Sawlor Built Homes has been crafting custom homes in Nova Scotia since 1969. In that time, we’ve refined a process that makes the journey to your dream home every bit as enjoyable as the destination. From researching the best builder for your family and designing your new home, to moving in and everything in between, our custom home building blog is designed to assist and inspire all..
While the answer to your question might differ from that of your neighbour, it’s one your builder can provide for you after taking into consideration your home’s unique factors. That includes your home’s plans, specifications, location, and the types of products and systems you would like to include. In Nova Scotia, the time of year is a factor as well — our winters can be challenging!
In general, an 1,800 square foot home with standard finishes could be built in as little as four to six months, while a 10,000 square foot custom home could take two years or more to build!
Your builder will be able to suggest and commit to a timeline as part of his detailed “Cost to Build” proposal. When you sign a contract with your preferred builder, the estimated time to build (the “Closing Date”) becomes a part of a legal document and your builder should take it seriously.
Of course, you have a very important part to play in achieving your home’s closing date, too. Product selections and colours are your decisions, which must be made in a timely manner to keep the process running smoothly and on time.
Having a detailed and honest discussion with your builder about costs, expectations, and timelines will ultimately give you the correct answer to your question.
Having reviewed your detailed quote(s), you are ready to sign a contract with the builder that has offered the best overall value for your new home.
The contract should be written in a fair and detailed format to protect both you and the builder from any possible miscommunication. It is always a good idea to have the contract reviewed by your lawyer as well, before you sign it.
The detailed quote should be attached to the contract, and will become part of the legal document called “specifications.” While there are many clauses in a well-written contract, the price, schedule, closing date, and warranty are key components. It’s also a good idea to incorporate a clearly defined and realistic method to deal with any disputes that might occur.
Ideally, after you have selected the right builder and signed the contract, you should be able to file it away and never look at it again!
While there are benefits to building in the off-season, there are some things you and your builder should be aware of if you choose to build during the winter months.
Timing. Your builder should space out his winter starts so he can focus on each foundation, getting them backfilled and protected from freezing as quickly as possible.
Extreme conditions. Nova Scotia temperatures fluctuate, so it’s important to start the foundation when the forecast is calling for a few days of milder weather. While concrete has additives that keep it from freezing, the ground that supports your foundation does not. The ground can freeze within hours, causing it to expand and potentially lift or crack your foundation.
Protection from the elements. Freshly excavated areas should be protected at all times. Most builders use bundles of straw to protect the excavated ground around a foundation. The straw is installed and removed as the foundation progresses.
Scheduling. Keeping the project moving forward is very important. The sooner your foundation is backfilled and the interior space covered with plastic and straw, the better! Once backfilled, construction can move forward with much less concern for the cold.
Whether you are building a new home, or putting a new face on an old one, picking your trim is an important factor in achieving the overall statement you want your home to make. Unfortunately, many are at the tight end of their budgets by the time it comes to deciding on their trim, and will often compromise style on behalf of practicality.
But mouldings are worth taking the time to choose properly. Trim adds visual interest and character to a home, and can influence the mood of a room in an instant. They are an architectural element that lends authenticity to your style, and should compliment the other elements and features of your home.
Frequently, homeowners find the task of selecting their profiles overwhelming. Quite often it is easier to identify what you don’t like, and in doing so, narrowing down the choice. As always, the internet is a great tool to view style options, or a trained sales representative can guide you in making your profile choices.
The most common errors often relate to scale and profile. Trim that is too small or too overpowering for the space, or profiles that are wrong for the period and architecture of the home. When determining the size of moulding to choose, you should consider the ceiling height, and the openness of the floor plan. Often, homeowners will choose a size and profile of moulding for the main areas or main level of their home, and a slightly smaller, but similar profile for other areas such as basements or bedrooms. This allows for a cohesive design while still providing proper scale and feel throughout the home.
In the end the choice will be a balance of personal choice and conventional wisdom. It’s your space, and you should be comfortable there, so that’s what should guide you in making your decision. Your choice of mouldings, while adding beauty and warmth to your home, can also add to its appeal and resale value, as homes with quality mouldings are often seen as higher-end and therefore of better quality construction. So take the time to choose wisely. The proof is in the moulding.
Our Nova Scotia weather is always a consideration when building a new home.
A winter start date may raise some concerns about frozen or cracked foundations and additional costs for construction. However, there are some valid reasons to start building in the winter.
Building in the winter can mean lower prices and incentives from major suppliers and trades people. For example, most window manufacturers offer a winter booking discount on their products. Lumber also tends to be lower-priced in the winter, and trades people are more likely to be available to work at your convenience due to a slow-down in their work schedules.
The winter discounts should more than offset the additional costs of frost protection, concrete additives, and heating. A winter start will beat the rush and avoid delays due to spring rain and busy trades people.
Talk to your builder about whether a winter start is right for you. When summer rolls around and others are mid-way through their builds, you could be relaxing on the deck of your newly built home!
As we started the custom trim phase of one of our projects, our Clients approached us with an issue of the Canadian Architecture & Design Magazine and asked if we could replicate the cover image in the foyer of their new home. We assured them we could and they were quite pleased with the results!
“Sawlor’s ability to replicate the cover of an Architectural Digest magazine exceeded all of our expectations and the craftsmanship has been consistently admired and revered by everyone who enters our wonderful home.” – Lisa & Henrick
Pictures are an invaluable resource to convey your desires. We recommend creating a portfolio of ideas and inspiration for your new home that can be discussed with your builder as the home building process begins.
Long ago, having a cable and a phone jack in your home was considered high tech. Today’s homes are bigger and more complex than ever before. Now, there are control systems for entertainment, security, lighting and even heating and cooling systems, bringing high tech to a new level.
High-definition TVs and speakers are found throughout new homes, along with home theatres, automated lighting, window furnishings and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and of course, wired or wireless Internet in every room. The good news is, controlling these systems has never been easier.
With a Wi-Fi network and the touch of your finger, you can use your mobile device to adjust everything in your home from your lights to your security system—even while you’re on vacation out of the country!
Talk to your builder about home automation. Whether you’re considering control systems now, or may consider them in the future, it’s a good idea to include your plans in the pre-wiring of your new home.
This past Friday, November 25th, we attended the 2016 Peter Kohler Peak Awards Show & Gala, hosted by the Nova Scotia Home Builder's Association. Our team had a lot of fun mingling and celebrating the success of all of our association members.
We are very proud to have won a Marketing Excellence Award!
Sawlor Family: Brett, Debbie, Keith, Kaila and Keigan
Congratulations to all award Winners and Finalists! See you again next year!
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