Build a House That Is Your Dream Home - The 2019 Ultimate Guide

If you want to build a house that is your dream home, you may shy away from it as the task just may seem to be too daunting. Don't worry. We've put together the Ultimate Guide about how to build a house to help you through the process. You may also be thinking that a custom built home would be too expensive compared to a pre-built one, however, it may be more affordable than you think and you will be getting exactly the home that you want! If you are looking to build in the Kawartha Lakes region, contact Conlin Premier Construction to find out how affordable and easy building a custom home can be.

Click on the following links to go to the corresponding sections.

Planning to Build

The planning stage is extremely important and needs to be done with a lot of thought and careful consideration of what you want for your dream home. Consider what is important to you in a new home, make a list, and then prioritize your list. You may not be able to achieve everything on your list, so putting each item in an order of what is absolutely non-negotiable and what is a "want" but maybe not as important will help you make your plan. There may be things on your list that may not be possible due to budget restrictions or site availability.

Things that you want to consider and make decisions about would include:

Location: Choosing the right location is very important because once your home is built, you can't move it. Some important questions to ask yourself to help you with this decision include:

  • Do you need a location that is close to a good school?
  • Do you prefer rural or urban living?
  • Do you want to be close to amenities such as convenient shopping, a gym, or hospital?
  • Do you have pets that need extra space outside to run?
  • Do you want a smaller lot with less gardening and maintenance or a larger one that you can landscape as you please?
  • Do you want a waterfront property, pool, or both?

Pick the perfect location
Choose a location that meets your needs.

Size: The size of home you choose will be largely be dictated by your budget, however, there are other considerations when thinking about the size that you need such as:

  • Will each of your children need their own room or will they share?
  • Do either you or your spouse work from home and require office space?
  • Do you do a lot of entertaining and need larger common rooms to accommodate your guests?
  • Do you have overnight guests or a parent who will require a "granny flat"?
  • Do you prefer a one or two storey homes? Are stairs a problem for any of your family members?
  • Would you rather have a smaller home with less area to clean and maintain?

Smaller home
A smaller home means less maintenance.

Design: Think about what type of home design you prefer. There are three main design styles to choose from:

  • Traditional: This style is inspired by historic designs. A traditional home will usually have a formal dining and living room and well as features such as fireplaces or front porches.
  • Modern: Modern homes are usually characterized by clean lines, open spaces, and extra room around architecture and furniture in order to allow the room to "breathe". They are quite minimalistic.
  • Contemporary: A contemporary style home is similar to a modern one in its simplicity, however it is more trendy and fashionable, novel and smart.

Contemporary design
A contemporary design is both simple and trendy

Finding the Right Builder

Choosing the right builder is probably one of the most important aspects of building a home as you want to be sure that you can trust them to produce the perfect home for you. There are advantages to choosing the right builder early in the process because they will be able to work with you right from the start and help to advise you as you go along. Builders can be busy, especially the best ones, so the more lead time you can give them the better. If you choose one well before you are thinking of actually starting to build, they will be better able to fit you into their schedule.

Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right builder to work with you:

Get References: Ask family and friends for recommendations of trusted builders that they have used before. A personal reference is probably the most reliable and it will give you a good idea as to the builder's quality of work, professionalism, and cost.

Ask a Local Real Estate Agent: If you don't have family or friends who have built a home locally, then talk to a local real estate agent. Real estate agents often work closely with builders and they will be able to let you know which ones their previous clients have been satisfied with.

Kawartha Lakes real estate association
Ask your local realtor to recommend a good builder - Image Source: Kawartha Lakes Real Estate Association

Check Out Your Local Home Builders Association: Your local home builders association can give you a list of local new home builders that meet their standards of professionalism. The goal of many of these associations is to ensure that their members provide "quality housing using environmentally sound practices."

Meet with the Builder: Talking face to face with your prospective builder will give you a chance to see if this is a person that you can work with and you will have the opportunity to ask questions such as:

  • What previous experience do you have?
  • Do you offer a warranty on your work and what does it cover?
  • Do you have references from previous customers? Can I contact them?
  • Are you licensed and insured? Can I see your credentials?
  • Will you give me detailed estimates?

a new home build
Ask for a detailed estimate

Developing a Budget

Once you have selected your builder, they can give you a better idea about what things will actually cost. They can be a great resource in helping you determine a realistic budget. Some of the steps involved in setting a budget include the following:

Find out how much money you have to work with: If you haven't already done so and you are planning on financing your new home build, contact your financial institution to arrange a construction mortgage and find out how much they are willing to lend you so you will have a good idea of how much money you will have to spend on your new home.

Determine what things you can include: Take a look at your list that you previously made of your "wants" and "needs" to decide what is going to fit into your budget and what things may need to be left out.

Make room for items other than the actual building: Don't forget to leave room in your budget for items such as appliances, furnishings, and landscaping.

Set your budget and stick to it: Once you have determined your budget, try your best to stick to it. Don't be tempted to add in extras along the way that you really can't afford.

Landscaping your new home
Leave room in your budget for landscaping

Choosing Your Site

You may already have a lot in mind or you may have already purchased one, but if you haven't, here are some things to keep in mind.

Remember your budget: Keep you total budget in mind when choosing your property. The cost of the land will need to be deducted from your budget. If you spend more on a piece of property than you originally intended to, you will need to find a way of cutting costs somewhere else in your budget.

Choose an appropriate size: Make sure that your lot is able to accommodate the size of house that you are planning to build. This is particularly important if you are building in an urban area where zoning restrictions may include things like maximum building heights, maximum lot coverage, and setbacks from property lines.

Find out about water issues: If you are looking at a rural lot, make sure that there is sufficient water available and check if there is an existing well. Another thing to consider is whether or not the water table is high and therefore the land may have special drainage requirements to prevent you from having a wet basement.

Check out what is close to the property: It is a good idea to consider the surroundings of the lot. If there are farms close by, will the smells bother you? Are there things like railway lines or airports nearby where noise may be an issue?

custom home design
Hire an architect to draw up your design plans

Designing Your Home

You will need to hire the services of an architect or an architectural technologist to draw up the plans for your new home. Your builder may be able to recommend a good architect or designer that they work with. Before you actually meet with your architect, you should already have a good idea of the style and size of home you want and how much you can spend. Many architects are able to generate a computer generated 3D model of your design to give you a better idea about what your home will look like so you are better able to give them suggestions about things that you like or want adjusted.

Be aware that the process of drawing up your plans can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on how complicated your design is. It can cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 as well, so make sure that you have included this cost in your budget.

Getting The Required Permits

You need to have all of the required permits in place before you begin to build. A good custom home builder will be familiar with all of the necessary paperwork and will be willing to help you look after this. Applying for permits can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

building a custom home
Your builder should help you obtain the permits you need.

Starting to Build

Once you have purchased your land, have chosen a builder, and have had your plans drawn up, you will finally be ready to start the actual construction or your custom home. Your builder will:

Organize the timing for the initial preparations: Some builders take care of these steps themselves and others will sub-contract them out. If they sub-contract them, they will coordinate the trades such as the excavation team, the foundation crew, and the framing crew. During this initial phase there will be very little input required from you. You probably will however want to have a walk through to make sure that things like the placement and sizes of the rooms is what you had wanted as well as the location of the windows and doors.

Close in your home: During this next stage a lot takes place as your home is closed in and the electricity, plumbing, insulation and heating/air conditioning is installed. You will need to make occasional visits to confirm the placement of fixtures, where you want outlets located, and where the water will go.

Finish your home: During the final stages of construction, your cabinetry, plumbing, lighting, flooring, windows, and painting will be done. Your house will finally start to transform from an empty shell into an actual home. This process seems to take a long time and you will probably need to be in close contact with your builder in order to provide any information that they may need about these items and to make sure that what you chose is being installed.

How Long Will It Take to Build a House?

Every custom home build is different so it is difficult to give a precise timeline. From the time that the first ground is broken until your home is finished will probably be anywhere from 7 to 10 months. If you consider the entire time from when you first decide to build until you are totally moved in, it will most likely be at least a year. However the wait will be well worth it once you have that perfect home, designed especially for you and your family.

Conlin Premier Construction logo

Conlin Construction: You Can Trust Us to Help You Build a House That Is Your Dream Home

You can trust Conlin Premier Construction to help you build a house that is the perfect dream home for you and your family. At Conlin, premier means quality work from the sub-floor up. We do everything ourselves and we have our own sub-contractors who do the mechanical work. This means that we can be in charge of the quality control on every part of your home's construction, from start to finish. And we make sure that you are with us all through the process. Your complete satisfaction is our ultimate goal and that is why we prioritize excellent communication.

Whether you are looking to build a custom home or cottage from the ground up, to add on to your existing home or cottage, or build a custom outbuilding, we're here to help.

At Conlin Premier Construction we have over 30 years of experience building custom homes, custom cottages, additions, and unique outbuildings with the highest standard of workmanship. If you are looking for a premier builder in the Kawartha Lakes region that you can trust, talk to the professionals at Conlin and then contact us today for a no obligation quote.

The following video will further explain why Conlin is the best for custom homes in Kawartha Lakes.