How much does it cost to build a house?
Or – A Home Builder’s Most Challenging Question
How much does it cost to build a house? Followed quickly by, “How much per square foot does this home cost to build?
A good home builder winces when a prospective home buyer inevitably asks this question. Not because they don’t want to be transparent or try to hide anything with their client, it’s just not a good way to look at the cost of building a new home. Confused? Let us explain.
Could we give you a per square foot cost? Of course, we could. But that cost would be for a bare bone home, floating in the air. Cool idea, but Core Homes does not – at this point – build homes that float. Even if we did, it would have to float above something, and that something would have a cost involved. But we digress.
Here is a great analogy: Let’s say your daughter is getting married. Your neighbor’s daughter is also getting married.
Both young ladies want their weddings to be held at the elegant Edwin Hotel downtown. Both weddings will have approximately 100 guests attend.
Your daughter has 6 attendants, wants a wedding room full of fresh flowers, a sit-down dinner at the reception with a live band, and a dove release as she and her new husband leave in a horse-drawn carriage.
See where we’re going with this?
Your neighbor’s daughter has 3 attendants, wants fresh flowers at the altar, will have a delicious buffet reception with a popular DJ. She and her new husband will leave the hotel in his shoe polish and balloon decorated car with guests holding sparklers.
Both ladies will have beautiful weddings at The Edwin Hotel. But did both events cost the same per guest? No, obviously.
So, what are the variables that go into the cost to build a new house?
So many variables go into determining the cost of a home, any home for sale, but more specifically, new construction homes.
First of all, the area the home will be built in is the first variable to consider. What are similar homes selling for? What is the current average home value of a home in the neighborhood you are considering building your new home? Is this neighborhood a highly sought-after community? Does it have nice amenities, good schools, a good HOA?
Location, Location, Location is not just a cliché!
Secondly, the actual homesite your home will be built on, is it nice and flat? Will the builder need to grade a great deal to make it buildable? Will there need to be a retaining wall built? Does the slope necessitate a basement or crawl space?
Is it a premium site within the community? Is it on the water, or does it have a great view of the mountains?
All these things will put a site premium on a piece of land.
Consider that two identical homes built on different sites, even within the same community, on the same road, could vary a good deal in price because of site conditions.
Now we come to your lovely new home.
You’ve picked the perfect home plan – you love it. Of course, you want it to reflect your unique tastes and lifestyle.
Will this be a forever home? You will want to consider widening doorways and having zero entry showers. Everyone needs a home office or “Zoom room” these days. Adding glass, double french doors to the plan’s formal dining room to add privacy will be an added cost. Perhaps a boomerang child or an elderly parent will be living with you so you need a closet added to a study downstairs. Or you just fell in love with quartz countertops instead of granite. The list goes on. Rarely do home buyers make no upgraded selections or structural changes to existing floor plans. Getting your new home perfect for you, comes with some costs.
But does every home buyer pick the same changes or upgrades? No, of course not. And that is why, along with the other above-mentioned situations, will always factor into the total cost of building a home.
And that is why it is nearly impossible for a reputable home builder to quote a square foot cost upfront.
So, where does that leave a home buyer when considering building a new home?
First – and most importantly – talk to your mortgage lender partner first. If you don’t have one you do business with already and trust, ask builders. We work with many lenders, local and otherwise. We can give you some options to shop.
Once you know what loan amount you are pre-approved for, you can start looking at areas you want to be in and which builders are building in that area.
Know your timeframe. When do you want or need to be in your new home?
There are many variables that go into build time. Some variables a builder has no control over, like 3 months of rain and below-freezing temper atures. Sounds extreme, but it happens. The current supply chain shortage is another example. Who knew it would ever take 6 months lead time to get garage doors? Know your timeframe but realize you’ll probably need to have at least some flexibility.
Also, take time to make a list of your “must-haves” versus your “would likes”. Sitting down with a designer in a Design Center can be a little overwhelming. Thereare a lot of choices, a lot of beautiful choices. You’ll want EVERYTHING! Know what you’re willing to spend money on, and what you aren’t willing to increase your budget over. But don’t panic. Communicate with your Realtor, builder, and designer and we’ll help stay within your comfort zone. We’re here to make building your new home a great experience.
To Wrap Up – What does it cost to build a house?
If a builder gives you a square footage cost to build one of their homes, be wary. It will always be a bare-bones cost. If a builder sells with square footage cost, they see their homes as simply a commodity – a product. Price is the only thing they can compete on with other builders.
That is not how Core Homes views their homes. We create living spaces. The foundation and heart of your life.
Talk to our people. Visit our Design Center. Look around our website and social media pages. Get to know us and how we do business. You’ll find we want to build your home with you. We will work with you to create a home that you absolutely love and is within your investment comfort zone.
We believe in Home & Life – Well Lived!