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What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Posted by cs6000 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 4, 10 at 10:04

I read this forum a lot, and pick up some good tips. One thing I notice is that there are lots of folks building large, luxury-type homes.
That's fine, I'm not trying to be controversial, but I can see there would be a wide range in costs for these homes. Obviously, location plays a big role also.
I'm acting as my own GC, and am half of the work crew. I''m building a 2000 sf house in rural Oklahoma. I'd figure my cost per square foot should be pretty low in grand scheme of things.

We're almost done now, and I'd guess the whole thing is going to run me about $85 per SF. There's nothing high end about the house. The main thing that has driven the price up would be the fact that the house is an optional two story, that we finished out as only a one story, with a large attic, and lots of wasted space and materials up there. Live and learn, it was the only plan we both liked.

We used 2x6 studs, Huber Zipwall and Ziproof, and Hardieplank. I also had to have a new well, septic, etc with this. Did not include the price of the land, its on a farm we've owned for 10 years.
I'm happy with the cost, was shooting for about $80/sf, but knew I'd go higher. Around here people usually figure $100 sf to build. For an existing home, maybe $75/sf.

When I see the photos some people are posting I just wonder what the cost per SF could be on some of these beautiful homes. Anyone interested in giving an estimate, and your location? Maybe a picture? I'll post one later, if I can figure out how.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I live in the Tulsa area. I heard one builder quote $133/sf for higher end custom homes. I've seen some homes in the same neighborhood that I would think are below that figure. I've also seen one highly customized home that I calculated to be around $180/sf based on the info given.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We are not high-end finish and nothing fancy, but I like my choices and got what I wanted. We did do some spray foam, geothermal, tinted windows, standing metal seam roof. We have 5 miles of wiring, which also includes satellite and cat-5 everywhere.

When I figure in everything - wrap around porch, garage, safe room, finished basement, etc, we are coming in around $60sf

We are Mid-Missouri. We GC'd ourselves. We had Amish builders for most things, and a few other subs for things like electrical, plumbing, spray foam, geothermal, and foundation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Home Page


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I'm in PA.. We are just at the foundation stage, I'm sure I will do some upgrades to my allowances but I am @ $120.00 sq ft. w/o the lot.

Stone on part of the house, rest is siding, radiant heat, Silverline (Yuck) windows.

I will be doing so high end items, flooring, counters, cabinets, bath fixtures. I don't doubt that I will add a good 10 to 15K in upgrades and landscaping.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We're building just a little under 2200 sq feet living area. Some upgrades (granite, 10 ft ceilings, crown molding, large garage and back porch), and we're about $77/sq foot living area (about $51/sq foot total under roof) excluding cost of land & landscaping.

Several months back we got a bid from a different GC, and he was over $100 per sq foot. So it just varies. In our particular area, we're building for just about the same price per sq foot for existing homes, while living rent free..so building was a no brainer for us!


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

about $115 sq/ft...includes the below, but excludes the cost of the land, in Central VA.

4K+, very high-end, all brick, metal roof, all granite counters, custom cabinets, all hardwood flooring, paver driveway/patio, flagstone walks and porch (over 500 sq/ft), Wolf/SZ appliances, over $20K in light fixtures alone, whole house audio and security, over 1 1/2 acres fully sodded, waay more than I feel comfortable saying for other landscaping and plants, 8" wood baseboards, 3+ piece wood crown in all rooms, Andersen 400 series windows, Thermatru doors, solid-core interior doors, Emtek hardware, Toto fixtures/toilets, Rinnai hot water heater for master bath, Marathon hot water heater for the rest of the house, 20 zone Hunter irrigation system, well/septic systems, conditioned insulated crawl space, American Standard Heritage 16 4 ton heat pumps (2) with whole house air filtration systems, blown insulation, master shower room (5X7) with 3 shower heads/4 body sprays/hand shower fully tiled with slate/granite/glass, Panasonic fans, etc etc.

You can get a lot for your money if you are willing to shop, buy ahead and negotiate.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

$275/ sq ft but as I've come to understand, square foot numbers are completely useless.

Many of us try to use cost/ sq ft (we sure did, initially!) on the front end when working on budgets, etc with builder & architects but it's just not a good method of analyzing anything related to homebuilding.

If we'd used a full service architecture firm, that number would have been closer to $315-$325 but even as I write this, I keep telling myself that cost per square foot is a stupid way of looking at all this.

Bare bones where we are (upper New England) would have been $200 sq ft. Basic labor rates are $36 for someone wielding a hammer and they quickly go up from there.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Dixiedoodle - that is impressive


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

it really is, isn't it?? :) however, our build was nothing but problems. we had a fixed price contract with EVERYTHING spec'd ahead of time. the builder tried to argue almost everything once we were into the build, but we were ironclad. thank goodness.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

dixiedoodle,

$115/sqft heated or total? If that's $115/sqft heated then please let me know where you did your shopping because it could really help me out :)


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

The Jack Arnold architectural firm told me to expect to pay $200 to $300 per square foot to build a Jack Arnold design.

Two local custom builders told me that they typically finish at $130/sf or less.

Ryan Homes will build for as little as $65/sf, but the homes are very basic.

You might be interested in Carl Heldmann's site. (See link.) He posts quite a bit of info about cost to build for owner-builders.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carl Heldmann's Website: Cost to Build


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

8 tons of A/C tells me there's a lot of sq footage. As you drive up the sq footage alot of the incremental space is much less expensive, like more bedrooms and closets, bigger great room. That's why talking cost per sq ft is very tricky.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I find this thread interesting. How do calculate your cost per square foot?
Do you include the price of the land in the overall cost?
Do you include total square footage or just finished square footage?
Do you calculate basement finshed square footage different than main and second level?
I just dont know... thanks!


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Most use the gross square footage of the first and second floor ( outside of walls to outside of walls) I personally count the stairway only once on the first floor not the second. Dont count garages or porches /decks in square footage. It is finished square footage you want.

There is no set rule on it but usually basement is calculated separately ( unless its a lower level walk out) but if you can price this area separately if you finish it its more accurate since the basement is below the other floors and is less expensive to finish off in most cases.

This is why I once heard pricing house by square foot is like buying a car by the pound. Ford and the Lexus probably weigh about same but dont cost same. Just doesnt mean alot but its the best way we have.

You can have a 2000 square foot house with 2 car garage and one with 3 car and change cost per sq ft. Same goes for basements vs crawl, covered porches, decks etc.

Quality of interior and exterior finishes, windows, trim, flooring, and applainces all greatly affect the cost per sf. Complexity of rooflines, corners, ceiling heights and roof pitch are others.

Some are self contracting others are using builders. Areas /regions vary greatly for labor and material costs as you can see above by the many numbers. The economy right now has subs fighting for work so labor prices are somewhat better but lumber costs have jumped about 40% since Dec because of the lack of supply and factory shutdowns combined with slight uptick in demand.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I would agree with that except some porch footage would be appropriate to include. Mine have beadboard ceilings, ceiling fans, T&G flooring over the concrete slab, the roof comes out overhead, and the railings are 2x6 smooth cedar. That space costs as much or more than the average inside space. My insurance company agrees....they show my sf including the porch space.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I did a 2,500 SF New England Saltbox with high quality materials (durable - no foof), ICF construction, custom design, full basement and well/septic for a bit over $180/SF (not including basement SF). No garage. Appliances, fixtures and all kitchen stuff, etc cost another $23/SF. Again, basement not included in the SF figure. I tried to keep everything as low as possible given a goal for high energy efficiency and durability.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We have about 3 months until our house is finished. Right now for heated square footage we are running at about $180/SF. This doesn't include the lot and is using my builders projected cost to finish(we can easily go over this amount and most likely will). Midsouth area.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We're hoping to come in right at $60/sq ft under roof. We have just under 3000 square feet heated and cooled and another 1300 square feet of porches, unfinished storage, and garage. The house was bid at 253,000, but we're going over on insulation and lumber, so it is probably going to end up around $260,000, maybe a tad under. If it goes over that, we're in trouble! LOL

Nothing high end, except my splurge on counter-tops, and I have been a bargain-hunting freak for the last few months!!!

Vonda


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Under customary measuring methods the garage, storage, and porche square footage would not be included, although I made an argument above how upscale porches might be included, since their cost would approximate the average inside room. Nevertheless, 260K and 3000 sf gets you $86.66/sf, which is very reasonable.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

All this $ talk really should include location and some details about construction. I spent $60k on permitting, landscaping, grading and clearing - 10% of budget - but another lot might not need any of that or maybe just $5k on landscaping. Another $60k went to deck, screened porch and appliances - again $5k could have done it (with no change to square footage). Brick + basement was about $60k (incremental cost over siding and crawlspace). So take away the builder's fee and those listed items, and almost 50% of my cost is gone and my sq foot charge is about $75 versus the $150 it really was.

Wow - $75 is pretty cheap and for that - hardwoods nearly everywhere (wide, walnut), great cabs, granite everywhere, ceilings from 9-11 ft, grohe plumbing fixtures, recirc hot water, heavy trim - 3 piece crown, 10 inch baseboards, 2 trays with crown, 48 inch wainscotting dining room, and coffered ceiling in office (with crown), 8 ft doors downstairs.

Either way my point is that I went from $75 to $150 with a few changes - keeping the square footage the same. Now mind you, $20 of that was the builder's fee which is a little unfair. I'm sure there were additional savings but I just came up with the obvious ones. My builder's later told me that you could have saved $10k on the framing but that it was such an important thing, he pays for one of the most expensive guys.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

ramor, that surprises me about your house with all that stone and hipped roof and level of detail. I would have thought it would have been more . . . good news for me though as we are also building in the South (not Midsouth - more like deep south :).


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

What would dixiedoodle's house cost on 5 acres in Central NJ?


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

"I would agree with that except some porch footage would be appropriate to include. Mine have beadboard ceilings, ceiling fans, T&G flooring over the concrete slab, the roof comes out overhead, and the railings are 2x6 smooth cedar."

It is NOT conditioned space proected from the elements.

"That space costs as much or more than the average inside space."

how much you spent has niothing to do with it.
You could put doen 24 K gold flooring and not change this,

"My insurance company agrees....they show my sf including the porch space."

Your insurance company is interested in the cost to rebuild, and charging you as much as possible.
They want to make money no matter what might happen to your house.

Cost per square floor is not a useful metric for much of anything.
Certain spaces are very expensive, like kitchens.

A 1,00 sq. ft. house with a 'simple' kitchen is impacted by the kitchen costs out of proportion to a 7,00 sq. ft. house.

I recently installed an over $50k kitchen in a 2,000 sq ft house.

the owner wanted the upgrades and did not want to relocate (that would have been even more expensive in Northern Virginia).
They like the size of the house and saw no reason to increase square footage and eat up their extensive garden space (and they could have afforded anything they wanted).

He is a gem of a customer. Wants quality work and understands it takes more time than slap it up work, and that subs who do first class work get paid more.

A 100 sq. ft. shack with a hotplate would have a nice low cost per sq. ft.
Few would want to live under those conditions.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

athensmomof3,
That figure is only a projected figure and I hope it doesn't go up much more. If I had used wood interior doors, copper gutters, real wood trim, etc. I could easily have gone well over $200/sf.

We were just lucky with our timing being able to get a builder who works 7 days a week on our house(I'm not kidding). He really works at trying to save us money without compromising quality. He is not motivated by money, but by doing what he loves best, building a somewhat unique house that offers him a challenge.

I know that sounds crazy and I've never met anyone else like him.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

dixiedoodle is the winner in "bang for the buck". To get prices like that in my area would involve the purchase of stolen goods!
I think it boils down to location. In our area we have a 140 mph hurricane building code. That translates to lots of extra cost. For example, the foundation, shell, roof, windows, and doors cost about $400,000 for 1 story structure with 5,000 a/c sq ft, 1,100 sq ft garage, 850 sq ft covered patio. Required storm drainage, lot prep, and stucco/precast/wood trim is adding another $150,000 - without a coat of paint on the exterior! The interior build out will add another $160 per interior sq ft. for 4 br, 5 1/2 baths, oversized kitchen, big bar, and study. Add pool,airconditioners, generator, painting, assorted built-ins and landscape to the total. These costs include builder cost of 15%.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We are building in middle TN and acting as the General contractor. We just finished the drywall and we are projecting to have about $75SF (without the land).

Here is a link that might be useful: house


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Interesting topic you've started. We're about $180-190/sq. ft. Does not include land. That includes travertine everywhere downstairs, granite/onyx in many places, architectural details in framing, indoor water feature, lighting galore, wine cellar with glass front entrance, 4 car garage, stone/stucco exterior, cast stone colums in many places. Leaving out a few things I'm sure.
Labor here is certainly not 36/hour maybe 3.60/hour and that probably contributes greatly to reduced expenses. Let's just say if someone didn't speak spanish while working on our house, then I'd be worried (exaggeration for effect).

Photos:
Photobucket

Rear View

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

i'm in central NJ. can't decide whether to laugh or cry right now! it AMAZES me what you can get in other parts of the country!


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

kateskouros: I agree. It would greatly help if more people posted WHERE they are building when posting figures. What do you get for $200/sq ft in Central NJ?


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Bobyoe & Katies, our build is in southwest Fort Worth. Our builder was probably more expensive than most around here. We probably could have gotten this for around $160/sq. ft. but I'd have been more worried about quality. Our current house we bought for $275000 and it is 3813 sq. ft. This was 2008. We'd be lucky to get that re-selling it right now. So ppf can be pretty inexpensive around here.

My brother-in-law's wife's family built in Edison, NJ two years ago. It was a million dollar house and pretty nice but around Dallas/Fort Worth that house would have been half that price or less (at least many areas). Some of the land around here too has gotten outrageously expensive.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

"We probably could have gotten this for around $160/sq. ft. but I'd have been more worried about quality".

Under paid illegal immigrants working on your build...I'd still be concerned about quality! Reckon we know your stand on Arizona's immigrant law. Boy howdy!


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Sierraeast....that was a really snarky comment and very much uncalled for.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Well, paying 3.60/hr is not too cool either. I was shocked.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Snarky is when employers hire illegals without encouraging them to become legal where they can make a decent wage and be covered by workmans comp to increase the quality of their and their family's lives. It might not be an issue in your neck of the woods, but it's real here and has been putting legal Americans out of work and is taking advantage of illegals who will always struggle and will be left in a worse way should they get hurt on the job. It's all for bigger profit levels for the employers who could give a rat's ass about the illegals they put to work.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We've seen desperate Yanks trying to work here illegally too. Gotta feel sorry for them. The legal minimum wage in Ontario is C$10.25 per hour.

As a builder, my costs are C$160+ sq. ft. including plans and permits for high end. I quote clients C$200+ sq. ft. (Yep, I don't work for free.)

Nice Moorish mansion ravi!


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I'll always believe there are far more decent builders than corrupt. Those who treat their clients, subs, employees fair. Like many situations, the minority of corrupt builders tarnish the reputation of decent,quality builders. Those who knowingly hire illegals are a big part of that minority of corrupt builders, imo.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Our builder has a permanent crew whose pay ranges from $20 to $40 dollars per hour. Many of the subcontractors are Hispanic and are paid by the job. I don't think you could find a good stone mason crew or drywall crew in our area that aren't Hispanic. I'm sure not concerned about the quality of the work done by Hispanics, I'm more worried about all the jobs lost to China.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I didn't mean to turn this into a politics/immigration forum. Plenty of those already. Just stating facts as I see them as a first time homeowner doing a custom build. And trying to answere OP's question as best as I can explain it. Obviously, the 3.60 was an exaggeration for effect.

Not worried about quality as our builder is highly regarded locally Sierra. I do see your general point however but reality is what it is these days.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Ravi_p: If you don't mind my asking, who is your builder and how large is the house? I am also in DFW area and your house is very similar to what I would like to build.

Thanks


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Fun post people. I must reiterate that a $/SF figure is meaningless without qualifying it mostly with the size of the home, what areas are included in the denominator of the formula (garage, basement, etc), and where the build took place. Leave out the land cost, by all means. Other fun details such as the finishes and construction help round out the picture. Personally, when I was researching my build, I wanted to feel comfortable with what $/SF to expect, so this type of exchange is very helpful.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

dbabbin, 7000 sq. ft and builder is John Askew. He has a very good reputation around here and imo has lived up to it. Not perfect but very good. Feel free to email me at rpachigo@yahoo.com and I can answer any other questions u might have.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Thanks ravi, I may take you up on that at some time.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

We are also in the DFW area, building 9200 sq ft for about $175 per sq ft. (not including land).


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

9200 square feet boggles my mind. Does that include garages, etc?


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Not garages. Only air conditioned space.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Anyone in Colorado? It seems very pricey to build here.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I am going to cry. Seriously.

I live in the SF Bay Area and a permit alone can be ~$20 per sf. I am going to keep building costs to myself, but suffice to say I can understand why houses are so huge that I see in magazines.

A high-end, 3,000sf house here costs about $1.5MM to build. And that is with immigrant labor. Bear in mind the labor cost is $12 to $25 per hour depending on skill level. It is impossible to build for under around $200/sf.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

$38/sf for the first 1000 sf for permit in NJ. As for the big houses, I guess I can't imagine needing (or heating/cooling) so many square feet.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

$38,000 for a permit(s) to build a 1,000 square foot house?

Is that for real?


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I guess that goes to the inherent differences in building costs in its many variations between TX and Cali and NJ but that would open up a whole other can of worms.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Oops, that can't be right ----I better check those numbers! I know it was getting to be around $10000 for the basic permits for a 2000 sf addition.


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

You know it seems my brain has gone to mush. (I told you that 9200 sf "boggled my mind!") The rates were based on dollars, not square footage" DUH! Starts with $32 per $1000 for first $50,000......


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

Hey bobyoe! Glad you straightened that out for everyone!
However, your comments do raise an issue that "$ per sq. ft" obsessed folks need to think about when they talk to a builder. It's the cost of the whole project that counts, not just the cost of the house. Plus, the features, finishes, and location of the house within a market area can make a 10,000 sq ft house cost less than a 6,000 sq ft. house.

No one gave us a good ballpark estimate for things like professional fees, permits, impact fees, drainage systems, or site work before we started. Most of those items were not related to the size of the house. Those costs will end up being about 18% of the total project costs.

No one could convince my "$ per sq ft obsessed husband" that the features he wanted in our house were equivalent to building multiple luxury kitchens. He is convinced now :-). Same thing goes for the outside entertainment areas. He thought the covered areas should be priced like a garage. Wrong. The spec'd finishes bring the entertainment areas to a higher cost for build out than any non-plumbed room in the airconditioned space.

The thing that I think we could all agree about is that you can buy an existing home at a significantly lower cost per sq. ft. in today's market. Major builders are dumping new 5 and 6 bedroom 8,000 sq ft homes in our county for $600-$800K. Yeah, they are in outlying areas on small lots, but they are brand new homes. So, in addition to size and features, you have to price in:
1. supply and demand, and
2. location within a location. We are in Palm Beach County, Florida. Our lot costs vary from $20 million per acre on the ocean in Palm Beach, $10 million per ocean front acre 15 miles south on the same island, $2-5 million per acre intracoastal waterway on the same island, and $50,000 for a 1/4 acre builder's lot 15 miles west of the ocean where the national builders are dumping their inventory. Why bring lot costs into the discussion? It's because builders will hit you hard for building in an area of high land costs. I guess they think they are entitled to a big premium if you are paying premium prices for your lot.

That's my 2 cents for the day!


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I sure wouldn't want to pay for the heating and cooling costs for an 8000 sq. ft. house, let alone the taxes. Ugh! And the upkeep! I can think of zillions of other ways to spend my money, like having a good book and a nice beverage while chilling out on a nice sandy beach, or hiking some pretty mountains. I'd be dumping them too.

I guess I had to put my 2 cents in too :)


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RE: What's your rough cost per square foot estimate?

I like to build about 2800sq . Ft house in edison nj I have land so get me an rough idea how much would cost to built or how much $ per sq. ft


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