Saturday, May 6, 2017

You Control The Cost Per Square Foot Of Your Custom Home Not The Builder

Just because you think you know what custom home builders charge per sqft doesn't mean that any kind of house you have designed is going to cost that amount.

When you talk to a custom home builder and they talk to you about the cost of building custom homes in square footage costs they are only trying to give you a number to help you with your budgeting, its not something that you should set as the cost of your house. The real price for the home will come when the plans are finished and you have chosen everything for it.

There are so many variables when pricing a custom home that I routinely find people shocked when they finally see the finished estimate.

Here's a little secret, custom home builders basically charge the same amount within a few thousand dollars for their fee to build the house.
The fee to build the house is different then the cost of the house. The fee is what the builder needs to make as profit so that they can pay their overhead and pay themselves.

You can design a house that costs 210 dollars a sqft, and then add things to it to make the house cost 350 dollars a sqft. How's that possible you ask?

Well the cost of building custom homes is pretty straight forward, where the cost starts to climb is how the home is finished.

Here are some things that really drive the price up of a house;

  • Stone on the outside of the building. It doesn't matter if its man made or natural stone, the cost of stone supplied and installed is far more expensive then traditional wood siding.
  • Fireplaces. There's nothing better then sitting in your home in front of a fire on a cold wet night, but fireplaces no matter if they are wood or gas cost a fair bit of money. Also most people have a fairly fancy surround of stone and wood or paneling around fireplaces.
  • Decks and porches. Nothing raises the cost per sqft of a house more then the outdoor space that you create. Porches are more expensive then decks because of the roofs built over them but both of them require foundations of either piers or sona tubes. You are basically creating more square footage of livable space that only counts to the sqft price.
  • Flooring. There is a huge variety of flooring out there to choose from. A lot of it is the same price to install but the cost to buy varies so much that it can directly affect the square footage price. You can buy cheap laminate flooring on sale at a big bx store for $2 a sqft, it will look cheap and fake and might not last as long as you want it too. Or you can buy eco friendly sustainable custom engineered hardwood flooring made just for you at $18 a sqft.
  • Windows. White vinyl windows that are of a good quality have come down in price, where wood or aluminum clad windows have not. There can be up to 100,000 dollars in price difference depending on how many windows you require and what options you choose.
  • Heating systems. There are so many different heating systems out there, it creates a price difference that can be unbelievable to most people. A simple gas furnace and ductwork can cost as little as $15,000 where a full geothermal and in-floor heating system could cost you closer to 100,000 dollars.
  • The size of your garages. Garages are always included in the cost of the sqft price of a home, so the bigger the garage you have attached to the house the higher it will push the price of the sqft price.
  • Th height and finish of your basement. Basements are included in the cost of the sqft of houses. The taller and bigger the basement the more it will drive the price of the house up.
All of these things listed above are controllable by you the homeowner, these choices will raise or lower the cost of the square footage of the house. If you want a lower sqft cost for you home then you need to make sensible decisions on these items and you should be able to get that house for the sqft price you require.

Remember that you have control over the above list, don't blame the builder when you end up with a high estimate price for you home, choose wisely and you won't be shocked.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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