Finding a bungalow, Closing date change on a new build


Dear David,

I’m looking to downsize. Why is it so hard to find a bungalow? The only ones I’ve seen seem to be in older neighbourhoods and they don’t suit me. – SINGLE LEVEL LIVING

DEAR SINGLE: Bungalows are a popular choice for retirement, but they’re increasingly rare and tend to sell at a premium. An increase in the cost of land in recent decades means that many new homes are being built on smaller lots. To increase square footage, builders are being forced to add multiple stories to a small footprint, rather than indulge in sprawling floorplans. This trend of building “up instead of out” has made the new bungalow a bit of a real estate unicorn. When you do find one, it tends to occupy a larger lot — which comes with a larger price tag.

PRO TIP: An increasing number of homeowners in mid-century neighbourhoods have achieved fantastic results by modernizing dated exteriors with fresh rooflines, porches and finishes. If you can find an older bungalow with solid bones, this may be something to think about. Amped-up curb appeal tends to be a solid investment, and as a bonus, you may be able to enjoy some of the perks exclusive to older neighbourhoods (think mature shade trees).

Dear David,

My husband and I recently sold our home in order to purchase a new build. The builder changed the closing date on our new place, so it’s not going to be ready by the time our current home sale closes. We’re not going to have a place to live for a few months. We’ve tried the obvious rental options with no luck. We have six weeks to figure this out. Any advice? — TURFED

DEAR TURFED: Builders do have the ability to extend the closing date on new construction a number of times, as long as they give you the prescribed notice. To help cope with the change, a couple of quick thoughts come to mind. I would start by speaking to your Realtor, to see if the buyer of your current home might be willing to extend their closing date to accommodate the delay. Perhaps you offer them an incentive to sweeten the deal.

Next, review your offer to purchase. See if the builder has any additional opportunities to move out your closing date. If they do, it might be time to look for a rental. Landlords tend to look for a one year minimum on their rental terms, but it may be possible to negotiate a higher monthly rate in order to secure a shorter term. Again, it never hurts to offer an incentive. With our local vacancy rate sitting at approximately two percent, availability is slim and landlords tend to be in the driver’s seat.

PRO TIP: Know your contract. As a buyer, it’s your Realtor’s role to ensure that you are not left homeless. They should never have put you in this position. If you didn’t use a Realtor, this is an example of where some professional guidance would have been invaluable. #AskDavid