Purchasing a home is the largest purchase most people will make in their lives and a highly emotional decision. Young couples and families are not just purchasing land and building materials, they want a place they can fill with future lifelong memories. Finding the right contractor and subcontractors can be one of the biggest obstacles for the uninitiated when it comes to deciding on a custom home. With the plethora of builders in the market advertising in the Yellow Pages and online it can be a difficult decision deciding who to go with.
In this article, we’ll examine why you should consider a custom home.
The Usual Construction Process
Deciding to custom build your home brings up a lot of questions for the average home buyer. How much will it cost is the biggest question that always comes up? How long will my home take to build? Can I see the progress of my future home being built? Will I be utilizing Eco-Friendly materials in the construction of my home? How will my customization requests be incorporated into the construction process? What types of building permits will be required? Is the builder competent in dealing with municipal inspections? What do I need to know regarding the signing of contracts and the legalities involved?
First Phase: Pre-Construction
Before construction on a new home commences the plans must be approved through the municipal building permit office. Details like sewage, electrical, plumbing or a septic system if you live in a rural community must be provided for a permit before construction begins. The actual construction site may also be tested for example soil samples and if the site sits upon any power lines underground.
Second Phase: Foundation
Excavation is done on the foundation like removal of topsoil or other debris before concrete slabs are poured to support the foundation walls. Sewage, cable, water and electrical lines are usually brought in on site for future installment. The foundation walls are poured between wooden blocks to hold their form until they are dried. Depending on the terrain the foundation may be insulated against moisture, drains are also installed that drain excessive moisture away from the foundation while construction is underway.
The contractor you are working with will discuss what types of material you want for the interior of your home. At this point the actual construction of your home may be weeks away from starting.
Third Phase: Framing
The next step after the foundation is complete is the the construction of wall partitions for interior and exterior walls. Windows and doors are also brought in and installed. In B.C., homes are not usually built with basements compared to other provinces in Canada, the main floor starts at the walk in level, the heating and cooling apparatus is also installed. A structural inspection is performed by the municipality at some point during the third phase.
Fourth Phase: Exterior and Interior
Having a competent custom built home designer and contractor is integral at this point in the construction process. Much of the work is overlapping between the numerous trades people on site. Insulation for exterior walls takes place along with the installation of electrical outlets, floor tiles, cabinets and the siding materials for the exterior of your new home. The site for your new home will have several inspections from the municipality to determine if everything is up to code.
Fifth Phase: The Final Step
Final steps are completed at this stage in addition to a massive clean up of the premises and surrounding lot. Your contractor will arrange a walk through of your new home for your approval, if there are any concerns at this point this should be discussed with the builder.
Top 10 Reasons for Selecting a Custom Home
1. Outlets and Plugs
Custom homes are built to your particular specifications, many homes built before the internet were not outfitted with ethernet sockets and electrical outlets for today’s numerous gadgets. If you are a person that works at home you can decide in what rooms you need connectivity in before your home is constructed. You can have the outlets installed for your flat screen TV on the wall of your choice in your living room.
2. Laundry Room
Have all of your major appliances like the washer and dryer situated on the main floor of your home. This saves you the inconvenience from having to move heavy appliances from the top floor when you want to get them replaced or repaired. If you rent a laneway home in the back of your property you can have the laundry room built in the rear of the house with easy access for your renters.
3. High Ceilings
You decide how high the ceilings in your home will be. If you like getting the Sun in the early morning hours why not incorporate a loft ceiling with high windows that can take advantage of the morning rays. Loft ceilings are very chic and in fashion these days, you can have the benefit of a Yaletown loft setting in whatever room you like. Taking advantage of the beautiful Vancouver summers is a must for any Vancouverite.
4. Shoe or Suit Storage Closet
If your significant other is a connoisseur of Manolo Blahniks like Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City”, she will love you for giving her that walk in closet with the saks fifth avenue lighting she always dreamed of. A walk in shoe closet should keep you out of the dog house for any future transgressions you may commit, at least it will give you some immediate brownie points.
5. Kitchen Islands
Most interactions in a home take place around where people eat, this is one of the main reasons why granite kitchen island countertops are all the rage. For social butterflies who like to entertain you can stage your social gatherings around the most popular place in the home, everyone likes to eat and getting your food prepared in front of you only adds to the ambience.
Nowadays kitchen islands have built in deep fryers, griddles and grills making the traditional oven obsolete. Instead of having a big fan above the oven today’s modern day exhaust
fans can be built beneath the heating elements to draw heat and smoke away from the person preparing the food.
6. Increased Hallway Width
If you are like me you prefer wide open spaces, wide hallways make it easier to traverse through and move furniture in and out of rooms. Trying to maneuver a large piece of artwork through narrow hallways without scratching up the walls can be a demanding task for a moving company.
7. Double Doors
Having double doors for the front entrance eliminates the logistics of moving furniture and equipment in and out of the home.
8. Wall and Floor Safes
Added security is extremely important today, the instability of the dollar and the move towards having precious metals at hand like gold and silver can not be underestimated. Instead of storing precious valuables in the bank vault where it is not insured you may want to seriously consider having your own little Fort Knox installed in your bedroom wall or in the floor of your residence.
9. Radiant Heating Floor Tiles
The worst thing about waking up in the morning and getting out of bed is stepping on cold floors. Radiant heated floors eliminate the discomfort of a cold rainy winter morning in Vancouver, you all know what I talking about. Vancouver is one of the worlds most beautiful cities but as every Vancouverite will attest, it rains here 8 months of the year leaving that damp cold feeling in your bones.
10. Green Friendly Building Materials
The BC Building Greening Code is an ongoing initiative that BC residents are passionate about. HETs or dual flush toilets are required in new residential buildings as of October 3, 2011. Green building practices are an increasing concern for the BC community, people are getting hip to the idea of sustainability and the preservation of the environment.
Once You Go With A Custom Home You Never Go Back
These are just some of the reasons why considering a custom home is of benefit to your bank account, peace of mind and the environment. It just makes so much more sense to build your dream home from the ground up instead of having to hire expensive sub contractors to convert your pre-existing space into what’s right for you. Custom built homes save you money in the long run by getting your personalized look right the first time out.