How Much Does a Custom Home Cost?

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Many residents want to build a custom built home in Toronto as their life investment. Other Torontonians, though, simply want to have a house fully customized to their needs with the features, finishes, and building materials they desire. So how much does it cost to build a house in Toronto? how do you make that dream a financial reality? Most homes in Toronto start at $200 sq. ft. so you want to be sure your money is invested wisely to get the look and design to suit your taste and budget.

In this article, we’re looking at the costs that go into building a custom home, breaking down labour prices, materials, and types of home upgrades. To learn about the cost of building a custom home in Canada’s metropolis, keep reading.

Communicate With Your Builder

Take the time to talk to your builder. Discuss the entire building process components from property lines to kitchen finishings. This will help you understand all the costs to expect through the building process. At a minimum of $200 sq. ft., a 3,000 sq. ft. home can cost approximately $600,000, before adding upgrades and add-ons.

Once you have an idea of all the costs involved, then review your budget. Make sure to discuss all the details that matter most so you can work out a complete cost breakdown.
This handy checklist will help you get started:

  • Cost of Land
  • Land Transfer Tax (0.5% to approx 2%)
  • Legal Fees
  • Permit and Inspection Fees (current City of Toronto rate is a minimum fee of $198.59 with an hourly fee of $85.79 for examination and inspection.)
  • Architect Fees
  • Broker Fees (the current average fee in Toronto is 5%)
  • Landscaping

Materials Matter

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Once you have your budget established, think about the materials you would like to be featured in your home. Do you want marble throughout the kitchen? Do you want oak paneling in the library? Carefully consider where you want to splurge and where you can save.
For example, Granite is less expensive than marble, at approximately $75 to $100 sq. ft. while marble is approximately $100 to $200 sq.ft. This could be the difference of $20,000 to $50,000.
Don’t rush. Take your time and do your research when choosing the materials that will accentuate your home. A good builder will always work with you to find the best solution.

The Art of Negotiation

No matter what material you choose, nothing is ‘set in stone’. Be prepared to negotiate every aspect of your build, from broker fees to building materials. This is your custom dream home and you want to be sure every detail fits your overall vision. If you want a marble kitchen, ask your builder if you can get a better rate on materials if you also do the bathrooms in marble. Volume discounts, particularly on larger homes, are a great way to get the final look you want. So be willing to take the time to negotiate.

Long Term Vision

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A home is an investment, so think ahead to how you see yourself using your home five or 10 years down the road. The more custom features you add today, the higher the potential resale value in the future.

Do you want children? Do you plan on having in-laws visiting regularly? Discuss your long-range plans with your builder so they can be worked into the overall design. Perhaps you want an office now, that will be converted into a baby’s room in 3 years? Discuss closet space for baby so it can be built-in now, rather than retrofitted later when it may cost more.

Custom Home Cost

photo of landscape - Buying Land for Your Custom

Whatever the reason may be, building a customized house in Toronto means you must first find or have land on which to build a custom home. Ultimately, this means you either have to buy a house for its land value or already own land in which to build on. This is the first step to building a house in Toronto.

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Demolish and Rebuild

The grim reality of custom home building cost is that the current average detached home in Toronto currently sits at $1,294,936. Ideally, you are looking for homes that are less than $700,000 to tear down and custom build your own home afterward. The price difference between one house and the house next door is massive in some upper-end areas. So, depending on where you want to build your home, you may have to increase your budget accordingly.

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If you choose to purchase an old house, you will need to demolish before the custom home project begins. You’ll also want to have a contracted custom home builder hired ahead of time so that you can easily stay within your budget. Additionally, depending on the floorplan of the existing house that you purchased, you may want to consider preserving the foundation and perhaps part of the frame of the house.

Typically when it comes to budgeting for the teardown of Toronto houses, you’re looking at about $20,000.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Process of Building Your Dream Home

What Is Included in the Cost of a Custom Home in Toronto?

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Now that you have your land in which to build your home, you are probably wondering as to the custom home cost. When building a custom home, the cost is broken down per square foot. The cost per square foot to build a house in Toronto starts at about $150 per square foot to $250 per square foot. This is according to Ontario construction costs per square foot. Included in these costs are:

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  1. Building permits/ required legal documents
  2. Architect and designer fees
  3. Labour and construction costs
  4. Materials, finishes, and custom upgrades

The municipal costs are usually set and non-negotiable, design and build costs vary depending on the company you hire, the designer you’re working, and the custom interior design elements you want. The building permits and legal fees are standardized.

RELATED ARTICLE: Custom Build Your Dream House

Custom Home Labour Costs

There are 6 labour stages to consider when looking into the cost of a custom home.

FramingThe FoundationHouse ExteriorPlumbingRoofingFlooring
This is the most expensive yet vital step in building your custom home. The reason being is that the price of lumber plays a big role in the total cost of a custom home, especially if you prioritize quality. Framing costs are not so much about the installation labour, rather the price of the product.
This cost will depend on the climate of the area (Toronto varies) and the location.
Between stucco, stone, brick, engineered wood, and many more, you have plenty of house exterior options to choose from.
In terms of complexity, plumbing is the most complex step when building your custom home. Be sure to consult a professional here. Houses that are older than 30 years might be in a great risk of faulty plumbing for these reasons:

  • The natural wear and tear can reduce the quality of the plumbing system in the house.
  • Toronto plumbing requirements have changed and evolved so much in the last 20 years.
The size of the roof and the type of material used determine roofing cost, and there are so many options to choose from: asphalt shingles, metal roofing, roof tiles, and much more.

The most common types of flooring include the following:

  • Carpeting
  • Hardwood
  • Tile
  • Laminate
  • Vinyl and linoleum
Photo of custom home

Some of these custom home costs might seem overwhelming but the truth is that as long as you have a clear budget from the get-go, there will be no surprises. Take the time to consider your custom home project, outlining the absolute necessities that you must have and the features you can forego for the time being. Also, keep your eye on realty prices in Toronto. The housing market in the city is ever-fluctuating, so try to look for the right moment to pick up the phone and acquire quotes from custom home builders.

It can be tough to imagine where you will be in a few years, but with a little planning and open conversations with your builder, you can ensure these features will be there when you need them. A little vision and planning can save you money and allow you to custom build not just a house, but a home.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Find the Right Custom Home Builder

Contact us for more information about the costs of custom homes in Toronto today.