Its overwhelming – the amount of information you need to know when you buy a new home. One of the most important of these is the new home pre-delivery inspection (PDI). This article will cover: what needs to be inspected, who should go, how long it will take, what you need to take with you, the documents you will be asked to sign and the documents you should receive. Finally, what to do if something gets left off the PDI list!
The purpose of the PDI is to minimize any potential dispute between the home owner and the builder. The builder is in the business of selling new homes and wants to ensure that its employees have done a good job of keeping its customers happy. The new home purchaser wants to ensure that the house is completely finished at the time of possession and that a certain quality standard is provided. The PDI is usually the only opportunity for the homeowner to do this before taking possession.
During the PDI the builder and the homeowner make a list of any items that are incomplete, missing, damaged or non-operational on the PDI Form. The PDI Form provides a formal record of the existence of the condition of the home before the homeowner takes possession. Problems that are discovered after the PDI may still be covered (see the 30 day Warranty Form below) but the onus will be on the home owner to prove that the problem existed before the PDI or that the problem arose through no fault of the home owner.
What Needs to be Inspected
Your Tarion Warranty covers work and material deficiencies for many items. Check out the Construction Performance Guidelines -a 268 page document that covers acceptable performance standards, the applicable warranty and the action that the builder or homeowner must take to rectify the problem.
The checklist covers everything from appliances to HVAC, basement leaks to a missing coat of paint. Here is a partial list:
- Foundation/ Basement
- Wall Framing
- Floor Framing
- Exterior Finishes
- Interior Climate control
- Wall and Ceiling Finish
- Interior FInish
- Cabinets and Countertops
- Chinneys and Fireplaces
- Garages and Exterior
Make sure to inspect the interior as well as the exterior of the home.
Who Should Go?
You can ask anyone you want to accompany you or you can also designate someone to take your place. You may even choose to have a home inspector accompany you or take on this role. I think its an excellent idea to take along a home inspector with you! If you choose to designate someone to go in your place you will need to sign a form ahead of time to authorize this. See the Appointment of Designate Form on the Tarion website.
Do not take your kids or friends with you – this is not the time to celebrate your new purchase. You will need to focus and take notes on what the builder’s representative is telling you. Listen carefully to any instructions provided on the use of the mechanics in the home as the warranty is dependent on proper usage. Ask about the builder’s after sales service policy and who to contact should an issue or emergency arise.
How Long Will it Take
Try to make the appointment first thing in the morning and do not schedule any appointments afterwards. You do not want to put yourself in a position where you do not have enough time to do a thorough inspection. Keep in mind that a professional home inspector takes about 3 hours to inspect a home.
Do not feel pressured to rush! Remember that anything that is not written down may not be covered later under the warranty.
What You Need to Take With You
Make sure to take a copy of your Agreement of Purchase and Sale to verify all items, upgrades and finishes that were stipulated in your contract and help you determine if something is an allowable substitution.
Also, don’t forget to print out a copy of the PDI checklist off of the Tarion website.
Documents You Will Be to Sign
The forms that you will be asked to sign at the PDI appointment are:
- the PDI Form (the list of deficiencies that you discover during your inspection), (Make sure ALL outstanding items are filled out before you sign the PDI form),
- the Certificate of Completion and Possession -also known as the New Home Warranty Certificate (fax this to your real estate lawyer right away – she/he will need this to close), and
- the Confirmation of Receipt of the Homeowner Information Package form. The Homeowner Information Package contains important information about the statutory warranty process dates as well as the forms 30 day and Year End Warranty forms.
30-Day and Year-End Forms
What if you uncover something after the PDI? You can fill out the 30 day warranty form – but you may need to deal with the question as to whether it existed at the time the inspection was done and if so, why it was not listed. If it is something that has happened after the PDI – the 30 day Warranty form and the Year end Warranty form are specifically for these types of issues.
A 30 day Statutory Warranty form must be submitted within the first 30 days of possession. You can list the things that have not been address or anything new that has been uncovered.
Note: you are only allowed to submit one of these 30 day forms. So wait until near the end of the 30 days to see if anything is uncovered and then submit it before the 30th day in person or registered mail. This form is available on the TARION website or in the TARION homeowners package. If you do not submit it on time then you must wait until the last 30 days before the year ending after your purchase anniversary.
It is important to realize that the PDI is not a claim under the Tarion warranty. In the first year, there are two opportunities to make claims under the warranty. These are forms that are provided to you at the PDI that you fill out independently from the builder and the PDI. The first opportunity is the 30-day form and the second is the year-end form, to be submitted in the final thirty days of the first year. For both of these you must fill out the appropriate forms and submit them on time. The 30-day form should include anything that was missed during the PDI or things that weren’t corrected after being noted during the PDI. The year-end form will ideally catch any of the effects of settling and of surviving a winter season.
The PDI is a form of communication between the builder and the homeowner. It lists the items that are incomplete, missing, damaged or non-operational in the home. It puts the builder on notice that these items must be rectified and protects the homeowner from being responsible for pre-existing conditions. Finally, it is an important opportunity to ask questions, take notes and learn about the care and maintenance of your new home.
WARNING: This article does not contain legal advice and may not be relied upon for such.