Design/Build

Are you considering designing & building your dream home?

Generally speaking, it should cost the same as if you found a home on the open market, however you’ll be getting the exact floor plan, colors, porcelain tile, etc that you wanted….within reason (commonly found on homes in that price-point).

As builders, we are approached regularly with the question: “How much do you charge per square foot?” I would ask you, “Are you wanting to drive a Kia or a Cadillac?” The cost per foot quotes will vary from builder to builder, especially if you do not have a floor plan and engineering to put out for bid.

When you commit to a building site, design a home (or purchase a plan and engineering) and choose your finishes (specifications), you can start to have a very meaningful conversations with builders in your area. How much will it cost to get to this meaningful conversation? Realistically, a minimum of $5000…and many months.
Is $5000 and many months too much commitment at this stage in the game? Are you still looking for an answer to the cost per square foot question? You can see now that asking this is asking me to look at the way you are dressed and your car to guess at costs?

There are some builders who will throw any price at you, some will guess low to keep the conversation going; some will have a more accurate quote knowing what caliber of construction is expected in a certain area and by asking a few more questions. Some contractors are more honest than others. Even the best-intentioned individual can not anticipate just how many semi-custom touches you will want to include when it’s all said and done. So the Kia/Cadillac question pops up again.

Even after you get plans, engineering and specs together, why do builders’ prices vary so much?

Even among the reasonably-priced builders you will find quite a range of pricing. Why is that? The lower priced proposals may not have involved thoroughly reviewing the plan and specs and might not have factored in contingencies. They may have missed something. A lower figure might also indicate that they excluded something intentionally from their costs to make the costs seem more favorable: permits, service development charges, taxes, construction debris removal, well or water, septic or sewer, exterior flatwork, driveways, utilities, landscaping, etc. There is a larger builder in our area whose business plan and advertising excludes many things intentionally to attract customers to their “ultra low” cost per square foot. However when you add back in the permits, water, sewer, utilities, etc. back in, their prices are very comparable to our honest, upfront pricing.

How is your approach to your design/build decision impacting your costs?

  • Have you found the exact plan that you want? Do you have your heart set on one particular lot or piece of land? If that’s the case this will be more expensive.
  • Does the the plan/square footage you want match your needs or fit the building site topography well? Will the plan have street appeal?
  • Are you determining your decisions on a total monthly payment that you can afford or total cost you don’t want to exceed?

Choosing one of these approaches likely means that you will be paying a little (or a lot) more.

The best road to affordability is:

  1. Get a great deal on the land.
  2. Make the overall building smaller through efficient design and judicious choices. 
  3. Don’t overbuild the neighborhood.

If you let me know what your budget is, I can usually get you there by targeting your total costs/budget. The road to affordability requires patience in finding the right piece of land at the right price and flexibility on location.  Often, I will have clients create two lists:

  1. A list of needs – we won’t move forward with this unless we have these things.
  2. A list of wants – we will add these things if the price is reasonable.

» Contact Capital Builders and let us help get you on the path to your dream home!