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9 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Custom Home in Toronto

You’re not so sure about those backsplash tiles anymore. The city says you don’t have the proper permits to remove the trees on your lot. You’ve been looking for the perfect unoccupied lot for your Toronto custom home and keep coming up short. Many custom home-building horror stories we hear about are easily preventable with a little information, careful planning, and the right professionals involved.

SevernWoods builds bespoke homes in Toronto. We’re focused on the finish from the start, and our meticulous methods lead to stunning results. We understand that your custom home is a labour of love and an investment in your everyday experience, and we would hate for anyone who builds one to squander any part of that opportunity. Here are some common mistakes and problematic behaviour patterns we have observed as contractors in Toronto.

Living Space of Custom Home Leading Out to Custom Outdoor AArea

Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home

Your upfront investment in learning about common mistakes made when building a custom home will prevent you from unknowingly making them during your own project.

Picking the Wrong Lot

Your location is one of the few unchangeable variables of your new home. Finding the perfect place to build your dream home is an exciting first step on the journey to making it real, and it shouldn’t be rushed. Your neighbours, local amenities, commute, and school district matter just as much as the details of your lot. Further, many landowners are surprised to learn about local ordinances that make their dream home difficult to build on their lot, such as the Toronto zoning regulations governing the right to remove trees. Lots with trees and a ravine provide a unique challenge because a unique agency oversees trees adjacent to ravines and ravines themselves, further extending the permitting process and potential constraints on what you can build and where.

Hiring the Wrong Architect

Some people choose an architect based on their fee schedule. Choosing a low-end architect who advertises based on budget can lead to a poor fit. You need an architect that understands your goals and collaborates with you to get them right. Many architects don't produce construction drawings, which are vital to the process. Quality architects ensure you have everything you need to collaborate with your builder.

Rushing Through the Design Process

The design process is a vital step to refining your vision and capturing it in a plan. Spending extra time with your architect and designer will ensure that they have accurately captured your vision and make room to play with options and change your mind. 

Your design team may have ideas you haven’t considered, and the collaborative process is part of the joy of creating a home from the ground up. Rushing the process might speed by delightful ideas that will elevate your final luxury custom home results.

Design and Layout of Bedroom and Bathroom With Custom Timberwork

Choosing the Wrong Contractor

Your Toronto luxury custom home builder, architect, and designer are vital players in your final results. Picking an experienced and insightful contractor who makes you feel heard and excited about your luxury custom home is the most important step to setting your project up for success. Many of these common mistakes are non-issues when your project is in expert hands.

Choose your contractor early in the design process to work collaboratively through design.  Your contractor can provide vital construction expertise and budgeting insight to ensure that you design a viable project from the start.

Wondering what luxury custom home costs to build in Toronto? Head here for more details.

Discounting the Timeline for City Approvals

Hiring a reputable builder will mitigate some of the dangerous and expensive mistakes that occur when building a new house in Toronto. Improper or missing permits, a design that violates local code, poor workmanship, and other oversights can lead to huge headaches and expenses during or after construction. A home builder with a time-tested and clearly-outlined process will ensure this doesn’t happen to your project.

Backyard Exterior of Traditional Brick Laneway Home With Outdoor Seating Area and Grill

Poor Communication

Establishing clear communication early in the process is vital to a successful custom build. You need to know whom to contact about your concern and how to reach them. Each team has a different cadence for updating the homeowner and a preferred method. Some builders use construction software exclusively to provide up-to-the-minute information about a project’s status. Others also offer a weekly check-in to provide more detailed updates about recent progress and concerns.

Changes During Construction

If you’ve finalized your plan and then desire to change it later, you’ll pay for the change order. This costs more than subbing out one material for another. Changing your materials mid-project can create waste and extends your project timeline as you wait for updated selections to arrive and trades to work us back into the schedule to install them. Change orders can also happen if the material you selected is delayed. A contractor who can help you evaluate the cost, supply chain, and alternatives to your top choices during design will alleviate surprises during construction.

A Floor Plan That Doesn’t Age Well

Building your forever home often means creating a safe space for aging-in-place, even if you don’t anticipate needing these features for decades. Failing to include accessibility features in your custom home commits you to a renovation later. Many unobtrusive items to boost accessibility, such as elevating devices, extra-wide doorways, floor plans with a large turn radius for a wheelchair, and curbless showers, are easy to build the first time but require an extensive renovation if they’re to be added later.

Open Doorway Leading to White Bathroom With Easily Accessible Vanity

Choosing an Of-the-Moment Aesthetic

If you're hoping to stay in your home for the foreseeable future, avoid ultra-trendy materials and options that date your space firmly in the present day. Today's cutting edge elements will be outdated tomorrow.  Your architect and designer can help you incorporate features you love and capture timeless style with classic materials, colour palettes, and timeless lighting. That said, your custom home should capture your taste and wishes, so you should include whatever you most desire, regardless of what anyone on the internet says about it.

Dining Area in Home With Hanging Light Pendant and Large Table With Eight Chairs and Three Art Pieces on Wall

SevernWoods is a luxury contractor in Toronto. We'd be thrilled to connect with you about your custom home vision.

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