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Building your own home

Define your needs and challenges

Buying or building a new home is exciting but you first have to define your needs and understand the challenges you'll face.

The key to success

The key to your project's success lies in your choice of builder. Make sure you both agree on what you want in your new home.

  • A preliminary contract (the equivalent of a Promise to Purchase) has to be signed before a home is sold, whether or not it has already been built.
  • Check your coverage. What guarantee plan does the contractor offer for new residential buildings?

Steps for the successful purchase of a new home

  • Look around the neighbourhood under construction. Meet the builders and visit several model homes. In new neighbourhoods, the homes are often of a similar style.
  • Check out the contractor: years of experience, valid licence, complaints, construction permits, guarantee plan for new residential properties.
  • Take the time to analyze the detailed plan of the house and make sure it will meet your needs. Be carefully: unless you are a professional, it may be difficult to picture what the house will look like from the plans or from a model.
  • Before signing the preliminary contract (Promise to Purchase), specify your needs and expectations and make sure you have the time to read and consider the fine print. Don't skip the footnotes and make sure you understand them, particularly if a cancellation fee is noted (which should not exceed 0.5% of the selling price).
  • During construction, regularly check if everything is in compliance with the contract. It's easier to fix something during the construction phase than at the end after work is completed. The more often you visit the site (ideally every day), the most satisfied you'll be.

Other things to keep in mind

  • Expect sales taxes (GST and QST in Quebec, HST in Ontario) since they apply to the sale of new homes.
  • Expect additional expenses for landscaping.
  • The energy costs of a new home are generally lower than for older homes since recent construction standards are higher.
  • Expect higher home insurance fees if the land is contaminated or in a flood-prone area.

Whether you are buying a new home or building one yourself, most of the criteria you should consider are the same.

Learn more

There is one big difference

Building a home yourself requires more of your time and energy.

Contractors and sub-contractors will count on your autonomy, organization and instructions to do the work.

You need to be prepared and informed. For more information, see the Summary D.I.Y. Homebuilders' Guide (PDF, 1.61MB)

Mortgage

To have your mortgage insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial Canada, you have to meet certain eligibility and disbursement requirements first.

There are many benefits to green homes: they provide a healthy and comfortable environment for occupants and they leave a smaller environmental footprint on the planet. Since they're more energy-efficient, they also save you money year after year.

Learn more about what makes a home green.

The concept of factory-built homes is relatively new and has a promising future.

Endless possibilities

Some models allow buyers to enjoy the best of both worlds and combine the benefits of buying a new home directly from a builder with the freedom of building their own home.

2 examples of factory-built homes

  • Modular homes: Generally delivered in 2 to 4 modules. The modules are assembled on permanent foundations buy the builder and certified professionals.
  • Panelized homes: Delivered in pre-fabricated panels. Generally, plumbing, electricity, windows, doors and finishing are not included.

There are 3 options for assembly. You can:

  • assemble it completely on your own
  • hire a certified professional to partly or fully assemble it
  • buy a turnkey assembly service from the builder

Mortgage

To have your mortgage insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial Canada, you have to meet certain eligibility and disbursement requirements first.

Factory built homes have to meet certain assembly criteria to be eligible for guarantee programs. The builder associations who manage these programs can tell you more about your home's eligibility for these programs.

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