Monday, December 25, 2017

Holiday Hours and Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone at Village Builders to all their clients and their families.

Village Builders is closed for two weeks and will be re-opening January 8th 2018.

Rob Abbott

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Cost Of Custom Homes and Renovations Will Rise In 2018

Be prepared to pay more for your renovations and custom home build in 2018.

The cost of construction is rising and doesn't look like its going to settle down anytime soon. If you are planning to build or renovate in 2018 then you need to adjust your budget accordingly.

Here are some of the reasons why construction is going to cost more in 2018;

  • A building boom. There is a building boom in our area, builders are busier then they have ever been before. That means that they have the ability to pick and choose the jobs that they want to take on, gone are the days of pricing jobs low just to stay busy.
  • Material costs. Building materials have doubled in price in the last 6 months. That means that the raw building materials could cost you anywhere from 50 to 100,000 dollars more then in early 2017. It has become so bad that there is an actual lumber shortage at most lumber yards for a lot of products.
  • Labour. With a bunch of law changes coming from the provincial government and a minimum wage increase the cost of all labour will be going up in 2018. All businesses will have to raise there rates to cover the increase in costs.
  • Trades shortage. There is a severe shortage of trades in most areas. Tilers, masons, plumbers are getting harder to secure because they are under such a demand for their services.
  • Big Business. Large corporations are buying up smaller businesses and consolidating them so that they have a monopoly. Insulators, concrete suppliers, waterproofers, mechanical contractors are just a few of the trades that are being bought up and controlled by a handful of large corporations. This means that they will be able to artificially inflate the cost of what they provide.
  • Land costs. If you are looking to build a custom you are going to have to pay more for your building lot with the hot real estate market.
  • Building Code Changes. The building code has had dramatic changes in the last 5 years with the amount of insulation required rising and the overall energy efficiency of homes having to rise. Eventhough this is a good thing in the long run it usually means that it will cost you more money upfront to build.
Whatever you are planning to do in 2018 whether it is building a custom home, renovating or adding an addition be prepared to pay more then you did in 2017. You will have to approach the project with a contingency fund to help offset the costs that are rising so that you don't end up in a situation where you run out of money before the project is finished.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How To Finance Your Next DIY Project

How To Finance Your Next DIY Project

If you’re thinking about home improvements, you’re not alone; nearly 50% of Canadian homeowners plan on making repairs or improvements to their house this year, which is up from around 37% last year.
While small DIY projects, such as preparing your home for Christmas, are normally very cheap, it tends to be much harder to finance expensive projects, such as installing new kitchen counters. The expenses can definitely start to run up, especially if you live in an older cottage – but they are well worth it if they are done right. In fact, some renovations can even increase the value of your property. If you have a big renovation project in mind and you’re not sure where to get the money from, don’t worry. Here are two ways to finance your next DIY project.

A Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage is a financial agreement where a homeowner releases the equity in their home in exchange for a large sum of money. This mortgage is normally used by people who are about to retire so that they can supplement their retirement income, but any homeowner can apply for a reverse mortgage.
If you are accepted you will receive the money now, rather than when you sell your home, meaning that you will have lots of money to fund DIY projects – but it is important to be aware of the costs surrounding reverse mortgages.
The main benefit of a reverse mortgage is the amount of money that you will receive. After all, Canadians spend around $23,300 on kitchen upgrades and around $9,100 on bathroom upgrades, so the costs can quickly pile up!
Apply For A Personal Loan
If you don’t own a home one popular options is a personal loan, as this means that you don’t need to put up any assets as collateral. The downsides to this type of loan are that you will need a good credit score to be accepted. The interest rates can also be fairly high, so shop around and weigh up your options before making a choice.
There are lots of different ways to finance your next DIY project, but you should avoid using payday loans or anything with exceptionally high interest rates. This is because you can end up spending more than twice as much in the end, and the ensuing debt will make it difficult for you to make more renovations in the future.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How Not To Go About Hiring A Building Contractor

So you have a project that you want completed, lets say its a garage or addition, in your area like the area that I live in there is a building boom with a real lack of skilled trades.

You have decided that your budget for the project is 100,000 dollars. You've decided this after talking to some of your friends and looking at the internet. You then call around to as many builders as will talk to you and the one thing that you are focused on is what its going to cost, it has to cost you less then your 100,000 dollar budget.

What you hear when you talk to builders via email or on the phone is that it will cost you 150,000 dollars. You want more details from the builders about how it can cost this much and can't they do it cheaper for you?

This is the point where most builders stop talking to you and you continue searching for someone that will do the job for the price you want.

You as the homeowner get frustrated because you don't understand why builders won't spend the time to educate you and also work in your budget cause your important, your special......

Here's the view from the builder;

You call them up and you start asking general questions like how much for a 800 sqft addition on my house, I want it in this style and I want hardwood floors and granite counter tops. I as the builder who gets this call two to three times a week with the same probing questions from people I've never talked to before ask you three questions.

Here are the three questions;

  • When do you want to do the project?
  • Do you have any plans?
  • What's your budget?
Those three questions will tell me mostly what I need to know.

Usually the answers to the questions go like this;
  • I was hoping to start in the early spring.
  • Not yet.
  • 75,000 to 100,000 at the max.
I tell you that basically you don't have any way I can price the job because you don't have any plans and that you are probably gonna need a bigger budget by the square footage size of the addition.

You start to negotiate, that's when I basically I can't help you, until you get some plans.

You start scanning the internet looking for the next builder, frustrated because you can't seem to find anyone that will work with you for free to get your designs and plans and then work cheaper then everyone else.....

 What happens is that eventually get cheap plans completed and you use those to shop for a contractor that will work for your budget. With your set of plans you get all kinds of prices from all kinds of builders and tradesmen. You choose the lowest price guy and your happy, that doesn't last long....

There is a reason for the lowest price (especially if they are claiming that they can stay in your budget that is to small to begin with), they either don't know how to price a job or they missed things or they purposely omitted things to get the job.

What will happen next is that your addition will turn into your nightmare.

Somewhere during the build you as the homeowner will start to realize that the quality isn't what you wanted, the costs seem to be rising as you are being billed for extra's that you assumed were part of the original price.

Eventually you either except that you are going to have pay the builder what he charges you until its finished or you fire them and end up trying to finish the project yourself. Either way its your nightmare.

I have seen this happen not just with additions, but with reno's, complete custom homes and even accessory buildings.

To avoid this you have to listen to the first 10 builders you called, have a realistic budget, find a builder that you can trust and let them tell you what the real cost of your project is going to be.

I you do this, if you find a builder with a good reputation and you listen to them then your project will be more enjoyable and the end product will be exactly what you want.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Custom Homes Are Not Like Buying A New Car

Getting a price on a custom home is not like getting a price on a new car.

When you go shopping for a new car you go on the internet, you pick which make you want, the options that you want, the colour and what your payments that you want to make and your done. You can do this to every automaker on the planet off the internet, it takes no effect and costs you absolutely nothing.

That is the complete opposite to a custom home.

I now get calls from people who want to know the cost of building a custom home. This is how they determine if they should go ahead with  building a custom home. They don't want to spend any money but they want the custom home builder to spend hours of their time (without being paid) to tell them everything they need to know about building a custom home and all the costs associated with one.

Here's how it goes;

  1. They ask the square foot price on a custom home.
  2. No matter what the builders answer is they question the price and ask for prices on different options.
  3. They find out that the cost per square foot price does not include a lot of things like well, septic, permits, etc...
  4. Then they want to know what they cost.
  5. Then they want to know the cost of the options.
  6. Then they want to know the cost of plans.
  7. Then they want to know the cost of land.
The questions never end, what ends up happening is that you as the custom home builder end up spending hours working for them but at the end you actually receive nothing in return, the person you have spend hours and days talking to is so far from ever building a home that you basically will never hear from them again even if they were to build a house.

The biggest thing is that all the numbers the custom home builder gave you are useless, they are useless because without a proper set of drawings and A LOT to build the home on we have no idea of what the cost really are. Add in that after a year or more of that person getting plans and land, the price of all the material has risen and the building cost has changed making the home more expensive.

So before you email or call a custom home builder to ask them about the price, don't! Unless you already own a piece of property to build the home on, that's the minimum that you require. The builder can help you get plans (for a fee) and budget your home accordingly, but you have to make the commitment that you want to build a custom home.

Custom homes are not like cars, you cannot build them for dirt cheap, there are no year end clearances of custom homes, the price of a custom home is not cheaper during one part of the year then another.

If you want a custom home then you want a brand new home that comes with a warranty, you have to pay for that.

Please think about this the next time you want to call a custom home builder and ask about price.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc,

Monday, October 9, 2017

Preparing for the Winter Months: Interior Design Ideas

Preparing for the Winter Months: Interior Design Ideas
It’s no secret that the winter months in Canada are extremely cold—so cold, in fact, that sometimes all we can do is cozy up with our thickest blankets and spend the evening sipping hot cocoa in an attempt to stay warm. But did you know that there are many interior updates you can make to your home to ease the chill of the winter months? With a few clever renovations, your home can be warm and cozy even when it’s freezing outside.
By coordinating designs with the help of an interior decorator, homeowners can redesign a space in a way that ties together the layout of a room with all of the additional fixtures, furniture, and accessories. The general process of interior design projects is always meant to keep the homeowner’s tastes and preferences in mind. And these preferences can easily be applied to interior designs for the wintertime, making a home both feel and look warm despite the snow.
Wall-Mounted Fireplaces
One design idea than is applicable to any room in the winter months is adding a wall-mounted fireplace. Canadians know that it can be extremely costly to heat an entire house throughout the winter, and this is one of the reasons why fireplaces come in handy. Having a wall-mounted fireplace in a room that may otherwise be abandoned during the coldest months is a great way to warm the space when it is needed.
Many wall-mounted fireplace options also burn ethanol biofuel, which is a clean-burning alternative to using traditional wood or propane. This eliminates the task of cleaning up soot along with any worries about smoke or unpleasant aromas from the fire. These fireplaces are trendy and stylish, fitting with most of the common interior styles, like rustic or classic designs.
Insulating Window Treatments
Another wise design idea to keep your home warm in the winter months is to insulate your windows. Besides buying rubber weather sealing or window insulation film at a hardware store, you can incorporate aesthetically pleasing window treatments that will both look chic and block out coldness. Try layering curtains that are made from heavy fabrics over in the windows to keep out drafts. Be sure to close the curtains as often as possible in order to better insulate the space. You can also consider adding external window treatments, like timber shutters, that will create more curb appeal and also keep in warmth.

With the help of an interior designer, you can transform your home into a warm and inviting space during Canada’s frigid winter months in a trendy, stylish way.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cottage Renovations Can Be Like Pealing An Onion

When you are renovating an old cottage a lot of the time you have to start by pealing back the layers like an onion before you are able to get to a point where you can start putting it back together.

In old cottages there are usually half a dozen renovations over the years that have happened, so of the renovations could have been done properly, but a lot of the renovations where done by people with small budgets and limited knowledge of what they were doing.

The last renovations are the kind that are considered cosmetic and happen over and over again in cottages just to make the place livable, workable and a little more enjoyable.

These renovations pile one on top of the other until there is no way to know what is behind the wall coverings or the drop ceilings. What makes it worse is that the cost to remove all the layers rises for every time some renovated it cosmetically. This increased cost and scale of job can be a road block to a lot of cottage owners as it becomes to big a job to think about and to large a cost to pay for.

What usually ends up happening is that the renovations finally get done when the cottage is sold to another party who has put it in their budget to renovate and restore or the cottage gets transferred to the next generation in the family that comes in with fresh ideas and want and need to fix the cottage up to make it more habitable.

When planning the renovations with your contractor you have to leave some wiggle room with your design, the contractor will have be given a little freedom to do as he thinks best because as they peal back the layers the plan for what is to happen can change slightly.

A lot of the time when contractors start demolition they find things hidden behind walls and ceilings that require fixing or repairing. One of the big things that ends up happening is that we find there is a lack of insulation or the insulation that was there is damaged or outdated. Rooms can be come slightly smaller when you have to add insulation to the outside walls and more studs are needed or the ceiling needs to be built done to accommodate spray foam on the roof.

This is your cottage and chances are you will not be around for a lot of the work because you live somewhere else and you really don't want to be there for all the noise and dust that a renovation causes anyways. So you will have to trust your contractor will do the right thing, you can still have input into the renovation as your contractor can send you pictures and emails but a lot of what happens when it comes to what is behind the walls and ceilings your contractor will have to use their best judgement.

Remember that you hired your contractor because you trusted them, so let them do their jobs and fix your old cottage. If you don't trust them, well that's another blog for another time....

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Is Your New Cottage Addition Below The High Water Mark?

Are you planning to build an addition on your lake front cottage?

Well depending on where you are and how high above the water you are you might be surprised at some of the restrictions that you will have on the design of the building.

One of the big restrictions is the distance your current cottage is from the high water mark. 

What is the high water mark? The high water mark is an elevation that building departments use that assumes the highest point the water has risen in the body of water that your cottage is located on. That level could have happened last year or 100 years ago.

The point of the high water mark is that they want all structures built behind that mark so that if the water was to rise then it would not swamp the house. (as long as it never rises above the high water mark that is).

New builds are affected because you have to build far enough back to be behind it or build up to end up above in low lying areas.

But with an addition they can't make you move your whole cottage back or out of the way and so they can't make you move your addition up or away. What they can do is have certain restrictions on how you design the addition and the openings in that addition.

One of the big ones is that you cannot have any openings within a certain distance of the high water mark. That means no access to crawlspaces, no doors and all your windows will be forced to be a certain height off the floor.

Another thing that you will have to do is have an engineered grading plan, this will show the existing cottage, the new addition and the elevation and slope to the entire property.

This is important in that it confirms that there will be positive drainage away from the cottage and its new addition. This helps to ensure that there will not be water damage to the new addition every time it rains.

Just because you have no openings that are below the high water mark doesn't guarantee that you will not have a flood if the water in the lake rises to the high water mark, it does how ever give you a fighting chance if there is wind blown waves that rise up and strike the cottage.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Should I Water Proof The Foundation When I Raise The Grade On My House?

A reader of my blog asked me a question the other day and I thought it was worth writing about.

The question was as follows;

"I am raising the grade on one side of my house, do I really need to extend the waterproofing up that side of the building? The grade will have good slope away from the house."

The simple answer is yes you should, you should always waterproof foundation walls below grade even though you don't think that there will be a lot of water in the ground.

Adding a waterproofing to the wall like a blueskin or something else is not that expensive and in small area's can be done by yourself or a contractor that is doing the raising of the grade. All that you have to do is the following;

  • Makes sure you clean the foundation wall of any dirt, rocks or mildue. The adhesive on the back of waterproofing needs clean surfaces to stick too.
  • Make sure the foundation wall is dry, better adhesion for the waterproofing.
  • You can add a dimple board in front to give the waterproofing some protection from rocks and debris.
When your contractor back fills over the waterproofing makes sure there aren't any large stones or stumps that will be pushing on the foundation. This can damage the waterproofing.

The reason that you should waterproof the are isn't just to stop any kind of flooding into your foundation its also to keep all the moisture out of the foundation. When water saturates either block or concrete overtime it will start to break down the foundation, especially with freezing and thawing. This will crack and shift the foundation until it starts to crumple and then you are into a big repair bill.

A little bit of waterproofing goes a long way.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Do Not Trust The Custom Home Builder Who Has The Lowest Price

If you are looking to build a custom home, be prepared to spend money.

I know that sounds like an obvious statement but to a lot of people when they start looking around for a custom home they aren't looking to spend a lot of money they are looking for that one custom home builder that will give them a deal. A deal that will allow them to build their dream home, put everything they ever wanted into it and still be within their limited financial means.

This is called shopping for the builder, this is a really bad idea.

There's nothing wrong with looking at several builders to build your custom home, but if one of your sole purposes in interviewing builders is how much they are going to charge you to build the house then your setting yourself up for failure.

If your budget is so tight or so small that you have to shop around to find that limited few builders that you can afford then there's a several things that you need to realize right away;

  1. Your budget is too small for what you want to build. When you budget for your custom home you should have at least 15 percent more money's then you need above the budget. This is for contingency.
  2. Construction of homes has a lot of standard costs, so a builder being a lot cheaper then his competitor is a major red flag. The finishing of the home is were most of the costs vary, the finishing's are the one thing that you control. If you are having trouble fitting the house in your budget then downgrade the finishing's.
  3. You get what you pay for. A builder that is going to be cheaper then everyone else is going to have cheap labour. Cheap labour does cheap work, its just a fact. A builder who is cheap will have a very poorly run job and very poor fit and finish.
  4. Maybe you can't afford to build a custom home. Not everyone can afford to build a custom home its just a fact. Better you come to that realization now then later when your house is half finished and your looking at bankruptcy.
Custom home builders build homes because it's their business, its how they feed their children, that means that they want to make money when they do it. If they are charging too little then they aren't making money, there are several reasons why they are not charging enough and none of them are good;
  • They don't understand the real cost of building your home. Custom homes all cost differently because they are custom. They might not understand how to properly budget a custom home.
  • They never planned to stick to the budget. They only gave you one to get you to sign a contract.
  • If they aren't charging enough then they probably are not financially stable as a company or in life. That means that they will have money problems which will affect how your home gets built and who they hire to work on your home.
  • They will already be in trouble for other builds that they did, either financial trouble or legal trouble.
When you look at a budget from a builder and its to good to be true, then it is. Walk away. It isn't hard to find legitimate builders that have solid reputations, do your research and don't be in a hurry. And whatever you do, DO NOT HIRE A BUILDER BASED ON THEIR LOW PRICES.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Rules Before You Call A Builder About A Custom Home

As August and the summer vacations rolls to a conclusion my email has lit up with people interested in building custom homes.

That's great for business except for one little problem, 75 percent of the emails I receive are people that have only just started thinking about building a custom home. They don't know what anything actually costs and they really don't know what the house they want to build will look like because they don't have plans.

Now everyone has to start somewhere when starting on the road to building a custom home, there are certain things that people want to know before they start down that road of building a new cusotom home.

Here are some rules to use when you want to build a custom home, these are rules and recommendations that you should know and consider before you call a general contractor asking for quotes or advice;

  1. The average cost of a custom home to build is $210.00 a square foot. This is the starting point of the cost custom homes, its hard to get lower priced then this but the cost goes up from there depending on how fancy you want to get in your home.
  2. Custom homes are expensive, if your only thought is that you can build a home cheap don't bother trying to build a custom home.
  3. If you are worried that you can't afford a custom home to the point were you don't even want to get drawings done then you shouldn't bother.
  4. There are a lot of extra costs to building a custom home above the square foot price.
  5. NOBODY prices custom homes per square foot, that is only to help people with budgeting.
  6. If you want to know the costs for permits and other fees in your municipality you should take the time to call your local building department.
  7. Drawings are going to cost you money, the more expensive the custom home the more that you should be paying for your drawings.
  8. Most custom homes are time and material plus a management fee on top. That is industry standard.
  9. There is no way to get a proper price on a custom home without a set of official drawings.
  10. If you want help finding the right piece of property or with designs of your custom home be prepared to pay someone for their time.
  11. The larger the home you want to build the MORE IT WILL COST YOU!
  12. Custom Homes are not a used car, there are no big deals, the cost of constructing a custom home is the cost. There is no real with to make it cheaper.
  13. Quality costs money. A properly quoted custom home should be pretty close to the same price from every company, the only difference will be how much they charge for a management fee. If you get a price that is a lot lower then any others then there is a reason, there's something missing from that quote!
  14. Understand that your contractor is going to know more then you, expect it and take there advise. If you believe that you know more then your contractor then you either picked the wrong contractor or you don't need a contractor as you don't want to listen to them.
  15. Just because you are building out of the city doesn't the cost of your custom home will be cheaper. Construction costs are the same everywhere, don't be surprised when the cost to build up north is the same as in the city.
  16. Be prepared for your contractor to offer you upgrades, these upgrades are for your benefit, some will cost you more and some won't, but remember there for your benefit to make your new custom home better.
  17. To finish the basement will cost you more money.
  18. Doing things different will cost you more money. 
  19. Don't be afraid to have your home built out of newer materials, technology is making homes better built.
  20. If your in a hurry to build and move in to your new home and you haven't started your going to be disappointed because designing, getting permit approvals and building the actual home is going to take a longer time then you think.
  21. Be prepared to not to get everything in your custom home that you want unless you have a budget that is very flexible.
  22. Do not get more then 3 prices for anything to do with your home, it will only waste your time and confuse you.
There's probably many more that I could list but this is a good list to get started with, if you understand what your getting yourself into when wanting a custom home built and that there are costs associated with them and that custom homes are not something that you get a deal on or something you shop for like a used car then you won't be disappointed when you start talking to custom home builders you will be prepared and understanding.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What To Do With All That Free Advice On Building A New Home

So you have decided to build yourself a custom home, you've found the perfect piece of property and you have hired an architect to create your dream onto paper. But everywhere you go, everyone you talk to has an opinion about what you are doing and a suggestion on what you should build in terms of style, materials, functionality, placement and building techniques.

You will receive so much unsolicited advice from people "who know", the longer you listen to the advice the more confused you will become as after a while it will start to conflict with each other.

You will be told the best way to keep the house dry from rain, the best way to position windows to deal with the sun, the best way to layout your kitchen, the only way to plan out your bathrooms, best way to construct the walls, the best way to insulate. Then people will tell you that the insulation that you were to told to use is not good, that there have been "so called problems" that its dangerous, that this type of window doesn't last, etc, etc, etc.

These people will be your friends, neighbours, brothers, sisters and all manners of relations. You will also get advice from people you don't know, friends of friends and everyone will tell you how "you have too do it this way, there's no other way!"

If you take all this advice to heart and decide to use it then you will be so confused that you will be paralyzed when it comes to making real decisions about your new home.

What you need to do is limit the amount of information from other sources to a minimum, you can listen to people, thank them and move along.

Who should really be listening too?

You should be listening to professionals, there are a lot of professionals out there, you will meet enough of them before your done building your new custom home that you don't need outside advise.

When I say professionals I mean your Architect, Interior Designer and of course your Builder. The sub-trades that the builder brings in are also good to listen too on certain issues.

Your Builder is the most important person, they are the one person that you should be listening too. If you hired the right builder then you should have no reason to not trust what your builder is saying to you. Remember that the builder has the most hands on practical experience with how your house functions, fits together and works for the people living in it.

If you have questions about parts or all of the house and its construction ask your builder, a good builder likes a lot of questions, when a homeowner asks a lot of questions that means that the homeowner is engaged in the build and they trust their builder enough to ask them important questions.

This type of relationship between builder and client is very healthy and important in the home building project.

So when you are given all that free unsolicited advice from everybody just smile and nod, once your new custom home is built then you can become that person giving advice that nobody asked for!

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Should I Waterproof My Addition?

I had a question/comment on a post I wrote about waterproofing, the person had an addition built to an older home and the contractor recommended that they tar and dimple board the foundation to waterproof it. After reading one of my posts about what the proper waterproofing is and what is simply damp proofing they had decided that since I stated that tar and dimple board was not waterproofing but it was actually damp proofing then they shouldn't bother installing it on the new addition or anything at all.

Also the existing home foundation does not have any kind of waterproofing or damp proofing so they decided that there really wasn't a need for it in the new addition, as the old part of the home could flood easier so what was the point.

Now the thinking makes some sense when you think about it, that the existing house doesn't have any protection so why bother with the new addition because they are all connected as one so what's the difference right? Wrong.

Just because the existing house doesn't have any protection is not an excuse to be cheap and not try and protect the new foundation.

Let me clarify a couple of things about what I was talking about when I said that tar and dimple board wasn't waterproofing;

  1. Tar and dimpleboard is not waterproofing it is considered "damp proofing"
  2. T & D does stop moisture from penetrating the concrete foundation.
  3. T & D will eventually dry out and fail, where other forms of "waterproofing" will not.
  4. T & D can be easily damaged from outside forces.
Tar and dimpleboard is far better then nothing, it is just the bargain basement version of water protection for your foundation, the cost for the proper waterproofing is worth it, but if it's between spending a little bit of money for tar and dimple board compared to NOTHING then please people buy the tar and dimple board!

Now your probably saving what's the point as the rest of the house doesn't have waterproofing;

Well you should dig up around the whole house and properly waterproof the existing foundation to match the new addition foundation this will guarantee that you have little to no issues in the future.

If that's not in the budget then you need to protect the new addition as water penetrating a new foundation is not a good thing; 

  • Water saturating a new concrete wall will eventually cause damage over time. 
  • Once water has saturated the the concrete in a freeze the concrete can be damaged.
  • Mold can form inside the new foundation causing health problems.
  • Floor joist can be damaged from the moisture penetrating the foundation.
Modern additions with modern construction practices do not do well with water and moisture, they fail a lot faster then older construction.

So please, everyone at least do the minimum when it comes to protecting your foundation, this is not the place to try and save money.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rules To Additions-Don't Build One Bigger Then The Original House

Lately a lot of people have been calling interested in putting an addition on their current home instead of having to leave their current area to buy a larger home.

Adding an addition can be a good investment as long as its done right, one of the rules that you should be following is that you should NEVER add an addition that is bigger then the existing house.

There is almost no reason to violate this rule, if you need to add an addition that is so large that it is bigger then the original house then you need to ask yourself some questions first;
  1. If you need that much more space then maybe it would be easier and actually cheaper to buy a larger house and sell the smaller one.
  2. If you love were you live and don't want to move then maybe you should consider tearing down the entire house and building a new one. Then you would have a completely new custom home.
  3. Adding that much square footage; are you leaving yourself enough lawn for your family to enjoy?
  4. As an investment; is it worth spending such a large amount of money on a house that is two small making it so much more bigger.
Most of the time when someone adds an addition that dwarfs the original building it looks like what it is, a large addition on a smaller house. Yes you end up with the square footage that you desire but there is always a compromise where the old house and the new house come together. This cross over space is usually a wasted space because its where the tie-in happened.

Most people renovate the rest of the existing home when they do their large addition, which makes the rest of the house nice but adds to the overall expense.

If you have an older small brick home adding an addition that is large will really look out of place as there is almost no way to match the bricks, this really ascents that there was an addition added.

Just because you want a lot more room doesn't actually mean that you should make your existing home that much larger. Its also quicker to sell your house and buy a larger one then to go through the process of designing, permitting and building a massive addition.

If you are wondering if you should really build an addition instead of buying a larger house call a contractor, if their honest they will tell you the truth.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Building A Custom Home-Talk To Your Neighbours

When you are looking to build a custom home, you've gone and bought your piece of property that is the perfect fit to what you want to build, you have the hired someone to do the design and you have hired your contractor to construct it, there's one more thing that you should do that will make it easier for you to build the home.

What is it? Talk to your new neighbours.

That's right talk to your neighbours, nothing gets people more upset then when something changes around them that they have little to no control over.

People go and make the biggest investment that they will ever make; their home. They spent years getting the inside and the outside of the home and the property looking exactly the way that they want it and then someone comes along and changes their entire world. They go from having no neighbour with nothing but trees or grass beside them to a house and landscaping and new people within sight of everything they do. A lot of people don't react well to it.

Add in the fact that they then have to listen to construction noise for what feels like forever and without you doing anything directly to them your neighbours can end up having a dim view of you, all of this before you ever got a chance to make an impression on them yourself.

So what do you do to make sure that they won't hate you before they get to know you? Simple before you start building anything go over and talk to them. Introduce yourself to them and let them see what type of person that you really are, tell them a little about what you plan to build. Try to answer all their questions, get them on your side when it comes to having new neighbours and a new house on the street.

Its easier then you think for rumours to start about who's moving in and the size and scale of the house that is going to be built.

I once witnessed a custom home builder have to call the local paper to refute a story that appeared in the paper about a large home that was being built on the outskirts of the town because the paper claimed that it was going to be a hotel and convention center because of the size and design that was still under construction. The reason that he had to refute the story was because the building department and the local council started getting complaints and demands to stop the build because hotels where not allowed in the area. The situation all came from the owner never talking to the neighbours or anyone in the area that could spread the word about what the home would end up being.

Things like property lines, fences, garages and other things can be kept out of lawyers hands with simple conversations before anything happens or while things are happening.

When you bring your neighbours into the inner circle of your home build then they feel like they are part of process and that they have a say in what happens (even when they don't).

So strap on your best smile and invite yourself over for tea and coffee to the neighbour, you won't be sorry.

When the home is completed try to have a street BBQ or at least have your next door neighbours over for drinks, you can show them your new home and make your neighbours into friends at the same time.

A little handing shaking and coffee chat can go along way.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

What You May Find When Renovating Century Homes

When renovating century homes don't be surprised by what you find behind the walls.

Its amazing what you can find when you start pulling apart older homes walls, once that lath and plaster comes down and all the other layers that are applied on top of it you start to find some interesting and some times strange things.

Century homes have usually been renovated several times before we get at them and usually the renovations are repairs, patches and quick fixes like covering old lath and plaster with ceiling tiles or other layers of drywall. Because of this we end up finding things that have been placed there or left or there or brought there by others, here's a little list of things that we have found inside century walls and ceilings;

  • Newspapers. We find a lot of pieces of old newspapers. Whether they were placed there on purpose to mark the date of the renovation, or left there by accident or used as a cheap form of insulation its always interesting to read the date and articles of older pieces of paper.
  • Tools. We've found hammers, screw drivers, electrical supplies, crow bars, nails and several other things.
  • Clothes. Shirts, gloves, shoes and once we even found a corset in a ceiling.
  • Umbrella. Once we found a umbrella in the walls.
  • Cane. Why someone left a cane in the walls is about as weird as an umbrella.
  • Sawdust. A lot of older homes used sawdust to insulate the walls.
  • Children's toys.
Some of the not nice things that we have found have been;
  • A family of mice. Many many mice alive and dead.
  • Raccoons.
  • Cats.
  • Squirrels, alive and dead ones.
  • Wasps nests.
  • Bee hives.
  • We once found a ceiling that was completely filled with Bat poop!
All of the things listed above don't really cost you extra money but some of the other things we find do, once you start removing ceilings in old homes you find;
  • Fire Damage. A lot of old homes have fire damage once you start looking behind ceilings and walls.
  • Structural damage from cutting beams and joists from previous renovations. This is sometimes that reason that an old homes floors go up and down.
  • Old wiring. Knob and tube and sometimes aluminum wiring is still found in these old homes.
  • Old or damaged plumbing that requires repairs.
  • The lack of insulation.
  • Blocked or missing duct work.
Remember that when you commit to opening up century home ceilings you have to commit to repairing or replacing anything that needs to be repaired. You don't want to cover up problems that you find,so in your renovation budget you need to set a side a repair fund to fix whatever you find.

Remember just because an old home looks good and solid doesn't mean that everything will be perfect once you start looking behind the walls and ceilings.

Removing lath and plaster is a dirty and dusty job that nobody likes to do,that's why people try everything to no take them down. But the only real way to properly renovate a century home is to take the rooms back to their original studs, this is the best way to bring the home up to code and also to fix anything else that you find.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Use Solar As Your Backup Generator

Are you worried about losing power at your house, thinking about installing a back up generator?

I have another option that could be almost the same price and give you the back up power that you were thinking about, solar panels.

That's right you can now use solar panels as a backup generator, not only use it as a back up generator but have the solar panels feed the grid while its waiting for the power to fail.

Why would you feed the grid with power? Because the electrical company will pay you for the power you make, that's right the power company will pay you for the power that is made by the system. When the power fails and there is no grid to feed then you either turn a manual switch for the power to be transferred to the house or you have an automatic switch that is triggered that will push power to the house.

This system is called a dual system, the one difference between a normal feed the grid system is that you require a bank of batteries for the solar panels to fill so that when the power does fail there is something for the house to draw on to power it.

Depending on the size of the system will depend on how much of the electrical in the house you will be able to run, but even a small system will run the essentials to help you survive the power outage.

In a long power outage you would have to closely manage your power usage but every morning when the sun came out the batteries would start to be re-charged giving you more hours of power usage.

Even though most people would not be able to install a solar system large enough to power their entire house they would have enough power the essentials every day and throughout most or all of the night. Also it wouldn't matter how long the power was actually out for, the system would keep regenerating itself everyday and you wouldn't have to worry about running out of gas, diesel or propane.

In a world where climate change is making it more and more difficult to predict the weather and how we seem to be experiencing larger and larger storms think how nice it would be to know that you would never have to worry about living without the basic amount of power that you require to survive. Power to run your water pump so that you could flush the toilet and drinking water, run medical equipment if needed, sewage pumps, refrigerators, freezers,a  tv so that you could see the news, the oven to cook certain things, coffee maker, lights at night and your security system.

Having back up power where you didn't have to rely on the grid is almost an essential thing, the cost of solar has come down and now's the time to start relying on it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Insulate And Wire Those Extras Before You Drywall

When you are renovating your home every time you open up a ceiling or a wall to do some work no matter what it is you should consider what else should go in there?

Sounds like a natural thing that you would install everything that needs to go in before you cover it back over but you should think about other things that you might require in the future.

For example in ceilings where there would be livable space above, here are some of the things that you could installed;

  • Sound insulation to stop noise from traveling between floors.
  • Lighting. Potlights or other lighting is easier to install when the ceilings are open.
  • Conduits for future electrical or cable/internet upgrades in the future.
  • Ductwork, Now is the time to upgrade ductwork or add more heat runs.
  • Speakers and speaker wire.
If you are working on walls then all of the things above apply other then the potlights, but you could add in wall sconces instead. 

A couple of things to think about when you have walls open are leaving room for future chases like the wiring that is required for solar panels. As solar panels become cheaper in the upcoming years more and more people will be opting into installing solar panels on the roof, leaving an easy access to run the wiring to the electrical panel will save you money and needless repairs to the walls that you just had re-drywalled,

Some other things that could go in walls:
  • Central vacuums piping and outlets.
  • Flooring lights, these are lights that are installed near the floor to light up hallways.
  • Blocking to hold tv's or heavy paintings on the walls.
  • Safes,
So when you are planning that renovation think about spending a little money on the future of what you might require and save yourself more money in the long term.

Rob Abbott

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Save Money On Your Custom Home Architectural Plans

You've bought that piece of property that you want to build your dream home on, now what do you do?

You need a set of proper plans if you want to build that dream home, that means that you will need someone with the proper credentials to create them for you. In Ontario the person that draws your house plans has to have a BCIN number for the building department to even look at the plans for permitting.

Remember something, having drawings created costs money, the more time that an Architect or Architectural technologist takes to draw your new home the more money they will charge you for the completed set of plans.

There are several different ways that these professionals charge for their time, a lot of them will charge per hour and some will charge per job, one thing that they all will do will be to ascertain the amount of time they think they will have to block off for you as a client.

How you ask do they ascertain how much time they will need to block off for you? Well when they meet you if you have no clue what you want or when you want to start or anything else then they are going to have to spend a lot of time leading you through every step.

To help limit he amount of money you will have to spend on your plans here are some helpful tips to do before you ever sit down with your Architect:
  • Drive around the neighborhood that you are going to build in and get a feel for the other houses. This will help you understand how everyone else is building, whether they are building a walkout basement, raised bungalow, stucco, stone or other design ideals that fit the area.
  • From driving around take pictures of houses that you like. 
  • Surf the internet for anything you like, not just houses but front entrances, kitchens, dining rooms, great rooms, bathrooms, decks, outdoor space. Every picture helps with the design, the more detail you can give them the better they will be able to create your vision of a dream home.
  • Make lists. You need to tell your designer how many bathrooms you want, how many bedrooms you want, how many stories you want, ect.
  • You must come up with a budget number for the overall project. A good architect can design you an entire house that will fall into your budget. There is a rough square footage cost for a custom home, using this the Architect can design the appropriate size of home. If your budget is unobtainable then they will be able to tell you that you need to adjust it.
  • When you visit your vacant piece of property you need to decide where you want the house to be orientated, the positioning of the home on the property will greatly affect the design and layout of the home. 
  • You need to find out if you need septic and well or if there are services in the area.
Whomever you hire whether its an architect or an architectural technologist you need to come into the process with an open mind on what you want your home to look like and how the design will end up. Remember that you are hiring them for a reason and they are professionals that do this all the time, You don't have to allow them to give you what they think you want, but you also should not reject everything they say because it wasn't in your original thoughts about the house.

As long as the relationship between you and the professional you hire goes well then the final product will not only be what you want but it will also be something that stands the test of time, holds its value going forward for resale and is something that you and your family will be happy in for a longtime.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.   

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Homeowner Renovations Not A Good Idea

Just because you think you can do it doesn't mean that you should!

I've visited potential clients that when I walked into their home to quote a renovation only to find out that the job has already started, not by another contractor but by the homeowner themselves.

Usually it's the demolition that they have started, they started taking down the walls that they wanted removed to create the new space that they've been dreaming about. What stops them is either a friend or neighbour commenting that what their doing is dangerous or their spouse starts to get worried about the drywall that is cracking in other parts of the house.

I was once in a house that people had removed the bearing wall a year ago to make the kitchen and the dining room one big space. They wanted a quote to fix the cracks in the ceiling, once I asked how long the cracks had been there and then inspected the attic I realized that they had removed the main support wall that held up the roof.

Basically the roof was now slowly pushing down causing the drywall to crack, eventually the roof would collapse into the house, usually in the winter when there would be a large snow load.

The quote to repair the house with a beam, support posts and repairing and replacing the drywall was probably more then what they originally spent to open the rooms up in the first place.

The moral of the story is that just because you think you can renovate your own home doesn't mean that you actually should.

I see homeowner renovations that end up costing people more in the long run because they needed repairs after the fact and because usually the renovation didn't turn out the way they wanted it too.

Save yourself time and money and call a professional for your next renovation.

One other thing that has come to our attention is that homeowner renovations are starting to affect the resale of homes in the area. Because people have home inspectors they are finding flaws with the renovation work done once they've established that it was homeowner done renovations and that the renovation had flaws. This is causing people not only money in the value of their home but also potential buyers who are scared away from homes because they really don't know what the potential problems are that could be in the walls that will cause problems in the future.

Make your life easier hire a proper renovation contractor that is insured and understands what is needed to complete the renovation, you won't regret it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

You Control The Cost Per Square Foot Of Your Custom Home Not The Builder

Just because you think you know what custom home builders charge per sqft doesn't mean that any kind of house you have designed is going to cost that amount.

When you talk to a custom home builder and they talk to you about the cost of building custom homes in square footage costs they are only trying to give you a number to help you with your budgeting, its not something that you should set as the cost of your house. The real price for the home will come when the plans are finished and you have chosen everything for it.

There are so many variables when pricing a custom home that I routinely find people shocked when they finally see the finished estimate.

Here's a little secret, custom home builders basically charge the same amount within a few thousand dollars for their fee to build the house.
The fee to build the house is different then the cost of the house. The fee is what the builder needs to make as profit so that they can pay their overhead and pay themselves.

You can design a house that costs 210 dollars a sqft, and then add things to it to make the house cost 350 dollars a sqft. How's that possible you ask?

Well the cost of building custom homes is pretty straight forward, where the cost starts to climb is how the home is finished.

Here are some things that really drive the price up of a house;

  • Stone on the outside of the building. It doesn't matter if its man made or natural stone, the cost of stone supplied and installed is far more expensive then traditional wood siding.
  • Fireplaces. There's nothing better then sitting in your home in front of a fire on a cold wet night, but fireplaces no matter if they are wood or gas cost a fair bit of money. Also most people have a fairly fancy surround of stone and wood or paneling around fireplaces.
  • Decks and porches. Nothing raises the cost per sqft of a house more then the outdoor space that you create. Porches are more expensive then decks because of the roofs built over them but both of them require foundations of either piers or sona tubes. You are basically creating more square footage of livable space that only counts to the sqft price.
  • Flooring. There is a huge variety of flooring out there to choose from. A lot of it is the same price to install but the cost to buy varies so much that it can directly affect the square footage price. You can buy cheap laminate flooring on sale at a big bx store for $2 a sqft, it will look cheap and fake and might not last as long as you want it too. Or you can buy eco friendly sustainable custom engineered hardwood flooring made just for you at $18 a sqft.
  • Windows. White vinyl windows that are of a good quality have come down in price, where wood or aluminum clad windows have not. There can be up to 100,000 dollars in price difference depending on how many windows you require and what options you choose.
  • Heating systems. There are so many different heating systems out there, it creates a price difference that can be unbelievable to most people. A simple gas furnace and ductwork can cost as little as $15,000 where a full geothermal and in-floor heating system could cost you closer to 100,000 dollars.
  • The size of your garages. Garages are always included in the cost of the sqft price of a home, so the bigger the garage you have attached to the house the higher it will push the price of the sqft price.
  • Th height and finish of your basement. Basements are included in the cost of the sqft of houses. The taller and bigger the basement the more it will drive the price of the house up.
All of these things listed above are controllable by you the homeowner, these choices will raise or lower the cost of the square footage of the house. If you want a lower sqft cost for you home then you need to make sensible decisions on these items and you should be able to get that house for the sqft price you require.

Remember that you have control over the above list, don't blame the builder when you end up with a high estimate price for you home, choose wisely and you won't be shocked.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Difference Between Nominal Insulation And Effective Insulation

For as long as I can remember we have talked about the R value of the walls and ceiling inside residential homes. Decades later we still discuss R value with people because that's what they understand when you are talking about the insulation that goes in the walls and ceilings of homes. Even the building code in Ontario only talked about R value when making the minimum limits for insulation in homes.

Well as the building code is going through an ever changing climb with regard to the rules that govern insulation levels and the air tightness of homes everyone needs to start talking a different way.

Contractors who understand this are now starting to talk to people in a different way, instead of talking about R value of the walls we are now trying to talk to people about effective R value. The old way of talking about R value in walls is considered Nominal R value. Nominal R value refers to the labels or rates that are given to the insulation that you install in the walls or ceilings.

Effective R values are different they take into consideration the thermal bridging that is in the walls, thermal bridging in walls and ceilings are usually the wood framing that creates paths were the air can move through the wall because there is no insulation to stop it.

Now you know the difference but as the homeowner how does this actually affect you and your home? Well if we take the 2016 Ontario building code it stats that your exterior wood framed walls are to have a nominal R value of R-24. That can be achieved by simply installing a r-24 fibreglass batt inside the 2x6 wall cavity. But it you look at that same walls effective R value it is actually down around R-17, that's because of all the thermal bridging that is in the wall cavity from the wood studs.

The 2017 Ontario building code has the same R-value for the exterior walls but they have made one big change and that is that you must have continuous insulation placed on the outside of the wall that is made of polystyrene insulation if you are looking to install the minimum building code. This continuous insulation layer covers all the thermal bridging in the wall effectively insulating the entire wall. You can expect that the R-value of the wall should be what you want it to be, if you are trying to achieve R-24 then with a continuous insulation layer that's what you would end up with an effective R value of R-24.

Effective R values are a more effective way to achieve homes that are sealed against the outside elements, helping reduce the heating and cooling costs and stop wind wash from affecting the inside temperature of the home.

So the next time you talk about R values with your contractor or if you are a contractor then you should be talking about the effective R value and not just the nominal R value. It might take a little educating on your part but it will be worth it in the end.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Renovate and Expand or Build A Brand New Cottage

Should I renovate and add an addition or should Demolish the entire home and go with an entire new home?

This is a question homeowners struggle with all the time, especially when it is someones cottage. A place where memories were made with children and family.

Other then the sentimental value of the existing cottage it becomes hard to justify spending the large sum of money to build a new cottage when its isn't used as much as your permanent home back in the city.

You should ask yourself some important questions and then think about the sentimental value of the place;
  • Can you afford to build a new cottage?
  • If you tear down the existing cottage will you still be able to build what you want on your lot with the current new building restrictions and codes.
  • How much do you use your cottage? Would it be used more by the family and more of the year if it was properly heated and properly insulated?
  • Would you consider ever retiring into the place when the time came?
  • Are you planning to sell it when you no longer require it anymore?
  • Will you be compromising on the layout and functionality of the cottage by only renovating and adding square feet instead of building new?
  • If you were to change the configuration of the home with either an addition or a new build would you change the view that you currently have, for better or worse?
  • Would this upset your neighbour's or would they be happy for the new look of your cottage?
  • Do you require a lot more room and storage?
  • You should factor in the energy saving's over the next ten years if you were to build a new cottage compared to keeping the older one even if its renovated.
The biggest thing you will have to deal with is the money issue, almost any building no matter in how bad a shape can be saved, the only barrier is the money, You should really look at the amount of money you are willing to spend on expanding and renovating, if that number ends up being fairly large then maybe you should just consider a brand new home.

One other thing about a brand new cottage is that you reduce your maintenance costs for the next 15 years to almost zero.

In the end your contractor can't tell you what to do only you can make that decision.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Village Builders Builds Custom Tree Houses

One of the big growing trends today is people wanting custom tree houses built on their properties.

Modern day tree houses are not the same old tree house that you grew up playing in and then eventually fell down in a big wind storm. Today modern tree houses are constructed to last as long as the trees that they are built in.

Before you start calling around to get a quote on your own custom tree house there are several things that you should know;

  1. Tree houses are built custom on your property for your property. 
  2. Tree houses are expensive, they are built off the ground high in the air and this means that everything takes longer as safety is the first priority when constructing one.
  3. It costs money to have one designed.
There are several companies that supply materials for treehouses, things like;

  • Tree bolts
  • Rope bridges
  • Zip lines
  • Ladders
  • Cargo nets
  • Pulley's and buckets
  • Trap doors
  • Catch nets
The list goes on and on, what you need is someone that has access to all of this stuff, this stuff is all engineered as well so it is safe for children and adults a like.

We can help you locate the site for your tree house, design the tree house, budget the tree house for you and construct it if you so choose.

Check us out on episode two of backyard builds to see the tree houses we built for the show.

If you are thinking about a custom tree house then give us a call or drop us an email and we can see what we can do for.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Village Builders on HGTV's Back Yard Builds on April 6th at 10:30 PM

On April 6th at 10:30 PM on HGTV's show Back Yard Builds, Village Builders will be in the episode building TreeHouses.

Everyone please take sometime and take a look, it was fun to film and an interesting project.

Having never been on television we are all interested to see how it turned out!

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Village Builders New Office Location

Village Builders is moving its offices from the Old FireHall in Creemore to the industrial Park on the 6th Line of Clearview just south of Collingwood.

The move is part of an overall plan to centralize Village Builders in the area to serve our large customer base and to allow a little more flexibility.

We enjoyed buying and renovating the Old Firehall on 3 Caroline St East in Creemore, we have been in that location for the past 8 years but everything must change as the nature of the construction industry is always changing.

Our new offices are at 2682 concession 6th North and are still in the township of Clearview.

The new location offers far more parking and storage for our large trucks, garbage bins and equipment that simple wasn't available at the current location in the heart of Creemore. It also allows us more parking for our customers and suppliers.

Nothing is changing with the area that we service or the company as a whole only the actual location of our offices. We are not leaving the Creemore area as several of our employees and I (Rob Abbott) live in Creemore so nothing changes for the servicing of our customers we currently have in the Village.

For the first 29 years of the company existence it had its offices out of the Owners house Doug until the business drastically outgrew his humble office expanding into 2 other rooms in the house. In 2008 we made the decision to buy the Old Firehall and renovate it to create our offices. This helped grow and expand the company to its current size.

Now it is time for Village Builders to change with the times and become more centralized and flexible.

We look forward to serving you with your renovation and custom home building needs.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

With A Soaring Real Estate Market Now Is The Time To Build A Home

The real estate market in the Georgian Triangle has been like a run away train, prices for houses are only going up, up, up. There is no end in sight at the moment to how high the prices are going to rise.

Even though it's early in the spring the market has stayed high throughout the winter with very little coming on the market, anything that does come on the market that is priced accordingly sells almost immediately.

There are several different factors to this, one of them being that there is a lack of inventory of houses, this helps create the rising prices that you are seeing and in many places bidding wars for houses. When people have little choice they are forced to settle on what is available and not what works best for them and their family.

Even if the market only goes up marginally this summer the current cost of homes is making it almost impossible for a lot of people on smaller budgets to buy anything in the area.

There is another option, if you are invested in staying in the area awhile then you should think about building a custom home. A custom home doesn't have to be a monstrous thing worth millions of dollars. You can build yourself a smaller house that is well built and well planned out.

The price difference from building a new custom home compared to buying a used one on the market has never been close with custom homes always being a lot more expensive. But with today's run away real estate market the gap has closed considerably. The cost between the to two of them (depending on were you decide to build) might only be a couple of presentage points more for the new custom home. That means that a new home could cost you only 5% more then buying a resale home.

That's shocking when you think about it, one is a used home and one is a brand new home made and tailored to you the homeowners, tailored to your needs and wants. If you related that to cars that would be like you having to buy a used car for the same price that you can buy a brand new car made just for you and with a warranty.

If you are scanning the internet and are fed up with not being able to find something to buy then maybe you should start looking around for a piece of property to build a new home. It could be the best investment that you ever made.

If you are thinking about building a custom home regardless of the size send me an email and we can talk about finding you a place to build and a house plan that works for you.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Start Looking For Your Contractor Now For Spring And Summer Renovations

Renovations going strong in a light winter season.

The skiing and snowmobiling might not be as good as you want it to be this winter with the lack of snow and the warmer overall temperatures but it has been good for construction.

With the lighter winter many people are not waiting for the spring to start their renovations, in fact it has been surprisingly busy this winter compared to other winters that were colder and with a significant amount more snow.

With the early interest and demand for renovations this winter seems to show that there will be a very busy year. Talking to other contractors in the area they seem to be experiencing the same thing. A busy winter makes for a busy spring which makes for an overly good year in construction.

If you are thinking about renovating this spring or summer then you should start looking for your contractor now as a lot of contractors are already booked through the spring into the summer with work.

Not only are the contractors starting to book up but the sub-trades are booking up as fast as well, this makes it even more imperative that you find your contractor as a good contractor will have a loyal number of sub-trades that will make room for them in their schedule no matter how far in advance they have been booked.

If you are serious about renovating this spring or summer then send me an email at or call our office at 7054663202 and lets setup an appointment to start the process before its to late.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Create A Renovation List For Your Wants And Needs

At least once a month I meet with a perspective client at their home to talk about what they would like in terms of renovations. Once I am there and we start talking about what rooms they want to renovate the list becomes longer and longer.

The longer I actually stay with the homeowner the more the renovation list grows as we talk about what they would like and how they would like the house to function when the renovations are completed. 

One of the problems with this scenario is that the renovation list grows as we talk about it from an initial single renovation like a kitchen to a multi room renovation or a whole house renovation. This on the surface is good for us the contractor as the job grows in size but in reality when the job becomes to large then the homeowner gets scared away from doing any renovation by the large price tag of the entire home remodel.

As the contractor I try to refocus homeowners to make a list of their renovation requirements, it should be broken down into wants and needs. Here are some examples of what a want is and what a need is;

  • New light fixtures.
  • New Paint.
  • New Floors.
  • Open concept rooms by removing walls.

  • Fix leaky roof
  • New Kitchen.
  • Replace old windows.
  • Repair rotten areas.
A want is something that you want to help the home function better for you or an update that will bring the home up to newer style. A need is something that needs to be completed before any of the wants list can be completed as it will cause problems or damage to any renovations that are completed. Anything that leaks water should be repaired or replaced before you ever get to the stage of renovating for an update.

If you start with a list like this then you will start to understand the cost of your needs list first and that will then tell you how much you will have leftover for your wants list.

Remember that a contractor can only make recommendations on what you should do to your home, ultimately its up to you the homeowner to decide what you want done. Make your wants and needs list, it should help focus you down on not only what you want to achieve in the renovation but what you can afford.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stay In Your Current Home And Renovate It

With the real estate market in the Georgian Triangle rising to new heights because of the demand for homes and the lack of homes that are actually for sale more and more people are opting to stay where they are and renovate their current home instead of trying to find a different home.

With all the costs associated with selling a home and then moving people are deciding to take that money and invest it into their current home.

In previous years the renovations we completed for a lot of people had an eye to resale so that they were limited to updating kitchens and bathrooms. But with people deciding to stay in their home for the long term there is a willingness to spend larger amounts of money to do whole home renovations that help the current home work better for the people that are living there.

Additions, outdoor space and garages are also being added while people try to maximize their current location as long as they can.

Money spend properly on your current home and done right should mean that your current home will be up to date and functional for you and your family for the next decade at least.

The larger renovation projects mean larger renovation budgets, these larger renovation budgets must be looked as a long term investment in your current home and not a short term bump in the home price. The added bonus of having low interest rates helps make that larger whole home renovation more affordable.

If your leery about entering the resale home market then maybe you should really think about staying where you are and investing in your current home.

If you are thinking about a renovation for your current home, send us an email at and we can see how we can help you.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clearview Township Wants New Homes To Have Residential Fire Sprinklers

Clearview Township has decided to recommend to anyone wanting to build a new home in Clearview that they should install fire sprinklers. There was a movement on the council to try and make them mandatory but it was decided that it either wasn't the time or they didn't have the authority.

Regardless of what I think about residential sprinklers in single family homes what this shows is clearview councils complete lack of knowledge on the rising costs of building yourself a new home.

There have been so many changes to the building code in the last 5 years that the cost of building a new home has skyrocketed to the point where most normal people cannot afford to have a home built for themselves.

Here are some of the building code changes that have raised the cost of building a new home regardless of the size of the home, each change adds thousands of extra dollars;

  • Insulation. There have been several insulation changes not only in the walls but in the ceilings and the basement floors. The changes are scheduled to continue into the future with more changes happening over the next two decades.
  • Smoke detectors costs have doubled as the code changes require double the amount and they most have a strobe affect in them.
  • There have been several changes to the building code regarding electrical outlets and breakers that have raised the costs for the installation of the electrical system in a new home.
  • Septic upgrades have raised the cost of new septic systems
There have been 1000's of changes to the building codes in the last half decade, everyone of them has raised the cost of building new homes, there are more changes coming driving the cost up higher over the next decade or two.

Lets talk about the cost of installing a sprinkler system, the average cost in Canada is somewhere between 3 and 6 dollars a sqft. The average house of 2500 sqft that means that 7500 to 15,000 dollars! Those numbers only apply to homes that would be built IN TOWN, homes that would be hooked up to town water with town water pressure. 

If you were to build a home outside of town and you were on a well then you would have to spend a lot more money because you would have to install a holding tank system to be able to have enough water and water pressure to make sure that they functioned properly.

If you look at the building of new homes that happens in Clearview it's mostly happening outside of town as that is the only place you can find places to build as there is a complete lack of building lots. 

Lets now add in the increase to the building permits in the township to cover the losses the building department has incurred and you start to understand that all this does is make building new homes only available to the wealthy, 

There has been a lobby group working to force Ontario to amend the building code to force everyone to not only install them in new homes but also install them in all existing homes. At the moment it isn't law, maybe technology will make it cheaper in the future but at the moment the cost isn't something that we in Clearview Township should have to pay.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Residential Construction Forecast For Blue Mountain, Creemore, Collingwood, Mulmur, Wasaga Beach

2017 looks to be a banner year for residential construction.

No matter what area you are talking about in the Georgian Triangle the 2017 residential construction forecast looks to be a banner year.

You could be in Creemore, Town of Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach or the township of Mulmur area and it doesn't look like its gonna matter when you look at the amount of permits that are being issued, applied for or inquired about is skyrocketing. Most of the permits that have to do with the building of new homes or additions are looking to start in the spring/summer time of the 2017 calendar year.

There are a lot of permits and non permit renovations that have started coming up this winter and look to continue throughout the entire year of 2017.

Most of the new home building looks to happen in the Town Of The Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach and the town of Collingwood as these places have the most vacant lots or build-able land available to build new custom homes.

Here's what each area looks like;

  • The Town of Collingwood has the unique scenario that it has a down town core that has almost no available vacant lots, what they do have are small wartime homes that are not worth much more then the land that they sit on. Because of this there are a lot of people buying these homes and demolishing them to build larger newer custom homes. There is also a lot of older homes in Collingwood that are worth to much money or designated as historical buildings, that means that they cannot be torn down which means that they will require extensive renovations and sometimes almost complete rebuilds. To add space people are enlarging the homes with additions when they aren't able to remove the home to build a larger one.
  • The Town of The Blue Mountains looks to have probably the busiest year that it has ever had when it comes to the building of new custom homes and also renovations. With the hot real estate market people are buying places and then extensively renovating them. The township looks to be on pace to give out more building permits then ever. Quality contractors are going to be hard to find after the spring rush starts with many people either waiting till the following year to start their projects or trying it on their own. The bigger problem will be the availability of sub trades and the lack of them as most of the good quality sub trades will already be committed to the good contractors.
  • Creemore and the township of Clearview. Creemore is probably one of the slower places in the area as there is a complete lack of building lots in the township for people to build homes on. There is a will to build custom homes in the area but the lack of building lots, this forces people to either buy in a different area or buy an existing home and renovate it. Most of the custom homes that are being built in the area are large multi million dollar homes on large pieces of land in the hills surrounding Creemore. A hot real estate market looks to create more renovations as people move into homes that they settle for and then change to meet their lives.
  • Township of Mulmur. Mulmur is a mostly a rural setting, there is no major centre but the area looks like it will be busy with a lot of custom homes slated to be constructed on big and small pieces of property. The area has become a lot more popular in the last decade with its proximity to Toronto and the peacefulness compared to the hustle and bustle of Orangeville and Collingwood. With the hot real estate market a lot of properties have changed hands leading to many renovations needed. Finding good contractors will be challenging later in the year.
  • Wasaga Beach. Wasaga Beach looks to be busy like it has been in the past number of years. Wasaga Beach is one of the few places around that has many track home subdivisions still being constructed. This is one of the few places that an average person can still buy a nice home without having to break the bank. A lot of older homes are being sold and torn down to make way for newer larger custom homes, there are also a lot of renovations because of the number of homes in Wasaga Beach. The one thing about Wasaga Beach is that there are a lot of Contractors that live and work there ensuring that you will be able to find one when you are ready to do the work.
One of the main drivers in the Georgian Triangle area for construction is the ultra hot real estate market, as there is a limited amount of homes for sale they tend to sell quickly leaving little choice in the way of homes to choose from. People thinking about buying a higher priced home are choosing to instead build themselves a new custom home. The only thing restricting the building of more custom homes in a lot of area's is the lack of residential building lots. The average middle class person cannot afford to pay the high price for land and permits and then construct even a modest new home, they have to settle to buy a used home and renovate it to their needs. In the future a township that can create some usable land that people can build custom homes will do very well with a good tax base and permit generation.

The shortness of quality contractors has given rise to a lot of less qualified contractors in the area, don't be rushed into hiring someone that you can't trust just because you want the job completed right away instead of later.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.