Thinking of building or buying your retirement dream home? 7 Key Tips will help you avoid making a costly mistake. Fast track to your retirement bliss

Planning for retirement and thinking you would like a change? Now that the kids have flown the nest, maybe you’re thinking about building a custom home. Here are some key considerations to help you make that decision and avoid costly mistakes.

1. Are you and your spouse Hunkering for a challenging project to do together?

Building a custom home is a fun process that can give you a tremendous amount of satisfaction. It’s creative, and you can put your personality and design choices into your new home which will give you long-lasting enjoyment. There are lots of decisions to make, and these can bring a couple together when dreaming about styles and discussing priorities.

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However…if you don’t like making lots of decisions or don’t make decisions well together, you might be happier and find it much easier to buy a prebuilt home.

Another approach would be to give clear areas of responsibilities to each partner for decision making, or give the person with the most flair and design-savvy “carte blanche” to make the design decisions on the couple’s behalf. Voila! A custom home is born.

2. Do you like taking on projects?

Even when you hire a builder to guide you and outsource most of the building work, there will still bethink to think about and arrange when you build custom. If you don’t have the time and mental energy to think about logistics and design choices, you might be better off buying a prebuilt home.

3. Time

Building a custom home can easily take 9 months to complete. It’s exciting to watch your plans and dreams move from concept to reality, but it does take time. If you need your next home in the next month or two, you’re going to be better off looking for a prebuilt home.

4. Community.

Are all of “your people” within 2 km of where you currently live? Or are you looking for a fresh start and an exciting place where friends and family can gather for a visit? Moving to a planned, estate community will give you and your partner wonderful opportunities to make new friends and explore new lifestyle choices. But if you are going to miss having your bestie over for coffee every morning, you might want to stay close to where you live now. Or, see if they want to move with you.

5. Lifestyle and Adventure.

Are you looking for a change in how you spend your time? A chance to develop new hobbies and activities, and foster new depth in your relationship with your spouse? Then an estate community will be just the solution. Because the community will be filled with newcomers like yourselves, you’ll have ample opportunity to make some great new friends. But, if you’re happy as a clam with your lifestyle as it is, then staying put in your current home might be your best bet.

6. Affordability.

Building a custom home is more expensive than buying an older home or a new tract home in a suburban subdivision; so, why is that? For one thing, a custom home is brand new. Just like your car or your boat, houses have a life-span and depreciate over time, and a 20-50-year-old home will have components that need maintenance or replacement. A new home will be maintenance-free for many years. Relatively speaking, new homes are more expensive than older homes because the building code is continually revised and strengthened; new homes are thought to be safer and more energy-efficient than homes built just 10 years ago.

A custom home will always be more expensive than a tract home – The kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, lighting, exterior siding, and appliances will all be of higher quality in a custom home, and the quality of workmanship may be higher as well. And of course, with a custom home, you’ll be purchasing a building lot that appeals to you, whether its city infill, an acreage in a forest, or a site with a wonderful water view and waterfront access. It’s like the old saying – you get what you pay for.

waterfront lots

7. Looking for a home with a WOW factor in a spectacular setting?

By building a custom home, you can get everything you want: a fabulous view, a great community, quality finishes, a design that maximizes the attributes of the site and the sun, and a design that really suits your needs.

A custom home can help you make all these dreams come true. On the flip-side, building a custom home costs means you need to have cash on hand; the home site is usually purchased with cash, and then you can finance the home construction if need be. All this happens before you’ve sold your current home, so custom homes are easier to afford if you’ve got a nest egg or significant equity in your current home.

Building a custom home can be a fun project for you and your partner, as you plan the next phase of your lives together. If you think building custom is for you, check out and see what our new community has to offer.

Susan Anglin is a professional real estate developer, project manager, and community designer. Her signature waterfront development, Braeburn Estates on the Madawaska, is launching June 2020. Email:

Also see:

9 Best Reasons to Live by the Water (Updated 2023)

4 Reasons to Build Home at Braeburn Estates

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