Things To Consider When Building a New Home

Does this home-construction photo make you smile?

Perfect, we got your attention just in time. Check out our list to help keep your details organized (and your stress-level down) for your new home build.

Things to Consider when Building a New Home

While you enjoy the smell of fresh lumber, here are some great details to keep in mind.

Building a new home is very exciting, but with so many details to handle (like contracts, floor plans, baseboards and window trim, to name only a few), the process can get a bit overwhelming. So while you channel your inner 'want vs. need' voice — here's a list to help you keep certain things in mind.

Most important? Keep track of your mortgage rate.

Building takes time, and there can be delays. We recommend securing a long-term rate hold with one of the big banks as a form of insurance, in case your build takes much longer than you anticipated.

And, once you are within 90-120 days of your possession date, make sure to hold your best possible rate, so that you won't need to worry if rates increase while you're busy with the construction or home-finishing details. Your best rate will help you save money to spend on other home-related things you may need.

If you're already dealing with a True North Mortgage broker, they'll be on top of this process for you.

An experienced Realtor can be a big help

  • Seek out a realtor who is experienced with new home purchases to assist you with your process. A good realtor will help you evaluate various communities, builders, plans and finishing options.
  • Do your research when looking for a realtor. Look for reviews online and even ask them for past client referrals. Or, one of our expert brokers can offer a real-estate agent referral, based on our long-term, trusted relationships within the industry.
  • Make sure you consult with a realtor BEFORE walking into builder showhomes. Your realtor should go with you, at least for the first visit, to help you register with the builder.
  • When buying pre-construction, ask your realtor if the builder has any nearly-complete projects (aside from the showhome) you can view, or even visit. Showhomes always look great and are usually fully-loaded with pricey upgrades. So checking out current builds may help put your mind at ease.
  • Don’t forget to ask about the GST/HST rebate. It's available to everyone, not just first-time home buyers (limits apply, or may vary by province).

New-home details to keep in mind

Bathrooms

  • Ensuite dual sinks
  • Makeup or vanity area
  • Add an outlet in the primary bathroom closet as a night light
  • Outlets inside upper and lower vanity cabinets for dryer, etc.
  • Heated towel racks
  • Do not caulk the bottom of the toilet to the flooring as it will hide leaks
  • Make use of a pony (half) wall and turn it into storage space
  • Choose standard faucets and fixtures, as these can be replaced with higher quality parts in the future (often less expensively, too)

Closets

  • Add outlets to closets that might need it
  • Make sure closets have space for both double-hung rods and singles to accommodate for longer clothing
  • Include a full-size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide cleaning items out of sight
  • Add cubbies in your mudroom
  • Add a motion sensor to pantry and closet lights
  • Ask about a laundry chute if laundry room is downstairs
  • Add shoe racks in the primary walk-in closet

Outdoor

  • Hose outlets on all 4 sides of your home
  • Both hot and cold outdoor water is great for washing pets
  • Gas line to BBQ
  • Keypad entry on garage door
  • Prewire for outdoor speakers
  • Hot tub hook-up rough in
  • Run conduit under the driveway for future wiring needs
  • Outdoor outlets in soffits for christmas lights, with switch to turn on/off
  • Garage door windows add a more high-end appearance

Kitchen

  • Outlets in the pantry for charging or for items that may end up staying there
  • With wide islands, place cabinets on both sides for storage
  • Built-in paper towel holder
  • Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers
  • Setup for both gas and electric appliances (rough in a gas line to stove)
  • Pantry light on motion sensor
  • Pull out garbage/recycling/laundry drawer
  • Two soap pumps at sink (one hand soap, one dish soap)
  • Easy-access cupboard for storing frequently used appliances

Electrical and Plumbing

  • Security system and cameras on walkways and front gates
  • Run wire and prepare your roof for future solar panels
  • 20z circuit with outlets waist-high in garage to plug in tools
  • 20z circuit for TV and A/V equipment
  • Prewire for indoor and outdoor speakers
  • Carbon monoxide unit on the wall near bedrooms
  • 220V outlet in garage for tools
  • Include a drain in the garage to remove excess water from vehicles during rain or snow periods
  • Plan the location of your electrical panel to hide it from sight
  • Water faucet in your garage to hose down your garage when it gets dirty

Lighting

  • Under-cabinet lighting
  • Outdoor lighting on timers or motion sensors
  • Primary switch from primary bedroom for all exterior lighting
  • Pot light over fireplace (if no TV is present)

Heating and Cooling

  • Get a central vac rough-in, even if you don't plan on buying a full vacuum system right away
  • Rough in toe-kicks in kitchen for easy clean up
  • Heated floors in basement or tiled areas
  • Zoned heating that can control the heating on each floor individually

Basement

  • Wet bar and games area
  • Pot lights help illuminate dark rooms
  • Mechanical rooms are often larger than they have to be (this space can be used as another room or a fitness area)
  • TV wall mount, and prewire HDMI and cable wire into wall

Bedrooms

  • Silent-slamming doors
  • Light switch near the bed

And finally, ask lots of questions.

Ask your site superintendent lots of questions during your walk-throughs. Do research to prepare questions ahead of time, and be as detailed as possible. Make sure to have them point out all light switches, outlets and door swings, so that you can make any adjustments before it's too late.

Remember to enjoy the process!

Even with all the details and the anticipation of your actual move-in, it's your chance to build a home the way you want it. You'll learn a lot, and will appreciate your new home all the more. And, don't forget to leverage your mortgage broker, realtor and home builder for their expertise.

At True North Mortgage, our highly-trained brokers know all the ins and outs of a new home mortgage. We provide unbeatable service, while securing your best rate.

We care, and it shows. Wherever you are in Canada, give us a shout for 5-star service.

Get your best new-home mortgage experience.