Attached vs. Detached Garage — Which is Better?

August 13, 2018

Construction season is officially underway in Central Alberta and we are seeing houses spring up left, right, and centre. Whether you’re building your house now or are thinking of building a little down the line, don’t let your garage be an afterthought.

There is one burning question when you start scheming about your garage and that is: will your garage be attached to your house or would a detached garage make more sense?

You might not know but there is actually more to deciding what type of garage you want than just what looks the best. Things that alter your decisions on your choice of garage include lot size, practical use, cost, and convenience.

Finding the perfect lot size

The size and shape of your lot can help you decide what type of garage to go for. A lot that is narrow, long, and stretches out to an alley is the perfect size and shape for a detached garage. With a lot that is wide and short you may want to consider doing an attached garage in order to conserve yard space.

We know that all lots come in different shapes and sizes. There may be some ideal shapes for a detached garage and a perfect size for an attached garage, but that doesn’t mean you should immediately decide on one or the other.

Sometimes detached garages can take up more yard space, which might mean you need to sacrifice some of that dream vegetable garden. We don’t want you to lose out on something you want so when you know what you’re looking for ahead of time we can find the right lot size for you. That way you can have the big yard and the garage you’ve always dreamed of.

Size, appearance, and convenience

Gone are the days when a garage was used to only store your vehicle. Now garages are used to store everything from the hockey equipment to the holiday decorations. It’s good to have an idea of what you plan to use your garage for before you commit to choosing one style of garage over the other. Once you decide what you’ll use it for you can decide on the size. Attached garages are typically smaller, as detached garages are often used as a shop or working station. If you’re after a bigger space, choose a detached garage.

Some people have a preferred look for their garage, which all comes down to personal preference. Appearance is a big factor in deciding between different styles of garages. Discuss your garages appearance options with your home builder as they’ll be able to provide information on the best garage to give you your dream home.

One of the main reasons we see people opting for the attached garage is because it is convenient, especially in our harsh Central Alberta winters. The ability to step out of your car and be right at your front door is a great selling point, especially when looking at resale value.

Staying Safe

Did you know everytime you start or park your vehicle it releases carbon monoxide, benzene vapours and a family of other chemical substances? Ensure that your home builder is taking the necessary steps to properly insulate your garage – especially if you decide to go with an attached garage:

  • Leave the garage door open until the engine is completely turned off to help combat some of the chemical substance residue
  • Have spray foam insulation installed to seal the wall between the house and garage. That way the drywall can be installed over the top to reduce air leakage
  • Seal the ceiling space between the garage and any rooms above. Sealing the ceiling space may also help reduce energy costs and keep the floor warmer
  • You could consider installing an exhaust fan to vent garage air to the outside. Another reason to consider a fan is it will also help depressurize the garage, which may prevent air movement from the garage to the house

Money matters

When you’re building your first home, or even your dream home, money matters. Which is why when it comes to a garage we know it might not be at the top of the list. Regardless of where you place it on the, “must-have,” list make sure it’s not at the very bottom. A garage becomes expensive when it is an afterthought.

The average price of an attached garage starts at around $25,000 and can range up to around $50,000. An attached garage has some slightly different requirements, such as proper weather stripping on the door leading into the house.

Comparatively a detached garage starts at around $20,000 and can range upward depending on size and finishings. It is a misconception that having a detached garage will be cheaper. The general rule of thumb is that the most expensive detached garage will be more expensive than the most expensive attached garage. So when it comes to pricing, the individual needs of your garage will alter the price more than whether it is attached or detached.

Other things to consider

  • Make sure you have the right permits for your detached garage
  • Research the building codes that your basement is required to meet
  • Consider getting a security system if you’re storing expensive items
  • Think about expensive electricity costs that might creep up in the wintertime


When deciding on a garage the best thing to do is your research, but also be aware of your space and what will fit practically. If you’re looking to build or buy a new home don’t let your garage be an afterthought – otherwise you might end up with something that just doesn’t work the way you need it to.

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Think About Resale When Building Your Home

June 4, 2018

Selling your dream home is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re in the middle of a build process—but it pays to think about resale value when you’re selecting the features and upgrades for your new home.

Some upgrades are no-brainers, with high resale value whether you’re planning on staying in your home for five years or twenty-five. Other upgrades are nice-to-haves that will give you a better return on your investment than other options. And some upgrades sound good on paper but actually add very little to your resale value.

So which upgrades will offer you good resale value, and which upgrades should you think about skipping?

Good Resale Value

  • Kitchens

When you build a top-of-the-line kitchen or renovate down the road, you’re going to get back about 75% of your investment in resale value. But it’s not about making money from it; it’s about getting the highest possible return on your investment. And homebuyers will definitely notice a cheap or dated kitchen. That doesn’t mean you need granite countertops or cherrywood cabinets—just high-quality materials that look good now and will continue to look good down the road.

  • Ensuite Bathrooms

Like kitchens, ensuite bathrooms are a good area to spend a little more money in upfront. But unlike kitchens, homebuyers aren’t looking for the practicality of a functional, durable, stylish space. They’re buying ensuite bathrooms based on imagination alone. They want to picture themselves relaxing in a Jacuzzi tub after a long day or taking a long, luxurious shower in a tiled stall or enjoying a stress-free morning getting ready at his-and-her sinks. And it can pay to tap into that imagination.

  • Premium Vinyl Siding

Exterior upgrades can go either way: vinyl or composite plank siding costs a lot of money, but it’s hail-resistant, so if you plan on staying in your house for the next ten years, it could pay off. But one thing that does pay off in a quick sale is premium vinyl siding in deep, rich colours. This siding might not up your resale value per se, but it will help your house stand out and increase the likelihood of a quick sale.

  • Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is something that everyone talks about when they’re buying a home but few think about when they’re building a home. But creating good curb appeals starts right at the design process, in the materials, colours, architectural features, and landscaping you choose. Curb appeal is a homebuyer’s first impression of your house, and you want it to be a good one.

  • Gas Fireplaces and Hook-ups

There’s a reason that gas fireplaces have shot up in popularity over the past ten years. They’re clean, practical, stylish, and easy-to-use. And while you’re investing in a gas fireplace for your living room, den, or master bedroom (or all three), consider including a gas hook-up on your deck for a barbecue. It might not boost your resale value a whole lot, but it’s an inexpensive way to set yourself apart on the housing market when you sell your home.

  • Basement Bars

Okay, this one is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Basement bars are a fun feature that don’t cost a lot, but help your house stand out from others on the market when it’s time to sell. Like luxurious ensuite bathrooms, basement bars appeal to the imagination, and while homebuyers generally focus on practical features in a home they’re viewing, they’re also considering how a house makes them feel. And basement bars just make people feel good.

Poor Resale Value

  • Energy Efficient Upgrades

Don’t get us wrong—energy efficiency is important, especially if you’re planning on staying in your home long-term. Things like spray foam insulation, triple pane windows, and low-flush toilets will probably save you some money on your utility bills, but they won’t improve your resale value. From a pure cost perspective, these upgrades are expensive, and if you put them in because you think they’re going to be a big selling feature down the road, you’re going to be disappointed.

  • Tile or Rubber Roofs

Tile and rubber roofs look good and offer some real benefits, including improved energy efficiency, lower maintenance, and increased weather-proofing. But like other energy efficient upgrades, both tile and rubber roofs are cost-prohibitive and really don’t add a lot to the resale value of your home.

  • Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood was the ultimate sign of luxury in the 80s and 90s, but there’s a reason homebuilders and homebuyers are shifting away from hardwood flooring. It’s not cheap; it’s not durable; and it’s not cool (for lack of a better word). Vinyl composite tile and vinyl composite plank flooring will be far more durable and stylish at a fraction of the cost of hardwood. Even the most expensive vinyl plank will look better and cost less than hardwood.

  • Closet Organizing Systems

Closets are a money pit. People can spend upwards of $4,000 on a closet organizing system that gets stacked with old shoe boxes and suitcases and boardgames and then hidden behind closed doors. It’s just storage. And while good storage is really good to have, homebuilders will build any custom racks that are needed anyway, so save your money for something that offers real resale value.

  • Wood Burning Fireplaces

Everyone thinks they want a wood-burning fireplace when they begin a build process, and who can blame them? When you think of a wood-burning fireplace, you think of cozy winter days beside a crackling fire. What you don’t think about is the hassle that comes with cleaning and maintaining a wood-burning fireplace. But homebuyers will, once they’ve taken some time to mull it over.

  • Home Audio Systems

Think about your smartphone. Now think about the cellphone you had ten years ago. Technology gets dated quickly, and home audio systems are no exception. Even if you install a top-of-the-line home audio system today, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get a return on that investment tomorrow.

Building a home is a big decision, and ultimately, you want a home that will meet your wants and needs for many years to come. Maybe that means putting in energy efficient upgrades or installing a wood burning fireplace—and that’s okay. It’s your home. You can choose the features you want. But it’s important to understand that the features that are valuable to you won’t always be valuable for a homebuyer down the road.

If you’re looking for the right balance between the features you want and the upgrades that homebuyers will pay for in the future, give us a call or stop by our show home. We would be happy to help you find upgrades that will meet your needs today while still offering you good resale value tomorrow.

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Buying a Quick Possession Home

May 7, 2018

Custom homes are what we’re known for—but that’s not all we do. Our quick possession homes offer the same high-quality finished product without the wait.

Just because a Broder Home is move-in ready doesn’t mean it was put together quickly or that you’re going to end up in a home you’re less happy with. Our process is the same no matter what you’re looking for: we take the time to get to know you, your wants and needs, your timeline, and your budget before we come up with the right solution for you.

For some homebuyers (like those with a tight timeline) buying a quick possession home ends up being the best choice, while others opt for a completely custom home where they can choose the layout and features all on their own. Even our quick possession homes are customizable, though, particularly when it comes to finishes. And the earlier in the build process you buy, the more you can customize in your home.

Quick customizations with minimal cost

Most often, people who are in the market for a quick possession home buy it up to one month away from completion. If you buy early enough, certain finishes are fairly easy to customize, and in some cases, they might come at little to no additional expense. Generally, these are the little things that make your home your own—things like:

  • Paint

Most people want to choose their own paint colours, and that’s no problem at all. Repainting is quick and easy to do, so it won’t blow your budget.

  • Lighting Fixtures

Lighting fixtures can be swapped out quickly and easily at any stage of the building process, so the only additional cost there is in replacing the fixtures.

  • Plumbing Fixtures

Like lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures are easy to replace and won’t affect your bottom line.

  • Laminate or Carpet Flooring

Certain types of flooring can be easily replaced — for instance, if you want the carpet ripped out and replaced with laminate or hardwood.

Trickier customizations that come with a price tag

Other finishes, however, are tougher to customize once they’re in—unless you’re willing to pay for them. These are typically the features that cost a little more during the build process anyway and include things like…

  • Countertops

Swapping out countertops can be done, but it can also get pretty pricy depending on what type of materials you’re looking to use (granite, for instance.)

  • Cabinets

Cabinets are another example of customization that can cost you depending on the materials you choose.

  • Tile or Hardwood Flooring

Once they’re in, hardwood and tile flooring can be difficult to remove, and replacing them with another type or style of flooring is going to cost you.

  • Exterior

Your siding or other exterior features can be customized, but re-siding or re-roofing a whole house is pretty cost-prohibitive.

Ultimately, if you’re hoping to customize features beyond paint and fixtures, you’ll be looking at adding over $10,000 to your budget—and at that point, it might make more sense to build a completely custom home where you can choose a layout and features you love without breaking the bank.

So if you have your heart set on a quick possession home and a quick turnaround time for when you need to move in, we’re happy to work with you and your budget to customize it in any way we can.

But if you have time to spare and want plenty  of custom features in your new home, give us a call or stop by our showhome to chat about working with us to build your dream home from start to finish.

Either way, you’ll be getting a high-quality house you’re proud to call home.

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Deciding When to Downsize

April 26, 2018

Downsizing is a bad word for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be. We prefer to think of it as ‘rightsizing’ instead—creating a living situation that’s the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Houses aren’t one-size-fits-all, after all. Your wants and needs will look very different depending on your age, income, life stage, health, schedule — the list goes on and on. And that’s a good thing. It gives you the power to choose the right-sized house for your life, no matter what your life may look like.

So is right now the right time to downsize? If you’re thinking about downsizing, ask yourself these five questions first.

1. Does my current home still meet my wants and needs?

A house that you bought for a young family of five might be too big for a retired couple of empty-nesters. A house close to all the best schools for your little ones might no longer be in your dream neighbourhood now that your kids are grown up. A house you built to fulfill your dream of running a bed and breakfast might have too many bedrooms and bathrooms for someone who realizes they don’t like to entertain houseguests after all. Your life is ever-changing, and with it changes your wants and needs. What made sense 10 years, 10 months, or 10 minutes ago might not make sense now. In that case, it might be time to find a new home that meets today’s wants and needs.

2. How much space do I really need?

Homeowners find themselves with more space than they need for plenty of reasons. Maybe you bought a house for your young family years ago and your kids have all moved out. Maybe you bought a house that gave you room to grow and you decided not to grow after all. Or maybe you finally sold your massive Beanie Baby collection and reclaimed your basement. Whatever the reason, you might find that you don’t need quite as many bedrooms or bathrooms or square feet anymore. If that’s the case, think critically about how much space you actually need to be comfortable. It’s possible (probable, even) that you can quite happily maintain your quality of life in a much smaller space.

3. Do I want to save on housing costs?

There’s no question that housing costs can be one of the biggest expenses in a household budget. Between mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance, a house can take a big bite out of your bank account — and generally, the bigger the house, the bigger the cost. Downsizing to a smaller home (whether that means a house, townhouse, condo, or one of those tiny houses you see on TV) can ultimately save you a lot of money: a smaller home typically means a smaller mortgage, a lower annual property assessment, and a smaller space to power, heat, and maintain.

4. How much maintenance and upkeep do I want to do on a house?

We’ve all been there — you buy a house with a big backyard, thinking of all the BBQs you’re going to have. Or a house with five bedrooms across three floors, thinking about all the privacy everyone will get. Whatever it is, chances are your home has features you thought were charming and fun when you first moved in. But nowadays, all you get is a cold chill when you even look at a lawnmower, and each floor of your house has its own laundry pile because you are tired of having to haul it all the way downstairs. Houses are a lot of work, and some houses become more work than they’re worth. If you’d rather spend your time doing (literally) anything other than housework and home maintenance, it might be time to downsize to a space that’s less work.

5. Have I had a major life change recently?

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us when we least expect it, but sometimes those curveballs are anticipated and welcomed. When we’re faced with a big change, whether it’s a change in job status, relationship, or household makeup, we might be tempted to stay in a home that no longer meets our wants or needs, all because it’s familiar. Why add a move into the mix if you don’t have to, right? But a major life change is the perfect opportunity to look at your home and re-evaluate if it’s still the right fit for your life as it is right now.

Deciding to downsize is a big decision, and ultimately, only you can say if the time is right. But once you’ve made the tough choice to find a smaller home, you might find that your real work has just begun. At that point, you’ll need to start thinking about preparing to sell your home and find a new one.

Luckily, Broder Homes has you covered. Stay tuned as we share more blog posts that will help you prepare to downsize your home.

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How to Choose the Right Home Builder

November 20, 2017

Building a new home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. You want to get it just right, right from the start. But if you’ve never worked with a home builder before, choosing the right partner for the process can be a daunting task. These five tips will help.

Step One: Shop Around

Depending on where you live, you’re likely to have a wide selection of home builders to choose from. You might even have a lot of input from friends or family, which can make it tricky to narrow that selection down to find the best builder for your needs. Even if a home builder worked for a friend, that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.

It’s important to shop around for the home builder that will meet your needs. If you already know where you want to build, you can start with a list of the home builders in that area. Or, if you have you an idea of one or two builders you might be interested in, make sure you find a couple others to compare against them.

Once you have your list, check out each home builder’s website for these key elements:

  • Do their portfolios appeal to you?
  • Does their website have the information that is most important to you?
  • Did you want to stay and look around their website?
  • Do they have a selection of homes in the style you want?
  • Do they offer custom options on existing layouts?
  • Can they work with a variety of budgets and timelines?

It’s useful — but not necessary — to have a sense of what you’re looking for when you start shopping around. Visiting a variety of builders’ websites is a good first step in deciding what you want and don’t want from your new home. This first step in finding the right home builder is narrowing down your list to the top two or three that really appeal to you.

Step Two: Do Your Homework

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential home builders, you’ll need to do a bit of homework. But don’t worry — we promise this part will be fun.

Visit the home builders’ show homes and pay attention to how you feel in each, with these questions in mind:

  • What was your first impression when you drove up to the property?
  • How did you feel when you got inside? Was the representative inside friendly, knowledgeable?
  • Is the style and design what you’re looking for in your own home?
  • Does the layout they offer fit your lifestyle?
  • Is the craftsmanship top-quality?
  • Do you feel comfortable in their homes?

Touring these show homes is a fact-finding mission, but it’s also a gut-check. Living in a new home should feel good, and if the show homes don’t give you that warm-and-fuzzy feeling, listen to your gut and find a builder that makes you feel a little more comfortable.

Step Three: Ask the Right Questions

Touring show homes will show you the type of work a builder can do — but meeting with them in person will give you a sense of what working with them might be like. So sit down with each home builder to see what they offer.

This list of questions will get you off to a good start:

  • Can you tell me about your company and history of building in the area?
  • Are you fully licensed and do you belong to any professional associations?
  • How do you choose your sub-contractors and tradespeople?
  • How much customization can be done?
  • Do you offer upgrades or downgrades on standard features?
  • Can certain areas be left unfinished — for instance, the basement, deck, and yard?
  • What does your build process look like?
  • Do you have a financing program?
  • Are there any additional fees I should know about?
  • Do you have any references?

The answers they’ll give you are important, but equally important is the way you feel about working with them. You’ll be working closely with your builder for the duration of the project, so you’ll want to make sure you feel good about them.

Step Four: Check Their References & Testimonials

The home builder you choose should have a long list of clients who would love to talk about how happy they are in their new homes.

Ask your top candidates for a list of references, and get in touch with them with these questions:

  • Do they like their new homes?
  • How did they feel about the building process?
  • Is there anything they don’t like about their homes?
  • Was there anything unexpected during the build process? How did the builder handle it?
  • How could the builder have improved the process?
  • Would they work with that builder again or recommend them to family and friends?

If a potential home builder has been around for a while and has very few references (or, even worse, none), that should be a red flag for you.

Step Five: Stay Involved

When you’ve decided to sign with a builder, you should feel comfortable that they will do whatever they can to make sure your house is built to your standards. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved from start to finish.

Depending on the builder you choose, you may have a lot of up-front involvement or they may involve you as needed throughout the process. Whatever their build process, you should never be left out of the loop when your new home is being built.

Many new homeowners can feel nervous about leaving their vision in someone else’s hands, but if you choose the right home builder, they should ease your mind with updates, invitations to visit, or answers to any questions you might have throughout the process. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with something, don’t hold off speaking up about it.

Once you’ve signed with a builder, keep these points in mind to ensure you’re staying in the loop as your new home is being built:

  • Is my homebuilder resistant to my feedback about certain house elements? Have they explained why?
  • Is someone from their office responding to my questions in a timely manner?
  • Am I being blocked from visiting the home site as they are building? Is there a good reason why I am not allowed to visit (safety, for example)?
  • Is my home being built in the timeline discussed, and if not, have I been told why?
  • When I visit, does something feel off or not right?
  • Does the builder address my concerns with understanding and information?

It can be tricky to know if you’ve chosen the right home builder, especially because it’s a big investment and you might not know what to expect the first time around. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help every step of the way. If you are thinking about taking that first step, learn more about getting started with us to see if our process is the right one for you.

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Welcome to Our New Home

October 16, 2017

Broder Homes has been known for building truly custom homes across Central Alberta since 2006. With over 200 happy clients and craftsmanship that speaks for itself, we’ve changed the way Central Albertans experience home building.

But while we may be known for our craftsmanship, what we’re most proud of is our exceptional customer service.

When we build a home, we look for ways to offer more value to the people we’re working with. Whether we’re building a new family home for a fellow Central Albertan or townhomes for people in need of affordable housing, we share solutions that will make the process quicker, easier, and more cost-effective for each client’s individual needs.

Our brand new website is just one more way we can do that.

On our new website, you’ll find some facts about Broder Homes and the services we provide. (That’s a given.) But you’ll also find that — as with our homes — we’ve worked hard to add value to our clients, with additional resources, detailed information about our building process, and handy tips that will help reduce some of the headaches that come with building a new home.

Through regular updates on our blog, we’ll share our resources and decade of hard-won experience to make home building and owning a little bit easier. More importantly, we’ll showcase the things we’re really proud of, like our community involvement, our new projects, and our clients’ journeys.

When you work with Broder Homes, you don’t just get a cookie-cutter home builder experience. That’s not who we are. Instead, you get a partner who is with you every step of the way, from the first time you visit our website to the moment we hand over the keys to your new home.

So welcome to our new website. Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while. We have everything you need right here.

Let our new home help you build your new home.

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