It Starts With You…

Your Vision

Getting started requires a bit of dreaming, and also some decisions. To get started, it is helpful to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you want a bungalow, a bungaloft, or a multi-storey home?
  2. How many bedrooms are you looking for?
  3. How many bathrooms?
  4. Does it have a 2-car garage or a 3-car garage?
  5. How big is your new home?
  6. What other features would you be looking for? Would you like a large Great Room, granite in the kitchen, cathedral ceilings, or a large ensuite?

For a list of more options, see Quality Features and Optional Features on the Rockhaven Designs Custom Homes page, and jot down what interests you. But don’t spend too much time getting caught up in the details just yet. Before you get too far, you also need to decide where you want to build, and to establish a budget.

It may also be helpful to visit the many websites available, pick up a good magazine, or start sketching

Your Location

The second step toward your new home is to establish where you like to build:

  1. Are you looking to live in the country?
  2. What city/town/area would you like to live in, or near?
  3. Do you want to live close to your work, or certain amenities?
  4. Is there a particular building lot you are interested in?
  5. What are you able to afford?

For information about finding the right lot for your needs contact Rockhaven Homes.

Your Budget

The third step towards building your new custom home is to determine the total cost.

A common mistake is to start your conversation with a builder with costs, or to Google “cost of residential construction”.  The problem with either approach is that the total cost is made up of 5 components:

  1. Land
  2. Soft Costs
  3. Site Servicing and Site Works
  4. Construction Costs
  5. Design and Engineering

Land: In the area surrounding the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), land costs have become a very significant part of the overall cost of building a home. Typical costs for a lot now range from $250,000 (town lot in Fergus) to $600,000 (2 acres in Caledon), depending on the location, the amenities, and the features. To establish an approximate cost for the land, it is best that you search realtor.ca or local papers, and meet with a good realtor. A good realtor knows the available land in the area, and will be able to give you some initial, realistic costs for the land that you will need to include in your budget. If required, Rockhaven can recommend a realtor, to help with your land search.

Soft Costs: Soft Costs include all the permits, fees, development charges and HST that are required. Soft Costs are very dependent on your building location, both in number and cost, particularly in certain areas. For example, did you know that the Development Charges for an un-serviced, country lot in Caledon are currently almost $43,000? Development Charges can be found on each Town’s website, and are made up of the Town, the Region, and Education charges. Please note if there is a house on the property, Development Charges do not apply. However, there will be costs for the demolition and removal of the house. In addition, the number of permits required to get your Building Permit continues to rise. For example, to build on a serviced lot in Georgetown typically requires nine separate permits, each with their associated costs.

Site Servicing and Site Works: As you know, your new home will require water, hydro, heating and sanitary services. Either the local utilities will provide them, or you will have to build/provide these services on site (i.e. well, septic system, propane tank). Your new home will also need a driveway, and depending on the lot, may require the export or import of dirt, and the demolition and removal of existing buildings or trees. Sites also vary widely, in size, topography, features, type of dirt, and distance to utilities. In turn, the total cost for Site Servicing and Site Works can vary from $40,000 to $80,000, and for deep lots, even higher.

Design and Engineering: To be able to build your home, you will require design and engineering, for both the home and the site. These drawings capture your dream, but they also enable a Building Permit to be secured. In addition to the architectural drawings, you will also require structural engineering, HVAC calculations, roof and floor layouts, a servicing design, and a site and grading plan. A complete package for the design and engineering of a new home and the site ranges from $6 to $10 per square foot.

Construction Costs: The cost to construct a new home varies widely, and depends on a number of critical factors, including the size, the shape and the style of your home, as well as the design, the finishes and the features that you choose. Unit costs for a large, simple home with inexpensive features and finishes can be built for as low as $115 per square foot plus HST. A small, more complex home, with high-end features and finishes can cost as much as $350 per square foot plus HST.

Example: Now let’s consider a new home, built on a country lot in Georgetown, where the construction costs for the home are $500,000 plus HST. The total costs for this home would be approximately:

1. Land$400,000 2. Soft Costs Permits and Fees$10,000 Development charges$45,000 3. Site Work & Servicing$50,000 4. Design and Engineering$20,000 5. Construction$500,000 6. HST (on 1, 3, 4, and 5)$125,000 Total cost$1,150,000

As you can see in this example, the actual cost of building the home is only 44% of the total cost. Soft Costs and HST are 16% of the total, and the land represents 35% of the total cost.

As an experienced design-builder, and having built in 11 different municipalities, Rockhaven Homes is aware of all of the costs associated with constructing your new custom home.  Rockhaven reviews your requirements, your site and location, the design and features you are looking for, and only then provides an accurate and honest total project budget.

As a final comment on costs, please note that “custom” does not automatically mean expensive. Rockhaven can build your dream home, whether it is modest or majestic, as we customize each home to our client’s dream and their dollars.

As noted earlier, Rockhaven’s goal throughout the process is to minimize surprises and to maximize value. Over the years, building a quality, custom home by a reputable builder, has proven to be a very good investment for Rockhaven clients.