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Buying a New Home

If you are looking to buy a new home in British Columbia, there are some areas you should check before making a purchase.

Is the builder licensed?

In B.C., builders must be licensed by BC Housing and arrange for third-party home warranty insurance. Otherwise, they must obtain an applicable exemption in order to get a building permit or start building on a new home.

As a prospective buyer of a new home, you should check if your builder is licensed. You can search our Public Registry of Residential Builders via:

  • Company name
  • Geographic area
  • Licensee name
  • Licence number
  • Licence status
  • Licence type

Is there third-party home warranty insurance?

Use our New Homes Registry to find out if a new home or home under construction is being built by a licensed residential builder and if it has home warranty insurance.

Minimum coverage and allowable exclusions for third-party home warranty insurance are set by legislation.

As a minimum, homes built by licensed residential builders must have 2-5-10 Year Home Warranty Insurance. That 2-5-10 coverage includes a minimum of:

  • 2 years on labour and material (some limits apply)
  • 5 years on the building envelope, including water penetration
  • 10 years on the structure of the home

This is the strongest construction defect insurance in Canada. On some new homes, the warranty insurance coverage exceeds that minimum requirement.

Only insurance companies approved by the Financial Institutions Commission can provide home warranty insurance. Make sure you ask if warranty is included in the new home and get that information confirmed in writing. Look for the 2-5-10 Year Home Warranty Insurance logo when checking out new homes.

Our Home Warranty Insurance on New Homes page gives more information, including commencement dates, exclusions and limits on coverage.

Is the home owner-built?

If an owner builder constructed the new home, it’s exempt from the legal requirements of being built by a licensed residential builder and being covered by a policy of home warranty insurance. However, if an owner builder sells a home within the first 10 years of occupancy, they remain liable to any purchasers for defects during that 10-year period under the statutory protection provisions of the Homeowner Protection Act.

Owner builders who build and market a home as “new” without having lived in the home themselves first may have contravened the Act.

For more information on owner-built homes, consult our Buying a Previously Owned Home page and our regulatory bulletin, Buying or Selling an Owner-Built Home.