make regular payments for that also. With all these fees combined, owning a condo can be very expensive. People often view owning a condo as an investment, with the expectation that the price will go up, but this is far from certain, as there are so many new condos being built that the value of condos may fall due to oversupply.

26. What mistakes do immigrants make when buying their first house?
Many immigrants rush to buy their first house. Someone, perhaps a real estate agent, convinces them to decide quickly, because their perfect house will be sold. Do not hurry. You buy a house for a long time and it is important that you will feel comfortable in this house and this area. Walk around the area during the day and in the evening, pay attention to how often traffic jams occur on surrounding streets, how much greenery there is. Do people living in this area speak your native language? Are there streets where day and night you will be disturbed by the noise of passing vehicles? Let all the members of your family see the house.
Another mistake: not carefully calculating your budget. After all, buying a home is not the end of your expenses! You will have to pay your mortgage, property tax, insurance, maintenance, utility and repair costs. Do you have enough money left for a normal life? Also, do not rush and take the loan from the first bank. Various brokers and financial advisers have many options with regard to rates, payout terms and hidden costs. You have to speak to a few professionals before making a decision. The more you prepared you are, the more choice you will have.

27. Where can I find sources of additional information about housing in Canada?
We recommended the following sources about renting and buying homes for newcomers to Canada: A Guide for Tenants http://settlement.org/sys/faqs_detail.asp?faq_id=4001348.
The website www.realtor.ca contains the booklet Homebuyers’ Road Map.
The book Arrival Survival Canada written by Nick and Sabrina Noorani (Chapter 7. Accommodation).

28. Are there any Canadian sources in other languages?
The website Housing for Newcomers www.cmhc.ca/newcomers/english/index.html contains booklets in 8 languages:
•  The Newcomer’s Guide to Canadian Housing.
•   Renting Your First Home in Canada. What Newcomers Need to Know.
•  Buying your First Home in Canada. What Newcomers Need to Know.
•  Choosing the Right Mortgage for You
The website The Landlord and Tenant Board www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/157371.html contains Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act in 10 languages.
The website www.cleo.on.ca contains the section Housing Law in some languages.
The website http://english.inmylanguage.org/section.aspx?cat=HOUSING contains, in 11 languages, such sections as Living in Ontario, Rent a Home, Buy a Home, Rights and Responsibilities, Emergency and Short Term Housing, Home Safety.