Dream Home - Bosley Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage - Homes and houses for sale in Toronto including Cabbagetown, The Annex, Danforth Village, Lawrence Park and Riverdale

Dream Home

  • Bosley Real Estate
  • 24 October 2014

Thinking of building your dream home from the ground up?  Here’s what you need to know for the difficult task ahead 

You’ve searched for months, seen too many houses to remember and still can’t find a place your happy with. And then, a fixer-upper in your favourite neighbourhood is on the market. It seems perfect — the location you want with an opportunity to build the house of your dreams. But Bosley real estate representative Kate Watson cautions against getting too excited.


Before and After“The financial aspect of this is challenging,” says Watson. Not only is there the cost of construction, but it can be difficult to get financing on a property that’s going to be torn down. “You may not qualify for a strictly residential mortgage and may need to get a construction loan,” she explains. Though she admits, “if you want to be in an area and the housing stock doesn’t match your needs you may not have a choice but to renovate.” Areas such as Long Branch and Mimico are increasingly popular with buyers but are populated with homes at 1,200- to 1,400-square-feet — smaller than what many homebuyers are looking for.

If you find yourself considering the equally enviable and onerous task of building a home, whether from the ground up, or from the walls in, Watson suggests the following:


1.      Hire an architect. Architects will not only design your home for you, and provide the contractor with a guide on the work to be done, but they will also cost out the project so that you’ll know how to budget. “It takes an architect several months to put a plan together, but it’s worth it because you know exactly what the house will be like in the end.”


2.      Avoid just starting the work. If you can’t hire an architect, “at least hire an interior designer,” Watson says. He or she will make sure the product will look attractive in the end, which is important for resale.


3.      Factor in all the costs. “Can you live in the house while it’s being worked on?” Watson asks. “People may not be away of rental costs in Toronto,” she says, explaining that renting a family home can cost $3,000 per month. And then there’s the cost of making sure the work is done right the first time. “You have to be prepared to pay a professional amount, because a bad contractor will cost more money in the end,” she says.


4.      Recognize that one of the biggest challenges is timing, so make sure your chosen contractor is not spreading himself over several different projects.


While some may dream of knocking down that 50’s bungalow and building a slick modern masterpiece, realities set in quickly. Setbacks and coverage limitations will shock your system. In some cases just some simple remodeling is the way to go. A recent Houzz.com survey suggests that nearly 38% of home owners are planning an addition or some type of remodeling over the next few years with kitchen and bathroom projects leading the way.