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5 ways to minimize the stress of a new cottage build

If you’re considering building a new cottage, it’s fun to dream about your vision for the finished product. But when it’s time to buckle up for the actual building process, there are plenty of places where stress can set in. “For a lot of people, the thought of starting a project of this scale is a bit intimidating, but we’ve built our entire brand on alleviating that stress as much as possible.” says Kyle Duguay, Beaver Homes & Cottages’ Package Sales Marketing Manager. “We have the expertise of having been through this hundreds of times at the local level, so having us in your corner can help make the process a lot smoother.”

To reduce the stress of your next build, we discussed the main pain points of building—and how working with Beaver Homes & Cottages can help make things easier. Chief among them, he’s quick to point out, is planning as early as possible. “If you haven’t started planning by early fall, it’s time to begin, because you want to have all your ducks in a row before the snow thaws.”

1) Staying on time and on budget

For anyone planning to build a cottage, the most obvious pillars of a smooth building process are completing the project on time and on budget. But in reality, those goals often fall short of expectations. Beaver Homes & Cottages helps those constraints in place not just by locking in prices and by coordinating the delivery of materials for the contractor, but also by advising clients on how smaller decisions can affect the big picture.

“Having a neutral third party pull in the reins if things start going over budget is crucial,” Duguay explains. “Where people tend to start going over budget is on the finishing side. They want to upgrade the countertops or the flooring after they’ve already set their budget, and sometimes we need to be the sober voice of reason. We sometimes refer to this as ‘a buck more’ syndrome. You might think upgrading the flooring is only a dollar more per square foot, but it adds up when you have 2,000 square feet to deal with. A buck more in the scale of a house grows exponentially.”

2) Finding the right contractor as early as possible

If you want a project finished on time and on budget, proper planning will go only so far—you also need to find the right contractor. And that can be tough for would-be cottagers who don’t have existing relationships in cottage country. “With Beaver Homes & Cottages, the initial screening is already done for you,” Duguay says. “We have contractors we work with on a regular basis, so if we refer someone, you can take comfort in the fact that we trust their work.”

He also points out that you’ll need to make sure you get along with whomever you decide to hire. “There are lots of good contractors out there, but you need to find one who’s a match for you personality-wise. This is a long-term relationship. You’re going to be working with them for however long the build takes, so you have to make sure you’re actually compatible with them.” That comes down to checking references. “Not just receiving references, but actually following up and checking them,” he adds. And of course, it’s not enough to just find a good contractor—you have to do it as early as possible. The best builders are booked up far in advance, so now’s the time to start the process.

3) Securing financing for a new build

One of the lesser-known issues people face when planning for a new cottage build is securing proper financing for the project. Financing a new build is more complicated than the typical mortgage pre-approval, and many institutions don’t have the in-house expertise to know all the nuances. “Banks are very cautious about lending to people who are looking to build their own custom homes, because they can’t sell half a house if you don’t complete the project,” Duguay says. “So they’re not just interested in whether you financially qualify; they also want to see that you’re working with professionals who can actually get the job done. So if you don’t have the experience yourself, it’s important to have some expertise on your side.”

But thanks to a new partnership with Scotiabank for owner/builder financing, Beaver Homes & Cottages takes the stress out of that process, too, he explains. “When you’re able to tell them that you’re building with Beaver Homes & Cottages, and you’re working with a local specialist they know by name, it makes a huge difference. And because of our partnership with Scotiabank, they know the expertise and the guarantees we’re bringing to the game. It gives them an additional level of comfort that your job will be completed, because we do hundreds of these every year.”

4) Insuring your property during the construction phase

If someone gets injured on the site, or if disaster strikes when you’re 90 per cent finished, you need to make sure you’re covered. “You need some sort of insurance policy on the property for liability, third-party injury, and theft or damage of the materials during the course of construction,” says Duguay. “That can often be difficult to find—and even when you do find it, it can be expensive. So we build comprehensive insurance into our package as well.”

5) Getting your permits

When you’re standing on your new property, envisioning the cottage you’re planning to build, the last thing you want to think about is paperwork. But without the right permits in place, your dream build can quickly become a nightmare. And if you’re not local to the area—as is the case with most cottage builders—knowing where to go and which permits you’ll need can be a headache in and of itself.

“Working with us as a local partner who’s dealt with the building department for many years, who knows what the local building officials take in their coffee, and who knows how they want things done in their municipality is a huge help,” Duguay says. 

Throughout the building process, it’s that local presence that makes all the difference in removing stress from the equation. “With Beaver Homes & Cottages, you’re dealing with a local consultant who’s been building in that community for a long time,” he says. “They know the expectations. They know the municipal bylaws. They know the building inspectors. And they know the local contractors—the good ones and the ones you might want to avoid. That local knowledge is the best way to avoid the pitfalls of building a cottage.”

Ready to bring your vision to life? Reach out to your local Beaver Homes & Cottages Consultant and start the conversation today at beaverhomesandcottages.ca.