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Building in Vancouver will offer you many choices to consider. One big choice you’ll have to contemplate is whether you want to build a new home on a brand new lot or to rebuild your home on the lot you’re currently living on. Basically, do you want to stay where you are or do you want to move somewhere else? Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

  1. Think about lot suitability
    Many people make the mistake of trying to fit a round home, so to speak, in a square lot. How many times have to driven by a home that is obviously too big for the lot it’s on? If you want to move up to a much larger home, then build on a bigger lot.
  2. How much do you love the neighbourhood?
    Maybe your current home has the all the extras that you’re looking for – nearby schools and parks, peace and quiet, or a busy strip of pubs and restaurants. If that’s the case, you might not want to build somewhere else and leave all of that behind.

  3. Do you have a place to stay?
    Rebuilding isn’t remodeling. The construction workers aren’t just fixing up a few things and you can live around them. Rebuilding is building a brand new home and tearing down where you live right now. So you’ll need to find somewhere to stay, somewhere to store your things, as construction is occurring.
  4. How much do you want to spend?
    Very simply, if you rebuild, you don’t have to buy a new lot. That saves money. Also, many companies will try to reuse some of the raw materials from your old home in the rebuild, which also saves money.

At Clay Construction, we can talk to you about rebuilding and building a new home for you and your family. We also do reconstruction as well, so come talk to one of our amazing advisors about how we can help you build your dream home.

The post Building or Rebuilding? Tips to help you make the right choice appeared first on Clay Construction.

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You’ve been saving your money, counting your nickels, and you’ve found the perfect piece of property for your dream home. Now you need to find a home builder. So who is the right builder for your needs?

Before you do anything, you want to know exactly what those needs are. Do you need a custom home design or have you already found the perfect plans? Are you looking for something environmentally friendly? Economical? Elegant? Elaborate?

We recommend sitting down and making a list of everything you need in your new home. Be specific. The clearer you can be when talking to a home builder, the better the process will be. So if your dream is to have a gigantic man cave, or a chef-ready kitchen, or windows everywhere, they need to know this.

Next, do your research. Use the internet and talk to people. What you’re looking for is an experienced custom builder who knows how to work in the Vancouver area. Any good home builder will be more than happy to show you their resume, their history of work, and give you a list of previous clients who will tell you exactly what they were like to work with.

Finally, look at the kinds of homes they’ve worked on. Can they vary their styles, their plans, and work to give the owners exactly what they need? Or do they follow the same, cookie-cutter style and all their construction looks exactly the same? Do their designers listen to the clients or do they force their own ideas on them? This can give you a really good idea of what they’re capable of achieving for you.

Or you could contact Clay Construction and contact the right custom builder from the start. Whether it’s West Vancouver, New Westminster, or anywhere in the Lower Mainland, they have proven their skills and experience again and again. They will match your needs and make sure you’re happy with your new dream home.

The post Custom Home Design in Vancouver. Choosing the right home builders to match your needs. appeared first on Clay Construction.

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In the article “Vancouver Real Estate in Review 2017”, real estate agent and industry blogger Steve Saretsky reports that the average price of detached homes in Vancouver fell 6.5 perfect last year. He said that single family home sales have been soft for about 18 months.

He gave two reasons for this drop in price. One is the reduction of foreign money coming into the housing market. Between the new mortgage rules and the foreign buyers tax, less overseas money is present. The second reason is that, because of the weak sales, there are now more houses on the market, lowering prices.

According to Saretsky, more investment is going into Vancouver’s booming condo market. As the condo market skyrockets, and prices do the same, now the best time to buy a detached home because the prices are closer together now than they’ve been in a long time.

Saretsky is predicting that housing prices will continue to drop in 2018, but he’s not ready to say that the bubble has burst.

This news is great for someone who is looking to hire a home builder in the coming year. Lower detaches housing prices mean that it’s now cheaper to get that perfect piece of property that you want to build your dream home on. With less people buying, especially with less foreign money coming in, a buyer has less competition when making that bid.

For home owners looking to renovate, now may be the perfect time to upgrade their homes and make them more valuable in the future. With property values going down, an owner may not want to sell and lose some of the potential equity in their homes. By renovating, they can invest in this long-term possession and see their future value dramatically increase.

If you’re looking for a home builder to either start from scratch or renovate your home, contact Clay Construction, where our years of experience and knowledge will help make your dream home a reality.

The post Single family home prices dip in Vancouver appeared first on Clay Construction.

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In a move that surprised almost everyone except the party in charge, the Vancouver city council voted to increase the property tax for residents, moving the proposed increase from 3.9 percent to 4.24 percent. This means that the average homeowner will pay an extra $94 per year while the average condo owner with pay $32 more per year.

The city council wants to use this extra money to pay for more staff for Vancouver’s new housing strategy, more social grants, fixing the building permit system, and to address the historic wrongs committed against Chinese people.

In a move that the opposition calls “political”, Vision Councillor Raymond Louie introduced the amendment to the budget vote the day it occurred, stating that the city needed to add $2.4 million in spending to fight the housing crisis. The other Vision Councillors supported the move, stating that the initial tax increases would only cover the cost of wage increases and sewer and water rate increases, and they needed more money to deal with things that the people of Vancouver want.

Housing affordably has long been a huge problem for the city of Vancouver, already Canada’s most expensive city, and they believed that they needed more money to combat this and find a solution. NPA Councillors, stunned by the new addition, believed that the move was predominantly political and wondered how raising taxes when the cost of living is so high would help anyone.

Surprise budget increases are shocks to anyone, no matter what the situation. Whether the tax increases are a good idea or not, leaving them to the last minute and then surprising others with them is never a good idea.

That’s why Clay Construction always uses transparent financials so that our customers know exactly how much their new Vancouver home will cost and where their money is going. If you want a trustworthy Vancouver construction company that respects your money, come and talk to Clay Construction about your renovations or new home.

The post Surprise property tax increase in Vancouver for 2018 appeared first on Clay Construction.

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The kitchen. It’s where we spend a large part of our day, preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus a midnight snack). It’s the centre of our home. It’s the focal point where everyone gathers as they come home from work or school. You walk in your house, dump your bag on the kitchen table, and open the fridge door for a snack.

Who doesn’t dream of having the perfect kitchen? It’s always the first item on our to-do lists. How many times have you heard “When we get the money, we’re going to redo the kitchen”?

So now you can afford it and you’re ready to make your kitchen perfect. What are you dreaming to accomplish? Do you need a complete kitchen design, where a professional designer comes into your home, talks to you about your wants and needs, and comes up with a completely new look? Do you want that expertise to make things go easier?

Kitchen renovations are the perfect choice. Maybe you want to open your home up by demolishing a wall. Maybe they find a way to construct an island into the centre of your kitchen. They design the perfect kitchen for you.

Kitchen upgrades are a big part of any renovation. From better, more efficient pipes to a new electrical system that’s safer, to materials that are more environmentally-conscious, there are a lot of little things that make your kitchen work more efficiently and save you financially.

Whatever it is that would make your kitchen fulfil your dreams, Clay Construction can help you do it. Our team of professionals can come in and work with you right from the very beginning. A designer will come in and start talking about your kitchen renovation. Then we’ll start creating a budget and project design. Before you know it, Clay Construction will have given you the kitchen of your dreams.

The post Dreaming up the perfect kitchen appeared first on Clay Construction.

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Everyone dreams of owning their dream home. For many people, they dream of that day of building a new home, on a new piece of property, making decisions on every facet of their new home.

But in many cases, they’re already living in their dream home. They’ve already found the perfect location, love their neighbours, and they already enjoy many of the little extras they’re looking for, but they just want to turn their current home into something even more special.

The Clay Construction team are experts at renovating your home. We aren’t just custom home builders and custom home designers. We’re also experts in taking what’s already been built and improving it wherever we can.

In fact, we’ve got so much experience and expertise, that we can make renovations even easier for you. Whether they’re building codes or city permits, we can work with any renovation that you might be interested in.

For example, let’s say that you’ve decided on a kitchen renovation. You want to open up your home, knock out some walls, remove a doorway to the balcony, and change the layout of the plumbing. We’ll discuss every aspect of the remodel with you, from the budget to the architecture, and create a perfect plan for moving ahead. After designing the renovation and establishing the budget, you sign contracts and we’re off and running.

Or perhaps you want something even bigger. With a complete home renovation, we can provide you with all the information you need and our name is your guarantee that we’re going to do the best work possible.

Once the renovation is complete, we walk you through your home, making sure that all the details are correct. Your happiness is our highest priority and we highly value that trust you’ve placed in us to make you home better than before.

At Clay Construction, our expertise and experience can help transform your current home into the dream home you’ve always wanted. We’re Vancouver’s best choice for home renovations.

The post Your own home might be your dream home – let’s talk Renovations appeared first on Clay Construction.

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When talking about the cost of building a home in Canada, the most common way to describe it is by using “price per square foot”. But remember that this number can be deceptively misused. As you compare builder’s cost per square foot, do a thorough investigation to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.  It is too easy to fool the trusting and unsuspecting homeowner who has not built before.

When you’re spending around $1 million on a new home, you want to see exactly where your money is going. This is why Clay Construction considers transparent financials a critical service to provide for their clients. We want you to know exactly where every nickel of your costs is going.

We provide you with detailed estimates, budgets, and invoices that show you where we expect the costs to be and where the costs might differ from the budget. Every week we’ll send you a balance report so that you can see what is being spent and where. And when we provide you with your digital homeowner’s manual at the end of the journey, you’ll see all the building information like photos, plans, and inspection on one flashdrive.

Transparency is key to building trust. Clay Construction wants you to be able to trust us and know that we are spending your money wisely to build you the home of your dreams. We want you to know that your hard-earned money isn’t being wasted on items that you didn’t want, don’t need, or can’t afford. When you have a thorough understanding of the costs related to your new home, you can relax and enjoy the home building process.

So meet with Clay Construction staff  and we’ll walk you through the first steps of the estimate and the building process eventually leading you to your beautiful new home.

The post Transparent Financials and the Cost of Building in Canada appeared first on Clay Construction.

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One great way to judge the abilities and talents of someone is to ask their competitors who they would choose to represent them. It’s that old adage – if you want to hire someone to do something for you, ask everyone who they would recommend aside from themselves. The name that comes up again and again is probably the best choice.

And now, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is choosing Larry Clay to represent them.

The CHBA is a group that has been representing the residential construction industry since 1943 and is made up of more than 8,500 companies. They work together to ensure that both the government and home owners and buyers understand what the other wants and needs, all while protecting their industry.
The Executive Committee is a group of seven elected leaders and up to two appointed members, chosen by the President, that meet to oversee the operations of the CHBA.

This year, the President selected Larry Clay to represent the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association as well as the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC.

This isn’t the first accolade that Mr. Clay has received from this group. He was named the First Master Residential Builder in BC by the CHBA of BC. By completing all required courses that focus on residential construction in BC, he was able to become to the first person in BC to achieve this designation.

Mr. Clay has also won several Georgie Awards, which are awards handed out by the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association for excellence in home building and renovation.

If you’re looking for someone to talk to about your new home building project, why not talk to someone who’s at the forefront of the CHBA and is a leader in the home construction industry. Clay Construction is that company that other companies will recommend because they know they’re one of the best in British Columbia.

The post Presidential Appointee to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s National Executive Committee! appeared first on Clay Construction.

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Building a new home can be an exciting and rewarding venture. Support and protection to homeowners is offered through the government agency – BC Housing and its Licensing and Consumer Services branch. In addition, public for-profit companies provide 2/5/10 warranty for homes in BC.

The Licensing and Consumer Services (LCS) branch administers the Homeowner Protection Act and helps protect the consumer. When unethical builders and homeowners try to circumvent the law and get caught, they are subject to stiff penalties. See this link for disciplinary actions against disreputable builders and homeowners.

If a homeowner chooses to act as the contractor and build their own home, they are considered Owner Builders. As of July 4, 2016, anyone who wishes to build a new home in British Columbia as an owner builder must apply for an Owner Builder Authorization and pass an exam. The exam is designed to test an applicant’s knowledge and understanding of home building basics as well as the statutory obligations and requirements that owner builders must meet under the Homeowner Protection Act. This will help owner builders expand their knowledge, improve the quality of construction, and protect subsequent buyers of owner-built homes.

It is critical to note that it is illegal for an Owner Builder to hire another contractor to build their home using the Owner Builder exemption.

BC Housing – Licensing and Consumer Services

Formerly known as the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO), the Licensing and Consumer Services (LCS) branch of BC Housing, is the government agency responsible for licensing residential builders and administering Owner Builder Authorizations. They have the power to cancel the license of the builder and levy financial penalties. Ultimately, they protect the consumer by ensuring that new homes are covered by home warranty insurance. Wendy Acheson is Vice-President & Registrar of Licensing and Consumer Services, and also the person you will often see in the news. She is responsible for administering the Homeowner Protection Act, overseeing licensing compliance and consumer-service operations. Wendy has led important initiatives to increase the quality of residential construction and strengthen consumer protection. LCS also monitors the provision of third-party home warranty insurance.

Warranty Providers

Builders are responsible for arranging home warranty insurance through a warranty provider.
The warranty provider issues a 2/5/10 home warranty insurance policy when the home is completed or occupied and provides the following protection:
• One year on defects in materials and labour or violation of the Building Code.
• Two years on defects in materials and labour supplied for the mechanical systems, as well as for the exterior cladding, caulking, windows and doors, that may lead to detachment or material damage to the new home and violation of the Building Code.
• Five years on the building envelope includes the components that separate the indoors from the outdoors.
• Ten years for defects in materials and labour that result in the failure of a load-bearing part of the new home, and for any defect that causes structural damage.

There are four warranty providers in BC: Travelers, National, WBI and Pacific. It is illegal to build a house without registering the home with a warranty provider. Unscrupulous builders continue to ignore the laws and put at risk not only themselves but homeowners as well.

When looking for a builder, make sure they are licensed with BC Housing and one of the four warranty providers. It is illegal to build a home and not provide 2/5/10 warranty insurance.  Non-compliance with the Homeowner Protection Act and its Regulations can lead to a monetary penalty of up to $25,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both.

The English idiom, “A pound wise, a penny foolish” provides timely wisdom when choosing a builder. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Happy Building.

Larry Clay
President of Clay Construction
Vice-President of GVHBA

The post BC Housing – Licensing and Consumer Services: The Defender of Quality appeared first on Clay Construction.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Benjamin Franklin

Sadly, too many people are taking possession of their brand-new home only to find that it is far from the perfect home they were anticipating. From the obvious poor quality of finishing and poorly thought-out features to the concealed mould behind the walls and inferior mechanical equipment, many new homes do not meet their expectations of excellence. New homeowners are routinely disappointed by the quality of their finished home. Are their expectations too high?

Comparatively, when purchasing a new car, we expect flawless perfection. In fact, whether the car is from Detroit, Toronto or Vancouver, we expect all cars to be virtually identical in their high quality. As well, there is an expectation homes that have been built to our BC Building Code/Vancouver Building Code and have passed inspections will reflect the same flawless perfection that exists in a new car. Why not? Unfortunately, this is not the case with most new homes.

To most people, the Building code is a high standard but in reality, the Building Code is a minimum standard. There is a comical expression in the industry that declares, “Homes built to code are the lowest form of building that you can legally build in Canada before being thrown in jail!” As one would expect, a home built only to code should not instill much confidence. Which High School student proudly announces to their friends, “Yeah! I earned 51% on all my subjects?” Why is this acceptable for builders? Inferior builders view the code as a high standard to achieve while first-class builders view the code as a minimum standard that needs to be exceeded.

The building code establishes standards that protect us and make our homes safer. For example, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in homes and the bedroom windows must meet egress requirements to allow safe passage in the event of a fire. This code will also specify standards that increase the longevity, durability and efficiency of the home. City inspectors will ensure that there are no building code violations during their frequent inspections.

During the building process, homes are also inspected by third party engineers retained by the builder or architect. For example, for permit applications, engineers will specify how roof loads are to be supported down to the foundation. In addition, beams are specified to transfer loads from above and the foundation is engineered for the loads placed on it. At inspection, the engineer will make sure all requirements have been followed and the structure of the home has not been compromised by the mechanical trades. For instance, inexperienced trades may cut through trusses, joists and drill through point loads sacrificing structural integrity. Engineers will inspect to make sure all structural members have not been compromised.

Admittedly, without this building code, our homes would be even worse than homes built today. Without this standard, unscrupulous and unethical builders would find even more areas to eliminate and the quality of our homes would be dismally low. Critically, the homeowner needs to be educated by the builder on the value of building above code in strategic areas. This approach will improve the homes health, durability, efficiency and attractiveness while respecting the budget.

All homes are not created equal. Be wise and hire a builder who is professional, honest, and competent – these builders will not be the lowest priced. A German proverb states, “The cheapest is always the most expensive.” Lowest price produces lowest quality. Your new home will only be as good as the builder; so choose wisely.

The post Destroying the New Home Myth appeared first on Clay Construction.

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