Understanding Cost Per Square Foot Pricing From Your Custom Home Builder
We often get asked what our price per square foot is and our answer is “it depends”. This is not a cop-out, it’s the truth. With our model of working towards a fixed price agreement through our integrated design approach, the price per square foot truly depends on what kind of home you want, where you’re building it, when you’re building it, and what the interior and exterior finishes are like, to name a few of the key, often overlooked factors.
THE PROBLEM WITH COST PER SQUARE FOOT
When people ask about pricing per square foot right off the bat it often fails to address the details of what is being priced out and the criteria that went into putting that price together.
Our take on it is that anyone giving you price per square foot costs without asking you a huge list of questions probably isn’t giving you reliable information.
Poor information leads to unrealistic expectations which can make for a less than desirable home build experience. Cue the horror stories of excited families building their dream home with the low bidding home builder and then all of a sudden the cost for their home continuously balloons throughout the build process.
NOT ALL SQUARE FOOTAGE IS CREATED EQUAL
What’s missed in pricing per square foot is being on the same page about what all of the costs are that go into defining this number. Do you want a finished basement, what about a loft space in the garage? Maybe you want some really high-end finishes on the main floor, but will settle with something a little more standard on the 2nd floor? Are you building in a heavily wooded lot or in a Village that requires fire sprinklers? If you take into account the endless amounts of options when building a custom home along with development costs like permitting, demolition, and land development, the price can vary greatly from home to home and neighborhood to neighborhood.
Then what about the area you want to live, the quality of the soil you are looking to build on, the permitting, regulations and development fees? All of these are varying factors that impact the price of a home and get overlooked in the basic $/SF model.
Understanding The Fixed Costs That Go Into Building A Home
Another common misunderstanding in price per square foot is the impact of increasing total square footage. When building a new construction home there are dozens of fixed costs that are “spread” over the total cost of construction. One easy example is the new sewer and water connections for a home since those new connections cost the same amount to install regardless of the size of the house they serve. When you take into account fixed costs that don’t change, price per square foot for larger homes goes down because there is more square footage to allocate those fixed costs to.
CHECKLIST TO GO OVER WHEN RESEARCHING CUSTOM HOME BUILDERS
Other major factors often overlooked in only asking about price per square foot are the builder’s process, the client experience, and quality of the home being built. With so many other aspects that come into play when it comes to value, some important questions you should definitely get answers to include:
- How responsive is the home builder – is their staff easy to get a hold of?
- Will your builder make the process easy for you or a burden on your already hectic schedule?
- How sure are you that the price you were given is what your new build will cost?
- How sure are you that the home will actually stay on budget?
- Can your builder deliver on the timeline they promised?
- What’s their reputation – how do you know you can trust them with such a big investment?
- What is the quality of the homes they build – how can you be sure of this?
- What kind of warranty comes with, what does it mean, and what does it really include?
- How do I know what is actually included with the price of the home?
- What can you expect for the total cost of ownership - not just the initial price tag?
The truth is, the outcomes and variables are endless. To simply make choices based simply on price per square foot is a misinformed decision.
Ask Your Builder for a Fixed Price Agreement
At BrightLeaf, we give you informed estimates throughout your planning process and as we move through the design and development phase, we create an actual fixed price. Wait, the actual price for building your home? Yes. The actual fixed price, guaranteed.
HOW CAN WE DO THIS? THAT’S THE BRIGHTLEAF EXPERIENCE
At BrightLeaf, we have developed methods and systems to accurately predict the costs of the planned home. We are an “integrated builder with an integrated design” philosophy. This means we are your one stop shop for everything needed to get your home built. The central hub if you will. Integrated design means we are looking at every detail of your home build and finding ways to make it as efficient, effective, and cost friendly as possible, without sacrificing quality. By acting as your central hub for all details related to building your home, a better, and the more streamlined system is used to price and build your home. This experience carries no dollar value, cannot be fit into a calculator and is one that is rare to find when looking for a new home builder.
So the next time you ask about price per square foot for a new construction home, you should also ask about the experience and process they use to get to that number. What is included, what does it look like, and most importantly, how will it feel to get there?
You should feel good about building your dream home. No hidden costs. No surprises. No BS.
That’s the Brighter Side of Building.