Published on: November 17, 2017
Article number: 204199

Instructions for buying from a builder or developer

Buying a new or off-plan home or condo is a major real estate transaction. It’s better to know what you're getting into!

Preliminary contract

When you wish to purchase a new or off-plan residential property from a developer or builder to live in, the Civil Code of Québec requires using a preliminary contract instead of the Promise to purchase used by brokers in a transaction involving a used immovable.

When you are dealing with a real estate broker authorized by the OACIQ, or if a developer or builder enlists the services of a real estate broker, the latter shall require the use of a preliminary contract. As is always the case during his professional activities, he should also meet the requirements of the Real Estate Brokerage Act and its regulations.

The preliminary contract must contain the stipulations required by the Civil Code of Québec, including:

  • a description of the work to be performed;
  • the breakdown of the sale price;
  • a 10-day right of cancellation in favour of the buyer (see the box).

What’s more, if the property is a condo, pay attention to the measurements of the area indicated in the preliminary contract. In this regard, read Gross or net area: How to find your way through.

Which preliminary contract should be used?

Real estate promoters and builders licensed by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec use any of the following forms, depending on the type of housing:

These forms are published by Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR), an independent non-profit organization, whose mandate is to administer a guarantee plan for new residential buildings for the entire territory of Québec.

The 10-day right of cancellation: how does it work?

During a transaction to purchase a new or off-plan property, you have a 10-day right of cancellation under the Civil Code of Québec. The law gives you this period to change your mind and no longer buy the property that was the subject of the transaction with the builder or developer. Note however that the latter may claim compensation up to 0.5% of the agreed selling price. For a property of $300,000, this means an amount of $1,500.