Vernon real estate, homes for sale in the Okanagan, Redhead Real Estate

Building a Home in Coldstream

By Sandra Bradley, Real Estate Professional
In the 70's my parents bought a lot on Middleton Mountain in Coldstream. Back then the lots were ¼ apple orchards with beautiful views of Kalamalka Lake. A lot has changed over the years. When I was raising my family we bought in the same area with a lake view. I eventually moved to the Vernon side of Middleton Mountain.

I had a view but it was not a lake view. I really wanted my lake view back so I started my search for a lot with the view of Kalamalka Lake. I found a lot that would suit my needs. I put in my offer and had it accepted.
1st month

  • I talked to my Builder to get a build budget. Count on having the budget blown. You will want to upgrade things as you move along in the build. Make sure you give yourself that wiggle room.
  • I talk to a Bank to arrange financing. Building Mortgages typically have a higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage.
  • I call a designer that I like and have known for years ' Jenny Garbutt. When I first started in real estate I worked with her husband, Rick Garbutt. Jenny agrees to help me design the house. Kelly from Meyer Consulting & Designs helps us with ideas and puts it to plan. It took 4 tries to find one that works for my lifestyle.
  • Consider sun, wind and other factors that may affect your use and enjoyment. Growing up on Middleton Mountain made me aware of the sun & wind issues that need to be addressed.
  • I talked to an Engineer and did my homework on this lot.
  • I had a good idea of what needed to be done before the building could start.
  • Everything looks good so I remove my subjects and take the lot.
  • I submit my drawings and a building permit is issued.
  • Let the building begin!
  • Remove fill and replace with proper material.
Building a Home in Coldstream, First Month, Remove fill and replace with proper material.
  • Start the foundation.
Building a Home in Coldstream, First Month, Start the foundation.
2nd month

The foundation has now been poured so I am starting to get excited about seeing the end result:
Building a Home in Coldstream, Second Month, Foundation has been poured.
  • I need to have Hydro hooked up at this point. There is a hook up fee.
  • I go see Kalwood Cabinets about cabinet design. We go over how I will use the space in my kitchen and ensuite. They do up a design concept. I make a few changes and when the house is at the lock up stage Kalwood cabinets will come and mark out the space.
  • I just met up with the window supplier and we went over all the rooms and how the windows will work in each room. Things that needed to be considered were air flow in the house, furniture placement, and overall views. All the outside doors were also selected. Things to consider'the overall style, privacy at front door, built in blinds or ventilation in the patio doors?
  • A retaining wall needs to be built and the estimates vary depending on what you want...Rock Wall...Allan Block...Cement.
  • The patio area will soon be poured and I decided to have my builder add an 8 x 8 area for a possible future hot tub. Having this done in advance will save me down the road later. I will also get the electrical set up for the hot tub.
  • The lower level framing has been done. I walked the space and changed a couple of things. (Things look different when walls go up.) I have made a change that will likely cost me $500.00 but in the end I think it will be a much better design and function of space.
  • I went by the lighting store today to get an idea of lighting. I checked out the sale items and found a couple of things that I bought in advance to save money later.
  • I met with Norm and Andrew from the GUR (Ground Under Repair). They will be doing my retaining wall and I will have them come back to do my landscaping. They gave me a few good ideas that I can have my builder do ahead of time that will save me money when the go to do my landscaping. I'm glad we discussed this early.
  • Tomorrow I will meet up with the plumbing supplier to pick out all my plumbing fixtures.
  • I picked out all my plumbing fixtures today. Having the plans and measurements of each bathroom and the kitchen made this an easy process but I went over my budget ... of course
  • Picked out my windows today and decided to go with a higher better quality window. I plan to be in the house for a long time so want to go with something I will be happy with.
  • Now I need to look at roof material and garage door style.
  • I can't pick out my front door until I pick out my garage door style. I will want to make sure they match. I go and see Joe at Pearly Gates and Doors and he sends me to the show room in Kelowna. I chose side lights for the garage door so had the door manufacture match up the side lights of front door.
  • I went and picked out the color of my roof material. I also decided on hardi plank color.
  • The framing is complete on the upper level and tomorrow the trusses will be delivered.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Second Month, framing is complete.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Second Month, trusses are up.
  • The trusses are up and it now looks like a house.
  • I walked the house today and I am happy with the space. The room sizes look good. I will need to start planning colors, hardwood, tile, carpet.
  • I will need to call Fortis Gas tomorrow to have a line brought to house.
  • It's time for the plumber to start. I changed the floor plan slightly downstairs which added some additional costs. I figured it was better that I love the final design so this little extra will be worth it in the end.
  • Now that the framing is done I can see that the downstairs bedroom closets won't work with swing-out door style. I discussed it with the builder and we agreed that sliding closets will be better.
  • I have started looking at lights again. I have been concentrating on the outside ones as they will be going up soon. I found an outdoor fan that will work well on the deck on hot summer nights.
3rd month

Drove by the house today and the asphalt shingles have been installed. I used an ISO product from the roofing centre.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Third Month, asphalt shingles have been installed.
  • I have been checking out lighting choices. When I see something I like I grab it especially if it's on sale.
  • I can't pick out some of my lighting until I finalize the counter top material. I will be using 3 pendant lights over the island and need to make sure it all goes together.
  • Today the windows all get installed. Time to phone my lawyer to have an appraisal done for the 1st mortgage draw.
  • The deck is on and I love my view. I will look forward to sitting out there relaxing for many years to come.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Third Month, custom electrical options and the retaining wall is coming together.
  • Today I met with the electrician to go over my lighting and electrical needs. I love that I can put custom electrical switches in various places that will work for my décor ... no more extension cords.
  • The retaining wall is coming together and it looks great. GUR is doing a great job.
They have put a messy water proof membrane onto the garage floor before the concrete goes on. I had a friend come into town who does fancy basement concrete floors and makes sinks out of concrete. He looked at the floor in the basement and said it was a really nice pour job.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Third Month, messy water proof membrane goes on the garage floor before the concrete.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Third Month, basement has a nice concrete pour job.

I made an error when picking out the living room window size. I should have allowed room for a feature wall so now I am designing a feature wall with different elevations to make it work. My builder has framed it in and I think it looks great. I've ordered a special fireplace to tie it all together.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Third Month, time for the first draw so everyone gets paid on time.
  • It's time for the 1st draw. All the trades that are waiting to be paid will finally get a cheque.
  • I have a better understanding of how important it is that the builder has really organized the timing of getting things done.
4th month

Building a Home in Coldstream, Fourth Month, the house is wrapped and hardi board is next.
  • I've ordered my hardwood flooring.
  • Next week the soffits, gutters and hardi board are going to be applied.
  • All the electrical is going in and I fine tuned a few things to have the plugs and switches exactly where I want them.
  • There was a communication breakdown with the master bedroom bath and the wrong style was ordered. I chatted with the builder and we came up with an idea of putting in a pony wall to make it work.
  • Went by the house today and it is wrapped so the hardi board is next. There was a slight delay.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Fourth Month, the house is wrapped and hardi board is next.
  • I spent the afternoon buying lights. I am waiting to have the granite picked out before deciding on some of the main area lights. I know which granite I want but it appears it's hard to get. I may need to just have plywood counter until the granite I want is available. It's not something I want to settle on. I want to wait and have the piece I like.
  • Deck railing was ordered yesterday.
  • Stopped by house today and plumber was putting in the bathtub and showers.
  • Went to look at interior door styles and get those on order.
  • Good news today. I have been told the granite I want will be available.
  • Paid the landscaper for retaining wall today and then added up all the extra money I have been spending on things like appliances, fireplace, lights, and vanities. You definitely need to have a buffer for items over and above what builder is doing.
  • The insulation is going in.
  • I've picked out a lot of my flooring choices but still need to finalize interior colors and tile choices in bathrooms. I picked up the fireplace for the living room today. I decided to go with an electric style.
  • I've seen the interior doors that I like but it appears they are the most expensive style. I checked a lot of different stores to see if I could find them at a reasonable price. In the end I went with choice number 2. I had to give my head a shake and tell myself it's just a door. I would sooner spend the money on something else.
  • As I drive by the house I am anxious to move in. The garage doors have gone in but they are not on a track. The drywall and painting will have to be done before the track goes in.
  • I now have a key as the house is officially at lock up. The drywall is all up it just needs tape, mud and paint. I will go look at paint colors this week.
  • The deck soffits have finally gone in. There was a delay by a few weeks.
5th month

Building a Home in Coldstream, Fifth Month, delays with the hardi board going on, but it's looking great.
  • The hardi board has been going up. There have been delays with this job but as it goes onto the house I like what I see.
  • The weather will be getting much colder soon so I am anxious to get it done. There were a few things to consider with the waterproofing and design.
  • I am looking forward to seeing it all done!
  • The drywallers have taped and are starting to sand. The ceilings are done so the garage doors can now be put on tracks.
  • The siding guys seem to be struggling to get this job done. They were supposed to be done by the end of the weekend but I went by on Monday and it appears they have not been there for a few days. It appears that some of the siding is on back order? This is odd to me as the color and design were decided on in September.
  • I haven't gone by the house in a few days. The last time I was there the drywaller was sanding and that is a really messy job.
  • I had the appraiser show up today to arrange for my next draw on the mortgage. Hopefully the unfinished siding will not affect the draw amount needed.
  • I went to Nufloors today with Jenny to decide on some final choices for flooring & colours.
  • I am told the painter will start priming the walls on Thursday so I picked up a créme color cabinet door sample to take to the paint store to have them match the color for my trim. I also left them the color I have chosen for walls.
  • My son helped me with sound system choices. This is something I admit to not knowing much about. My son knows this stuff and is a great help.
6th month
  • The finishing is being done. First the doors get hung then the trim around the windows. Murphy's Law ... the lino I picked out is no longer available. At least my tile and carpet selections are good to go.
  • I have been losing sleep over a decision I made on the placement of my bed. It's all wrong. I don't know what I was thinking. I have called the builder and I will bite the bullet and have it changed to where it should be. It is amazing how something like this will keep you up at 4:00 am tossing and turning.
  • I chatted with my floor installer. There are a few things that need to be done to floors before install so he will work on that next week.
  • I met with the tile guy today to go over plans for the ensuite shower and bath.
  • The hardi board is finally done and the deck railing should be on soon.
  • I came down with the flu and since December 27th I have had on going headaches. I think the flu took me down and stress took over ... people warned me that building a house was a stressful thing.
  • Because of the headaches I have not been making decisions and going over to the house. I have good trades that I trust doing their thing so that gives me piece of mind.
  • I went by the house and the trim work is all in and the doors are hung. It looks good. The deck railing is on and the painting is done on the trim upstairs. The cabinets are going to be delivered on Monday afternoon.
  • The hardwood floor was delivered and will sit in the house for a bit before it gets installed.
7th month

Building a Home in Coldstream, Seventh Month, a lot happened this week including hardwood floors and cabinets installed, looking great.
  • A lot has happened in the last week. The hardwood floor upstairs has all been installed and the cabinets are in. They both look great.
  • There is other flooring to be finished but we are waiting for the painting to be done in those rooms.
  • The electrician came by and chatted with the painter about when he plans to be finished. Once painting is done the lights can go up.
  • I met Mitch from Adriatic Granite & Marbleworks at the house and he did a template for the counters. He will be installing them next week.
  • There was a glitch with the bathroom sinks. I had assumed they had been ordered but that was not the case. The bummer is they are not standard white so will take 4-5 weeks to get.
  • These final few weeks are exciting and stressful. I am anxious to have things done. I need to make sure everything gets done in time so that that the final draw is available and all the trades get paid.
  • Doors are hung and stairwell is finished. Plumber and electrician are booked this week to finish up all the installs.
8th month
  • The carpet will go in next and that will make it look finished.
  • All the details need to be checked. I ordered a built in fridge and the plug in is located at the top of the fridge. This is something I didn't even think about and no one asked me. I guess I will have to pay the electrician to move the location ... darn!
  • I have noticed areas on the drywall that are in need of some fine tuning. I will go ahead and mark all the areas with some green painters tape to have that repaired before I move in furniture.
  • The cleaners came in to do a final clean up of everything. I didn't use the builder's cleaners as I was referred to another company. I was extremely disappointed. The quality and care of their work was not what I assumed it would be. I ended up going in and doing a lot of the clean up myself. One thing the cleaners had discovered was the plumber was a terribly messy guy. There were many issues with plumbing that had to be fixed. I am days away from saying the house is done. There are a few final details to do then I will talk to builder about pouring the driveway.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Eighth Month, all details of building a house need to be checked.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Eighth Month, driveway is poured.
Building a Home in Coldstream, Eighth Month, my son helped with sealing the driveway.
  • My son helped me with sealing the driveway. We had to do an acid wash on it first.
  • Now I can get working on the Landscaping.
  • I have learned a lot building this house. I know who I would use for certain jobs and who I wouldn't use again.
  • If you do not have a bunch of money set aside to build don't do it. Everyone wants a deposit and you will have unexpected expenses here and there. The bank I used set out construction draws that are not very realistic.
  • It can be very stressful when you know trades are looking for money on jobs they have completed but the bank won't give you the money until the house is done to a certain percentage point. Trust me when I say building a home is not for everyone.
  • I did not want to move twice so decided to wait to put my house up for sale. Once the house was close to being finished I put my house on the market.
  • My timing was not good as a batch of new homes came onto market. I have renewed empathy for sellers. We live a certain way and when your house is for sale it needs to be presented in the best way. I purged things out of closets and cupboards. I made sure everything was neat and tidy and in a proper place before I left for work each morning. Your life is in limbo when your house is for sale.
  • My house is sold, it took patience but I had a great Real Estate Professional
    and that made all the difference in the world.
If you are thinking of building a home give me a call. Let me put my experience to work for you.