Want to Build a New Home?

Building a new home can be a daunting process. Here are some of the key components to consider when tackling this project:

1. Location:

The first thing to consider will be the location of the home. This will be affected by your lifestyle as well as your budget. Do you want some space in the countryside or a town lot that will require limited maintenance? The location chosen will have an impact on the budget as there are different rates for development fees, building fees, permits etc. (see budget) depending on the jurisdiction. An existing lot with an older home (essentially a tear down) can also be considered.

2. Style of Home:

The type of home will need to be determined. This is not an exact process nor do all the finishes have to be determined at this point, however an overall concept should be considered. Type (bungalow, 2 storey, bungaloft), size (square footage, not including basement), number of bedrooms, bathrooms etc. Also to be considered is the type of exterior finish as this will have an impact on the budget. Do you want vinyl siding or stone (or something in between)? In some cases, the location and the layout of the land may have an impact on the style (does the lot suit a walk out), but generally speaking, the type, size etc. can be determined well in advance.

3. Regulations/Fees/Permits:

a. Conservation Regulations:

Conservation authorities have jurisdiction over much of the land in southern Ontario. Before land is purchased, it is critical to insure a home can be built. This can be done by checking with the local authorities, (Lake Simcoe Conservation and Kawartha Lakes Conservation) to see if the land falls under their authority. If so, the process to get approval can vary, from nothing to a simple application ($100 fee) to a slightly more complicated application ($500 fee) to an impact survey to not not being able to build at all. Generally speaking, some common sense goes a long way. If the property is marshy or has wet areas, or a stream or river running through it, be extra careful. If it looks high and dry, chances are good that a home can be built. Conservation maps can be found in the local township offices, are available on line and you can also call the conservation authority to get an idea of the process needed to build a home.

If the land falls under the conservation authority, that does not mean a home cannot be built. Determine the level of application required and make your determination. If you find your dream lot or vacant land, just be aware that there could be additional costs involved in preparing it for construction. This can, not only add additional costs, it can cause delays in the permit process, in some cases adding many months to the approvals needed (we have dealt with cases that took over a year to get conservation approval).

b. Fees:

There are a wide range of fees that are incurred before the permit application is approved. These are generally paid to the town (or township) when the building permit application is made. The cost of these fees varies widely, depending on the area (both town and region) and whether the location has town services or will require septic systems and/or a well.

i. Development Fees:

These fees will include the town development fees, regional development fees, education fees and in some cases park fees. They can range from a low of about $7,000 in Kawartha Lakes (Durham Region) out of town to over $40,000 for an in town lot (York Region). The fees not only vary by town and region, but also by whether the land has town services. Fees are higher if the lot has town services to cover the costs of the sewers, water etc.

Other fees can include an entrance permit (generally low cost), grading fee (and/or a deposit until the final grade is done) and well deposits in some areas.

ii. Building Permits:

The process is very similar in most jurisdictions. A building permit will require 2-3 copies of the plans, truss plan, engineered floor plan (if applicable), HVAC plan, EEDS form signed by the designer and the designer sign off. In most cases, the plumbing and HVAC is approved with the building plan. There are some areas that have separate permit applications for plumbing and HVAC (Toronto). Permits costs are determined by the the municipality

4. Budget:

Generally speaking, the building costs are expressed as a cost per square foot. Using $250 per square foot as a “budget” number, a 2,000 square foot home would have a budget of about $500,000. This is a guideline only and will be affected by a number of factors such as, but not limited to the following:

  1. Type of home (bungalow, 2 storey).
  2. # and type of bathrooms.
  3. Budget for the kitchen.
  4. Exterior finish.
  5. Interior finishes.

5. Builder:

This is the 2nd most important decision (after insuring the budget lines up). You will be working with this company for about 4-6 months, depending on the size of the project. It is critical that there is good communication and a very high level of trust. Make sure to due your due diligence when choosing the contractor/builder. This is generally the largest financial project people will tackle, so it is critical to make the right decision.

See Timberidge – How to Choose the Right Contractor.

6. Design/Build:

Once you have established the budget and picked the builder, it is best to work with them on the plans for the new home. They will provide guidance on the process, build in the budget as the plans are developed and can save a lot of time and money on the project. They will also be responsible for permits, inspections and insuring all the trades are on board, scheduled etc.

Timberidge is a Registered Tarion Home Builder and can help you build your dream home. Call us today and let us turn your dream home into reality

Registered Tarion Home Builder. Servicing Durham, York Regions and North Toronto.