A Guide to Choosing the Best Cottage Builder in Ontario - Royal Homes A Guide to Choosing the Best Cottage Builder in Ontario - Royal Homes
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A Guide to Choosing the Best Cottage Builder in Ontario

Ontario and cottage country go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

Whether it’s Muskoka, Collingwood, or the many other gems all over Ontario such as Haliburton, cottage life is woven into the fabric of this great province. Owning a cottage in Ontario is a lifelong dream for anyone with an appreciation of clear starry nights, breathtaking lakes, and lush, green woods.

Yes, building a cottage in Ontario is one of the best decisions you can make for your overall lifestyle. But who you choose to build your cottage matters.

While the builder is only one of many factors at play, it is quite possibly the most important decision you’ll make when it comes to building your dream cottage in Ontario.

Below, we’ll delve into the criteria you should use when choosing the best cottage builder for you.

1. Do Your Research!

Most likely, you’ll start looking for a cottage builder online. Of course, a decision this big demands some deep research ‒ not just reading a few reviews online!

Look into how long your prospective builders have been in business. As a general rule, the longer, the better.

After you have done your initial research, ask prospective builders to show you some of the cottages they have built. If the builder is willing to show their work, it’s a good sign they stand behind it ‒ and that they’ve got a good relationship with their customers. From there, see if you can talk to the customer to gain more insight.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure your builder has a Tarion Warranty. Royal Homes has been a proud member of Tarion since its beginnings in 1976, and is proud to be part of a select group of only 7% of all of Ontario’s 6,000 builders that meet Tarion’s stringent criteria for outstanding customer service.

2. Choose a Builder with an Eye for Design

You want your dream cottage to look exactly as you imagined it. But if your builder doesn’t have a knack for design, you might be disappointed.

Instead of having someone else draw up plans and then handing them to your builder, it’s better to choose a builder who works directly with draftspeople and architects on the design. When your builder is involved in the design process, you’re better able to avoid problems in implementing what you want and plan around the space. You will be better informed about the logistics and costs of various design elements.

A strong working relationship between the builder and designer means both the build and design processes will work in harmony. That’s why Royal Homes has a team of in-house architects and designers.

We said it already, but research is another crucial component here with design! You’ll want to look at a prospective builder’s other work to get a feel for the general aesthetic of their cottages.

3. Transparency is Key (Especially When it Comes to Pricing)

As is the case in all types of business, not all Ontario cottage builders play it straight with you. Sure, they might end up doing great work…but a lack of transparency means you’re kept in the dark, and nothing is worth that level of stress.

Beyond that, a custom cottage is a big investment. You should be made aware of all the costs before the build starts. Otherwise, you might get halfway through the process only to realize you’ve got no money to finish up!

As a rule, reliable and transparent builders, like Royal Homes, only provide pricing or quotes once your plans are complete. Before that point, they’d be guessing and couldn’t possibly be accurate.

Moreover, note that two cottages of the same size won’t necessarily cost the same since we’re talking about custom builds. These aren’t cookie-cutter homes with plug-and-play templates, so there’s no basis for that type of comparison!

The pricing process might sound frustrating and arduous. However, when a builder gives you a transparent look into these costs, it makes planning that much easier because there won’t be any surprises. To that point, talk to a builder’s previous clients to see if their cottages didn’t exceed the projected budget.

Be very careful to choose a transparent builder you can trust. You don’t want to be dealing with emergency bank meetings because of surprise costs!

4. Ensure Your Builder Can Roll with the Punches

Undoubtedly, there are plenty of problems you might run into during a custom build. While choosing the right builder will help you sidestep most issues, you’re still bound to run into the odd snafu.

What’s crucial is ensuring that your builder can roll with the punches. Namely, you might decide that you want some changes. After all, it’s your custom cottage, and it’s your prerogative to alter your vision.

For example, you might want a room to have more space, have windows repositioned, or you might want to switch finishing materials. It could even be the design in your kitchen.

From all these possible changes would come a difference in costs.

Therefore, you must have a good sense of what types of changes you’re likely to want. Then, you need to keep track of them. After that, make an up-front agreement with your builder on how to handle those changes.

Good builders also keep track and inform you about the costs of changes as you suggest them while breaking it down in their billing.

When signing a contract with your builder, ensure that it explicitly states the included costs, making it straightforward to note any changes.

With these tips, you have the blueprint to finding the builder that will give you the custom cottage of your dreams. And that’s exactly what you deserve after working hard for all these years!


Great final quality.Dan
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  • FAQ

    Where can I get a price list or How come your website doesn’t show pricing?

    Prices vary geographically, depending on where you are building. With the amount of options available, price lists run into thousands of options. Prices change with the options you choose. The best way to get an idea on pricing would be to contact our Design Centre nearest to where you are building.

    Why should I buy from you over a conventional or "Stick-Builder"?

    The advantages of prefab include building in a climate controlled environment, using environmentally friendly products which reduces waste and a CSA monitored quality controlled program. There is less time start to finish, with less disruption to neighborhood. We also sell at a firm price.

    Do your homes include a foundation?

    Yes our homes include full foundation and basement.

    How long does it take to build a Royal Home?

    It takes less than two weeks to build a home in our factory, but the process from start to finish is very dependent on the timing of obtaining a building permit. For most of our clients the process from start to delivery is twelve to sixteen weeks with move in eight to twelve weeks thereafter.

    What size homes do you build?

    As a custom builder we can build any size home but generally the average size range is between 1300 and 3500 sq feet.

    Do you build garages?

    Yes. Garages are built on site after the home is delivered.

    Are the homes energy efficient?

    Building a prefab home in a factory assures the highest attention to sealing the building envelope and ensures that the cold stays out.

    Since your homes are so energy efficient and air tight, how do you get fresh air?

    All our homes have HRV heat recovery ventilator air exchanger to remove stale air, and introduce fresh air.

    Where can I put a prefab home?

    Anywhere in Ontario you like.

    Can I really customize my prefab home?

    Yes, we use state of the art custom design software, today no two homes are built alike.

    Do you finish the basement?

    Yes. We can customize your basement to the finishes you desire.

    Are Royal Homes built to code?

    All Royal Homes are individually designed to meet all provincial and municipal building codes for your specific lot location.

    Do you build stick-built or conventional homes as well?

    We are a custom home builder first and use prefabricated components wherever we can, because it is a better way to build. If you have a remote site or custom home design with large open spaces we would look at what makes most sense for that design and location. This could include prebuilt panels or partially site built specific rooms.

    What makes the building process environmentally friendly?

    Waste in the factory is separated and recycled, reducing the impact on landfills. This has less disruption in terms of noise and time at job site. Building prefab allows for higher energy efficient homes and reduced heating costs.

    How is your home delivered?

    Our home is delivered by way of custom designed hydraulic flatbed trailers and precisely craned onto the foundation.

    Can you make changes or custom design?

    Yes, clients are given preliminary plans to review and changes are welcome and easily accommodated.