It’s not every day that you build your dream custom home, so you want to make sure you do it right. Ron Bickford, owner of Rob-Ron Construction Ltd., has spent the last four decades building homes, and he says the #1 mistake made is designing the house before selecting a site to build on.
“It’s better to design the house to suit the lot,” Bickford states.
He offered these three time-honoured tips for selecting the right site for building a custom home:
- Location! Location! Location! First figure out which neighbourhood you want to live in. In determining this, check into local amenities, distances to work, schools, shopping, and community or recreational facilities. It is also useful to note that basic city lots in Victoria and its adjacent municipalities are more expensive and likely smaller than lots for purchase in the West Shore communities. Commuting time is longer, but Bickford notes that once the overpass is built, 15 – 20 minutes will be shaved off rush hour travel times, and there are many amenities aimed at young families in that area.
- Budgets and costs. Take into account all of the costs beyond purchasing the lot, such as appliances, landscaping, and building the house. Do you want to carry a mortgage? If so, how much of one? This will help with figuring out how much house you can build on the lot.
- Define your requirements. What size house do you need? Do you want a rancher or a two-storey home? Keep in mind that it is less expensive to build a two-storey house vs. a rancher featuring the exact same square footage. Do you want a suite in the house to help with the mortgage or for a family member to reside in? Additionally, if access to natural gas for lower-cost energy efficiency is desired, property buyers need to look into whether it is available in the area.
While this seems pretty straight-forward, the best thing to do is to get involved with a builder to assist with selecting a lot. A highly-experienced builder, like Bickford, can advise on whether the dream house you have in mind will fit on the lot you are looking at. He is able to take into account the footprint of the house versus the required setbacks to tell a client whether the site will actually accommodate a house that fits their requirements, and how that can be done.
Having worked in all of the municipalities around Victoria, Bickford is also familiar with local tree bylaws, particularly where high-value Garry oaks and arbutus trees are concerned.
“A municipality can’t prevent you from building on a lot you own, but you might be forced to protect trees,” Bickford says. “This could potentially affect the design of the house.”
Again, most home owners think a lot about the design, look and function of the house instead of some of these other issues, which is why Bickford recommends working with an expert contractor, so that you find just the right spot to build your dream home.
Rob-Ron Construction Ltd. has been building dreams for four decades, offering excellence in quality and service. The company prides itself on having happy customers at the end of each project. Contact Rob-Ron today for more information on our Victoria custom homes.