Building your first home?

You’ve thought about it for so long and now, you are close to start building your home!  What an exciting decision but are you ready?  Are you stepping down this path for the first time?  Nervous ?!…

Like any process, building a home can be tricky and there are many important details to consider as you get started.  Have you decided on a style of home yet? There are many styles such as American, Bungalow, Cottage, Country, Crafstman, and many more.  Try to find the style of a friend’s or a neighbour’s home that you like and you will probably find what you like.  Write down or draw the details you like and and keep it in a file so when you meet an architect or plan designer, you will not forget anything.   Browse the Internet and you may find the home of your dream through a Stock Plan Collection, or you can do some modifications of a stock plan through the original designer or do a complete Custom plan.

Where you build is very important too.  If you already own the land you plan to build on, you may have more options than an established subdivision with building scheme.  One thing very important though;  make sure you have your land before buying the plan.  Some people purchace plans before the land… only to discover that the home they dreamed of could not be built on the land they bought!

If you buy land in a subdivision, make sure you understand all the restrictions and limits of the developer.  These “covenants” are in place to assure that all the homes in the area are worth about the same and this will protect the value of your investment in the future.  Always remeber that a house is an investment that you have to protect and, even if you do not think about it now, you may want to sell it some day!  Protect it!

There are a lot of things to consider about the location of your new home: Distance to shopping, Schools, work have to be thought about.

Finding the right contractor is your next step.  Talk to some friends or relatives about their experiences and make sure, when you have identified the right contractor that you get at least 3 bids plus the names of satisfied customers you can contact.  Always remember the old adage: “If it is too good to be true, it problably is!”  To ensure that both you and your builder are satisfied with the work, make sure the details are spelled out in a written contract.  The time you spend at this stage and on the plan stage will avoid any confusion or unexpected expenses later on.

With the internet and groups like the Canadian Home Builders Association and your provincial groups, reams of information is available to help plan your home.  The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation also offers useful information including valuable question and answer sheets.

Beyond choosing a good contractor, you will also need a lawyer and a banker to handle legal matters and financing.  Finally, remember that some home builders are more concerned about structural integrity and the attractiveness of your home from the outside.  Remember that the interior should also be designed for practical concerns like – will all the furnitures you already have fit? Do not hesitate to contact an interior designer and kitchen and bathroom planner before starting to build;  they will help you to maximise your living space and avoid mistakes you will see once you live in your home !

Want to build green ?  Many links like LEED and Built Green can surely help you.

Enjoy !

this post was based on an article from the Cottage and Home Plans magazine provided by Tim-Br Mart. Some information was also supplied by CMHC and CHBA.

Written by Yves Carignan View all posts by this author →

Businessman, blogger and speaker, Yves Carignan chairs and directs Drummond House Plans since 2002 with his wife and partner Marie-France Roger.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. James Walker at 13 h 52 min

    This is a well written article. Deciding on what kind of house plan you want and what style of home can be a huge decision. The area that you are building in is another factor. The house plan you are purchasing will have to meet regulations and standards of the country/province you live in. There are many things that have to be taken into account when purchasing a blueprint and choosing a contractor. This article is a good way to start your decisions.

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