Cornerstone welcomes builder licensing

Custom Home Builder Cornerstone Homes is welcoming the proposed New Home Buyer Protection Amendment Act which will create a builder licensing program in Alberta.  The Act will recognize upstanding builders and remove builders who demonstrate a proven, negative track record.

The proposed Act would require builders to be licensed and will also create an online registry of licensed builders.  The registry is aimed at helping prospective home buyers find reputable builders by viewing the track records of  residential builders.

As an established custom home builder, Cornerstone Homes is pleased to see the province move toward licensing because it will squeeze out unqualified builders.

“We have worked hard to build more than homes,” says Cornerstone President, Justin Dallaire, “We are also building a solid reputation.  It’s why we have 10 years of consecutive service awards from the Alberta New Home Warranty Program and it’s why I plan to be the first in line to get the new license.”

The Provincial Government says that currently there are no minimum qualifications to be a builder in Alberta.   The proposed Act will not only require a licence but also will require builders to provide warranty coverage and be in good financial standing.  Bad builders who don’t meet the criteria will be suspended by the Province.

The Provincial Government’s goal is to have builders licensed by May 2018.

Look Book Design Ideas

Looking for some bold design ideas for your custom home building project? Check out our Look Book  for the latest in inspirational concepts that will take your custom home from ordinary to luxury.

As a custom and luxury home builder Cornerstone Homes has designed everything from specialty staircases to custom mill work.  From coffered ceilings to theatre rooms and full home automation.  Maybe it’s a specialty room you envision?

Check out the conservatory showcased in our Photo Gallery Look Book, with it’s wood burning fireplace, Travertine flooring and Maple stained walls.  Perhaps a temperature controlled wine room is the perfect accoutrement to your one-of-a-kind custom home project.  If so, custom home builder Cornerstone Homes has plenty of photos to inspire you as you contemplate your dream custom home.

Call now and have one of our custom home designers begin drafting your luxury custom home project! 403-860-3474.

What about Financing your Custom Home Build?

You have the perfect vision for your custom dream home, but now what about the financing?   A specialty draw mortgage that protects your interests may be the perfect solution for your custom home build.  Whether you are planning an acreage home or a home designed by a custom home builder in the city, a draw mortgage cannot only fund your build, but also help in financing your land purchase.

A draw mortgage is an arrangement with a mortgage lender that allows for a portion of mortgage funds to be advanced to the custom home builder at various stages of the construction process.

If you haven’t purchased your lot yet, no worries! You may even be able to use the initial draw advance to purchase your land, whether it is a city lot or acreage.  Cornerstone Home has longstanding partnerships with key mortgage lenders that allow clients to make these sorts of flexible arrangements to include the initial draw advance to purchase the lot.


But how can you insure that you and your funds are protected through the custom home building process?  As your build progresses, draws will be advanced at pre-determined stages of construction.  But before any funds are released to the solicitors, an inspection must be performed first to insure that the required stage of construction is fully completed.   Only once the lending institution is satisfied, will they allow funds to be distributed to the solicitor, and then to the custom home builder.


The draw schedule varies between institutions, but here is a typical schedule for the release of funds: the first draw is advanced when the home’s foundation is completed and when the home is ready for backfill.  A qualified appraiser is sent out to inspect the home and provide progress pictures as proof.  Once approved, approximately 15% of the project funds are then advanced to the lawyer and then to the custom home builder.  The funds for the second draw will be released once the home is ready for drywall and HVAC is installed.  The third draw will typically be advanced after drywall is complete with the fourth draw contingent upon the completion of the basement floor, flooring and door installation.  Before each draw, inspectors always attend the job site to verify that the custom home builder has completed the work to the appropriate stage and that the builder is following the Alberta New Home Warranty policies.

Holdbacks are another key way the homeowner is protected with a draw mortgage.   Mortgage funds that are released to the lawyers, will have a 10% builder’s lien holdback.  This holdback works to protect the homeowner  to ensure that no contractor liens are placed on the property during the construction phase.  Once the deadline for contractor liens lapses, the final funds can be released to the custom home builder.

Cornerstone Homes has worked to establish key lenders that have a history of providing both excellent lending practices that protect the buyer  and excellent rates for Cornerstone custom home clients.

Contact Cornerstone Homes today to find out more about all your financing options!  Call Brian today at 403-650-8603

How to Achieve the Best Renovation Value

Though renovations have always been a part of home ownership, in the last few years there has been a definite boom in the number of Canadian homeowners looking to improve on their investment in a big way. As a Calgary luxury and custom home builder,  Cornerstone Homes has noticed that Calgarians are embracing this trend in home renovations with enthusiasm.


Home renovations aren’t cheap. In fact, the average Canadian homeowner can spend about $15,000 on one. With so much money involved, it’s important to consider how you want to spend it. Are you hoping to improve your home’s energy efficiency, to increase its value and sell, or to simply make it better suited to your needs?


If you’re renovating your home for reasons such as making it more comfortable and energy efficient, then you’ll want to put your money into improvements such as new windows and doors, a new roof, and new insulation. If your main goal is to “flip” your home and catch the eye of potential buyers, however, then you may find such practical improvements to be fairly invisible.


You can greatly increase the value of your home by working with a Calgary custom home builder and focusing on a few big-picture renovations. Kitchen and bathroom renovations are widely agreed to offer homeowners the highest return on their investment, as they are usually at the top of the list of what potential buyers are looking out for. Updated cabinets and new appliances and fixtures can often help to seal the deal. Other major value-adding renovations include adding another bathroom, upgrading the flooring, and improving a home’s exterior.


Before you start on a major renovation, it is a good idea to take stock of how much your investment will cost verses the average price of homes in your neighbourhood. If your home is valued at below the average price, then you will get a greater return on a large investment than if your home is already above the average price.


No matter what your Calgary home renovation is going to entail, try to remember that your home is where you live and where you come to unwind. You’ll likely get the most value out of renovating if your main goal is to increase your own enjoyment of your living space and to make it more comfortable and better suited for your needs.


The best way to ensure enjoyment and good value is to keep some practical investment tips in mind about what renovations to invest in, how much to spend, and to work with an experienced Calgary custom home builder. If you’re looking for trusted estate home builders, custom builders, and acreage builders in Calgary to help with your renovation, then Cornerstone Homes has the experience, reputation, and accreditation you can rely on.


A quality, professional renovation is beneficial whether you are planning on selling or living in your home for the long term. You can get started on increasing the value of your home by getting in touch with Cornerstone Homes today.


4 Trends to Shake Things Up for 2017

1. Escapism

Home building in 2017 will see a growing trend toward home plans that feature escapism.  These custom designed plans will include book nooks and tucked away rooms that offer a quiet place to digital detox from our technological and automated world.  Custom home plans featuring libraries, alcoves, and sun rooms all appeal to this “escapism” trend for 2017.   It is tops on the wish lists for clients of custom home builders who are asking for creative spaces that are devoid of digital distractions, but instead feature bookshelves, places for comfortable couches, and quiet corners.


2. Closed Concept

This trend toward escapism leads us to a move away from the open concept home plan of yesteryear.  The clients of custom home builders are seeking layouts with specialty private quarters.  It’s more of a closed concept design trend.   Instead of a common area incorporating the kitchen, living rooms and study, custom home builders are seeing the demand for separated spaces.  These custom plans featuring one or two solitary rooms also solve the problem of acoustics and cooking aromas permeating the entire home.


3. Cork and Terracotta

Say goodbye to the cool and white tones of 2016 and make room for warm materials such as feature walls of cork and terracotta bricks.   These restoration style walls will have a matte finish and provide functionality and practicality inside the home. Clients of custom home builders can pin reminders to their cork walls, and the added walls of brick act as sound barriers plus also have the dual benefit of adding character and warmth to interiors.


4. Organics

Custom home builders are expecting a surge of organics to influence custom home designs in 2017.  The idea of bringing the outdoors inside is gaining in popularity with specialty plant rooms, sunrooms, and urban cultivators all making their way into homes.  Natural finishes are also inspiring luxury home builders with a movement toward rough edges, raw materials, natural stone and organic patterns.  Living plants, trendy succulents and deep green paint colors are all on the horizon for 2017.


 Are you ready to start designing your custom home plan for 2017?  Contact Cornerstone today for a design meeting where we can show you how to incorporate your wish list into your dream custom home plan.

Reduce your building costs with  Cornerstone Homes, a Custom Home Builder in Calgary


As a trusted acreage builder in Calgary and area, the experts at Cornerstone Homes have the knowledge to assist with designing the perfect home plan that is also budget-friendly. Custom acreage homes do not have to come with premium price tags. Cornerstone Homes has sourced important ways to provide budget friendly building that still takes into account your customized wish list.  Here are a few key factors that allow you to build an acreage home with Cornerstone Homes and still stay on budget:


  • Custom Designed Efficient Home Plans
  • No Change Order Fees
  • Use a Certified Builder with Strong Vendor Partners
  • Low Cost Design trends
  • Rough in the things you can’t afford


  • Custom Designed Efficient Home Plans: As you begin the design process there are certain factors that designers at Cornerstone Homes can recommend and implement to lower overall costs.
  1. Alberta’s new energy requirements, under Subsection 9.36.2, 9.36.3 & 9.36.4 set out energy efficient guidelines, which will ultimately benefit the homeowner by reducing future energy costs.  These requirements are set out by code and are included in your home plan beginning on November 1, 2016.
  2. Home Style: Bungalows or ranch style homes are  more expensive to build in comparison to two-storeys.  Bungalows have a larger footprint, which means they require more work in excavation, more concrete for foundation walls and a larger basement slab. Bungalows also require more roof surface to finish. Cornerstone Homes can show you how to achieve similar square footage with a two storey when you build up instead of out, thereby reducing construction costs.
  3. Roof Lines: steep roof pitches add more in building costs because roof trusses will be priced higher than a shallow roof.  Roofers may also charge more to shingle a steeper roof.  Since design trends emphasize modern flatter roofs, this too may lead more people to consider the less expensive low sloping roof lines.


  • No Change Order Fees: Look for a builder who allows you some flexibility to make customized changes without charging extra fees. As a custom homebuilder and acreage builder, Cornerstone Homes gives their clients the leeway to make changes without charging change order fees. This “No Change Order Fee” policy could potentially save the client hundreds or even thousands of dollars, especially when you consider that many builders charge between $250 to $500 per change order.


  • Use a Certified Builder with Strong Vendor Partners The experience of a well-qualified builder will save you money by keeping down construction costs and by garnering strong discounts with vendors, below standard retail costs.  For instance, Cornerstone Homes negotiates key supplier pricing from electrical work to flooring in order to provide homebuyers with the most competitive price possible.  As an expert in everything from design to excavation Cornerstone Homes is able to keep the price down by providing many quality services in house.  Cornerstone Homes also specializes in acreage site work, including road works, building approaches and construction of outbuildings, all with careful consultation with clients.


  • Low Cost Design Trends: Many of the minimalistic design ideas may actually end up saving you money as you seek out your perfect custom home design.  The large ornate crown mouldings and tall detailed baseboards of yesteryear are increasingly replaced with minimalistic flat panel cabinets, sometimes with no crown at all.  Cornerstone Homes has sourced key vendors that provide great prices on minimalistic design trends, like our cabinet-maker who will keep you on budget.


  • Rough in the things you can’t afford If you can’t afford everything now, consider roughing in certain items for completion later when the budget allows.  For instance, why not rough in the gas line for a future fireplace or rough in the waterlines and drain for a future bar with final completion of these items planned in the months or years ahead. A fully finished basement may not be in everyone’s budget today, but adding the rough-ins now will allow you to complete that basement later with minimal aggravation. Similarly, consider roughing in air-conditioner lines now so that later it is an easy and less expensive install. And remember, when you have the budget to complete these items, Cornerstone Homes is a phone call away and ready to install the final products!


Are you interested in learning more about designing a custom home or speaking with an acreage builder expert? Contact Cornerstone Homes today at 403-279-9190 to find out how our custom home builders in Calgary can help you through the design and building process. 

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