a.     This one is mostly based on personal preference:

1.     Bungalow or 2-Storey

ü  Keeping in mind that it is cheaper to build up than it is to build out. Therefore, bungalows will be more expensive per square foot than 2-storey houses.

2.     Total Square Footage of home

3.     Size of garage (based on usage and how many vehicles being stored).1.     Location, size, and type of rooms (sunrooms, offices, library, exercise, theatre…etc.)

2.     Number of washrooms (full or partial)

3.     Basement layout (finished or unfinished)

b.     The standards and options offered by the builder (varies from builder to builder):

1.     This will determine what is included in the square footage price, the allowances given for floor, electrical (lighting), and cabinetry.

ü  Some items to keep note of (which may or may not be included in the build) are:

·      Structural beams used - steel beams will alleviate the number of teleposts needed for structural support.

·      Type of stucco finishes – Acrylic Vs. Traditional

                                                                                                     i.     Both systems of finishes are adequate for our climate, but one thing that definitely stands out is the variable colors that can be used with Acrylic finishing (almost any color under the rainbow), while Traditional finishing’s are limited to the lighter tones.

·      Higher basement ceilings:

                                                                                                     i.     Typically 9 feet high in the basement

1.     NOTE: if you are getting a concrete pad as your basement floor, then the height drops by the thickness of the pad. However, with a structural wood basement floor, you are able to retain the 9-foot height.

·      Driveways:

                                                                                                     i.     Believe it or not, some builders do not include the driveway – make sure to address this before you sign the contract!

                                                                                                    ii.     Traditional broom or Stamped finish

·      Foundation

                                                                                                     i.     Piles Vs Footings

1.     Footings (shallow foundations) – are embedded about a meter into the soil, which transfers weight from walls and columns to the soil or bedrock.

2.     Piles (deep foundation) – impact driven reinforced, or pre-tensioned concrete used to transfer the load from a structure through an upper (weak) layer of soil to a stronger, deeper layer of soil.


 a.     Budget for a lot – a safe assumption should be about 25-30% of your total new build budget (some restrictions may also be made in the size of home to be built on a specific lot (this could be based on lot size or prestige).

b.     Desired Area – the area should reflect your values and your lifestyle;

1.     Suburb or rural?

2.     Privacy or active community?

3.     Amenities in the area:

ü  Schools, shops, buildings of worship (churches, synagogues, mosques…), access to transportation, traffic, playgrounds, parks…etc.

4.     Proximity to work– most of our day is spent at work or commuting to and from work. 


c.      4 typical types of lots in Manitoba


1.     Walkup Lots – Front entrance is above street level.

2.     Walkout Lots – Basement leads out to back yard.

3.     Lookout Lots – Basement windows are at about eye level.

4.     Visitable Lots/Home designs - A combination of lot variation and home design in order to make entry and movement more convenient; for instance, no-step entries, and wider doorways and hallways.

·      For more information on this please visit:


d.     Other characteristics that tend to drive lot prices:


1.     Aesthetics of the lot:

ü  Forest

ü  Lake

ü  The view

ü  Prestige and demand


2.     Size and shape of the lot:

ü  Extra deep

ü  Pie shaped


3.     Land developer:

ü  Designs

ü  Reputation


a.     Custom VS Production:

1.     Custom Builders – construct an originally, or uniquely designed home for a particular client in a desired location.

ü  Because these homes are uniquely designed, most custom homebuilders will allow for more freedom to alter plans, and customize layouts with minimal or no cost to the client (before the actual build).

ü  An architect or a professional home designer creates these original designs (in-house, or subcontracted).

2.     Production Builders – construct a home picked from a selection of floor plans, which is built in a designated area/ development that accommodates a similar style of home.


a.     Assets – what do you currently have?

1.     Long term: Bank accounts, investments, equity… etc.

2.     Short term: Monthly revenues (salaries, payouts, dividends…)

b.     Debts – What do you currently owe?

1.     Long term: Mortgage, loans, leases…etc.

2.     Short term: Monthly expenses (Bills, maintenance costs, living expenses, tax, insurance…)

c.      This evaluation can be done on your own, or preferably with a financial advisor (more accurate).

Note: if done with your Bank (financial advisor) you can also attain an exact amount for mortgage approval – then you really know what you’re working with!