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Part 1: Building A Home in the Collingwood/Blue Mountain Area

With spring fast approaching, we’re getting more enquiries again from people who are looking for vacant land on which to build their new home now or at some point down the road.  After 19 years in this business, I’ve seen both winners and the losers in the building game.  There are those who built something that subsequently had a higher resale value within a few years and, there are those who have far more into their dream home than they’ll get out for a very long time.  The difference between winning or losing at the building game is made up of a number of different factors:

location
the property
the design
the quality of construction
the quality of the finishes
again, the LOCATION

You’ll notice, I didn’t say, the price.  The cost is derived from all of these other factors and an expensive but well designed and built home in the right location with suitable finishes will produce a better return than a moderately priced and poorly build home in a terrible location.

In this post, we’ll look at some questions would-be-home-builders should ask themselves and in later posts, we’ll talk about site preparation costs and then, construction costs.

In my experience, many people think they can buy a lot and then build their dream home at a reduced price or, that they can put up a pre-fabricated home within an unrealistically low budget.  My uncle is an electrician and my brother is a carpenter so we have contacts in the family. How many times I’ve heard that! Before you make a decision to build, let’s consider a few things:

Did you know that the most expensive part of building a house is in the materials and not in the labour?
Did you know that, according to a study done by Mattamy Homes (Canada’s largest home builder), there are 91 steps involved after the site work is completed?  It starts with staking out the site and ends with paving the driveway.  Do you have 91 friends, relatives or skill sets that will allow you to actually save money?
Tradespeople are really, really busy.  Wait, good tradespeople are really, really busy up here and some are already booked out for the year.  If you want a good excavator, plumber, electrician, carpenter and such, you need to be patient and, you need to be prepared that you’ll pay for the quality.  You also best have very good project management skills and be able to co-ordinate the trades.  If one doesn’t show up and the others therefore get held up, can you jump in and drive the backhoe or, will you pay the extra fees in having the trades come back another day?
Do you have the product knowledge that will best serve your needs now and into the future?  The difference of $2,000 in the total cost of your windows could save you $20,000 in ten years.  What about energy efficiency in design and finishes?  Do you have enough time to learn all the best options?

If you are still satisfied and comfortable at this point, then it’s time to consider the costs of the land and site preparation.

Go to Part 2

When it’s time to buy or sell real estate in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain or Georgian Triangle area, contact Marg, an experienced and competent Broker who’s ready whenever you are!

2 thoughts on “Part 1: Building A Home in the Collingwood/Blue Mountain Area

  • Lance Naismith
    on March 18, 2008

    Mattamy is right, it is a complex process to build a house. Too bad they make shortcuts. Sold me a home without electrical power and the furnace was wired next door. This allowed an unethical sale of house. As well, to save time, Mattamy Homes began construction on land recently fertilized with bio-solids (human waste) contrary to provincial guidelines. Yes the building process is complex and that is why I recommend you hire a housing inspector to monitor it’s construction in order to protect your investment..

  • Marg
    on March 18, 2008

    I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties Lance. I will be doing further posts addressing construction, warranties and inspections however, for now, your point is valid that people should absolutely bring along qualified home inspectors on their closing inspections of new homes.

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