After looking all over with no luck, you’ve decided that the only way to get your dream home is to build it. Congratulations! What next?

Knowing what to expect and preparing for each step can help with the overall timeline of the project. It can also help with your stress level if you know what’s next.

You could stumble through the process of finding a reputable builder on your own and learn the rest of the process the hard way. Or, you could continue reading to get a helpful overview of what you need to prepare for when it comes to building your custom home.

Step 1: Know Your Budget

As with anything, knowing what you have to spend on the necessities and what extra you have to play with can be the difference between an efficient home build and a stressful one. Sitting down and figuring out your budget will ensure there are no surprises when it comes to financing.

Finding out what you can realistically afford will help guide the entire process. This isn’t about how much you want to borrow, but how much debt you can afford to take on and pay back.

Step 2: Choose Your Neighbourhood

You may love your house, but that won’t do you any good if you don’t like your neighbourhood. Where do you want to be? How do you want to live? What is important to you right now in terms of lifestyle?

Where you choose to buy will have a major impact on what you build, including your required level of investment and how much that will appreciate over time. When you’re ready to start your property search, start by clarifying your priorities. While they will differ for everyone, some things to consider include the quality of schools, local amenities, and the size, style and value of surrounding homes.

This last point is key – since, if you want to maximize the equity you put into your home, it will need to fit into the neighbourhood. Spend too little on and your home will end up under its potential value. Spend too much, and you’ll never recoup that money when it’s time to sell.

An experienced and knowledgeable builder can help you sift through this information, and guide your choice of land or property to ensure that your home will be well positioned relative to the value of others in the area.

Step 3: Decide What Kind of Home You Want

Your budget and chosen neighbourhood will have a major influence on whether you have the option to build a brand new home or renovate an old and tired one.

Either option has its advantages and both come with some exciting possibilities. The important thing in this step is for you to develop a sense of what type of home you would love. How big is it? How many rooms? What kind of rooms? What kind of style? What kind of home will help you thrive in the life you lead now, and in the life you hope to lead in the years to come?

Look around for inspiration, create a dream book, and draw up a vision for your home.

Even if you decide to transform that sow’s ear into a silk purse, take heart. You’ll be amazed at the transformation that can take place.

Step 4: Find a Builder You Can Trust

Hiring your builder is one of the most important decisions of the entire home building process. This is someone you will be working closely with for the next 8-12 months and with whom you will be in close contact. It’s ok to take your time when selecting the right person.

For your peace of mind, and the success of the project, it is essential that you find someone you can trust. You need a true partner – someone that you trust will prioritise your needs and concerns, and pay attention to the details. Someone who will keep the communication lines open, who understands and respect you, and who will keep to your design, finishes, budget and schedule.

Make sure to bring a list of questions with you for your prospective builder, ask for recommendations, and trust your gut feeling – after all, you will be the one working with them, and it is your home in their hands.

Step 5: Secure Your Financing

You’ve figured out your budget and know how much you can afford to borrow. Next, is finding the financing you’ll need to make your dream custom home a reality.

When you are in the position to order a custom home, financing is typically not an issue. However, whether you want a land loan, conventional mortgage or a high-ratio mortgage, the important thing is finding out which will work best for you and your unique financial situation.

Step 6: Buy Your Land or Property

Finding the perfect location for your new home is one of the most exciting parts of the entire home building process. Picking the view from your front door and out the back windows makes it all seem a bit more real.

The reason it’s recommended to find your builder before you buy your lot is that there are some technicalities you have to be aware of. Will you have access to utilities (water, electricity, gas) at this site? Can a strong foundation be built on this land? Are there any additional permits or ordinances you need to be aware of that may obstruct construction?

Wouldn’t you hate to find a great piece of land at an affordable price only to find out that you cannot build a house there? By working with the right builder you can avoid that mistake and save valuable time and a whole lot of money.

Step 7: Design Your Custom Dream Home

Now, this is the fun part. Working with an architect and designer to create the plans for your custom home can be a lot of work, but it is hands down the most exciting part.

Before you meet with them, you have some homework to do.

Bring Out Your Dream Book
Throughout the process, you’re sure to have started compiling a list of things you want in your new home. Some may be on a wish list while others are non-negotiables. This is where you sit down with the architect and the builder to lay it all out.

Find out what is feasible, what it will cost and what repercussions there are for changes made later. It’s also a good time to see how your chosen builder or architect handles changes and before and during construction, as well as when is the absolute latest that any changes are allowed.

Find Examples
Whenever possible, find photos to show your team of what you are looking for. This will help to make sure you are all on the same page.

Step 8: Start Building!

When it comes time to start construction, this is where understanding the process can be most helpful. You will have a better appreciation for deadlines and how long it takes for the foundation to dry or for installation of the windows.

The timeline for the entire process can vary by location based on several factors, including weather. Inspections and permits can also delay a construction site, so having a builder who has a handle on all of these items is a lifesaver.

One of the most important things to remember is that building a quality custom home takes time to be done right. It’s well worth the wait once you have the keys and it’s all yours.

From figuring out your budget, finding your builder, and all the way through to the final walk through and delivery of the keys, understanding the process can help ease anxiety and unnecessary stress. Finding the right team of people to go with you on this monumental journey is key to a positive experience.

Step 9: Closing Time

When the dust settles and construction is finally finished on your home, you will do a walk-through. This is the time to inspect every corner of the house and ask questions. Once you completely understand all the finer aspects of how to operate and maintain your home, it’s time to close.

Step 10: Move In!

It’s finally time to enjoy the fruits of your planning and labour. The only thing left to do is move in and enjoy your custom home!

Discover how this space – the one you have made uniquely yours – complements your life and allows you to live the way you want to be.

In the end you’ll be amazed that your new house is so much more than just the sum of its parts, individual rooms and amenities. It is the place you get to call home.

While the above is a high level summary, it highlights the key aspects of what you need to consider as you venture into building your own custom home.

Still have questions on how to prepare and plan for your custom home build in Ontario? Fulcrum Custom Builders will be happy to help! Simply fill out the contact form below, and we will be in contact you to go over the details of your specific project.

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