In a “cookie-cutter” world, it’s nice to know that there’s one important area of your life that you can “go custom.” Your home. There are some great custom builders in Greater Vancouver, but not all of them are necessarily familiar with the style or type of home you’re looking for. This is where the experience of the builder really counts.

But even the most experienced builder can’t fully help you if you don’t know exactly where you want your dream dwelling built or have a reasonably clear idea of what you want. It’s important for you to identify as precisely as possible what you’re looking for. We’d like to offer you some practical tips in getting things rolling at the planning stages of your custom-built home.

1. Choose a location first: There’s a “lot” to consider.

Build the house to fit the location rather than make the location fit the house. The latter is often expensive, if not impossible. So, make sure you are well-versed about the lot. The lot has a lot to say– about you. It should reflect your personal tastes and what’s important to your lifestyle.

Privacy? Waterfront or mountain views? Proximity to amenities? These are important features for you to consider. But a very important thing often gets overlooked: the cost of connecting services to it. This where costs can pile up even before you start building. Connecting municipal services like water, sewer, electricity, and gas to a new home site can present some unwanted surprises. For example, having your house custom built on solid rock may seem a wise choice, until you get a quote on the cost of moving utilities through that rock to reach it.

Consider site preparation costs, too. Will they include environmental remediation or municipal zoning applications? Anything lurking underground that might need to be removed– like an old oil tank? Are there any tree, water or creek-side covenants that you will be subject to? British Columbia is indeed beautiful, but its natural beauty is prone to natural hazards. Is the lot on a flood plain or in a Tsunami zone? Investigate these things. It could save you thousands of dollars either before or after your custom-build.

There are often things that are underneath the surface, sometimes literally, that you need to know before buying. It pays to do your homework before the home work starts. We can help you at this vital pre-build stage. Contact us at Reid Developments for help with an analysis of your prospective custom home site before you buy the land.

2. Build a budget. The home will follow.

Set a common-sense budget based on how much you plan to spend on a lot, the actual custom home itself, as well as appliances and finishings. Then give yourself a reasonable cushion for unexpected expenses. A good custom home builder will work to make sure your project stays on budget, but there are inevitably one or two things that arise, often not directly related to the construction of your home. For example, you may decide on a last-minute cosmetic change to a particular room. Or, you might find some rather pricey new appliances that you’ve decided you can’t do without. Bottom line: give you budget some breathing space.

Just as it makes sense to build the home to fit the location, it also makes sense to build the home to fit the budget.

3. Secure the financing.

Having a custom home built is more challenging than shopping for an existing one. Usually, you’ll need to obtain a loan that covers you during construction and then transfers into a permanent loan after you’ve closed on the house. Some people choose to take out two separate loans, one for building and one permanent loan for after the home closes. Either way works, but you’ll need to decide which method suits you best. And either way, you’ll want to tackle all the paperwork well before building time.

Once the lot, the budget, and the financing are secured, you’re free to put into action those elaborate and creative ideas for your custom-built home. Start your home planning simply, with the basics like how many beds and baths, but continue to narrow down to as specific as you can possibly get. Those fine details are the fun and creative part for many people. The more details you can include now, the easier the future build will be.

4. Find the right builder.

Take time to find a home builder with a great reputation in your area for building the types of homes you’re looking for– and someone with whom you can communicate. It’s vital to keep lines of communication from pre-construction to finish.

A good builder will work hard to ensure you get exactly the custom home you’re looking for. However, even the best builders can’t read minds. They need vital input from you before they can get started. At Reid Developments, we have a pre-construction design contract to ensure that proper communication happens. We arrange preliminary meetings with the you, the architects, designers, and our team to keep everyone on the same page from the start– with the goal of keeping things on time and on budget!

Making the decision to build a custom home is an important one– but it doesn’t need to be an overwhelming one. If you’ve been considering building a custom home in Greater Vancouver, be sure to get in touch with us at Reid Developments. We’re experienced craftsmen who love to see our custom-built homes 5, 10 and 15 years down the road, looking as good as the day they were finished. Give us a call at 604-612-0149, or contact us online today!