Part 3: Building A Home in the Collingwood and Blue Mountain Area: Construction

WARNING TO READERS:  This post can be a dream buster.  Read it at your own peril.

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we looked at general building considerations and then land and site preparation costs.  Now we’ll look at construction costs and what someone should expect or consider.

When people start looking for land, I most often hear one of two things.  Either they are planning to put up a pre-fabricated home or package for about $90.00 a square foot or, they think they’ll build at around $100.00 per square foot.  I can tell you that neither of these will happen.

To build at $90.00 to $100.00 a square foot, you would have to be a quantity builder buying product in bulk and as a commodity.  You would have to have your own trades on staff year round and run a building business like a well-oiled machine.  Unless you are building your third subdivision, it just ain’t gonna happen.

First, if it did, that house would have the lowest quality of carpet and underpad, bottom grade linoleum instead of tile, the smallest and cheapest trim package you could find, windows that just pass code, actually, all materials that just meet code, basic shingles, vinyl siding, very limited landscaping, a gravel drive, an unfinished basement, laminate counters, veneered cabinets, marquis lighting over unframed mirrors in the bathrooms you get the picture.  If this is your idea of a dream home, then may I suggest you do yourself a favour and buy any one of the hundreds of new homes available in the area in countless new home subdivisions? Just tell them you want bare bones basics.

Perhaps you’d like a few nice touches like ceramic or slate tile in the entryway, kitchen and or bathrooms?  Speaking of bathrooms, you did always want an ensuite right?  Heck, while you are at it, what about a soaker tub?  And of course we know that 5 feet just won’t do.  That tub surround will look cheap too so really, why not tile the walls instead and, now that I think of it, American Standard fixtures are not nearly as nice as Moen, are they?  Sorry, I got so carried away in the bathroom, I almost forgot about the kitchen.  You could stick with the veneered IKEA cupboards but they chip into the particle board if you accidentally bump them.  The finishing nails pop too so maybe you should go for something that lasts a little longer and is more durable.  Maple is nice but then, it looks so much nicer with a crown mould header and under cabinet lighting.  Have you seen granite countertops?  Hard to stick with laminate now that you’ve got those nice cabinets.

You get the idea.  From the roof shingles to the furnace, to the flooring and trim, front windows to doors and paint to lighting, there are so many choices that make it utterly impossible to price building costs until you have every detail worked out.  Then add another twenty percent for forgotten items, problems, re-dos and cost increases.

Did you add on a few more dollars to finish the basement?  How about adding a garage?  If you want automatic doors, don’t forget to price those in too.  And a workbench.  Then there are walkways, doorbells, landscaping, sodding, patios, decks and all those other things you often get in a resale home.  Oh yes, that reminds me : window coverings and appliances should be budgeted as well.

I know.  I sound  sarcastic and now you are really mad at me.  I’m sorry for that but it’s because I’ve seen too many people have a dream turn into a nightmare.  Being realistic upfront is really important and, if you can deal with every point raised in this series so far, then you really can see your dream come to fruition and it can be a happy experience.

Next week, we’ll look at financing new home construction.

Related Posts:

Part 1:  Building A Home in the Collingwood  Blue Mountain Area
Part 2: Building A Home in the Collingwood  Blue Mountain Area; The Land

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!


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About Marg

is an award-winning real estate Broker who has successfully been helping people move since 1989. When it’s time for a move in or out of a bigger, smaller, better, more expensive, less expensive, newer, older, house, condo, farm, investment property, vacant lot or business, talk to Marg.

This entry was posted by Marg on Monday, April 7th, 2008 at 7:14 am and is filed under Buying Real Estate, Money Matters, New Homes/Construction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Comments

  1. DW says:

    As a custom home builder I find this some of the worst advice I have ever seen. It is extremely general and negative. Well designed, efficient homes can be built (and finished with moderate , mid level trim) in the $100 per sq ft range. DW

  2. Marg says:

    Thanks for your comment DW and I’m sorry to know I have offended you. I do however stand by my comments based on what I have seen in this area over a 20 year career. Every custom builder that I hae discussed this very topic with has completely agreed with my comments.

    But here’s an idea: I would LOVE for you to convince me otherwise in which case I’ll retract any comments that are incorrect or invalid here. Show me any custom homes you have built in this area in the last year or two at an end cost to the customer of $100.00 a square foot and let’s compare notes. If you can do it and do it well, I would be happy to start referring clients to you! I’m being very sincere with this idea DW.

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