Frequently Asked Questions


Everyone has questions when they make the decision to buy a home. Here are answers to some of the ones we hear most often.

PURCHASING MY HOME

What is the amount of the deposit I have to make?
The deposit you must make depends on the type and value of the home you’re purchasing. Your sales agent will be able to explain the exact deposit needed for the home you’ve chosen.

How do I know the final amount due upon closing?
On your closing date, you must pay the remainder of the purchase price, a percentage of your property tax, and Tarion fees. Ashcroft will send your lawyer a final statement of closing adjustments that includes these figures.

What is a handover package and what will be in it?
This contains useful information you will receive upon moving into your new home. It contains your homeowner’s manual.

When can I tell you about a problem with my house?
Your first opportunity to do this is during your Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI); the next is when you submit your 30-day inspection form, followed by your Year End and then Second Year End Inspection forms. You can of course report emergencies at any time during the warranty period.

What is the Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) and why is it important?
The PDI is the first opportunity you have to view your home and assess its condition before you take possession. Write down any items that are incomplete, damaged, missing or not operating properly. Our inspector will review the function of the various systems within the home with you.

What is a 30-day Form?
Within 30 days of your closing date, you are responsible for completing the 30-day form and submitting a copy to Ashcroft Homes. We will contact you to schedule an inspection based on this 30-day submission. We will schedule a work date thereafter to complete any remedial work required. During this time you may have noted floor squeaks, nail pops and some doors becoming tight or loose. These types of items are typically deferred to your year-end inspection, as the house will go through a settling and drying out process during its first year.

What is the Year-end Form?
30 days before the anniversary of your closing, you’re responsible for completing the Year-end Form and submit a copy to Ashcroft. Again, we’ll contact you to schedule an inspection based on this submission, and will schedule a work date to complete any remedial work required. Included in the work we do at this time is the repair of any nail pops and drywall cracking, but we do not paint these areas after one year, as our paint will not match the paint already on the walls.

How do I fill out my 30-day Form and my Year-end Form? Who do I send them to?
You will be given these forms when you complete your Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI). Send your completed form to the Customer Service Department at Ashcroft Homes.
 
What is Tarion?
Tarion Warranty Corporation is responsible for administering the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. It is a non-profit corporation funded by the builders of Ontario. Tarion used to be called the Ontario New Home Warranty Program; it continues to establish and promote consistent standards of construction among Ontario’s new home builders. Tarion works with the building industry to help educate new-home buyers about their warranty rights, and about how to protect and maintain their warranty. All builders must be registered with Tarion in order to sell homes in Ontario.

ABOUT MY HOME


What are the basic steps in building a house?
There are basically nine steps involved in building a house. They are:

  1. Site work, including rough grading of the subdivision; installation of sewers, water mains, roads and utilities; and placing survey stakes to mark the boundaries of the lots.
  2. Excavation and setting the foundation, which involves surveying a location for the future house; excavating for the foundation; constructing the concrete basement walls; setting and pouring the foundation; installing plumbing pipes; pouring the concrete floor of the home; digging trenches for utility lines; waterproofing the basement walls; and grading.
  3. Framing: erecting the walls of the wood structure, installing windows and exterior door frames.
  4. Roofing and exterior work, which includes applying roofing materials such as shingles, installing brick and vinyl siding and steps, laying the concrete garage slab and installing the overhead door.
  5. Mechanical and electrical work, from the installation of plumbing, electrical and heating/cooling systems to pre-wiring the home for communication devices, running wiring for telephones, cable television and an intercom, and placing pipes for a central vacuum.
  6. Interior finishing: installing insulation, finishing drywall, painting and staining, and installing cabinets, countertops, hard surface floor coverings, baseboards and handrails.
  7. Trim work, which includes hanging interior doors, attaching window trims, installing fireplaces and mantles, setting plumbing fixtures, installing light switches and electrical outlets, hanging electrical fixtures, and setting heating registers, thermostats and heating/cooling unit.
  8. Final work: possibly including installation of carpet and underpad, hardwood floors and ceramic or vinyl tile, and completing any miscellaneous interior fix-up (or adjustment) work on the entire home.
  9. Seasonal work: final grading, landscaping, driveway and fencing installation—occurring usually when a block of homes can be worked on together to facilitate the interconnection of final grading, and also when weather is warm and dry enough to permit.
Can I make structural changes to the design of my home?
A certain level of customizing is possible. You and your sales representative can work together to agree on the concept and pricing so the modification is represented in the sale agreement. Our construction department will review your suggestions and must approve them prior to finalizing of the purchase and sale agreement.
 
When do I pick my interior finishes and upgrades?
After you sign your purchase and sale document, you may visit the Design Center and select your finishes and upgrades. Any upgrades will be priced and agreed on. These will be added in an amendment to your purchase and sale. Our Interior Design Team will help you make selections and avoid those that may have scheduling implications.
 
Do I get to choose my exterior brick colour?
If you’re purchasing a single-family home, you can choose the colour of brick you’d like. For aesthetic reasons, in townhomes—because they are adjoined—brick colour is not optional.

What should I do to prepare for moving into my new home?
Your homeowner’s manual is full of helpful tips on preparing for home ownership and for keeping your home in good condition. It has answers to important questions on a wide range of topics, from the effects of humidity on the elements of your home to preventing ice damming and performing regular home maintenance.

I received my keys from my lawyer, but the garage keys were not included. Where are they?
If you didn’t receive garage keys in the package from your lawyer, they are most likely taped on the inside of the garage doors itself.

Does Ashcroft activate my cable TV and telephone service?
We provide cable and telephone wiring to your home, but each utility company activates their own outlet.

ABOUT MY PROPERTY

When I purchase a home, do I get a fence?
There are different types of fences: privacy screens, sound-attenuation fences and perimeter fences. The city may require a sound-attenuation barrier or fence if your home is located near a busy collector road. If you are purchasing a townhome, you may be provided with a privacy screen separating your rear-yard amenity space and that of your neighbours. Townhomes are also normally given perimeter fencing along the rear lot line—unless a sound-attenuation barrier is already planned. These screens and perimeter fences are typically board-on-board “good-neighbour style” 1.8 meters high (6 feet). Semi-detached units generally receive privacy screens, but perimeter fencing is left for the purchaser to add later if desired. Unless sound-attenuation fencing is required, single-family home lots do not receive fencing or screens of any kind.
 
When can I expect trees to be planted?
Certain species of trees have to be planted in the spring or the fall; others can be planted anytime during the summer. Generally planting is performed during the landscaping phase of the exterior work, but if seasonal considerations come into play, it may be done after you’ve moved in.

What kind of landscaping can I expect?
Landscaping is different at every Ashcroft Homes development due to soil conditions, grades, sun exposure and a number of other factors. We work with a landscape architect to decide on the best approach. Our landscaping plan goes to the City of Ottawa for approval during the initial stages of the development. As such, homeowners do not have the option of selecting the species of trees to be planted on their lot. The plan outlines where, what species, and what size of trees and shrubs are required. Normally each lot receives topsoil, sod, a minimum of one tree and possibly some shrubbery. It is important for you to immediately start watering and other maintenance tasks to make sure your new plant material is well-established.
 
How do I know if I will have a Bell pedestal or any other type of utility structure on my lawn?
A composite utility plan approved by the City is available for review at the sales center. It shows the “street hardware” that new subdivisions now require: telephone and cable pedestals, electricity transformers, fire hydrants, mailboxes, streetlights, traffic control signs and street name signs. Most of these facilities are imposed on Ashcroft Homes by the authorities and there is usually no room for discretionary changes. Almost all are located on the City-owned boulevard between the curb and your front property line (if your home is on a City-owned street). On a private street, these facilities will also be located close the curb, subject to pre-arranged easements. Utility companies and City authorities can sometimes alter the composite utility plan.

What is a grading plan?
Designed by our engineers and approved by the City, the grading plan determines the final grades and slopes of the entire site including all of your lots. The grades shown on the plan must be adhered to: they facilitate stormwater runoff in specific directions and time frames. The plan shows driveway slopes, catchbasin locations, swales, terraces and—if necessary—stormwater-management ponds. The grading plan outlines the final topography of the site to ensure proper drainage. It illustrates the elevation of particular points, the degree and direction of slope, the location of catchbasins and retaining walls where required.

Will I need a retaining wall?
Engineers try to avoid the need for walls in landscaped areas, as they isolate areas of a yard and can be costly to maintain. We prefer to make steeper transitions using grassed slopes and let homeowners customize their yards over time. If retaining walls are needed, their locations are determined by registered engineers in conjunction with Ashcroft Homes to ensure proper drainage and minimal intrusion on each lot. Occasionally, steep slopes dictate that a wall makes the most sense and will provide more usable space.

What determines the size of my yard?
A number of factors determine the size and shape of lots generally, and therefore their yards as well—from the types and lengths of roadways to the different housing styles and how that mix is located within the subdivision. Lots at corners, bends in roadways, the abutting of other non-residential lots all have an impact. Zoning requirements are also taken into consideration.

ABOUT MY NEIGHBOURHOOD

How do I know what can be built on the open lot next to mine?
City zoning regulations (by-laws) determine what can be built on any given lot. Zoning by-laws also regulate lot size, parking requirements, building height and other site-specific factors (www.Ottawa.ca). Zoning maps for any given subdivision and the immediate neighbourhood are available for review at the relevant sales center.
 
Why do developments have different phases?
The phasing of construction varies from project to project. It normally follows a particular schedule for road servicing and construction in response to market demand. The order of phasing is available for review at the sales center.

What is a private street?
A private street is owned by a group of individuals rather than the City. This group is usually in the form of a registered Condominium Corporation whose members are usually the homeowners whose properties front onto the private street. Through the corporation, this group is responsible for managing and maintaining the street and pays fees to do so.

What are the advantages of living on a private street?
You have a direct say in the affairs of the street and can schedule various controls and maintenance activities. As a shareholder, you have the ability to beautify the street through additional landscaping and to regulate its use in ways that benefit the group of homeowners.