14 Common Misconceptions About Custom Home Construction
During our more than two decades of building custom homes in Victoria BC, the team here at LIDA Construction has heard our fair share of myths about the process. If you’ve been thinking about building your dream home with the help of a custom home builder, read on as we separate fact from fiction. Here are the top 14 misconceptions about custom home construction we hear from clients.
Myth 1: It’s important to buy a plot of land before you hire a builder.
Fact: Your builder can be a huge asset when it comes to finding the perfect lot for your custom home. They can help identify and assess features of the property that you might not have considered, like the lot’s orientation, quality of the view, any major slopes to work around, and environmental considerations that might be required. Consulting a home builder before you buy anything can save you time, money, and a great deal of effort.
Myth #2: It’s extremely difficult to get a construction loan.
Fact: Custom home builders can help you with the ins and outs of the loan process. All it takes is a little shopping around and working with your builder and your broker to find the right lender and best financing option for your situation. This process is made even easier if you have home equity built into an existing property, or you’ve just recently sold your existing home and have some cash in the bank.
Myth #3: It’s not possible to customize pre-designed floor plans.
Fact: The majority of our clients looking for their custom built home start by looking at hundreds of existing floor plans. This is considered a great place to start, but you are not limited to what you see on the floor plan menu. You can make many changes to a floor plan during the design phase. You can add rooms, customize kitchen and bathroom layouts, widen the hallways, and add things like fireplaces, exterior doors, skylights, and much more to turn an existing floor plan into something truly yours.
Myth #4: It’s tough to find a suitable lot.
Fact: It can be difficult to find a suitable lot in well-established neighbourhoods, but in most up coming neighbourhoods and subdivisions, building lots are plentiful. Start by talking with your builder about the neighbourhood you’re looking at. Just because it doesn’t look like there is anything available doesn’t mean all the land in the area is spoken for. For example, your home builder might have insider knowledge of land that’s set for rezoning and development. With the right professionals on your side, finding a suitable lot doesn’t have to be difficult.
Myth #5: The size of home you want is too big for the lot you have.
Fact: If at first your desired home is too big for the perfect lot that you have found, all is not lost. Your builder can customize your floor plan to suit your lot size without having to sacrifice as much square footage as you’d think.
Myth #6: Empty lots in a single neighbourhood are more or less the same value.
Fact: Not true! Just because two empty lots happen to be side by side and the same size, it doesn’t mean they are mirror images of one another. One could be near a cliff, the other not. One might already have service connections, while the other may not. Other factors to consider are each lot’s topography, proximity to neighbours once everyone is built out, and all the options for the home’s house placement.
Myth #7: The exterior of your home should end up looking like the picture.
Fact: Floor plans usually come with a vision of what the exterior of your home might look like if you go with that layout. This exterior is wide open to interpretation and can be changed a lot without ever affecting the floor plan. Many house plans come with more than one suggested elevation, meaning your exterior could end up a lot taller than what’s pictured. As for colour and siding materials, windows, and so forth, your builder will want to go over all of that with you and learn about your favourite architectural styles.
Myth #8: A ranch style home will cost less than a multi-storey home.
Fact: Some people view more storeys as more money, but in fact, if you take the same amount of square footage and divide it between two or more stories, it ends up being less expensive than building the same square footage on a single-level. This is because single-storey homes mean larger foundations, larger roofs, and extra interior framing and beams to support the larger roof.
Myth #9: The smaller the home, the cheaper the build.
Fact: Spending more doesn’t always mean you’ll end up with more house. The reason is because things like massive windows, numerous bathrooms, kitchen style, and landscaping all have a giant impact on your building costs. If budget is a concern for you, your builder can suggest ways to stretch your budget, meaning you don’t have to skimp on square footage to save money.
Myth #10: The larger the house, the larger the cost per square foot.
Fact: The opposite is true in this case. When your square footage increases, the cost per square foot goes down. In the construction industry, fixed costs like offsite servicing and impact fees are not based on the size of the home – they cost the same regardless of how big you’re going to build. In addition, there are the cost of building permits which are actually variable as it’s dependant on the cost of the build. And, as just mentioned, the complexity of the home is what affects the overall cost, not its size.
Myth #11: Skipping granite countertops can be a huge money-saver.
Fact: A large sheet of granite can really add sparkle and a wow factor to your kitchen. While it’s true that premium laminate countertops are cheaper, granite is still considered a popular choice for holding its value. And it can be more cost-effective than the alternative options out there, such as engineered stone a.k.a quartz, butcher block, recycled glass, or stainless steel. Read more about Choosing Counter Tops for Your Custom Kitchen.
Myth #12: Replacing walls with windows can help me save on construction costs.
Fact: Again, the opposite is true here. It’s actually more expensive to install floor to ceiling windows in a home instead of walls. Although drywall, wood framing, insulation, and painting all seem like they should cost more than simply popping in a few large windows, the fact is that today’s high-performance, energy efficient windows cost a lot to manufacture, and installing them is an expensive task as it requires multiple crew members. Your builder can help you strike the right balance of beauty, function, and affordability.
Myth #13: Getting a home custom built is too complicated.
Fact: While having your dream home custom built involves many decisions, the entire process can be simplified by hiring a builder who has a good reputation and who knows your local region. Look for a custom home builder who communicates well and takes the time to understand your preferences. They can help you narrow down each choice to make based on your budget and overall design goals.
Myth #14: Building a custom home takes a long time.
Fact: Getting a home custom built can take a long time if you get caught up in bad weather, experience problems with the building permit application process, or want exotic materials that have to get shipped from far and wide. If getting a home built swiftly is a top priority for you, you’ll need a company on your side that has decades of experience building in the Victoria, BC region. At LIDA Construction we have a streamlined process and team of experts who will ensure your custom home building experience is smooth and steady.