10 Steps to Building a Home in Ontario
1. Establish a budget
2. Purchase land
3. Find a builder
4. Design your home
5. Participate in the process
6. Choose your finishes
7. Communicate clearly
8. Work cooperatively
9. Move in
10. Love your home
The first thing you must do before starting the process of building is to establish a realistic budget. If you don’t own the land you hope to build on, then this purchase must be part of your planning. Always remember to consider all of the items that are NOT part of a build price: lot purchase and tax, development charges, septic and well if applicable, hydro connection, landscaping, appliances, furniture, and HST. Without proper budgeting, costs can accumulate beyond your ability to pay. Once you have a budget in mind, be sure that your financial institution is willing to commit to this budget also. When everything is ready to go, you are ready for step 2.
A previous post discussed things to consider when purchasing land for a home. Take your time, do the legwork, and find the perfect lot. If you have a builder in mind, ask them to walk the lot with you and give you their opinion about building and living on that space. Consider living there in all 4 seasons. Look at the price of the lot; will you have enough left in your budget to build the house you are dreaming of? Then, if it’s the right lot, close the deal!
Find A Builder
Not everyone would say that choosing a builder should come before plans, but at L. Patten and Sons, we appreciate being a part of the design process. We can make sure you understand what certain design elements mean from a build and cost perspective, and we know what works. Again, do your research, and choose the best builder for your needs. If you are considering a custom home builder, learn more about the values, process, and importance of a custom home here.
Design Your Home
Whether you use an architect or a draftsman, come prepared with a basic understanding of what you want. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? What sort of entertaining space do you need? What are your priorities, and what can you compromise on? What style do you like? Make sure you understand the cost involved with all of these decisions so that the house designed for you fits within your established budget. This is where the input of your builder becomes valuable, as they are the hands-on source for realistic material and labour costs. The design stage is too early for accurate pricing, but your builder can certainly guide your choices wisely if you have made your building budget clear. Remember to leave adequate funds separate from the building budget to cover the additional items mentioned above.
Participate In The Process
Building a home is wonderful and exciting, and it can be stressful and frustrating too. Be sure you stay involved, without becoming a nuisance to the builder and crew. Keep a regular meeting schedule, so you can stay up to date on the progress and the decision-making. Feel free to ask questions - if you are not sure, then ask. Misunderstandings, both large and small, can be avoided this way. A good builder will never mind answering your questions. If you are able, visit the site at the end of each stage of construction, and walk the rooms. Preferably do this with the builder, so any questions can be immediately addressed. Walking through provides such a different experience than looking at drawings, and sometimes it can make you aware of the need for small changes. Making these changes during the framing stage is the best, as it becomes far more costly and problematic at the later stages.
Choose Your Finishes
In truth, this process is happening during the build and will be a constant item on the to-do list. Your builder should provide you with a timeline for when each item needs to be chosen, so that layouts, templates, pipe locations etc. can be established. You will need to make decisions on bathtubs, sinks, plumbing and lighting fixtures, appliances, cabinetry, flooring, paint, railings, fireplaces, roofing colour, and siding. While it seems like a lot, if you are disciplined and keep to the schedule provided by the builder, you will be fine.
Communicate Clearly And Work Cooperatively
These two items go hand in hand, though each is extremely important in its own right. As mentioned above, clear communication is critical in keeping the build progressing smoothly. Both the client and the builder need to be up to date on progress and changes. While it is true that a great deal is at stake, it’s important to remember that your builder is part of your team, and team members must trust one another. If you have chosen your builder wisely, you should have faith that they will ALWAYS be looking after your interests and doing their best to help you realize your dream. There will undoubtedly be changes and corrections and modifications along the way. Trust that this is all part of the process, and keep breathing.
All of your choosing, communicating, and cooperating has paid off, and it’s time to move in! The furniture gets delivered, the paintings and mirrors are hung, the beds are made. You are now living in the home of your dreams. Congratulations! As you settle in, remember that there may be small things that will need tweaking as the days and weeks pass, as everything gets used and run and opened and shut. Let your builder know so that they can look after you; their attention should not end when the keys are handed over.
LOVE YOUR HOME
This one needs no explanation. The dream is now reality. Enjoy!
"We were thrilled with the hard work and attention to detail from the team at L. Patten and Sons. Their guidance for us, first time home builders, was so helpful in building our dream home. Our family is so pleased with all the details, Jerry and his team were able to find us the perfect craftsmen to perfect all the wow features throughout the house. Many thanks."
- The Horan Family