How much per square foot? This is a question we hear often, even before discussing the home design. As much as we’d like to avoid answering the question, most customers are sincerely interested in understanding what their new home will cost. It’s important to have a reasonable understanding before moving forward with such big decisions.
In the last few years we’ve built homes that ranged in cost from about $225 per-square-foot to over $400 per-square-foot. That’s a wide big range. So what’s included in that figure? Well that can also vary widely but there are many components of each home that do have some similarities.
A good portion of construction costs are almost like commodities. For instance, concrete, lumber, drywall, plumbing, electrical materials and roofing costs are all controlled by the market. We shop around but these costs are a function of supply and demand so they are similar in all price ranges of completed homes.
The large variable in construction costs between homes comes from the amenities and options, the finish. We’ve installed appliance packages that range in cost from $8,000 to over $35,000. These are obviously in very different homes but the cost of the specific appliances are also driven by the market. If you want a Sub-Zero refrigerator, you are going to have to pay the Sub-Zero price. Not everyone needs Sub-Zero appliances so there are many less-expensive options that are also very nice. This applies to decisions about windows, flooring, plumbing fixtures, paint quality and on and on…
The design, amenities and options of a $225 to $250 per-square-foot home are driven by the budget. Frankly it requires compromise because you aren’t going to be able to afford many fancy things. A budget of $275 to $325 per-square-foot is a sweet spot, where most of our homes tend to fall. A $400 per-square-foot home is usually really nice, but even those customers need to watch the budget. We’ve been blessed with some customers that are willing to pay for some really, really nice stuff, but we’ve also worked hard to satisfy our customers that have more limited budgets.
We have a conceptual budget process that allows us to present a budget based on the customer’s wish list. We use component costs from previously built homes and have extensive records to share. We’ve been fine-tuning our budgeting and estimating capabilities for 20 years and can offer realistic expectations to help you plan your new home project. Please poke around on our website and you will find more information about project planning and budgeting.