Home Plans by Widely Acclaimed Designer Jerry Karlovich

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What Does It Cost To Build A Home?

The most asked question we receive from our online visitors is, “How much does a certain plan cost to build?”. I think it is wrong that some web sites actually charge you then give a cost to build a plan. How do they know the cost of how you want to build your home? There are Professional Estimating Companies that can give you a close idea but with a LOT of margin for error. This is a tough question to answer because construction cost varies so much from one geographic area to another. For example; a home built in San Jose, California will have a different cost than other areas of the country because of require shear walls. The same plan would cost differently being built in Fargo, North Dakota where the builder has to consider the extreme cold climate in the winter. Additionally, take the same home plan to Beaumont, Texas where we need to consider high heat humidity factor and an occasional hurricane. On top of all this, labor and material cost vary greatly from one area to another. I sold a plan to a customer who built his home in a ski resort town up in the state of Idaho. He told me that it was a two hour drive to the nearest lumber yard. Needless to say, his builder had to pay extra for construction materials delivery. The best answer I can give to this question is that the national average of construction cost range from around $95.00 to $135.00 (and beyond) per square foot*, and this all depends on how you plan to finish out your home. Do you plan to have your Kitchen counters built out of granite or plastic laminated (Formica) ? Do you plan to use a high grade roof material like slate or plan to build your roof with a light weight composition shingle? The questions are almost endless. A good number to start with is a construction cost of about $100.00 per square foot* of Living Area for most areas of the country. And of course, this does not include the cost of the land.

The best way to determine the construction cost of one of our plans is to consult with a Home Builder in your area. Your builder could have a speculative model home open to give you an example of the materials they prefer to use along with the cost per square foot it took to build that home. Feel free to print out a copy of the plan you like from our web site and take it to a builder. Most builders would be happy to discuss how much it would cost to build the plan.

You need to be aware of expensive items that could drive up the price of a new home. Consider these; Bath Rooms, the type of Kitchen appliances, expensive floor coverings such as wood or tile, fire places, built-in cabinets, etc.. These are all items that will have a large effect on the final cost of your home. Those rooms with tall two story ceilings cost almost as much as if that upper area was floor space. Wood, Aluminum or Vinyl window types can have a large effect on the cost of your home. In the south, many home builders use aluminum or vinyl windows where in the north, extreme cold temperatures demand the use of wood windows. Wood windows could easily cost up to three to four times that of aluminum or vinyl windows.

Remember this, nothing is given away for free. There is no free wood fence for your rear yard, garage door opener, upgrade to a whirlpool bath tub, etc… Most Home Builders are professionals and they will treat you that way. A real Professional Home Builder will give you an item by item cost breakdown including those non-tangibles such as insurance, interest and professional fees. Don’t leave out the fee your builder hopes to earn while building your home. This is often called the “Builder Margin” and could be from 15% to 25%. So if a home cost $300,000.00 to build, the margin could be $45,000.00 to $75,000.00 and is part of that Cost Per Square Foot.

Choosing the right Home Builder is also very important, but that’s another discussion.

* This is for a home with no more than 10% of the living area in covered porch and patio areas, IE, a 2,000 sq. ft. home might have 200 sq. ft. in porches. So those homes with wrap-around country Porches will expect to cost more per square foot. Also, a 2 car garage for homes up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 3 car garage above 3,000 sq. ft.. But keep in mine, this is just a non-scientific method of guessing about how much a home might cost to build. The bottom line is to consult with a Professional Home Builder who is building homes in the same area you plan to build in.