Building a Custom Home? Here’s Where to Start

Before you get too deep into planning your new custom home, follow these tips to save time and money.

This is the moment you’ve been working towards! The finances, the need for change, and the lack of anything exceptional on the market have all lined up and made it the opportune time to build your very own custom home.

You have the dream, but where do you start?

Know Your Budget

First things first, call your bank or lender and nail down your budget.

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your location, design, and builder choice—and hold your team accountable!

Choose Your Ideal Location

Figure out where you want your new home. Is it inner-city, suburbs, or an acreage?

Do you dream of a sprawling Bungalow in Dewinton? Or is a modern infill in Marda Loop more your style?

If you own property already, this will simplify the process. If not, it’s worth engaging a builder at the same time as your realtor because they’ll be aware of any logistics and costs you’ll need to consider.

As you narrow your list of builders, consider their portfolio. Have they worked in a similar area? Does their overall style match yours and the feel of the neighbourhood? Some builders are niche in what they offer, while others are truly custom.

Here at Melanson Homes, we build the house around you and your lifestyle, including where you want to live. We aren’t tied to one style and take cues from you and your preferences. We have experience in Calgary, Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks, and surrounding areas, and know how each municipality works, making the process effortless for you.

Don’t Skip Ahead to Design

Pulling your home together with mood boards and 3D renderings is exciting, and it can be tempting to jump straight into the design.

We get it; you want to see your dreams become a reality.

But when you choose your designer before a builder, you may unknowingly exceed your budget. It’s a heartbreaking process to give up cornerstone design elements to stay within scope, so work with your builder and designer at the same time and get the style you want at a price you can afford.

At Melanson, we have an in-house designer who is conscious of your wants, needs, and budget throughout the entire process! We work together to ensure it stays on track while still giving you all the thrills when you see your selections in 3D renderings.

Pick a Builder

It’s essential to find your builder early in the process. Building a custom home is a big endeavour that can be easier when you have the right team supporting you.

How do you choose the best one with multiple options in the Calgary area?

We’ve already covered their service area and style, so now consider the overall process.

This is where you need to trust your gut.

Look for tell-tale signs of a credible business:

  • Do they have professional photos of their work?
  • Do they have testimonials from past clients on the site and Google Reviews?
  • Will they put you in touch with past clients to hear of their experience?
  • Can they detail the process for you and put you at ease?
  • Do you feel like they listen and understand your questions?
  • Are they asking questions about you and your daily routines?

Move through these steps, check-in with yourself, and narrow your list down to your top choices.

From there, compare tangible items like their insurance coverage, warranties on workmanship and materials, and ask for a clear and concise quote.

Hint: On the surface, quotes might seem similar, but some builders advertise low fees while padding the prices of their materials. Check to see if it all adds up.

At Melanson, we’re transparent about the process and will walk you through it, so you understand exactly where our time is going and how your money is used.

As we get to know you, we’ll ask specific questions so you won’t be left wanting more or wishing you had done something different once you move into your finished home. Trust us, it may seem inconsequential but even noting your dish-washing routine, helps us make better decisions for you.

The Short List

To sum it up and get you started in building a house, you’ll want to:

  • Confirm your budget to guide the entire process
  • Choose a location to narrow down your list of custom home builders to ones who have experience in your desired area
  • Hold off on design until you have a builder to manage your budget
  • Look for signs that they’re a credible company, so you don’t worry about your investment and instead spend your time dreaming of your new space