How to Build a Custom Home, A Complete Guide

large luxury home

The decision to build a custom home can be stressful if you don’t understand the process. This is the time when your dreams become reality and you want to do everything in your power to help everything come together with as little stress as possible. Here we offer a complete guide on how to build a custom home worry-free.

Building a New Home vs Buying an Existing Home

If you are still on the fence deciding if you would rather build than buy, here are the important things to consider:

Is Building a Custom Home More Expensive?

This can be tricky to determine for a number of reasons. First, are you buying a home that includes the land from a builder, or do you have to buy the land and build the home? The latter is more costly. Next, are you buying a home to be demolished for the property or are you just buying the land? Depending on the condition of the existing home or the location of the land, the more costly of these two can vary.

Lastly, the size, style, and details of your home will greatly impact your overall costs. Looking at average costs, to build a home in the GTA you’re looking at about $140 – $240 per square foot. However, for buying a home it varies greatly depending on where you buy, ranging from an average of $399 per square foot in Kitchener to over $1000 per square foot in downtown Toronto. And that’s just for a condo. You also have to keep in mind, your upfront costs are higher for a new build, but your mortgage costs are lower.

Pros of Building

Customization is always at the top of the list when it comes to building a home. Every detail is made to your exact specifications so you can get the look and features you have always wanted. Other pros include:

  • No Competition: Nothing is worse than finding a dream home only to see there are six other offers on the table. Bidding wars always push the price up, leaving you at risk of either overpaying or being out-bid. When you build a home, it’s all yours without worries of losing out to a buyer with a bigger budget.
  • Brand new, low maintenance: With resell homes you are inheriting whatever issues come with the age of the home. With a new home, you have a low-maintenance property with all the latest features built to code. It will be years until you need to worry about investing in a new roof, windows, doors, or cosmetic upgrades like wood floors. You also will be under warranty for the first few years, so any issues should be covered.
  • Low energy consumption: Older homes are more likely to face energy efficiency challenges either due to outdated or failing insulation or due to older HVAC systems. Your new home will have all the eco-friendly bells and whistles from Energy Star doors and windows to efficient appliances and HVAC systems. This translates into improved home comfort and reduced energy bills.
  • New-home fresh: Just like car owners love that new car smell, your custom home has that new-home fresh appeal. No one has ever lived in the home before, so unlike a resell home everything is brand new.

Unsure about building a custom home for you and your family? At GBC Design & Build, we are here to help. Contact our team today to learn more about custom homes.

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sketch of new home on iPad

Some Potential Cons of Building

Although there are many benefits to going the customized built home root, it might not be the answer if you are concerned with any of the following:

  • You want to move in now: The average home takes about seven months to build. If you are looking for a quick fix, this is not the home for you. You can negotiate a reasonable move-in date when you go with a resell.
  • It costs what it costs: You really don’t have room for negotiation when building a home, as it costs what it costs. While you can hunt around for the most affordable builder and materials, you really don’t want to sacrifice experience and quality materials when it comes to building a home. However, you can try to negotiate a better price with a resell.
  • Too many choices: If you don’t have ideas in mind when building your custom home, you might find you are faced with too many choices. This can be stressful for some people. With a resell you can move in and make changes slowly as you create a plan.
  • Possible hidden costs: Although there are some hidden costs you might overlook with a resell home, for the overall price what you offer is what you pay. During the building process, you can get carried away with choosing too many upgrades that can add up.

As you can see when looking at building a new home vs buying an older home there are positives to both. However, building a custom home is really the only way to have everything on your dream home checklist. 

How to Choose the Right Home Builder

When choosing a home builder you want a full custom design-build company that takes care of every detail. You won’t be dealing with multiple contractors and instead, have a single project manager who ensures your job is complete from start to finish. A company with a proven track record with multiple examples of their builds provides proof of their innovation and ability to complete homes to satisfy a growing list of happy customers. Innovation is key as it demonstrates a commitment to construction and design best practices that ensure everything is built to code while saving money in building costs.

You will also find innovative builders are better at offering eco-friendly solutions to improve energy efficiency. A builder that is there to walk you through the process from design to completion, ensures you are involved in every step for complete satisfaction. A Baeumler Approved or Contractor Check builder must demonstrate they perform top quality work and adhere to a strict code of conduct. Your choosing a contractor checklist includes:

  • Proven track record with multiple projects completed and customer testimonials
  • Handling all permit applications and zoning
  • Budget control measures are in place
  • Open communication and updates throughout the entire process
  • All aspects of the job from demolition to finishing touches are managed through the builder

When determining how to choose a custom home builder it’s all about experience, certifications, and is a member of the Baeumler Approved or Contractor’s Check program to avoid disappointment. Choosing a contractor is easier when you go with a builder that handles everything from A to Z.

couple discussing new home construction with contractor

Designing Your Custom Home

The best reason to build your own home is that you have a customized home that has everything you always wanted. Designing your home therefore must be managed by a builder who understands your vision and offers the design skills that will bring your vision to life.

However, you also want a builder that can offer input regarding the modern custom home designs you might not know of. Through collaboration, you can build your ideal home using your ideas and making them spectacular. Your custom home design checklist should include the following steps:

  • A consultation to explore your ideas and learn more about how to design a new home using the latest trends and technology
  • A feasibility review and realistic budget based on your ideas
  • A conceptual design and 3D rendered media plan to review your home’s design prior to approvals
  • Architectural and construction drawings to help fulfill your vision and make the approval process easier

Custom luxury home designs require thorough planning and collaboration to ensure you have the features and layout that suits your style, budget, and lifestyle.

Custom Home Features

You want your home construction to use top-quality materials with attention to detail for every single feature. Unique custom home features can range from wine cellars, to completely integrated smart home technology and from completely customized home theatres to high-tech security.

Custom smart home installations are on the verge of becoming a new build and renovation standard, as technology plays a more pivotal role in home comfort, security, and overall home systems management. Custom smart home features include:

  • Smart thermostats: Smart thermostats learn your preferences while offering you the option to customize your home comfort settings. Settings and energy consumption can be monitored from anywhere using phone apps, so you always maintain control. As well sensors in the home can detect when someone enters or leaves a room to make temperature adjustments for ultimate comfort and energy savings. You can even coordinate the thermostat to work with local weather conditions. Smart vents can also be added to detect temperatures to make adjustments.
  • Whole-home humidifiers: Keep your home at the ideal humidity level with smart whole-home humidifiers that detect dry air and adjust accordingly.
  • Smart kitchens: Appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers improve energy efficiency while offering other features. For example, smart fridges use touchscreens with wi-fi connectivity so you can order groceries, or even take a photo of the inside of your fridge if you aren’t sure if you have milk. You can also purchase fridges that can make phone calls, play music, and more.
  • Smart security: Smart technology for home security allows you to lock and unlock doors from anywhere, monitor your home using video, open doors when guests arrive, and more. This system can also be hooked up to things such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for added peace of mind.
  • Water leak and mold sensor: While newer homes might seem less likely to have leaks, you never know what might happen. For example, you might leave a bathtub running, or decide to install a new tap on your own that leaks. You can sense leaks before damage can occur and receive a warning on your phone.
  • Smart garage doors: Open and close your garage as you arrive or leave the home, and also close the door remotely if you accidentally leave the door open.
  • Smart bathrooms: From self-cleaning tile to connectivity in the shower, the smart bathroom makes life easier and more enjoyable. Smart showers also learn each family member’s preferred temperature and will automatically turn on when you step into the stall. Water flow is efficient, sensing when you are under the showerhead and when you might step away to reach for the soap. Tubs offer vibrating water features and music streaming based on compositions to help you relax.

Although not everyone dreams of having all of these features, you can choose the features that suit your budget and lifestyle.

Interested in building your custom dream home? At GBC Design & Build we can make that happen. Call our team today to find out more!