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Comparing allowances

Posted by topman (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 7, 12 at 17:01

Got some quotes from the builder. Since I don�t know how much each category generally costs, I have included a few items and the allowances here. Are these considered high end/above average/average finishes? Trying to get a feel of what we will be getting. It will be very helpful if anyone can share their numbers for the below items to compare and your relative construction costs.

~ 4,300 sq ft
Master bathroom tiles - $8/sq ft
Master/Powder room countertop - $60/sq ft
Other bathroom floors - $3.70/sq ft
Kitchen countertop - $78/sq ft
Kitchen sink - $900
Kitchen Appliance allowance - $25K
Cabinet for powder room/kitchen/vanities + finishes - $35K
Lighting allowance - $8K
Front door allowance - $3,500
Hardwood floor - $7-$8/sq ft


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Comparing allowances

I'd say there is not enough information here. What is the total amount for the build? Tile and hardwood - are these figures for just the material or does it also include installation? Cabinet allowance - how many bath and power rooms? Does this also include cabinets in the laundry room? Lighting allowance - is this in addition to any recessed/canned lighting?


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RE: Comparing allowances

You will be fine with the appliances, and should be ok with the floors if you want oak. The ones that jumped out at me as being possibly problematic were: lighting, cabinets, and bathroom floor tiles. Our home is about 3600 sq ft, and our allowance was $5000 and it was not enough. That was just for fixtures,thank goodness. The cans came out of the electric budget. Check that on yours. And I know for a fact that the bathroom floor tile "may" get you 4x4 ceramics or maybe 12x12...but certainly no mosaics. Oh, and the door seems a little low...check prices of doors you like. Good luck!


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Edit

Meant to say my lighting allowance was $5000, it wasn't clear which one I was referring to in my post! Sorry!


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RE: Comparing allowances

Our allowances weren't broken down the same way (i.e. we didn't have a kitchen sink allowance, and frankly the builder strongly suggests you go with the free stainless steel sink you get from the stone supplier).

But I can tell you that across the board our tile allowance was $3.50/sqft with an exception of $300 material and $500 labor given directly to the kitchen backsplash.

Our countertop allowance for the master and kitchen were like $62/sqft but we upgraded all of the bathrooms to stone so we mortgaged more to cover that.

Our appliance allowance was $6K and we upgraded to $11K and still overspent.

We have a cabinet allowance of $20K for kitchen, butler's pantry, walk in pantry, three full baths (one is a J&J with two vanities) and one half bath. We already spent more than that in our kitchen alone. I anticipate our cabinets across the board coming in closer to $40K before tax/installation.

Our front door is $1500 and I can't remember lighting offhand (because I'm not dealing with it yet), but it is less than your allowance.

For hardwoods, the cost isn't broken down like that but our build accounts for 3 1/4" boards stained and sealed in all rooms of our home, stairs and hallways (exceptions being bedrooms, bathrooms and mudroom). A larger board will probably be an upgrade, but considering we are building in Upstate NY and anything over 5" that isn't reclaimed cups from the changes in temperature I'm not sure we'll bother to go bigger anyway, even though we love the look of a wider board.

Our home is 3,400 sqft FWIW.


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RE: Comparing allowances

Here is some additional info.

- The $8K lighting allowance doesn't include the 40-50 canned lights we have
- 1 laundry, powder room and 4 bathrooms (including 1 master bath)
- Correction on cabinet allowance: $35K and Finishes: $5k (Total allowance = $40K)

Thanks for sharing your numbers. Any others?


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RE: Comparing allowances

Here is some additional info.

- The $8K lighting allowance doesn't include the 40-50 canned lights we have
- 1 laundry, powder room and 4 bathrooms (including 1 master bath)
- Correction on cabinet allowance: $35K and Finishes: $5k (Total allowance = $40K)

nini804 and nikinikinine, thanks for sharing your numbers! Any others? :)


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RE: Comparing allowances

Our builder suggested we do this and we should have...but luckily I have family in the flooring business that helped us out a bunch! He suggested for us to go around and start to look at what we might like in our house and get an estimate to see if it was close to the allowances. I think that's the only way you're going to know. You don't have to pick out exactly what you will get but get an idea of what the tile, hardwood, lights, etc you like might average and go off of that. Take your house plans around to a few places to get a better feel of where you stand.


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RE: Comparing allowances

$8k was our allowance for lighting on 4000 sqft. We came in under but primarily because we bought some things independently and I strongly recommend you retain that option.

I am still mad about out $160 vanity that was the typical 50% builder discount that we got for $65 when we built again (no ebay just lightingdirect).

You really have to give location as the costs for somethings are variable. Obviously $25k for appliances is great and relatively fixed around the country. But tiles are not and in my area $8 is not very good. Same with the hardwood and I'm not sure what the other bathrooms are going to be. Vinyl is cheaper and tile is more expensive.

Also - whether labor is included is obviously a big issue. In my area, it is always included in these allowances except lighting and front door but these are small labor numbers anyway. Cans are not included in lighting in my area either.

I personally think the front door is fine. I believe that is what we pain for our 8 foot double arched wood doors with decorative iron on the windows. Now it may not pay for a custom made double wood door but it will pay for some of the really nice stock doors.

All our other amounts were just about spot on with cabinets coming in a bit less.

$600k build, NC


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RE: Comparing allowances

@eyegirlie, that's a great suggestion!

@david_cary, the tile allowance does not include labor, labor is separate. Our other bathroom tile allowance is lower than $8, so that may be something we need to talk to the builder about. Thanks for your info.


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RE: Comparing allowances

Posted by Eyegirlie (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 7, 12 at 23:30

Our builder suggested we do this and we should have...but luckily I have family in the flooring business that helped us out a bunch! He suggested for us to go around and start to look at what we might like in our house and get an estimate to see if it was close to the allowances. I think that's the only way you're going to know. You don't have to pick out exactly what you will get but get an idea of what the tile, hardwood, lights, etc you like might average and go off of that. Take your house plans around to a few places to get a better feel of where you stand.

That's how we are playing it.
Starting this weekend with our $100K allowance.
It's broken out to each 7 major segment (ie Cabinets, Appliances, Fixtures, landscaping, etc.) & what is considered an item under each of those segments.

We've put down a list of items ourselves & what we need for each room fixtures wise.

The cabinets & flooring (more custom there) will ultimately determine what we can or can't get as a credit or debit from the allowance.
Since we feel that Home Depot/Lowes will help greatly with the fixtures options & allow us to come in below budget there.


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RE: Comparing allowances

The prices are in line with what we spent with a few exceptions.
The front door budget seems high - We got a two-swing fiberglass Thermathru with wood-like finish matching the garage doors for about 1800.
Your lighting allowance is significanlty higher than ours - almost double, actually. We have 102 light points (of which 54 recessed cans, where the can came from the electrical budget but the trim from the fixtures budget), and we fit comfortably within 4K without getting cheapy selections. Do some comparison shopping online.
The hardwood seems OK, but you are not saying what type of wood you are going for. We went for an exotic Brazilian Chestnut because of the looks and hardness, and that brought it to 12$/sqf.
The kitchen sink seems very expensive at 900$, but it depends on what you want. You should regardless look at some prices online for anything you are choosing: we could bring the 600$ MSRP for the sink we wanted to 320$ after we showed the builder that we had found that price ourselves.
I got into the habit that for all fixtures, hardware and miscellaneous selections, I am sending the builder a table with the item, its placement, its SKU number at the producer, its MSRP and the lowest price I was able to find for it online (with link). I told him that he better match that price for all items if I can find them at retail, and so far it worked well. All this information is something that you can find in a couple of hours with Bing Shopping and the website of the producer of the items you need.


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RE: Comparing allowances

@alexcato, thanks. For hardwood, the builder quoted us white oak but we can change that later. Yes, we actually will be buying our fixtures/sink online. You are right, we found much better deals online and the builder agreed that he will cut a check for us for things that we buy on our own. For certain allowances, we are thinking it's actually better to have a higher number so that we can have a bigger selection and if we end of choosing something cheaper, we save. We are doing cost plus contract. Thanks for chiming in to give us another set of comparison!


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