Have questions? You’re not alone! These are some questions we are asked most frequently and the answer to yours may already be answered.
If it does appear here, but you need further explanation or information, or if you don’t find your answer here, please reach out to us!
Q: I am thinking about building a home. Can you tell me roughly how much it would cost per square foot?
A: Due to the incredible number of variables involved, this is not a question with a definitive answer until a formal estimate is performed. While there is much more, these are just a few of the basic aspects of the overall picture, most of which contain the highest degree of variability and also the highest potential to have an upward impact in terms of cost:
- LOT: While you may already own, or are currently purchasing the lot on which you plan to build, the real cost may lie just beneath the surface. Identifying the lot is only part of the equation. Until a proper geo-technical survey is conducted, there is no way to know what will be required to prepare the lot for construction. A builder who had built both homes on the adjoining lots could not make a valid guess since the ground composition can vary a great deal from one lot to the next. It’s not uncommon to even see a change in soil conditions within the same lot. In order for a home to be constructed, the soil conditions must be known in order to then determine what will be required to prepare the site. There is also the possibility that unrevealed conditions, once discovered, could require an alteration of the build plan. Making any guess without this information can easily result in an estimate that is not even close to what the cost will actually be. Attempting to provide this number in cases where the building lot has not yet been determined is even more difficult.
- MATERIALS: Accurately estimating the cost of materials requires careful review of the floor plan that will be used, the quantity, type and quality of those materials, and the extent to which each will be used throughout the structure. We are also mindful of how quickly the variability of materials cost can invalidate any figure we may put out there.
No two jobs are ever alike, even if two homes are built, using the same plans and specs, on lots right next to each other and at the same time. Variables will still remain between them throughout the process even if they are virtually identical when completed. It is for this reason that experience alone, without methodical review and analysis of what any given project will require, isn’t enough to provide a general price per square foot figure and feel right about doing so.
Q: Are there and advantages in choosing to build a ‘spec home’ over one based on a custom design? If so, what are they?
A: The process of taking any home from idea to reality involves specific, necessary steps, none of which are avoidable. Also unavoidable is the element of unpredictability which can cause delays and additional costs as unforeseen conditions can often require reassessment of elements of the home design or even the overall build plan. The added cost to make adjustments, in terms of time and money, can be frustrating not only to the homeowner, but also to the builder.
The objective of the initial stage of any build is to fulfill the requirements necessary to obtain a building permit. This is also the stage where many of the complications manifest themselves due to the variables at play. Designing a floor plan with the intent to define and build to a specific, non-variable specification set addresses many of these issue with the solutions, and with them, many of the initial stage tasks “baked in” to the design itself. In choosing to build a new home from one of these defined models can be advantageous in a number of ways:
- GETTING A HEAD START: To obtain a building permit on a new or custom design, proper architectural and engineering work must take place to ensure structural integrity and confirm compliance with building codes. This can be a lengthy and costly process that is required for each and every home build. However, unlike homes built from a custom design, spec designs have already undergone this review. This means that by selecting one of these models and no significant modifications are made to the design, the homeowner’s plans are already set to submit for permit. Being several steps ahead at this point will be a gift that keeps on giving throughout the duration of the build.
- LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT: Been there, done that is a wonderful thing, at least in this case. While each home is unique, even those built from the same plans, the familiarity of the overall process affords quicker production, more efficient scheduling of labor and materials and a refined overall timeline.
- DETECT THE UNEXPECTED: While not all inherent variables can be addressed, nor every potential complication anticipated, this type of build positions us to more effectively minimize them and mitigate their effects. The continual gains in experience also provide a greater capacity to anticipate the ‘what-ifs’ and formulate action plans to address any that become reality during the course of a build.
- JUST… BREATHE: The two main sources of anxiety for the homeowner are usually time and cost. The logistics involved in any build are significant for the home builder, but they come with the territory and managing them has become second nature. However, the homeowner often has a logistical load of their own, often involving deadlines and finances but, unlike the home builder, they don’t have a ‘second nature relationship’ when it comes to dealing with them. This style of home build allows us to provide clearer, more definite answers to questions regarding cost and the time it will take to complete the build. This, in turn, allows the homeowner to manage their logistics more effectively, reduce the level of uncertainty, both of which can alleviate the feelings of anxiety and stress experienced by every new homeowner to one degree or another. They are as much a normal part of the experience as the feelings of excitement that come with making the decision to build a new home.
While creating a personalized, custom home design can be rewarding, it’s not something required in order to get your dream home. With either option having its own pros and cons, the choice to build from a pre-designed floor plan, following defined specifications, can most certainly result in getting you a home with the features most important to you. The journey from empty lot to keys-in-hand can be less about worry and more about having a rewarding experience and finding that, upon reaching your destination, you were able to take in the view along the way and enjoy the ride.