Purchasing Your First Home in Ontario: What You Need to Know

Purchasing Your First Home in Ontario: What You Need to Know

Few things are more exciting than purchasing your first home in Ontario! Few things are more stressful, either. No two purchase transactions are exactly the same, as each requires specific care and attention.

This page explains the general process of how buying a home works and what we at Guertin Poirier do for our clients as part of that process. It describes:

  1. Types of Purchases
  2. Offer to Purchase
  3. Conditions of Purchase
  4. The Green Light

Differences in the buying process arise depending on the type of home you are purchasing:

  • A new home
  • A resale home
  • A rental property that you will inhabit

A New Home
In the case of a new home purchase, The Ontario New Home Warranty Program (ONHWP) applies. This program is being administered by the Tarion Warranty Corporation and is made to ensure that all new-home and condominium builders in Ontario abide by the laws and regulations of the industry. It also protects you, as a consumer, by intervening when builders fail to fulfill their warranty obligations.

It is the responsibility of your builder to enroll your home in the Tarion Warranty Program. As part of this process, you will be required to perform and sign off on a final inspection and will be provided with several documents for your records. As part of our fixed price for new-home purchases, we review all such documents to ensure that your new-home purchase is a solid investment from a legal perspective, and that the home you purchase meets the ONHWP requirements.

You can read more about the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and Regulations. As buyer of a new home, part of the cost of your deal will be enrolment in the ONHWP. See our Cost Calculator for details.

A Resale Home

If you are buying a previously owned home, you are not covered by any formal warranty. It is your responsibility to inspect the property, or have it inspected at your expense (or at the homeowner’s expense in certain conditions).

As part of our fixed price for resale home purchases, we play a critical role in advising you about the health of the property from a legal perspective, ensuring that the vendor has the right to sell the house, that no one else has any claim to it, and that there are no substantial utility account arrears that you may inherit. Should there be any issues to your title to the property, we resolve them. These services, in conjunction with a home inspection, will help ensure that your investment is a sound one.

A Rental Property That You Will Inhabit

If you purchase a multiple-unit dwelling, you become responsible for the existing tenants. Tenants are protected by the Residential Tenancies Act and by their leases. It is your responsibility as buyer to review the leases, know the tenants’ rights and obligations, and your rights and obligations as landlord.

As part of our fixed price for rental property purchases, we review and help you understand all terms of the leases, such as their duration, who pays for utilities, and so on, and we ensure that your rental property purchase is legally sound.

The legal component of buying a home begins with your offer to purchase–the agreement of purchase and sale. This agreement identifies the property you are purchasing, the buying price, and the terms and conditions of the offer. Terms and conditions may include a variety of items that you and the seller have agreed on such as:

  • the purchase price;
  • the closing date;
  • inclusions and exclusions, such as appliances, draperies, machinery, materials and other items specified as part–or not part–of the sale price;
  • conditions that may apply to the offer, such as a building inspection or financing conditions (see #3 below); and
  • the dates by which conditions must be waived for the offer to proceed.

You can expect us to review your agreement of purchase and sale and advise you of your rights and obligations, as well as any special clauses.

Most offers are conditional–that is, they do not proceed until specified conditions have been waived. Throughout the course of formalizing the offer, these conditions must be acted upon and either waived–allowing the transaction to proceed—or enacted, which can result in termination of the offer to purchase. Examples of typical conditions are:

  • purchase subject to report from a building inspector for a resale home;
  • purchase subject to buyer selling an existing home;
  • purchase subject to buyer receiving mortgage approval from a lender; or
  • confirmation by seller of certain elements pertaining to the home, such as insulation, rights-of- way, disputes, zoning, second mortgages, etc.

Once all conditions have been reviewed and waived, your Agreement is considered “firm and binding” and the transaction is ready to proceed. As your lawyer, we will perform a variety of duties and tasks that are designed to ensure that you can close on the property per the agreement and ensuring that your investment is legally sound.

To proceed with a purchase through Guertin Poirier, please complete an INTAKE FORM You may also consult our Home Purchase Checklist at any time.