A couple holding house keys with a white line drawing of a house.

According to a study by Mortgage Professionals Canada, buying a new home is the second most stressful life decision that Canadians make in their lifetime.

If you're a first-time homebuyer, you might feel overwhelmed or stressed out by the construction process and the steps you need to take before moving into your home, and that's okay! You're not alone.

In this article, we're providing you with 7 essential tips that most people don't know when building a home. We hope to answer some of your questions and relieve some of those stress points that you have about the home-building process.

1. Getting Pre-Approved Can Speed Up Your Purchasing Process

Pre-approval is not an essential part of purchasing a home, but it sure helps! This process involves visiting a bank lender who checks your financial records and provides you with an estimate on the amount of money you can borrow to purchase a new home.

The documentation that you will need to provide your lender is:
  • Assets
    • Home, vehicle, and financial.
  • Liabilities
    • Loans and expenses.
  • Income Report
    • Debt to income ratio and credit report.
Once your lender looks over your financial records, they will provide you with an estimate of the construction loan amount that you can obtain. Here’s why getting approved is so important:
  • Increases the chances of getting your dream property.
  • Helps builders manage expectations and build you the perfect home that is right for you and your budget.
  • Gives you a solid estimate of how much you can spend.
  • Proves that you are serious about purchasing a home.
If you're interested in learning more about the importance of pre-approval, the process, and how to get pre-approved, check out our detailed blog, How to Get Pre-Approved to Buy a House: The Ultimate Guide.

2. It’s an Investment Journey

According to Reviewlution, over the last 15 years, the Canadian housing market has had an average annual appreciation rate of 6.11%. So, when you build your dream house, it's important to remember that it's an investment journey.

If you're building a home, there are several investment advantages. Newer homes in new communities generally increase in value more than those in older neighbourhoods. It's important to note that this is entirely dependent on various factors. Although every home may not appreciate, purchasing a home in a new area before it's fully developed is typically a great investment.

Since buying a new construction home is one of the most significant investments you'll ever make, it’s important to understand how appreciation and depreciation work. Typically, houses go up in value over time, but you will see some fluctuations in the market, which is normal, and not always something to worry about! Just remember that this process is all a part of your journey.

3. Design Your Home for the Future

Beautiful bright and white Shane Homes kitchen with a timeless design.

When you're planning the design elements of your home, try to aim for a timeless design. Flooring, paint colours, and more, can affect the longevity of your home design. If you want to maximize the resale version of your home, it’s important to consider that trendy design elements may not be desirable to buyers 10-20 years down the line.

Examining how design has changed over time, can help you understand how important it is to design your home for timelessness rather than based on current design trends.

In a study completed by 50 Floor, in 2022, 48.14% of people preferred hardwood flooring, 16.87% voted laminate, 12.87% voted carpet, 12.2% voted luxury vinyl, and 9.91% for tile. But, in 2015, Continental Flooring claims bamboo and cork flooring was the most popular, followed by large tile and vinyl, with hardwood being the last choice.

So, suppose you built your house in 2015 and installed bamboo or cork flooring. When you go to sell your home 6 years later, in 2022, the trending design style has essentially flipped. Potential buyers may think your home is dated due to a lack of timelessness. When you build your house, think about past design trends, upcoming trends, and what you can do to meet in the middle.

4. Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Before committing to your home, double-check to see if you qualify for any tax credits. In Canada, there are a couple of tax credits that you can use that will benefit you financially.

First-time home buyers credit: The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a designated program for first-time homebuyers. This program allows you to withdraw funds from your RRSPs to buy or build a home. You are then able to pay back your withdrawn funds within 15 years.

Home accessibility tax credits: This tax credit is a non-refundable HATC for qualifying expenses incurred for work performed or goods acquired.

Home buyers' amount: The Home Buyers' Amount is a non-refundable credit that allows first-time buyers to claim up to $5,000 when they purchase a home.

Moving expenses: If you move from your existing home to work or run a business in a new location, you may be eligible to deduct your moving costs.

There are a variety of home tax credits that may benefit you greatly. Visit the Government of Canada website to learn more about these benefits and to discover if you qualify.

5. Don’t Shy Away From Upgrades

Couple with their realtor looking at floor plans of their new home.

According to New Homes Up, home buyers spend around 20-25% of their home price on custom home upgrades. When you're budgeting your home, it’s important to decide what upgrades you want and need. At times, the determining factor about whether or not to invest in home upgrades is the cost.

Let’s take a look at four popular 2022 upgrades for your home:
  • Spice kitchen
  • 9 foot basement ceilings
  • Side door entries
  • Legal suites
Upgrading your home doesn’t mean you’re paying thousands of dollars to completely alter it (it can, but it doesn’t have to be this way). When you go to build your new home, take a peek at what upgrades are in the showhome, and write down which ones are a necessity for you.

6. Some Home Builders Have Value Added Programs

Homebuilders often offer various incentives that show they support your home-building journey. For example, Shane Homes has a value added program with various programs and services that can be used before and after moving into your home.

Here are the programs that Shane Homes offers:
  • Referral rewards program: After purchasing a home, you have the ability to receive $1,979 every time your family or friend purchases a Shane Home.
  • Family rewards program: If you’re a second-time Shane Homes purchaser, you will receive a 10% discount on upgrades and purchases made at our design studio.
Here are the services that Shane Homes offers:
  • Translation services: Shane Homes offers up to 85 languages for verbal translation services.
  • Home care services: Shane Homes has a dedicated team of home care coordinators and technicians to meet all of your home care needs.
  • Home safety services: Shane Homes implements many safety policies and procedures to ensure the job site is a safe work environment and a safe place for you to visit while your home is being built.
When you’re choosing your home builder, be sure to take a look at their website to see if you can take advantage of any of the perks they offer.

7. Ensure You Choose the Right Home Builder

Finding your dream home is one thing, but finding the right home builder is just as important. Having a builder that stands by you and understands your wants and needs throughout the entire process of building your home is key to a successful home build.

When choosing a home builder, ask yourself these questions:
  • Will they let me customize my home?
  • Do they have high-quality standard features?
  • Do they use quality building materials?
  • Do they have a warranty policy?
  • What’s their overall building experience?
  • Do they have a good reputation?
  • Do they have any referral/rewards programs?
Many of these questions can be answered through some research and by chatting with friends who own property, but some of these questions may require you to go to the showhomes of builders to determine the answers. Ensure you are working with a home builder who respects your wants and needs and stands by you in making them a reality.

Experience the Building Process With Shane Homes

Relator handing over the keys to a couple's new home.

When you build with Shane Homes, we will support and guide you from the moment you step into our showhome to your move-in date.

Instead of asking yourself the aforementioned questions about home builders, we thought it would be easy to answer them about Shane Homes:
  • Will they let me customize my home? Yes! Shane Homes are completely customizable–we want you to love it or customize it.
  • Do they have high-quality standard features? Of course. We have a variety of high-quality features that you’ll love. Many people even think that our standard features are upgrades.
  • Do they use quality building materials? Yes! We take pride in using high-quality materials in all of our homes.
  • Do they have a warranty policy? We do! We offer a 1 year and 10-year warranty program.
  • What's their overall building experience? We have over 40 years of experience custom building homes for growing families like yours.
  • Do they have a good reputation? Yes! We have a long history of building quality homes.
  • Do they have any referral/rewards programs? Absolutely. We have a variety of referral rewards programs.
When you're ready to find a home for you and your family members, check out our build and price tool. This tool will help you find out what the home of your dreams will cost, based on the home type and the community. Stop by one of our showhomes today, or contact us. We can't wait to help you move into your perfect home!

PS: If you're looking for more tips, we've compiled a list of 101 must-know home buying tips that can help you with every step of your home buying and building journey.