Allowance opinions on an 850K home?

iamskcJuly 28, 2014

We were aiming for an 800K home with 50K added for a pool/landscaped backyard. Total: 850K. Our builder has come back (after assuring us he could do it) saying our price is now a 844K with nO pool. Erg. We live in the midwest. Got any opinions on our allowance list? House is 4100 sq ft. High end finishes was part of the deal. Thoughts where we might save money or where we might be low? I was concerned about the fence allowance. It's a 1/2 acre lot. Thanks!

# Item Bid
10 Lot 164,950 Done
15 Silt Fence 800 Done price will vary depending on footage
20 Plans 0 ? not sure if to include or not
30 Eng./Arch review 0 Done
35 Permit Fees 4,500 ? need to call Leawood on
45 Waste Water Conn./Permit 4,030 Done standard sewer permit
50 Water Meter & Tap 5,750 Done standard water permit
60 Utility Usage 1,500 Done price will vary depending on weather
65 Development Cleaning 0 Done
70 Construction Facilities 640 Done $80 per month for 8 months
75 Survey and Engineering 1,000 ? Not sure on pricing with re-staking
80 Engineer Consulting 0 Done
85 Temp. Electric Meter 325 Done standard temp meter from KCPL
90 Gas Riser and Trenching 700 Done standard gas trenching, depends on length
95 Excavation 5500 Done THH standard , may vary with soil conditions
100 Dirt Hauling 0 Done included in line 95
105 Lot Conditions 0 Done included in line 95
110 Foundation 25613.93 Done have bid , may very depending on soil
115 Foundation Rebar 0 Done included in line 110
120 Concrete Flatwork Material 26,000 Done may vary depending on concrete locations
140 Form Lumber Ft./Found. 0 Done included in line 120
145 Steel I-Beams & Posts 8,018.05 Done have bid, Option B
150 Damp proofing & Drain tile 1300 Done average, depend on foundation walls
155 Sump Pump 250 Done standard sump pump
160 wrought iron egress ladder 200 Done 1 ladder
165 Gravel 2,000 Done may vary with soil conditions
175 Framing Lumber 113,500 Done have bid
185 "z" Flashing 0 Done N/A
190 Framing Labor 0 Done included in line 175
195 Windows 30,481.95 Done have bid, need to adjust, diff. front door
200 Exterior Doors 0 Done included in line 195
205 Overhead Garage Doors 1685 Done have bid, standard THH doors
210 Garage Door Openers 895 Done have bid, 2 openers
215 Roof 14950 Done have bid, 50 year
220 Stucco 0 Done N/A
225 Exterior Masonry 30,783.60 Done have bid, real thin cut, need to revise
226 Interior Masonry 0 Done included in line 225
230 HVAC 18,000 ?
235 Plumbing 18,000 ?
240 Fixture Extras 0 Done included in line 235
245 Sewer & Water Trenching 0 Done
250 Sprinkler Meter Trenching 0 Done
255 Electrical 16938 Done have bid
260 Electrical Trenching 0 Done included in line 255
265 Low Voltage 1000 Done standard allowance
270 Insulation 7227 Done have bid, standard batts
275 Fireplace Unit 3,000 Done standard allowance
280 Drywall 22,500 Done have bid
285 Hardwood Floors 20,000 ? not sure on floor choice
290 Cabinets 22,000 ? standard allowance
300 Interior Doors 0 Done included in line 305
305 Interior Trim Material 18,000 ? standard allowance
310 Finish Trim Labor 22,500 Done standard allowance
315 Granite 7,495.60 Done have bid, level 2
320 Painting 22,000 Done will vary on extras
325 Garage Painting 0 Done included in line 320
330 Guttering 2200 Done typical price for home this size
335 Interior Door Hardware 2,000 Done
340 Towel Bars & TP Holder 450 Done
345 Appliances 9,000 Done
350 Light Fixture Allowance 9,000 Done
355 Wood Deck Subcontractor 6500 Done
360 Tile 12,818 Done have bid
365 Jacuzzi Tub 0 Done included in line 235
370 Shower Doors 2342 Done have bid
375 Mirrors 0 Done included in line 370
380 Vanity Tops 0 Done included in line 315
385 Carpet Material & Labor 7150 done have bid, stair carpet can come down
400 General Const. Clean 4100 Done price is usually just over $1.00 per ft
405 Window Scrape and Clean 0 Done included in line 400
410 Landscaping 7,500 Done price will vary depending on pool / landscaping
415 Sprinkler Subcontractor 4,000 Done price will vary depending on pool / landscaping
420 Sod 4,000 Done bluegrass, price will vary on pool / landscaping
425 Retaining Wall Allowance 0 Done
430 Final Grade for Sod 0 Done
435 Drainage Allowance 0 Done
440 Wood Shutter & Planter 750 Done built in-house
445 General Liability Insurance 0 Done
450 Work Comp. Insurance 0 Done
455 Construction Loan Interest 10,000 Done may vary depending on length
460 Builders Risk 1,300 Done
465 Property Taxes 500 Done price may vary
470 Closing Cost 6,000 ? need to look and see what I paid
475 In House Warranty 0 Done
485 Roof Flashing / Cupola 850 Done 1 standard cupalo
490 Misc. Supplies 0 Done
495 General & Admin. 0 Done
500 Contingency 0 Done
505 Model Home Decorating 0 Done
510 Sales Commission 50,000 ? need to refigure
520 Profit 60,000 ? need to refigure
525 Total : 844,493.13

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For an 850 house, I think your kitchen/bath allowances are seriously lacking.

I can offer guidance on some of the areas where we had issues:

9k for appliances will put you in the low end of mid-range appliances. Do-able if you search hard & wide for deals (what we did with same budget), but an 850k home should have high end appliances, 15-20k range.

Ditto your cabinets. $22 for cabs will be tight, certainly if you've got a larger kitchen. We have a small kitchen and had to go thru 4 different lines & shops to get in that range.

Likewise, your master bath should be luxurious. Item "365 Jacuzzi Tub" stands out to me because what we thought for a tub and what the builder was thinking were completely different. The "jacuzzi tub" budget in our bid was for a bottom-of-the-line builder-grade HD/Lowes stocked whirlpool tub, not the model we'd had in mind.

Granite might be low depending on your kitchen size, how many bathrooms you've got, and where you're expecting stone. Want a slab for your tub deck, for instance?

"300 Interior Doors". Clarify what brand/type they include in their standard bid. hollow-core, solid-core, MDF, wood, etc.

Flooring. Check the various allowances and how they match with what you want where. I notice your hardwood budget is only $20k. We put 2500sqft of wood in our 3200sqft house and hit that $20k. If you're doing a lot of wood in your 4100sqft house, I'd double check that. Also verify costs of what you're expecting for wood. Grades/sizes/quality varies greatly.

In general, spend money up front for the things that can't easily be changed later on. A fence, landscaping, light fixtures, can all be added or changed later on.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:34AM
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You need to eliminate allowances, pick materials and get hard numbers. Anyone can give you allowances but they will seldom work in the real world.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Juniper -- would you mind telling me your builder? I am in your area and looking for advice. Thank you. email

This post was edited by nightowlrn on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 19:50

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Here is what I can share with you, basing on our experience. Of course different builders most probably have different mark ups too so the final numbers will vary.

285 Hardwood Floors 20,000 ? not sure on floor choice -- this would probably be enough if you just want main floor with hardwood. And that is just mid-range engineered hardwood.

290 Cabinets 22,000 ? standard allowance - this is 2/3 of our allowance, and we had overages even after choosing just the standad options. Nthing special with the cabinets we got.

345 Appliances 9,000 Done - agree with above poster. This will not get you the "luxury" brands. This might get you a 48" refrigerator, and nothing else. But totally dependent on what you have chosen for your appliances.

350 Light Fixture Allowance 9,000 Done - this is adequate, provided you are not going all crystal, and make sure this is just for the fixtures. Electrical and recessed lighting not included. Flourescents add up too and they are included in this budget.

355 Wood Deck Subcontractor 6500 Done - depends on the size of your deck. Are you sure you don't want maintenance-free deck?

370 Shower Doors 2342 Done have bid - this might be low, depending on your design. Are you just doing glass for the doors or for the whole enclosure? This would be low if you are doing more than just the door.
375 Mirrors 0 Done included in line 370

Good luck with your build!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:36PM
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This list seems more like a feature list from a developer than a list of possible Allowance items.

An Allowance is a dollar amount included in a Lump Sum contract that is basically an estimate of the cost of that work. The final price is determined later and the Lump Sum amount is then modified by a Change Order.

Because the owner usually has little price control over the buy out of an Allowance item, they should only be used when it is impossible to specify the work when the contract is signed.

It is also wise to only include the cost of materials in an Allowance item and put the labor in the Lump Sum contract amount even if it changes later.

It is also important to negotiate the contractor mark-up on the Allowance items.

Too many of these Allowances will effectively turn your contract into a Cost of the Work contract.

What does "done" mean in the list?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Thank you a great deal for the responses thus far. Here's the bottom line... A cost-plus contract has already been signed. I would've loved to shop for all beforehand and had actual costs for purchases worked into contract but it didn't happen for challenging circumstances. So this is what we have. I do not feel I can say to my builder 'I will not work off allowances'. But my feeling has been wary about the vagueness of them from day one. I will say I have a great deal of research done that shows this builder to be trustworthy and have quality finished homes. But the bids and final price estimate has me 2nd guessing a great deal.

Oicu812, thank you yes, I'll worry less about the easily changable features like fence and light fixtures and focus on the more permanent.

I too have been really struggling with the wood floor limit and cabinet limit (cabinets will include kitchen, pantry, mudroom, office, masterbath). Especially since we are already maxed out without the finish basement or pool being a reality.

I am intrigued with the cost of materials in an allowance item and labor in a lump sum contract amount idea, Renovator8. Is that common? We are prepared to break ground in 4 days. I wonder about asking for more details about this.

What I find most mind-boggling is that I'm suppose to sign off on these allowances with so little specifics. A great deal of trust is involved. Does lumber seem high? The fact that the bids add up to a number that is already over budget and I have my builder saying 20K for 2000sq ft of floor is exhorbanant and "much higher than he has ever allowed" worries me. From my research, a $10/sqft wood floor is not unusual in a high end home.

With as much research as I've done I sure feel like a fish out of water on this. "Done", I believe, means builder has already accepted this bid. The rest is up for negotiation. I am meeting the builder to discuss this list on 3 hours. I'll update. Meanwhile, I'd appreciate benefitting from any and all input from those who know a great deal more than I do. Thank you!!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:35AM
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A Cost of the Work contract contains a detailed Budget or Estimate for all of the Work instead of Allowances. But I guess you could say that all of the budget/estimate line items could be called allowances but that would be confusing because budget/estimate line items should be continually updated during the project which is better described as a budget or estimate.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:24PM
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Juniper We too were in a similar situation, regarding time constraints and not being able to research every line item. Being 3/4th the way to done, I realize that one could easily spend 6-12 months hammering out all the details, and still forget a few things. (or have prices change, selections discontinued, long lead times, etc) What we did was ask each of the 3 builders we interviewed, along with the couple re agents involved, and the architect, for guidance, then averaged the answers. "For a house this size/quality, in this area, with this goal in mind, what should we budget for [x]"

One more note about your cabinetry (and everything in general.) Clarify if your builder has a set source for everything, or is willing to work with sources you provide. Be prepared to shop around a lot and consider alternatives. For our kitchen cabinets, for instance, the first design from the first shop was about 75% over budget. We ended up having simultaneous designs from 3 KDs at different shops, with quotes for 5 different cabinet lines. Similar pains for tubs, tile, stone, etc.

I too had hoped for cabinetry in the dining room, pantry, office, etc, but just couldn't afford it. I rationalized that those rooms can easily be done later. Can't live without a kitchen, but can go without a built-in bookcase somewhere for now, if necessary.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:04PM
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The mark up on your Lumber package, Trim Labor and Trim Material are outrageous.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:07PM
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wilcox, what?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:31PM
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You haven't broken ground. Please go slowly if you can.

I believe I know the town you are in. My guess is this is going to turn into a 1,000K+ home very quickly unless you want to settle for a lot less -- they say the words "high end finish." What does that mean to you?

Your cabinets may be particle board and staples and not many of them at that. Your granite is the lowest - my guess is you will want better unless you want marble, which is nice and many are cheap now. Ask to see cabinet sample and granite before moving forward. Just a guess, but I speak from experience.

Shower glass and mirrors are combined. FYI - I had 1 shower glass with door that was $1500 alone.

Windows -- do you know the brand? Interior Doors - solid or hollow? Door height?

Excavation - you have the risk if they hit rock ....

Your appliances - do you want stove ventilation? Does the 9K budget include a hood? Ask about make up air and who will pay for that. The town I believe you are in passed new code in the last year requiring it. If you are in the town I think you are in, the builders are able to operate like this because buyer options for new are limited. Email me and I will tell you more.

This post was edited by nightowlrn on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 20:56

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:41PM
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The Lumber Quote seems very high to me. I received a lumber quote of $32,000 for a 3,500 sq. ft house and you can find framers for $3.50 a sq. ft, this is Texas pricing. Lets say this builder is paying $7.00 a sq. ft for the framer at 5,000 sq. ft. covered area that’s $35,000. Are you telling me the lumber package $78,000? I find that hard to believe. I love to put trim in my houses it’s a cheap way to give it that wow factor. I use 6 inch base boards and double crown through out most of the houses I build and have never spent close to $18,000 in material and the trim labor price $22,000 even when trim guy does my floating stair I don’t spend that much. How many zones is the A/C unit for 18,000? I don’t mean to sound critical are negative it just sound like this is going to turn out bad I think her expectation level is very different that what’s she going to get.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:18AM
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I am overwhelmed after today's meeting. First thing I asked the builder was... "Did the bids surprise you?" And he said yes, "They were higher than he (I) expected." And he is currently building 9 other homes! Apparently prices are raising daily right now in the midwest. Everyone is building.

I can't even put into words how dangerous this "allowance" thing feels. The builder has a designer who actually spoke up and said "The Cabinets and granite allowances are low for this house"... but there was no solution because the total is already higher than we'd hoped.

The builder has chosen all the vendors. I start with the cabinet guy tomorrow to see how far 22K goes in a 850K home. Still feels like there should be some kind of general guide for these numbers... I learned today my builder didn't think we'd have any cabinetry in the office or mudroom. But again, there isn't any more money to use to add to any of the allowance as we are already over with the bids given. It's not that I don't believe we can "add later" but my perception was that I would have these things (like built in bookcases) on an 850K house that is 4000 sq ft. That they would be part of the package. I currently live in a 250K house! WHERE ARE MY BUILT INS IN MY 850K house??

My husband and I had to decide tonight whether we are proceeding or bailing. And we have decided to proceed...

This post was edited by JuniperSt on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 2:11

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:31AM
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Good luck -- we bailed ....We lost a lot, but are considering legal action due to misrepresentation. If it still isn't too late -- my suggestion is you look at the 1,000K 1-5 yr old homes on the market in the area. They are there and you can get much more for your bucks.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Your Lumber prices seems high. I am in NY and I am building 4000K square foot home and a 3 car garage and bonus room and the lumber was 56 including tax and the framer was 30K.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:39AM
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It is really impossible to tell using a square foot number if the lumber pricing is high or low. It all depends on how cut up the house, how complex the roof line, what they are using for subfloor (plywood vs osb vs advantech), plywood sheathing or osb sheathing, Wood I's vs lvl's vs lumber, osb or plywood thickness. There a a hundred or more variables and what I lised above are only some of them making it impossible to gauge on a square foot basis without doing a true lumber takeoff.

On another note, I still feel your in for a complete crapshoot using "allowance pricing" the way you are and you are quickly finding out the same thing.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Nighowlrn... I will email you! I want to know more and share stories.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:29AM
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OK, I read the first several posts... and skimmed the rest. As a Realtor and someone who has built a moderately high end home with similar specs, and someone somewhat familiar with builders, tricks, and what-not; as well as, a person that has had to take a cabinet maker to court for failing to perform per a very detailed contract. I believe I have some serious insight. (This forum saved me from losing my mind.)

First, you have gotten some sage advice above. Heed it. Secondly, I do not believe that I would EVER do a cost plus contract building. Why would you? There is NO incentive for the builder to watch out for your budget, build wisely, or serve you at any turn. The more he spends, the more HE MAKES! DUH!!! RESCIND that decision now! BACK OUT. Contact and attorney to get out of it. Best $400 you'll spend. YOU are taking ALL the risk!!!! (I know, builders are in my family!) Your lot is $165K +/-, which in the Midwest, I assume is a lot with a view or large acreage. At $850K, that's over $200/sf. You should be able to build an exceptional home for that amount of money.

If I had a builder hand me that list above, I'd crumple and scrunch it into a tight ball and throw it away for someone insulting me and wasting my time. Ten years ago, we built and acted as our own General Contractors. We now have about 4,500sf finished. About 2,500sf is Brazillian Cherry and the wood and install was around $20,000, as posted above. The rest of our home is a combination of travertine, porcelain, and carpet. All flooring was around $35K. I have 5 bathrooms with Toto one piece commodes, 11 sinks throughout the home, and 4 custom shower doors. The frameless MBa door was $1,500 alone. (I got bids from $4,300 to $10K for the glass doors in my bathrooms, so BIDS are IMPORTANT.) Cabinetry: OH. MY. LORD. Bids were all over the place. Many companies literally demanded to see the entire home plan. They bid on the home based on the overall price of the home. How? They figured they'd charge 10% of the value of the home, not including appliances. I went with a custom guy that obviously was a CROOK and CAD. (I will not go there.) I have a terrific kitchen. Upgraded, yet not too extravagant. 48" Thermador Dual Fuel Range, Advantium 220v oven, Fisher Paykel Dishwasher, Compactor, Franke Pro 12" deep sink, $600 faucet, Franke disposal, Warming Drawer, And a standard fridge, and two separate under-counter U-Line fridges with icemaker and a freezer models. I do not have two sinks or a pot filler; but will in the next house. My kitchen is about 16'x28', with an additional 6'x6' pantry. It's a very nice kitchen. 4'x8' island, Beautiful granite and mosaic back-splash behind range. I think about 83sf of granite with a double ogee edge, and 1/8" metal plate under island granite. Granite is a Level 3 granite: Delicatus ��" Polished. Price for all of my home granite was around $8K. Appliances around $22K or so... and had I bought a 48" fridge about $6K more. Opted for undercounter fridges and other home cooling fridges spaced throughout for convenience. (Six in all.) Let's see: Cabinets in the house near $35-40K. Roof: I have a 50 year shingle, too. Shingles alone were about $4K, not including install. Prices to install the roof, with weather watch in valleys and 'cut up' areas, ran from bids from $4,500 to $22,000! Bids to install did not include the materials... only labor. I went with the group of guys that I found that were roofing all of the 'high end' homes around here. And...drywall finishing with a level 5 finish was pricey. We bought all materials. Contracted for labor that bid $6500. He tried to bill us twice that much... got a lien, etc. He wasted SO much drywall, since we were buying materials. I would rethink that next go around. ( I would also make sure that all electric, speakers, etc... was marked on the ceiling as soon as sheetrock was installed. I would also take pictures with two cameras BEFORE walls were closed up in case one camera fails.) GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. (We did and won.) When you GC a project yourself, you front all the money and MUST MANAGE. If you want to use a builder's money and he fronts all the money, then HE manages the project. IF you do a COST PLUS, THE BUILDER DOESN'T CARE WHAT YOU change or spend BECAUSE HE MAKES MORE MONEY FOR YOUR IGNORANCE and every single change. Just Don't DO IT.

Choosing a builder: Make sure you have a full understanding of every cost of every specified nail, screw, how your drywall is installed (nails or screws), change up costs, etc... Do not trust "your friend" from childhood, blood relation, guy from church, etc. I hate to say it, but at the end of the day, you'll get screwed. Just do not get into any building relationship unless you have your builder putting some skin into the game and manages YOU and YOUR money. Everything that you want and agree to do is to be in writing. (My bro is a builder. His policy, sad to say, is screw them first or he'll get screwed.) Many builders think that way. I hear their positions all the time. SOMEONE WILL PAY for screw-ups. Make SURE your finances are PROTECTED from their mismanagement. Make SURE you fully understand your contract and what is expected from you.

Ask your attorney to make SURE that the numbers are fixed and you know EXACTLY what the home will cost and every single appliance model #, finishing item, cabinet quality, with half of a sample door in YOUR possession is written into that contract. IF it's in the contract, then you won't end up with an expensive home, but one as you expected. Because I had every light fixture, finish, model number, stainless screws, name of every single item, We won at every issue. I've had grown men CRY in my face trying to plea away errors and omissions. I had a contract and I will pursue it to be fulfilled. If you don't pursue, you will get screwed. Be prepared and professional. Every agreement with everyone is to be in writing. Also get them to sign releases when completed and you are satisfied. If they warranty an item or service, get that in writing, too.

Blessings to you.

Story: Gal I know hired guy from church to frame her home. He told her, "I'll charge you $20K to frame if you pay me cash. If you have to write me a check, then the framing costs will be $25K." She chose the former method. All was well until the last two draws. She stipulated that she needed 48 hours of when he needed a draw to get the money. He agreed. All of this was verbal. 2nd to last draw, he told her on Friday that he needed the money THAT DAY. She said, "I'll have to give you a check." Framer was fine with that. On the last draw, she expected to pay him $5,000. Framer said, "No. It's $10K, you didn't stick to our agreement." She balked. He threatened to file a lien on her property that afternoon and "all in the church would know she didn't pay her bills". She knew we had a few liens and she didn't want to be embarrassed... so she acquiesced and caved. She paid his demands. Later, I said, "Why would you allow him to bully you that way? It was HIS responsibility to prove your agreement to the courts. I wouldn't have paid him one red cent more than the $5K and let the courts decide. I am confident you would have won." She was more worried about her pride. I would have been concerned about my allegiance to my family and I would have told everyone that asked about that cad. I don't care if he did go to my church. He's a 'business church goer' and people needed to be warned of his tactics.

OK... sorry for no paragraphs. I just realized I could. Back to pricing. Electric LABOR was $16,000, which was to include basic wiring. Electrician left an account open and did not pay it for our home wiring and we had to clear a $2K mechanics lien. (Yes, TRHEE issues concerning liens while building.) The lighting was also worth $18,000. And no, not gold plated. I have 64 doors in my home. Yes, 64. Windows are top of the line, triple glazed, argon gas, etc. All windows trimmed out, etc. Bricking, $40K. Stairs: Oh. My. Lord. WHAT A shocker. Labor and materials were around $25K+ and it was a Brazillian cherry stair and riser, wood rails and BC banister and turned at the finial areas. I've since forgotten all the parts. I was shocked at what it cost. So, finishing inside the house was pricey. I'm not touching on painting, fireplace, mantle, porches, fans, and plumbing. Your prices above are a JOKE in today's world.

Also, many counties have impact fees and other fees besides a building permit fee. Our county started adding fees up to around $20K now just to build. These are important numbers to know.

FYI: If you are in a flood zone and must have flood insurance, you had best check with FEMA to find out the new building codes... because the fees will apply and new building codes must be followed. It's your responsibility to do this due diligence.

I am most appalled at about your post is that I cannot believe anyone would sign any agreement with unsubstantiated and 'hard numbers'. I hope you have more paperwork than what you are presenting. I doubt that you really have signed any 'contract' with any builder except to secure a lot. It appears that you should back out of your plans because I would never encourage a client to rush into any contract with the information you gave.

Without going into story after story, I will give you the punch lines: I have personally known people that HAVE gone into a building situation like this and when it came to closing, the people ended up in divorce court, law suit, and one guy committed suicide. Why? All ended up getting screwed at the closing table. The builder 'gladly' changed anything and everything to make the client happy. One person was to have a $750K home, with change ups and client demands... turned out to be almost double. Another, $350K MORE. The builder had it in their agreement that they would pay for all change ups, modifications, etc.

ANY changes, even adding a light switch, will cost you double than had it been on the plan in the beginning. Don't even try to add a closet or enclose something. It's best to get the house built, then change whatever after closing.

Building is stressful. If you are independently wealthy, then no problem. If you are like most moderately well off American that wants what they want, make sure you do it wisely and have well proven, wise advisers help you build. It is also a huge bonus to have honest employees/contractors.

Lastly, make sure you have several web cams on site to keep an eye on your building supplies. Keep everything locked up and make sure builder does too. What goes missing or is stolen, will cost YOU more in the end. It will be the best money spent.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:57AM
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MAJOR ISSUE... FORGOT THE LUMBER PRICES. Ridiculous. IF anyone is pressuring you, and I feel you are being pressured...that is a sign...AS IN SIGN: DANGER! DANGER! BAIL. BAIL. BAIL. You are in making a mistake. I am positive. Remember, I see this all the time. You're like a lamb being led to the slaughter. Sometimes, those that are ignorant to costs get taken advantage of from those that are manipulating you and feeding you garbage. You just do not recognize it as such. This is a money pit project, in my professional opinion. You have been warned by many.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:07AM
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Hi Juniper,

To reiterate what Wilcox and sherilynn mentioned, the framing lumber quote seems way too high (even considering the variables millworkman listed), plus the trim labour seems out of line unless there is going to be something quite extravagant. The trim material is likely high too. As many others have mentioned, the cabinet, appliance and hardwood floor allowance are likely low.

I am not sure if you have signed the contract yet but I would demand way more detail for the line items. If there are specifics you want, they should be bid on, not just have a generic allowance.

Best of luck, but it seems this GC has too much opportunity to inflate a number of line items so be careful.

This post was edited by Uitvlugt on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 14:26

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:21PM
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We have a cost-plus contract and it has been awesome. We would never do another type of contract. Just wanted to throw in my two-cents.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:25PM
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Regarding the lumber package, either I'm getting screwed too, or building in the midwest currently is outrageous. We received a quote for a 3500 sq ft home for 110,000 for framing (materials and labor). So....I'd love to learn more about this.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:47PM
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Finished a custom build in old leawood about 6 months ago. Guessing by your name of Juniper, you are out south. Lots in old leawood are 250 plus. Your numbers don't look too crazy, but if think your cabinet budget is of by about $15k. We had 5 bids, couldn't get close to your number with install, and we didn't have to go custom.We spent more on insulation, and less on HVAC ($10k insulation, $9k HVAC). Sales commish. and builder profit $110k. What is that? I know things are nuts in old leawood, didn't think they were that crazy out south. $900k gets you about 4k sq ft. With pretty nice finishes around here. We did 3k plus 1200 sq, ft. W daylight basement for less than 700. You need to dig in to the numbers. Builder is putting a lot in his pocket. We worked thru 4 builders before choosing our GC. Came in on time/ on budget, but took luck w weather and lots of work on our end to hit budget. Good luck

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:31AM
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JuniperSt: Any updates on how it's going with your builder or how you are tracking to your cost estimates?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2015 at 8:46PM
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