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Custom Home Construction and Remodelling Tips

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A woman speaks with a home builder in an unfurnished living room.Let’s say you’re looking to rebuild your house (and if you're not sure, you could always take our quiz). Before you start tearing down parts of it, you might consider bringing your home builder inside to survey things. You may even have ideas for a lot or property you haven’t bought yet. But are your design ideas feasible? Will they be too expensive? Will the lot conditions be affected by whatever you build on it?


In any case, bridging your vision with what your builder says is possible will make things a lot easier in the long run. Here are some of the reasons why this interaction will help out in this long endeavour.

 

 

A home builder points out a feature on housing blueprints to a couple.

1. There are always gaps between customer expectations in cost and what the reality is.

When dealing with something as personal as your dream house, it’s important to get an outside opinion. A home builder can play this role between dream and reality. It should be stated, however, that even if you invite your builder to an open house, his expertise will be in helping you discover potential remodelling ideas. However, he won't be a legal home inspector. The builder may first ask some questions about your budget expectations, as they relate to projects you have in mind, to see if they are realistic. This will get the ball rolling for you, helping give you ideas of what your new space could look like.

 

A half-demolished cottage sits near a lakefront in the autumn.

2. It might be worth it to tear down and start from scratch.

Buying teardowns is a pretty common experience in cottage country. Time and the elements have worn down quite a few long- (and, now, barely- ) standing structures, while many other existing cabins were just not built very well. Also thrown into the mix is the fact that lots are becoming harder to find. Once a home builder takes a look around the space, knowing what renovation possibilities are available to you, the structure might be better off cleared away to build a more comfortable cottage from scratch. This does add some cost for demolition, but it's typically not worthwhile to compromise and work within the restrictive, dilapidated confines.

 

 

A few Muskoka chairs sit on a rocky outcrop, overlooking an Ontario lake during sunset.

3. The logistics of building on certain lots will affect the construction cost.

If your lot is very steep, or if there's a lot of rock in the wrong places, blasting may have to be done. If it's on an island, everything has to be barged over, then loaded and unloaded twice. If it's too wet, it will need a lot of fill, and you may not be able to have a basement. Each municipality has different setback rules from property lines and water line — your home footprint must fit within these guidelines. In some cases, environmental impact studies will need to be done if you are close to significant natural areas.



Once a home builder takes a look around your property, you’ll come away with a better idea of what is possible and what resources you’d need to bring it to life. Before you start designing and looking for contractors, this simple step will paint a clearer picture of what is possible.

 

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