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Newbie...cost to build

Posted by lethargo (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 3, 12 at 18:20

We have just started thinking about building as opposed to buying a home, so we're very new to the whole thing. We found a plan that we like and the website offers a 'cost to build'. From the scraps of information I've found on the boards, it seems to me that the price must be off or is not including finishes or.. something! It seems that the price is just too low. What do you think? I realize that there will some variation, but I'm thinking this home will cost closer to double what they've quoted as cost to build...

http://www.houseplans.net/floorplans/163700059/

Here is a link that might be useful: Floor plan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Where will the home be built? I've noticed with cost to build, it varies on where you live, what you put into the house, and how your land lies. These are items that you must keep in mind. For instance, if you build this house but put basic items in every room then it's not going to cost as much as if you put all luxury items in every room. A friend of mine used the link that I posted to see how much it would cost her to build. She went over the amount that this site quoted but it was pretty close to the mark.

Here is a link that might be useful: This may help


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Yeah - that is a pretty low estimate.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

That cost to build is waaaaay off for the markets I know well (CA and MA).


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

There will be A LOT of variation depending upon location.

Homes here cost about $100/sq. ft to build (in E. Washington.) This is for basic finishes and including a small lot. If you want a larger lot, have a septic/well/etc. to account for or anything other than basic builder finishes, the price goes up.

I think you should meet with a realtor locally who represents local builders. They will be especially aware of your local conditions and, at least, tell you price/sq ft....


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

For what it's worth those numbers are usually never even close. All of our estimates so far from reputable builders have been almost double what those estimators were giving. This also may because of the area we live in.

We started with the same mentality because why would anyone want to buy if you could build for less/ about the same. New have come to the realization that when you want big and custom, you pay for big and custom.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

The estimate is waaaaaay off. 4427 sq feet by large custom build companies like Schumcher or Wayne Homes could maybe do it for $100 sq ft with basic finishes (vinyl siding, laminate counters, builder grade carpet & vinyl floors, acrylic tub/shower inserts, no-name entry level appliances, builder grade cabinets, etc). That still puts the house at $442,700 + ~$50,000 for a basement.

The multiple hipped roofs, arched windows, arched dormers, arched transom w/ sidelites entry door, arched garage doors, tall double windows, multiple fireplaces, brick exterior, basement, etc are all significant upcharges. I am guessing with such a grand looking exterior facade, that you would want the interior to be at least casual-grand--granite countertops, custom trim, pro (or at least upper end) appliances, hardwoods & tile, luxury carpet, cast tub/shower with tile surround, etc. Those will also be significant upcharges.

I estimate the cost to build this house with both 2 car garages & finishes in the mid-range to lower upper range would run about $530,000 + ~$45,000 for a basement if you GC'd it yourself and negotiated very well with vendors and subs. With a builder, I'd estimate an additional $50,000-$100,000. That is the average going rate in my area--I'm in the South in central NC.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

We're in Michigan, in the suburbs, but teetering on the edge of the country.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

We're in Ohio and I would confidently guess that house would cost at least $600K to build here, not including the lot. I'm comparing it to what we are currently building and the level of finishes that we are getting, which includes some very high end finishes, mostly mid level finishes, and a few builder basic things. We have 3700sq.ft, not including a finished basement with a bar, bedroom, and bathroom.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

The "add ~$45,000 for the basement" in my previous post should have been 'add ~$60,000'--that's unfinished. Finished will add another ~$70,000. Both numbers are if you GC it yourself.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

$450,000 in Texas (no basement)+ Cost of land

A finished house like that would sell for $600,000 if a builder had it as a spec to sell.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

where are you in michigan? We are building in detroit suburb a 4200 sq ft house which is much more simple foundation and it will cost 500,000 just for contruction without finishes. 700,000 with medium to high finishes.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

You guys are crazy to spend this kind of money for a house. We are trying to build custom 4000 sq ft house for under 150k with unfinished basement. Upscale pretty complicated roof, porch and deck. 10k hvac, 3k electrical, etc

No fancy staircase, hardiplank siding, wood floors, no witches hats or bay windows.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Shifrbv- Can you share your floor plan? How are you building a home that size for under 150K? How are you only spending 10k on HVAC? We just spent over that replacing our 20yr old units on our 90 year old home. I can't see the same work/units satisfying the needs of a 4000sq ft. home.

This is the only plan we've found with our basic requirements... 5 bedroom, master and laundry up, office on main, 3+ car garage. Basement. We have a couple of years before we'll outgrow our current home, but don't know if we'll be able to find something that fits those needs. Nor do we wish to do yet Another renovation. So we're trying to figure out if we should settle for less that our basic wants for a home or build a new home.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Shifrbv

$38/sq ft would be an epic self-build.

I think an extensive blog would be a great way to track your project.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Not to steal this thread - but to latch onto the HVAC question -- alot of it depends on how bad someone wants to work - and if you can find them. We "only" got about 3-4 quotes on HVAC for approx 3400 sq ft and the quotes ranged from $13k to $24k and the lowest one was actually one of the most reputable companies in town (two trane units)

good luck


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

>How are you only spending 10k on HVAC? We just spent over that replacing our 20yr old units on our 90 year old home. I can't see the same work/units satisfying the needs of a 4000sq ft. home.

You could be surprised how high heat or cool load could be on 90 year old house. On new build prices are lower than renovation. I also know something about industry. 15SEER HeatPump $2000, 95% Furnace 1.3k, N coil, parts, registers, trunk, lines - 3.5k (inc furnace )total - This is pretty nice duel fuel system. The most important is install. $10,000 is a fair price. Now if you are looking for upscale system 21SEER (that could only show this rating in the lab and never in the real life), with communicating thermostats - you could easily spend 7,600 on equipment. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PAY 20K for anything. GET good estimating software like Xastimate, never ever ever pay more than it shows. In fact estimate down from that price. Drywall $4/sheet installed to ready for paint. And tell wife her 50k kitchen is not happening.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

shifrbv, what state are you in? I'm in a town with top rated schools in CA. Before you even start building you have to spend $1 mill to buy a teardown. Good/average quality build will run $300/sq.ft using a GC. Much cheaper to buy existing homes, but renovating them isn't cheap either.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

I often wonder why people get so focused on "cost per sq.ft." No one buys a car by the pound or a house by the square foot. Cost per sqft is some cost divided by some square footage. Does "cost" include site preparation, septic system, driveway, landscaping? Does square footage include closets, stairway footprint, attached garage? If the garage area isn't counted, is it free? Of course not.

Cost per square foot is at best a terribly crude means of comparing estimates with each other or with expectation for an area. What you want to know (or estimate) is what the bottom line will be and what that includes. A competent contractor ought to be able to put reasonable numbers on each aspect of a project. Some things don't scale with living area, like septic system, well, and engineering. Other things do relate directly to area, such as roofing and flooring. Still others relate to perimeter, such as siding and exterior painting. Coming up with a good estimate for you to go over takes time, not something done in a half hour of his time. Going over a detailed estimate lets you see what the different parts of the project cost, so you can decide where to trim to save money. If a contractor doesn't want to go beyond cost per square foot, look for another.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

You can't build a dog house for $38.00/sqft. A 4x8' sheet of sheetrock cost more than $4.00 uninstalled, and not taped. GW is suppose to be informative to help people with real statistics. These numbers quoted are not realistic so wait for posters who can give you accurate numbers for their area.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Lannie - a lot of people quote drywall install per sheet and $4 is really cheap but doable. $10k for HVAC is very doable - I just did 2 Seer 15 2 ton Trane units for that - installed with ductwork - with no real competition. A 4000 sqft house in the South might be fine with that (ie minimal E and W windows).

It is true that people spend quite a bit on houses but you don't really have to. Most people who are building are not looking for the absolute cheapest house ... but some people are. Some people are building in areas where $8 an hour is a reasonable expectation.

Obviously $150k would be very low for 4,000 sqft anywhere but it is possible with a lot of friends in the business and very basic finishes. I suspect I could do it for $220k if I GC myself, had minimal timeline and bid out everything (and took the lowest bid). Not what I want in a house but it could be done. Hiring unlicensed friends to work on off times could save even more. Certain absolutes like concrete and wood are really only about $80k for a house that size.

Let's face it, most people on here are paying $1000 a window when there are $100 windows. Vinyl siding is also ridiculously cheap. Who here is actually building with laminate countertops. If you avoid custom, you can spend $300 on a decent size kitchen.

I just built a rental house and we absolutely did not go completely basic but we did for some things and it is amazing how cheap basic can be. And you know what, if I had a big family, I might take a very basic 4,000 sqft house rather than a granite/brick/tile etc 2,000 sqft house.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

If you go back to the original picture and plan of proposed house it states that "the picture may reflect homwowners modifications to the plan". This house pictured could not be built as shown for these numbers. If you stripped out all the amenities and built a vinyl box you would not have this house. Getting a builder or GC to quote this plan would show a realistic price for your area. The price of the lot with improvements to the lot would also have to be included. It is a very nice house, but to build it to match the rendering would be much more than prices shown. Get a budget that you can live with then find a plan and land within your budget. A rule of thumb is 20% over budget is almost the norm with items left out and needed upgrades. If you can find a house a builder built but couldn't sell then you might get close to those numbers. Building on your own is the most expensive option even if you have friends and family in the business.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Honestly, it does depend on where you live. I have gotten estimates to build my house plan from $100 - $135sq ft. I am sure that number could go as high as I want. This does not include land.

The low price actually shocked me. I had heard such high numbers on this board, but prices right now in GA are continuing to drop. I find the farther the builder is from Atlanta, the better the price.

My architect was also very well priced compared to what I heard on this board and he has been terrific. So a competitive price does not mean sacrificed quality. Everyone here will tell you what you can and can't afford, but only you will know by doing the research and getting bids from qualified builders.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

You probably wouldn't want to hear this because DH and I sure didn't, however, just talking "dollars and cents" you could BUY a comparable home these days for alot less than to build!! It is such a "buyers market", if "we only knew what we know now"!!! I'm just guessing, roughly, we could have saved around $100K ! I ran those "cost to build" estimates before we built our house and you can get all kinds of numbers; but not very close to the actual cost. That being said, if you are building in a suburban neighborhood, where there is a reputable builder (very important), small lots, good location, you MIGHT be able to swing a good deal but the odds are not good right now because of all the inventory on the market! Hope I made some sense here and good luck; this is an incredible forum!


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

Sounds way off to me. Our builder has quoted $650 for a 4100 sq. ft. house (w/basement) and our lot is $175 additional. We have had several quality builders quote the plans for us and this is the going rate in our area. (in the South...)


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

@ Posted by DickRNH - Great post!

I often wonder why people get so focused on "cost per sq.ft." ...
Cost per square foot is at best a terribly crude means of comparing estimates with each other or with expectation for an area. What you want to know (or estimate) is what the bottom line will be and what that includes.

Coming up with a good estimate for you to go over takes time, not something done in a half hour of his time. Going over a detailed estimate lets you see what the different parts of the project cost, so you can decide where to trim to save money. "

I was wondering how cost/sf could be used in the conversations with the builder we are negotiating with.

Our situation
All the custom houses in our development are going for about $170/sf-$180/sf.

They are mostly larger in square footage than our planned home. But ours is coming in around $200/sf for about 2500 sf.

But based on Dick's comments above, we are really going to have to focus on the components & areas that matter the most & prioritize.

Since our home is being labeled energy efficient & getting certified as such (vs. the neighbor's which aren't), the high performance components such as hardiplank, foam insulation, tankless water heater, conditioned craw space, high SEER rated HVAC are going to add up.

Where we can save of course is leaving out the Wolf range (gasp!) or glazed cabinets (eeek!) - LOL.

Only in America can options cause so much headaches.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

"Only in America can options cause so much headaches"

I agree! We still do it because we can. As long as those things aren't precious to you and just "neat to have" then it's all good and well in my opinion.

Contributory statement: we come in at about $126/sq ft in rural KY for brick/stone, hardwood, tile, granite, upgraded trim. This is relative, so suffice to say our builder is largest in area and has won multiple design awards for their showcase homes. AND they are carrying the construction loan for us ;)


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

shif - We live outside of Lansing. When we bid out our house 4 years ago this is what we came up with. We were having them bid on a 3,000 sq ft, 2 story with siding, granite counters, hardwood floors and tile on the main level. No walkout basement, but a basement. So, probably mid level finishes. We bid it out to bidders as well as to individual contractors b/c we were trying to decide between acting as our own GC or hiring it all out. Our land was not included in the calculation.
For us to GC it we came in around $85/sq ft. To hire it out came to about $115/avg.
I think for your house you should estimate (easily) $125-$150/sq ft.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

We're in Oklahoma and GC our own build as well as doing alot of work ourselves. Total sqaure footage with garage and porches is 5125 and we are on tract to be at $53 Sq ft. We already owned the land, but that includes spray foam insulation, custom kitchen cabinets and vanities, stone around stem wall and porches, marvin integrity windows, progidy siding, Kenmore Elite appliances, soaptone countertops, etc.. If you are capable of doing alot of the labor and your local codes allow it, you can save a ton of money. My local building permit was $16, I also have the tractors and equipment and was able to do my own site prep.

You also have to get lucky, the framing company had an outfit come in to deck the house. Come to find out they also roofed houses, they shingled my 10:12 71 sq ft roof for $1900.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

goremr: $16 for a building permit? $7500 here, plus $6500 for engineering and $3000 for survey - none were optional :(

Your house sounds fantastic - best of luck.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

The other thing about $/sqft is that larger houses become much cheaper. While some permits incorporate sqft or value, many don't. So that $10k in permits is a lot more per sqft on a small house. Ditto with lot work, utilities, septic etc.

Beyond that, the larger house is cheaper to do almost everything else. Framing a 4,000 sqft house is not twice a 2,000 sqft house. And generally a larger house has larger windows which are significantly cheaper on a sqft basis. Foundation work is cheaper also on a per sqft basis. HVAC usually scales out much cheaper for a larger home. Cabinet work tends to be more concentrated in a smaller home.

Now - drywall, flooring, electrical tend to be pure sqft basis. Plumbing tends to be fixture count which tends to be higher per sqft in a smaller house.

So for the majority of things, building bigger usually mean less per sqft. So you really can't compare a 2000 sqft house with a 5000 sqft house.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

What an interesting discussion! We just finished our build in oklahoma. We were the GC and we did a lot of work ourselves. We built a ranch with an unfinished walkout basement. The basement has all of the HVAC finished and plumbing rough in done with some electrical. To finish, it just needs the electrical to be finished and sheetrock/finishes. The main level is approx. 2000sf the basement is another 2000 sf. We have a 4 car garage and a large covered deck and 2 covered patios. Here is the price breakdown for our completed build with landscaping.

For our total building cost without land, not including the garage and porches, the cost per sf is $96. Including the garage and porches the total cost is $38 per sf.

We also have a lot of upgrades in finishes and quality of construction. We have a very efficient heat pump furnace unit and many energy upgrades. We also have upgraded trim, granite counters, custom cabinets, all brick exterior, hardwood floors and tile, upgraded appliances etc.

Just goes to show how different prices can be depending on location. We are in the city so our permit fees were higher than goremr but still less than many of you. We were required to have licensed subs for the MEP trades. I may also mention that we have built a few homes and my DH is a project manager for a large construction company with a lot of experience in several trades, so our experience may not be typical.


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

So it's pretty safe to say that basic sq ft numbers will vary greatly on location, room types, and finishes. I'm wondering how to look at these plans and see the difference in a "easy" and a "difficult" build. As in, House A is 4000 sq ft and has a very basic foundation and a very basic roof. It's base estimate will be lower than House B because of x, y, and z reasons. Are there any good resources to help me learn more?


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RE: Newbie...cost to build

I'm beginning to think it's still about location location location: that drives most of the $/sf at the end of the day.


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