Van Geest Group | 4 Essential Steps to Building a House in Ontario

Whether you’ve got a vision you can’t ignore or you’ve found the perfect patch of land, you may be thinking of building your own home from scratch. The good news is, it’s a perfectly achievable project.

While building a house from the ground up may sound exciting, it also takes a lot of planning. That’s why you should make sure you’re informed about the home-building process before you start buying lumber and choosing bathroom tile.

Check out our top 4 steps for building a house in Ontario below…

Purchasing Your Land

When your agent takes you to see a lot for sale, chances are they’ve already ensured that it’s well-suited to your needs. However, it’s always a good idea to look into relevant rules and bylaws that could impact your custom build. While not all projects are the same, almost all need to be approved by a few governing bodies.

All buildings in Ontario must align with the Ontario Building Code—and be approved by your local heritage conservation authority. You may also need to acquire a special building permit for rural lots, as many of these areas are protected by the Conservation Authorities Act.

Talking to a local land surveyor can help you determine whether your lot is suitable to build on, which environmental factors you’ll need to consider, and whether any zoning laws could set you back in terms of timeline and costs.

When it comes to budgeting, it’s generally advisable that the cost of your land should not exceed 25-35% of your total project expenses.

Get Your Planning Approved

Once you’ve found your ideal lot, it’s time to focus on finalizing your plans. That means ensuring that the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, stories, and cars that fit in your garage is feasible.

Have your initial plans and blueprints verified by an industry professional. They’ll have the expertise to determine whether the design and structural elements of your project are sound and within your budget.

At this point, it’s also wise to get several written estimates from potential suppliers and contractors for materials and labour costs. This will give you an accurate estimate of the overall cost of your build.

Hiring the Right Help

Identifying trustworthy help is one of the most crucial stages of building a house. Researching the reputations of your architects, builders, contractors, and material suppliers can only help you once construction has begun.

Ensuring your building team has the proper designations and licenses for the job is also essential. For example, look for an architect with the OAA designation in their title. This means they’re a licensed member of The Ontario Association of Architects.

Whether it’s an architect or draftsman helping you design your home, look for someone whose portfolio includes similar past projects. Once identified, ask them for contractor recommendations or building teams they rely on.

When choosing a builder or contractor, make sure they are upfront and transparent about material and labour costs. Get them to set a firm, realistic timeline for your build—and always ask for license numbers, references, and relevant experience.

Staying Involved

Even after your project is fully approved and construction has begun, it’s not yet time to take your foot off the gas.

Staying involved throughout the build of your home can be valuable not only to you but also the construction team. Regular check-ins and progress updates can ensure the project runs smoothly and that miscommunication doesn’t occur (just make sure you’re not stepping on the builder’s toes).

Asking questions and visiting the site can help you identify misunderstandings and mistakes. From a cost perspective, the earlier potential errors are identified, the better. Are you ready to start creating plans to build your dream home?

Let us help you find the perfect lot in the perfect area. Tell us all about your wish list here.