I just bought a home – where do I go for advice about moving companies and the renovations I’m going to need to do once I move in?
Buying or selling a home often involves a lot of help from outside contractors and companies, in addition to your real estate professional. Chances are, you’ll be thinking about renovations, either before selling your existing home, or once you move into your new one. And like you mentioned, you’ll likely need a mover to get your belongings from one place to the next. You may also need to think about updating systems like the water heater or furnace. As with the buying or selling process, working with these suppliers is all about knowing the right questions to ask and that many of the suppliers are regulated in some way.
Consumer Protection Ontario is an awareness program from Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services dedicated to helping consumers make informed decisions. It provides information on consumer rights and public safety in conjunction with other consumer protection organizations such as RECO.
Here are a few tips that may come in handy as you navigate the moving process, courtesy of Consumer Protection Ontario.
Moving companies: After months of house hunting, you’ve purchased a great home that you’re excited to move into. But, there’s still the big to-do of planning the actual move.
Did you know that when working with a moving company, they can’t charge you more than 10 per cent above the written estimated cost unless you agree to a new service, price, or sign a new contract? And, all contracts over $50 must be in writing.
Once the big day rolls around, consider being on-site to supervise the pick-up and delivery of your belongings. Also, you may want to move valuable items (e.g., jewelry) and personal documents yourself.
Once your belongings arrive at your new home, consider making a note of any missing or damaged items on your contract or inventory list before the movers leave.
Door-to-door sales: The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) gives you special rights when you buy or lease something in your home that costs more than $50. You have the right to cancel a contract for any reason within a 10 calendar-day cooling-off period, with the exception of water heater contracts for which you have a cooling-off period of 20 days.
As with all contracts, take the time to read all the fine print and be sure you understand all the terms, such as rental fees, installation, repair and extra service charges, and promises, such as warranties. Also be sure to get details in writing. Never feel pressured to sign on the spot.
Home renovations: Adding your own personal touches to your new home can be exciting, but it’s important to do your research first. Get estimates from at least three different companies, and be sure to reach out to those companies’ references. Never accept an estimate over the phone or without the contractor inspecting the area.
Estimates should have a description of the work to be done, an itemized list of products and services and their prices. Make sure that everything you’re expecting is listed. Once you select a contractor, make sure they include the estimate as part of your contract.
Under Ontario law, any home renovation contract worth more than $50 must be in writing. Be sure that all the details (such as the type of materials being used) are in writing. Be prepared to pay for any extra materials or any work that is not in the contract. If something isn’t written in your contract, you may not get it.
To learn more about your rights and the right questions to ask when it comes to movers, door-to-door sales, home renovations and more, visit Ontario.ca/ConsumerProtection.Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.