Budget vs Actual

Mark_KCFebruary 11, 2013

My architect is finalizing the last few details and I am getting ready to break ground within the next month or so. The thing that keeps me awake at night is the unknown of how much the house will actually cost vs the builder's estimate. We have done a huge amount of detailed work up front to try and minimize the uncertainty, but I have never heard of a project coming in under budget so I am still very nervous.

SO...here is the topic. What was your budget and what was the actual cost for your new home build?

Also, how much of the overage was due to YOUR change orders vs BUILDER errors / misunderstandings?

Thanks for helping me get a real world view of what is going on in the home building space.

This post was edited by Mark_KC on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 20:31

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Well so far the expensive stuff has had to do with the site.

After we got our building permit, the city decided we needed a fire truck turnaround. That will cost $3,500. The transformer we were going use needed work- $1,300. Our conduit was full of water and needed ropes pulled through them ($600).

No changes yet for the building itself we will have the walls up by the end of this month.

So my thought, would be get your site squared away too!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Also, what is your budget like? Does it break out each and every line item? Or is it rough?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Fixed contract price of $336k, actual price $411k.

We upgraded cabinets, flooring and appliances. Not every item had an allowance but we blew them all. Live and learn.

That's only to build. We had a tear down so a lot of the utility stuff was already in (sans gas, which was about $3k to get 1/3 mile up my driveway) and I own the land. Our permits were very reasonable compared to some, I live in rural Oregon and did some of the site prep, debris removal and dirt work myself which saved me some $$.

This post was edited by Mistman on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 21:47

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:46PM
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having done a whole house reno a few years back, it all comes down to the details. we didn't have a great deal of experience with allowances, so spec those out before, and you will get a clearer picture.

we are in the very early stages of buying/tearing down/re build. I have concerns with lot cost prep (tearing down, scrape, remove pool) builders I have spoken with can only estimate now until we close on the lot. we are in Old Leawood

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:10AM
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You architect should have advised you to include a Contingency line item in your budget for unforeseen expenses. Excavation alone is difficult to estimate accurately so you may need the Contingency in the first week.

The assumption should be that the entire Contingency will be used but if it isn't you get a bonus. Thinking of unforeseen costs as tragic losses to be worried about is not a good approach.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:19AM
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We were an OwnerBuilder. We were 5% over our projected cost from our starting point. Biggest by dollar was framing. This included the lumber, labor and stairs in my groupings, all of which were pretty close... but our need for steel beams was a 3x overage, $9k instead of $3k. And our deck, which was framed to allow for waterproofing and tiling was over budget.

We overspent on insulation (spray foam), trim material and cabinets as the other notable overages.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:40AM
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I will add that since our builder does a panelization program, meaning the walls are delivered with the windows in and siding on (not in our case since we are doing shingles) those costs are all known. We were advised by our bank to avoid a builder who only gives allowances. Our builder took a month to price every little thing out.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:47AM
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My builder will price everything down to the stick ahead of time. We can (and will) make nearly all of our selections up-front. As long as we do not change our mind, it should meet the contracted price. The only unknowns will be the excavation and well. I plan to drill the well upfront before anything else starts. If that significantly impacts our budget, I may decide to just pay for the well and wait on the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 12:46PM
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We are 3% over original agreed upon build price.

I say 5% is where we will end up.

Mid-Atlantic area.

Things do come up that you can't account for it all up front during planning stages.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:33PM
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