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How much per-square-foot does it cost to build a house?

This is the number one question our clients ask when they’re comparing and deciding on a custom home builder. Of course, we all know determining the cost per square foot is not an easy answer. We’ve broken down the process so you can have a better understanding of the costs.

Where is the lot?

Building on a SlopeA nice flat lot could cost as little 25K for the excavation and concrete, in contrast, a steep rocky lot could cost upwards of 150K. You could build a track style home on a small city lot for $150 psf using inexpensive materials. A high-end home could cost $500 psf when you include all high-end materials. In addition, you may want to be in a desirable neighborhood which may require the finish of the home to be high end as well.

Do you have plans from a designer or architect?

Planning is the most important part of the building process.  Creating a design or building blueprints for your new home could be a timely process and isn’t included in the cost-per-square-foot.  Also not included in the costs are your System Development Charges (City fees) and permits, which depends on where you live, could range from $2500 to (in some cities) over $100K.  These additional fees are often a point overlooked by the clients.

Homeowners Associations often have rules

Homeowners associations generally have rules about the exterior finishes like windows, stone and cedar siding. As well as requirements for landscaping, roofing material, paver driveway, and the size of your home.  These features work both in creating value for your home and creates unforeseen cost from your home homeowner associations. It’s important to realize adding additional features such as high vault ceilings, wood beams, 10-12’ceilings, a large deck, paver patio, and more will add value, but often require plans, permits, and approval from the homeowner’s associations. As a result, these costs are not included in a per square foot general estimate.

Construction costs are rising

There will be a difference if you compare per-square-foot costs of homes built several years ago to recently built homes. In fact, construction costs are rising due to the increase in material and labor costs. Be that as it may, building new homes will continue to increase if this trend continues.

Build a home around your budget

Shevlin Contemporary

We usually begin by asking clients what loan amounts they are pre-approved for and the final approximate size they need. An estimate is devised and reviewed with the client. Changes are made by either adding or deleting the scope or size of the project until a comfortable budget is achieved. The next step is developing a construction document so our team and vendors can help us arrive at a final cost.  We then schedule another review meeting with the client. We get their input to either add or deduct specific items from the house in order to stay within their budget. After the budget is finalized we determine how much per square foot the home will be.

There is no industry standard for cost per square foot

No two builders will estimate or build the same.  In short, choose a builder whom you can get along with, whom you trust, and whose product and quality is up to the standard you are expecting for your customized home.  Give us a call today to get started!