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Is Cost per Square Foot the Best Way to budget for your Dream Custom Home in Calgary?

One of the first steps when planning your new Calgary custom home is to set up a budget. One of the most common inquiries we get from our clients is what is the cost per square foot to build a custom home in Calgary?

The cost to buy a home, to build a spec home and to build a custom home are all different. Additionally, when you are building a custom home many factors influence the cost such as location, architectural design, size, and so on.

In short, the cost per square foot is directly related to the area and type of construction. The bigger the area the lower the cost per square foot since the demo, excavation, water and sewer reconnection, permit fees, the bulk of the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical, rough-ins, and fixtures won’t change considerably if we build a 1,900 square foot home or 2,400 square foot home.

Hence when we divide the total cost by the square footage, the bigger the area the lower the cost per square foot. So, speaking only about square feet might not be the best way to compare builders unless all the possible builders have the same information about the size and your selections. That is taking into account the building materials, finishes and overall look you wish to have in your custom home.

Also, the cost per square foot of construction will change depending on the type of construction, which is two-storey single, three-storey single, two-storey duplex, bungalow, etc.

For example, for the same area above grade, the costs for a bungalow and a two-storey can be very different. It is essential to note that in a bungalow there is a higher amount of concrete needed for foundations and basement slab, more roof area, and other details that will impact the cost.

In a two-storey, we will require more framing material, materials for your exterior finishing (stucco, hardie board), windows, etc. So, in this case, the simple use of a generic value in dollars per square foot won’t make give you an accurate budget.

Building a garage suite or laneway home has become a solution for both having a multi-generational family in the same property or to have rental income.  To calculate costs for garage suites, the major factor to take into account is if we are building it on top of a 2 or 3-car garage. This will dictate the area of the suite itself, and once again the final cost.

Although it may seem hard to get a good gauge of the cost, you can find more in-depth information in our free guide - Cost of Custom Home Construction - and get in touch with us! In our initial consultation, we will prepare a class 3 budget to ensure your budget will work to build your custom home.

ROI or Cost? Planning Your Custom Home Construction

When you are planning a custom home construction, you may well fall within one of two camps. You either want to get the house of your dreams and are not primarily concerned with the cost (at least within certain limits) or you want to achieve the best return on investment or ROI.

In other words, if you come to sell your custom home construction, you want to make a profit.

A good few of our clients lie between these two camps. They want the home of their dreams, are planning to live in it for a long while but want to keep the costs under control so they have the opportunity to get a good return when they come to sell. With any construction project, that makes perfect sense.

ROI is usually expressed as a percentage. It takes the net return on the investment, in this case, how much you sell the home for, divided by the cost of building it. This figure is then multiplied by 100 to give the percentage. Anything over 100 means that you have made a profit.

While the net return on your home sale will be a single figure, in this case, the cost of our building may well be complicated and adding it all together to provide a true figure can be difficult. But here is where Sunset Homes can help, by using our budget estimate. Once the drawings are completed by using our online management system we can keep track of budget vs actuals.

The big benefit of ROI when it comes to custom home construction, of course, is that as a metric is fairly uncomplicated.

The costs of your custom home construction

On average, if you are intending to build an infill custom home construction in Calgary, you should expect to spend anything between $250 to $400 per square foot. This is a pretty broad-ranging estimate and if you are trying to plan in order to achieve a good ROI, it’s not really that useful.

Make the wrong choices and you’ll quickly see the cost of building your home construction rise. Even if you are not building the property as a specific investment to sell for a profit, you will want to make sure that you control costs as much as possible while still achieving your dream home.

It’s worth taking a closer look at the different aspects of a custom build and how these can affect the final cost of your home and the eventual ROI.

1. Location

This is perhaps one of the most important choices you will make. Where are you going to build your custom home?

It can make a huge difference to your return on investment. If you are looking to make a sizeable profit than choosing an upcoming area of Calgary will give you more scope and the potential to make a greater profit.

Check out our blog post: Why Location is Important For Your New Custom Home

2. Size of your lot

We probably don’t have to mention that the bigger your house, the more it is going to cost. A large plot can, of course, give you greater flexibility but it can present challenges if you are looking to make a significant ROI. The condition of the plot and how much work needs to be done to prepare it for your custom home construction can also make a difference.

This generally comes down to a judgment call based on how much you have to invest in your new property and what kind of building you wish to create. A large plot may mean, for instance, that you can build more than one property. However, a strong ROI is not always guaranteed.

3. Acreage vs infill

Infills are plot sites in the city of Calgary that have been built on in the past but are now available for redevelopment. The benefits of these sites are that they have the utilities connected and sewage outlets.

You may have to demolish the existing building, adding cost, but you have a prime inner-city location that is going to be in high demand once you have completed your home construction.

You may, however, want to go outside the urban sprawl and find a rural acreage to develop your project. Choose a desirable location and it can have a huge impact on your eventual ROI. There are added costs that you will need to take into account such as getting an electricity and gas supply to the property. 

Check out our blog: What Does it Really Cost to Build an Infill Custom Home in Calgary?

4. Your selections

What materials you use for your property and which fixtures and fittings you want to include will all have an effect on the final cost of your build. There are ways to economize without skimping on the luxury feel of your custom home. For example, swapping real hardwood flooring for engineered wood will save you money but still look fantastic.

5. The construction team

Finally, the partner you choose to carry out your custom home construction is going to be absolutely vital. Ideally, they will be able to act as a guide, connecting you with the right services, helping you get value for money, assistance in choosing the best architect and delivering the build on time and within budget.

It’s important to choose your partner wisely and take your time to do your due diligence before you enter into any contract.

Why work with Sunset Homes in Calgary

We put our clients at the heart of our custom home construction operation and provide a full building service. Whether it’s finding the best plot, calculating the cost of your build or delivering sustainable construction and a green home, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

If you want to explore how to get the best ROI on your custom build, contact the team at Sunset Homes today.

Breaking Down the Cost of Custom Home Construction

You’ve decided to build your own home in Calgary and now you have to answer one big question: How much is it all actually going to cost?

At first sight, costing a project of this size may seem complicated and even insurmountable.

Once you begin to get into it, however, you’ll start to understand the difference between hard and soft costs, what your various selections mean to your budget and how starting with a broad costing and then narrowing it down as you develop your plan can really help.

Here we break down some of the most common cost areas when building a custom home and how they impact your overall budget.

Controlling your costs: How to budget effectively for your custom build

At Sunset Homes, we go through a three-stage process when helping our clients develop a realistic custom build budget.

The first is to look at the project through a broad spectrum such as where you intend to build, the type of home you are looking for and its size. From that, we will create a class 3 budget estimate of the cost based on our wide experience building similar projects.

The next stage is to begin to develop your concept and get architect’s plans drawn up. This gives us a more concrete proposal to cost from using our building specifications or standards, which is mid to high end. We’ll know the exact floor plan, the sort of materials you’ll be using in the home and be able to narrow down the budget based on this information.

The final phase is to further refine your choices. For example, whether you want traditional hardwood floors or engineered hardwood floors will have a cost implication. At this stage, you should be reasonably confident that your budget covers everything it needs to.

Check out our blog: 3 Steps to Create the Final Budget for your Custom Home in Calgary.

Soft vs hard costs

Soft costs are those that are not immediately visible when it comes to home construction. As a very general figure, these will be around $50 per square foot for your custom building and will include:

  • Architectural and design fees
  • Energy modeling
  • Survey and engineering fees
  • Off-site levy
  • Subdivision
  • Project management fees
  • Insurance
  • Demolition, development and building permits

There may be other soft costs depending on the type of property you are developing and its location.

Hard costs cover the physical construction of your property and are much easier to asses. They include:

  • All labor and materials costing for building the property
  • Demolition, excavation, backfill, foundation, framing, roofing, etc
  • Costs for installing or connecting utilities, water systems, drains, and as well as infrastructure such as paving
  • Costs for kitchen cabinets and tops, built-ins, and bathrooms and other interior design aspects
  • Costs for landscaping, sprinkler system, decks, putting in a pool, or other exterior work

Hard costs will make up the majority of your budget and may average out at about $250-$300 per square foot depending on the size and scope of your build.

When deciding on your budget, of course, it’s always important to give yourself some leeway for any unforeseen circumstances or delays. Adding at least 10% to your hard cost budget will ensure that you are prepared for this until we have completed the plans and selections, since at this time we can have the exact cost of your new custom home.

Check out our blog post: Calgary Custom Home Builder Tips to Keep your Budget on Track.

Getting your selections right

The materials you choose to build your house and everything that goes into it, from the bricks and mortar down to the screws and bolts are all selections. Most of these will have been discussed with your architect and incorporated into the design and specifications for your build.

Setting the appropriate budget may involve a trade-off between different mid-end and high-end selections.

One of the most common examples is the type of flooring you choose. Traditional hardwood flooring is attractive and a popular choice. It’s also a luxury end selection and relatively expensive. Switching to engineered wood, which looks elegant and is built to last, is a mid-end option which could save you a significant amount on our flooring budget.

You may, for instance, want to put more focus on how green your home is going to be. Sustainability is an important part of construction nowadays and many of our clients are looking for options that save them money but also have less impact on the planet. It’s one of the reasons we put such great store in being part of the Built Green program.

You might want to invest in a state of the art HVAC system or the best energy-efficient windows but are worried about the costs. This could mean a tradeoff where, for example, opting for engineered wood floors could save you enough in your budget to introduce the high-end energy-saving measures you ideally want.

The choice of selections is about balance and, hopefully, staying within budget while still getting your dream home.

Check out our blog series: Custom Home Builder Tips For Making Selections.

Why choose Sunset Homes for your custom build

Developing your project plan and applying this to your budget is an essential part of custom home construction. At Sunset Homes, we have a strong track record of delivering quality builds for our customers.

That starts with nailing down the plan for an individual property and then costing it effectively. That way, our clients know what to expect and are able to stay in control of their budget. We are open and transparent at all stages of the design and construction process which is something that all our clients have appreciated over the years.

If you have now decided that you want to build your dream house and are searching for a partner that can be with you every step of the way, contact the team at Sunset Homes today.

 Why Choose Engineered Hardwood for Your Custom Home – Beyond Cost

Over the years, Sunset Homes has worked with many clients to achieve their dream home. We can guide and support you through every stage of the process, from initial concept and architect’s plans through to starting the build and full completion.

If you are building your own home, you’ll have to make a lot of different decisions, of course. One of the most common is to decide what type of flooring you want installed.

Hardwood is a popular choice but can be expensive. It’s also less sustainable than you might think. One mid-end option that looks just as good, and is certainly built to last, is engineered hardwood.

Here we take a closer look at why you should consider this type of flooring beyond the lower cost compared to traditional hardwood.

What is engineered hardwood flooring?

Engineered hardwood has a number of different names, including manmade or composite wood. It’s made by bonding different layers of wood and then finishing with a solid, high-quality layer. This is the polished surface that you see when it is laid in your kitchen or living room.

You have a choice of surfaces, for example, oak or walnut. This layer is actually thicker than in veneered wood, the type of product that you find at your local DIY store so it’s considered a mid-end selection.

The boards are produced in a range of different sizes and can be fitted together with a tongue and groove or click mechanism. You can also opt for finished boards, where the wood has been treated, and unfinished, which means the wood needs to be stained before it is ready.

Solid hardwood vs engineered hardwood

Solid hardwood is a what it actually says on the box. It’s a solid piece of timber from the tree of your choice which is then stained and treated and cut to fit your space. While everyone seems to love the look of solid wood flooring, it’s use is actually on the decline in North America for a variety of reasons which we will discuss in the benefits section below.

The benefits of engineered hardwood

1. The cost

Depending on which products you choose, solid hardwood can be around 20% more expensive than engineered hardwood. That’s not the only consideration that you should take into account when making your decision based on cost.  

Installing solid hardwood floors is a highly specialized undertaking and not all areas of your home are likely to be suitable. Engineered hardwood is easier to fit and generally comes with a less expensive installation cost.

2. The look

Unless you are a professional who deals in hardwood floors, you will probably be hard-pressed to notice the difference between solid wood and an engineered product. When fitted by experts, they both look fantastic, it’s just that engineered wood is a lot less severe on your pocketbook.

The look and the cost of engineered hardwood products are probably the two primary features that our customers look at. Once they see what a finished floor of this type looks like they are often won over.

3. A durable hardwood top layer

Engineered wood flooring is highly durable and relatively easy to maintain over time. If you do need to sand it down and refinish at a much later date, it’s just as easy to do as with solid hardwood floors. That’s because it has quite a thick hardwood top which sets it apart from standard, thinner veneers.

4. Temperature and humidity

Solid wood floors are moisture sensitive and expand and contract depending on the weather and indoor conditions. That makes them unsuitable, for example, for installing below ground where moisture can be an issue.

Engineered hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is highly resistant to moisture and can be installed absolutely anywhere and on any surface. If you are planning underfloor heating for your home, for example, engineered hardwood should be the preferred option.

5. It’s flexible

Engineered hardwood flooring can be applied in more areas. You can install it on underlay, have it fixed to a subfloor, installed in a cellar, the kitchen, bathroom, in fact, practically anywhere. It’s also easy to maintain and clean.

6. Quick and easy to install

The speed and ease with which engineered hardwood can be installed means that you pay less on these costs than you would with a solid hardwood installation. If damage does occur for any reason, the boards are relatively easy to replace.

7. A wider choice

You have a much wider choice nowadays when it comes to engineered wood. Some species of solid wood flooring are extremely expensive and in short supply and it a be difficult to find a local installer who understands what your needs are.

8. It’s sustainable

Finally, choosing engineered wood over solid hardwood is now considered the more eco-friendly option. For a start, the manufacturing process is highly efficient and less hardwood is used. It also looks natural when it is fitted in your home.

Why choose Sunset Homes for your custom home construction

The potential to use engineered hardwood for your flooring is just one option we will discuss with you when developing the plan for your custom home construction in Calgary.

Making the right selections for your property is generally a case of getting value for money balanced against aesthetic choice.

We work with a wide range of different clients to help build their dream home. Some are young professionals looking to settle down and build a place they can truly call their own. There are investors who are looking to get a return on their investment. There are retirees who now want to create a hub for their extended family.

Everyone has a different vision and that is what makes creating a custom home construction such an exciting process.

Whether it’s choosing the right flooring, picking the best plot or helping you build your architectural plan from initial concept to starting construction and then watching you step into your new home for the first time, Sunset Homes will be with you every step of the way.

Contact us today to begin making that dream come true.

A Rough Guide to Costing Custom Home Construction

For most people, planning to build their own home is probably the biggest single project they will undertake in their lifetime.

Fully costing a custom home construction may be a complicated process but it’s essential to know where you stand and how your budget is going to be used before you get the builders on site to start work.

At Sunset Homes in Calgary, we’ve worked with a wide range of clients helping them to realize their dream of not only owning their own home but building it from scratch as well.

Here we take a closer look at the basic steps involved in costing your home construction project and the steps you need to consider.

Size and type of land

The biggest single, one-off outlay for your building project will be the land you choose to purchase. The cost will vary depending on whether you buy in a rural or urban area. There are a range of issues associated with location that will have an impact on the final, overall cost of your home construction.

An infill site built on premium real estate land in the inner city may cost a little bit more but a rural acreage in a new area will have substantial extra costs associated with it in relation to installing utilities, sewer and water outlets.

An infill site has all the utility connections fixed in. You may, however, need to spend extra money demolishing an existing building before the project is able to begin.

The ground you build on can also make a difference in the cost of the construction. Rocky land, for example, may have to be broken up to allow for foundations to be laid. Uneven ground will have to be leveled out.

Each location has its own characteristics so understanding how working with these will impact the final construction cost is essential. We at Sunset Homes will inspect any land before our client makes the final offer to purchase and advise on any constructability issues we foresee.

Permits and preparation

There are likely to be numerous legal fees incurred in obtaining your property. You will also need to apply for permits to build on the new land or knock down an existing build. You might even have to apply for permission for additional electrical and plumbing work.

Clearing the land and getting it ready for work also has a significant impact on costs in the early stages of your custom home construction. This is especially true if there is a problem with the land which needs to be addressed first. That’s why this stage also usually involves engineering surveys and inspections.

Design of your property

It goes without saying that the larger your custom build, the more it is going to cost. Once the land has been selected, the architectural design can be worked out in greater detail.

Architects generally work on a cost per square foot when it comes to designing a property. They are not just there to create plans, they also have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure those plans are implemented properly.

The cost of the materials you want to use and the quality of installations can also be considered here. For example, if you want luxury glass in the windows or state of art energy-saving features, there will be an impact on the cost involved. At this stage, making the right selections is vital. That is why it is essential to work with a design and construction company which is able to offer you options.

At Sunset Homes, sustainability is built into every aspect of our operation. One of the key questions any project of this size and breadth needs to address is the energy-saving approaches that are going to be employed.

Clients should consider a couple of parameters. The first is what is desirable. We find that many of clients today are looking for a sustainable home but are worried about the costs. The second is the cost savings that building a green home brings and the difference it makes to the resale value if the house is put it on the market.

You can find out more about our approach to green building at Sunset Homes on our recent blog post: Why is Energy Modelling Important for your New Calgary Custom Home?

The construction of your custom home

If all the previous stages, including your selections, have been considered fully, the cost of constructing your new custom home becomes a lot easier. Materials cost a set amount. The builder knows what quantity will be required, more or less, and an estimate can be calculated.

The time to complete the build may also be reasonably calculated and the cost of labor and equipment estimated. There may be various inspections that need to be carried out but the core outlay for this part of the process is much easier to keep track of.  As with any project of this size, however, there will be times when things don’t quite go according to plan. Working with a construction team that has a good track record will keep these to a minimum but it’s important to factor in some potential delays during construction. Openness and transparency are essential and a key quality you want to find in the team you contract.

Overall, it’s essential to have some leeway in your costing for a job of this size to ensure that you have the funds available if challenges arise during the construction process.

Interior design

Outfitting your home is almost as important as the construction. The interior design will include everything from the wall color and kitchen-top choice to the type of bathroom you want, the flooring materials and the lighting. This part of the process is all about prioritizing – you can always add non-essential fixtures and fittings at a later date.

How Sunset Homes can make your dream come true

We can help you with every stage of the custom home construction process, from the very initial concept through to full completion. At Sunset Homes, we know how much this project means to you and that you’ll have high expectations.

We bring many years of experience and a great reputation to the table. We’re a Built Green company and sustainability lies at the heart of our operation. We’re also highly customer focused. Our aim is to deliver your dream, not dictate what you can dream.

If you are searching for a friendly, transparent and talented home construction team to work with, contact Sunset Homes today.

Cost Analysis: Constructing a Custom Home vs a Traditional Build

If you are searching for a new home, you have two options. You can decide to buy a traditional build that has already been constructed or is in the process of being built. Or you can opt to take on your own custom house construction.

If you have the money to invest, want to create your dream home and have a lot of influence on how the property looks and where it is located, a custom home construction, while a significant undertaking, will certainly deliver on your expectations.

The cost of constructing a custom home

A custom home is built from the ground up using a design you have created through an architect. It’s your own personal project and you have a lot of input into what is included and what is not.

This is a large project and involves you in the whole building process from initial concept and design, the selection of fixtures and fittings, interior design, through to full completion.

Each custom home construction is different and putting an actual price on this kind of development can be difficult. At Sunset Homes, we work with our clients through several phases before we actually achieve a realistic estimate of what a build like this will cost. It involves moving from a vague outline to a full plan where most of the design factors have been taken into account.

On average, however, you can expect a custom home construction to cost anywhere between $250 and $400 per square foot. Take a look at our blog: What Does it Really Cost to Build an Infill Custom Home in Calgary?

If you are building a home of 2,400 square feet, a personalized construction could cost anywhere between $600,000 and $800,000. There are a large number of factors that will affect the final cost of construction, including:

  • The location and size of your plot.
  • Whether you need to install utilities such as gas and electricity.
  • The selections you make with regards to materials and fixtures and fittings.
  • The cost of permits and surveys.
  • The time it takes to build your property.

That’s why it’s vital to work with a specialist custom home construction company that has a track record of delivering high quality builds that are likely to meet your design specifications and come in on budget.

What are the benefits of custom home construction?

The key benefit of undertaking a custom home construction is that you control every part of the design and build process and eventually get the house that you have always dreamed of.

For example, you can build a home that is highly efficient and has sustainability built into every joint and screw. While you could well select from standard features, your home will also be unique.

If you want a highly energy-efficient home, you could ensure that certain materials are used for your property or you may want to install a state of the art HVAC system, solar panels and other green measures. At Sunset Homes, we are committed to sustainable building practices and are part of the Built Green program.

Find out more on our blog post: Four Built Green Options to Build your New Custom Home in Calgary.

Our clients come from a range of backgrounds. Some are looking to build for an investment, for example. Make the right design choices and keep control of the costs and you can create a property that will achieve a profit on resale.

We also have clients who have recently retired and want to create a hub for their family. We have also provided our services for young professionals who have been successful in their careers and are now looking to buy a customized home.

At Sunset Homes, our aim is to be flexible to your needs and help you achieve the new build that you have always dreamed of.

What is the downside?

Undertaking a custom home construction is generally more expensive than buying a traditional property and it’s a long-term project. The home has to be built first and is not ready occupy straight away as with a conventional property. You need to do a lot of work finding the right plot, developing your design, then actually building the property.

Having said that, if you dream of designing your own home, the day you move into the property could well be one of the most fulfilling moments of your life.

The Cost of Buying a Traditional Build

The average house price in Calgary is just under $500,000. If your budget is tight or you don’t really have a preference for actually creating our own dream home, then it’s by far the most appropriate option.

According to Zoocasa, Calgary is actually one of the best places in Canada for buying a home and you can get quite a lot of living space for your investment.

What are the benefits buying a traditional build?

The big benefit of buying a traditional build is that you don’t have to worry about the design and construction. You may want to do some renovations and perhaps add extra space but essentially everything is there for you when you arrive on day one.

It’s also generally cheaper than building your own home from scratch and there is a wide range of different properties to choose from in the Calgary area.

What is the downside?

The downside of purchasing a readymade home is that you have no say over the design other than actually choosing the property in the first place and its location. New traditional builds are created to a generic template and they all tend to look like each other. For many people, this is perfectly acceptable as they have no big dreams for designing their own home in the first place.

While new builds are energy efficient, older homes may require retroactive work to make them more so and that can cost extra money.

Why choose Sunset Homes for your custom home construction

If you have decided to invest in designing and building your ideal dream home, the team at Sunset Homes can guide you through the whole process from initial design, choosing a plot, making the right selections and the final construction.

We’re a Calgary custom home construction company that is customer-focused and has a great track record of delivering remarkable buildings for our clients. Contact us today to find out more.

The Cost of Choosing the Wrong Custom Home Construction Experts

Building your own home in Calgary is certainly an exciting project. While it’s a big project and will take time to complete, the day you move into your own home will be one of the most fulfilling days of your life.

There are a lot of steps to consider even before actual construction begins on your custom home. One of the most important of these is which experts you bring on board to help make your dream a reality.

  • Do you want to partner with a home construction team that can be with you every step of the way?
  • How do you find a home construction expert you can trust and who is open and transparent about the way they work?

The main point to make here is that choosing wisely is important. Pick the wrong home construction expert for your project and it will cost you not only time but money as well.

Here we take a closer look at how quality and craftsmanship are not the only factors you should be focused on when choosing your home build partners.

What can add to the cost of your custom home build?

While there is a range of hard and soft costs that contribute to the final outlay for your custom build, one of the most important factors is actually time – the longer it takes, the more you are paying for labor and other services.

Experienced builders will set a realistic time frame for completing your project so you know where you stand at each step of the process and can budget effectively. One mistake that can be made is pushing for a completion date that is extremely tight and which doesn’t give much room for maneuver.

A good builder should also be able to advise on what the best options are for your new home construction. Some builders specialize in certain areas and not in others. For example, if you are employing a traditional builder and actually want an ultra-modern home, they may not have the experience or capability that you are searching for.

It can be tempting to look at the cheapest quote and think this is the best option. There are couple of caveats here. First, a more unscrupulous builder may just quote low to get your business and then add on the extra costs at a later date. Second, cheap can often mean that you are not getting the right materials and selections for your home build.

  • If your builder is using the wrong materials, or doesn’t have the right team in place, of course, it can mean you have to spend extra money correcting their mistakes.
  • A building team that isn’t aware of current regulations and procedures may cost you more in your construction because, for example, the right permits haven’t been applied for.
  • If your custom home builder is guiding you through the entire construction process, choosing the wrong plot, making more expensive selections than needed, and not estimating the budget effectively can all cost extra.

Check out our blog: Three Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Calgary Custom Home Builder.

What qualities does your home construction expert need?

With a project of this size, you need to do your due diligence when it comes to selecting your custom home builder. It’s better to take more time than try to rush everything through because you want to get moving on your project.

The four main issues to consider closely when you come to select your custom home builder are:

1. Openness and transparency

You want a builder that is not afraid of its track record. If you are spending several hundred thousand dollars to create your dream home, you should expect your partner to be not just enthusiastic but completely open about what their process and philosophy is.

This shouldn’t just be a factor at the beginning of negotiations and discussions, it should happen throughout the entire build. That’s why it’s essential to get out and speak to past clients and find out what their experience was.

At Sunset Homes, we take our clients through a three-stage process to set the right budget. The first is a fairly general ballpark figure of what we think it will cost. Once the client begins to make their selections, we can then narrow down the cost and produce a more focused budget. And, if they have any questions at any time during the project, we take the time to answer them.

Check out our blog: 3 Steps to Create the Final Budget for your Custom Home in Calgary.

2. Industry memberships

An experienced and reputable custom home builder will have membership of a number of bodies. These include:

  • BILD Calgary Region
  • RenoMark
  • COR
  • Built Green
  • Progressive Home Warranty
  • BBB

Sunset Homes is a member of all these groups and we believe it allows us to provide a comprehensive service to all our clients. Check out our blog: Must-Have Memberships That Make The Difference When Choosing A Custom Home Builder.

3. A strong track record

You should be looking for a custom home builder that has an impressive track record for delivering high quality builds in Calgary. Look for a list of properties they have helped develop and get out on the road to have a closer look at them.

4. Experience and flexibility

While a new custom build company may deliver a great service, there’s no real substitute for a lot of experience. If a company has a large number of properties in the area, it’s safe to say they’ve covered more than their fair share of different projects and know what to expect.

Flexibility is key when working with clients to deliver an exceptional new build. It’s important to find out how the company approaches problems and what solutions they come up with.

Why choose Sunset Homes?

As one of the leading custom home construction experts in the region, we believe we have all the building blocks in place to help you take your idea from original concept, through to design and full completion.

We’ll work with you to choose the best lot, produce an architect’s plan, establish a realistic budget and maintain costs, help you make the best selections, keep you informed through our online construction management system through every step of the construction process and in real-time,  and deliver a custom home that exceeds your expectations.

Contact us today to begin planning your dream home in Calgary.

5 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Custom Home Construction

Building a custom home is a huge undertaking in terms of time, energy and, of course, money. Most people who decide to invest in creating their own house from scratch have normally been successful in their careers.

Constructing a brand new home is their dream. They want to create the perfect building for their lifestyle.

That doesn’t mean our clients don’t want to watch the cents and make sure they get value for their money. Far from it.

At Sunset Homes, we work closely with our clients, whether they are young professionals creating their first custom home or retirees looking to build their dream property, where it’s part of our job to help them maximize their investment.

Here we take a closer look at 5 ways to reduce the cost of custom home construction. These useful tips could shave $1,000s off your financial outlay and help you get a good return on your investment.

Keeping these tips in mind from the very start and throughout your project is essential.  

1. Choose your construction partner wisely

A good partner for a major project like this should naturally deliver cost savings. They will be able to advise on the best solutions for your design and its final completion, giving customer-focused support to help you achieve your goal at a competitive cost.

At Sunset Homes, for example, we provide the complete design and build service from start to finish, working with talented and reputable local builders and other contractors to deliver for our clients. It’s why we are able to see the whole picture for our clients and ensure they make the best choices.

With such a big investment, it pays to take your time picking the right people to work with. Check the custom homes they have completed, talk to past customers and do your due diligence.

There are several ways that a great partner can make a difference:

  • They know the local building landscape in Calgary and the workarounds that are available, especially when it comes to handling applications for permits and accessing the expertise you need.
  • They will be able to advise on what options are available at each stage of the design and construction process and which best suit your design and your budget.
  • They may even be able to open your mind to approaches or solutions you might not previously have considered such as greener infrastructure and energy-saving solutions.
  • They should give you access to a wide range of expertise which you can call on when you need it, even if you are managing a large part of the project yourself.

2. Pick the right lot

One of the biggest one-off financial outlays will be for the lot that you purchase. This is where you’ll build your dream home and, as with choosing the right partner, it really pays to take your time. Different areas of Calgary and its surrounding areas will have different prices associated with them.

The size of the lot is also going to be important. Do you want it to be just big enough, or do you need room for further development at a later date?

The condition of the lot will have an impact on the final cost.

Buying an infill in the inner city in Calgary can seem a little more expensive than heading out into rural areas and purchasing an acreage. You need to take into account, however, that you will need to supply utilities such as electricity and water as well as a sewer outlet which can dramatically increase the cost of building for rural areas.

Check out our blog: Why Location is Important for Your New Custom House.

3. Make the right selections

Customizing your home means making selections related to how you want the building to look and what features you want to include. This process can take a lot of work and a lot of time. For example, at Sunset Homes, we find that many of our clients want to go and see particular selections, examine them close up and touch them before they reach a decision.

One of the most important selections will be which flooring to use in the build. You might want the luxury feel of real hardwood flooring and it’s a popular choice. But if you want to save some money on the build, switching to engineered hardwood, which looks just as fantastic, could be an option.

Making the right selections is all about weighing the pros and cons of a particular product. It’s a good idea to have a list of selections that you definitely want and those that you would like but are not firmly tied to in principle.

For more information, check out our three-part series of blogs: Custom Home Builder Tips for Making Selections.

4. Go for an open concept design

The size of your plot will substantially dictate the final cost of your build. If you want to purchase a smaller plot, the popular way to make the most of the space that you have is to go for an open concept design. This basically puts multiple rooms within one living space. For example, you may have your kitchen, dining room and lounge in the same space.

In terms of budget, you save money on the walls you have to build, the space is used very efficiently and you create a sense of openness. While there is less privacy, it remains a really popular choice with our clients and one that can deliver significant cost savings in development.

Check out our blog: The Advantages and Disadvantages of an Open Concept Style for your Floor Plan.

5. Focus on going green and sustainability

Building a green home may not deliver major savings in the short-term during the building of your dream home, but it can lower energy costs over the long-term. The vast majority of our clients are concerned about their impact on the environment and are looking for sustainable solutions that really make a difference.

Including green energy and sustainable materials in your custom home construction can also contribute to a higher resale value if you decide to put it on the market at a later date.

At Sunset Homes, we’re committed to green building and are part of the Built Green Program. Find out more about this from our blog:  All You Need to Know About Built Green and EnerGuide.

Ready to start planning your new custom home in Calgary? Contact us today! 

 

What Does it Really Cost to Build an Infill Custom Home in Calgary?

When it is time to think of a new home, timing, quality, and cost are key factors in deciding whether building or buying a home is the right move for you.

Building a custom home is a completely different experience than buying a new home, and each option fits different wants and needs about timing, location, and costs. You can learn more about it in our blog 4 Things You Should Know About Building a Custom Home vs Buying an Existing Home.

Two Main Categories Associated with your Custom Infill Home Building Budget Part II

As we learned in our previous post, the budget for your custom home will have two main categories: soft and hard costs. In the first part of this blog series, you learned about the soft costs. In this second part, we will explain the items that you should expect your home builder to include within the hard cost of your project.

Two Main Categories Associated with your Custom Infill Home Building Budget 

As a future homeowner or investor, understanding the costs of your building project and the anticipated costs it may incur is paramount. As Calgary’s bespoke home builder, Sunset Homes considers the importance of providing information and educating our clients about what the building process entails.

3 Steps to Create the Final Budget for your Custom Home in Calgary

When you are ready to custom build your dream home and come to Sunset Homes, Calgary custom home builder, we will guide you through all the steps of your building process with our online software called CoConstruct. As construction costs will vary according to your selections, the first phase of choosing every detail will lead us to 3 important phases in your budget.