Top 10 Ways to Choose a Custom Home Builder

Top 10 Ways to Choose a Custom Home Builder

Imagine hiring a custom home builder to create your dream living space, having the freedom to choose virtually every aspect of your new home and then, at the end of it all, living in the home of your dreams! Contact the experts at L. Patten & Sons Limited to learn more about what a trusted custom home builder can do for you.

5 Questions to Ask when Buying Land to Build a House


As custom home builders, we are often faced with managing the challenges of the land our clients purchase. Some lots are easy to build on, others have multiple obstacles that must be dealt with.  Most are somewhere in between.  Over the years we have learned a great deal about property, and what potential buyers should be aware of before they buy.  It's always a good idea to speak to a custom home builder before you buy, as they can often alert you to the risks or opportunities that each property possesses in terms of building. We at L. Patten and Sons are always happy to help in this regard.  Below are 5 of the most important things to consider before you purchase the property of your dreams.


Conservation Authority Regulation

One of the biggest obstacles to building on certain properties is the existence of a conservation authority.  If the property is regulated under any conservation authority, a permit from them will be required for development.  This can be both time-consuming and expensive. Also, they will be very specific about where any development can take place, so you may not be able to build where you would like.  There may be additional costs for erosion control, tree preservation, floodwater protection etc., as these may all be part of the permit requirements. It is definitely possible to build when the conservation authority is involved, but you must be willing to spend the extra time, the extra money, and agree to the restrictions in order to obtain approvals.

You can find more information about each of the conservation authorities in our area by using the following links:

Niagara Escarpment Commission:

Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority:

Grey Sauble Conservation Authority:

Talk to your agent early in the process to determine if the property is governed by any Conservation Authority Zoning.  It will be a key piece of your development puzzle.



All properties will have a zoning designation, and this will dictate the setbacks from the property lines, the maximum building height and the maximum lot coverage. It will also tell you what type of building is allowed, so be sure you are not looking at commercial or industrial zoned land if you want to build your home.  Generally the residential designations have very similar requirements, but on smaller lots a few feet here and there can make a big difference.  Make sure you are satisfied with the building envelope before you buy, so there are no surprises later.  If you're looking to understand what the Ministry of Housing says about zoning, learn more here.  Another aspect to consider is seasonality. If you're wondering whether winter weather will effect your build, learn more here


Water Table

It’s important to know where the water table is on any piece of land you are considering.  If it’s high, you will either have to prepare for a wet basement, or be willing to forego any basement at all.  There are ways to manage a wet piece of land, but it’s best if you know this going in to the design stage.  It’s a problem when you discover it as you dig the hole for the foundation. 



Have a look around you as you stand on your dream piece of land.   Who are your neighbours?  Are they residential, or perhaps commercial or even industrial?  Is there a quarry, an airport, or train tracks nearby? If it's agricultural, what are the crops they grow, and will they be spraying fertilizer or pesticides? If it's livestock, will there be noise or odor as a result?  If the land around you is vacant, what could possibly be there in the future?  Always look ahead to how this will affect your lifestyle and the home you want to build.  



Location, location, location.  This has always been, and will always be, crucial. Location will affect access, resale, and ultimately your lifestyle.  Check out some of Collingwood's best locations here. If you choose to purchase property that may not suit the general populace but is perfect for you, that is certainly your choice.  You will just need to understand that you will have a far more limited market for resale.  If you choose a remote location, you may benefit from tremendous privacy, but counter that with a more challenging route back and forth to your home. Open space for living or close neighbours for community, these are things that will affect lifestyle.  It's a balancing act, so think ahead and know your priorities.   And feel free to get in touch with us for if you have any questions.



"My husband and I decided to work with Jerry specifically because he was a local builder and had been in business for many years. When we started building our dream home we realized what a huge project we were undertaking, however, the many decisions, frustrations and second-guessing almost drove us crazy. That's when we understood how our decision to use Jerry had allowed us to keep our sanity! Jerry's ever present smile, calm demeanor and professionalism was a bonus. His understanding of the process of building a home, his connections and experience has enabled us to build our beautiful home on budget and on time. The quality of work is something that, 2 years on, we still appreciate. As I'm sure we will for many more years to come. The many decisions that Jerry helped us with are also appreciated - almost daily. We sometimes laugh about things we thought were great ideas and then Jerry very politely and always with a smile steered us in the right direction. We truly feel lucky to have found Jerry and his crew and are proud to say that our home is a L. Patten and Sons home!" 

- The Wedgebury's

Read more testimonials here.