How accurate is 'building cost estimater' on eplans, etc?

farmhousegirlMay 13, 2012

For those who have built off of a non-custom plan, did you find the online building cost estimaters to be anywhere close to quotes you got from builders? Anyone know what the assumed profit margin is on these estimates? Are they updated to allow for inflation non material costs?


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We modified the plans a bit but not much. All of our bids have been at least 50k over the high estimate. We are planning moderate finishes, azek trim, anderson 400's, hydro air, and solid doors honestly nothing extravagent just a step above builders grade. We are located in the North East if this helps. Also none of these bids include appliances or landscaping.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Thanks Evpho,

We are also in the North East. We are doing about a 3200 sq. ft house and were quoted 850k for a build that is 495k on eplans (high end. We did add about 300 sq ft to the plan, and an extra garage bin (plan was two car garage and we want three car garage), and a finished basement (nothing fancy..just basic). I'm blown away. This was he rough estimate, and we don't know allowances yet. This does not include landscaping (only grass seed) and no deck or patio.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Where in the NE? We are located in MA. We had bids range over 300k+ or minus each other. It seemed like the younger/newer gc's were on the top end of the spectrum. The guys who have been in business for 20 years plus were the ones in our budget, which seemed ironic.

We interviewed and received bids from 10 builders. Each builder was given a sheet with exact specs so we could compare each bid apples to apples This may have been overkill but for us we needed to make sure we were getting a quality, reliable contractor, with accurate bids.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:34PM
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farmhousegirl- this is such a difficult area (eastern Pa) to get an acurate cost estimate but when we started we used the BCE on eplans too and compared to very similar houses built in our area. We found them to be pretty close -builders options vs. the mid quality vs. high end.
The trouble was what was behind the drywall... and the quality of the finish.
Even some high end builders had shockingly cruddy workmanship.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:54AM
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