Ask yourself the right questions

When purchasing a new recently built condo or buying “off plan”, you will be compelled to sign a preliminary contract with the vendor (developer or builder).

Before signing this contract you should insist that it provides a condition giving you the opportunity to carry out a due diligence to obtain all the relevant information you will need to make a rational decision. .Even in this day and age only a handful of consumers go through the trouble of following the steps crucial to a purchase in full knowledge of the facts and of the legal concepts allowing them to exercise, as needed, their withdrawal right. Keep in mind that neglecting such precautions could, eventually, lead to a major conflict with your vendor.


Who are you dealing with?

A co-ownership under construction or already built and never occupied offers many advantages in terms of comfort, of being built to the most recent standards and the flexibility of choosing amongst the options available for completion. This being said, before showing an interest in a co-ownership project, find out who is the builder and, without fail, ask for references:

  • Does he hold a licence and an official licence number with the “Régie du bâtiment du Québec” (Quebec Construction Board)? To find out, consult the Register of licence holders;
  • How many years has he been in business?
  • Does he incorporate a new company for each project?
  • Are there many completed projects in his portfolio? If yes, are they well built?
  • What is the level of satisfaction of the purchasers in his previous projects?
  • Is he entangled in legal proceedings against purchasers, subcontractors or suppliers?

Quality of construction?

Quality of construction is, without doubt, one of the essential criteria of a successful residential project. Unfortunately, builders are not subjected to a compulsory inspection of their construction site. You should therefore be extra careful and ask the right questions:

  • Was the surveillance of the work carried out by building professionals (for example: an architect or an engineer)?
  • Are the “as built plans” of the building available?
  • Do these plans bear the seal of certified professionals?

If the answer is no or you do not get an answer, it is in your best interest to look elsewhere to avoid being sorely disappointed. You would rather avoid problems before they occur, then having to deal with them afterwards.

 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! Co-ownerships are not devoid of construction defects, therefore it is crucial to choose a reliable developer implementing rigorous surveillance of the work.

 WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: You should visit previous projects of the developer and ask questions to residents. Have they suffered problems with the quality of construction? If so, were these problems resolved within reasonable delays?

 WARNING! Failing exercising due diligence, the purchase of a condo can be a risky endeavour.

 CONSULT THE PUBLICATION: Purchase and sale of a condo: Everything you should know at pages 74 and following.


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