In order to estimate home building costs accurately, it is necessary to be familiar with local pricing. Cost vary by area considerably, therefore prices found on the internet are not accurate to your area, unless they are the prices of companies near you. It is possible to get a ballpark idea of costs by reading articles in order to learn what is included in prices, but specific prices vary considerably.
Estimate Home Building Costs: Contractor Prices
Ask local contractors for an estimate, or read their websites for average costs per square foot. There are many contractors who proudly list their cost per square foot, or show examples of their work and the price. This information is helpful in estimating the cost of your home, even if you use a different contractor, provided you are considering the same type and quality of work. Some contractors barely meet code, while others build very sturdy homes of the best materials. Some contractors offer extreme energy efficiency, while others are sticking with insulation techniques that offer half of the R-value. Some contractors are building with traditional materials, while others are using insulated concrete panels, or structural insulated panels. Make sure you are comparing similar construction.
In general the price of homes built by a home builder include one third of the price for materials, one third for sub contractor labor and one third for the home builder’s overhead, profit and miscellaneous fees and costs. In the end, the builder usually makes ten or fifteen percent of the cost of your home as profit.
Almost all shell and kit dealers are very open about their prices. Check out shells and kits available in your area, and the prices. Remember though, that you will be responsible for providing a foundation, and for finishing the interior of your shell. Find out exactly what your shell includes. Packages vary. Some log kits don’t even include the roof, so read carefully to compare kit prices fairly.
Make sure as you compare costs, to add the costs which will make all your packages equal. If insulation and dry wall are not included, add the cost of insulation and dry wall to the price of the kit, to compare it with one that does include insulation and drywall. For example insulated concrete panels replace framing, insulation, exterior siding and dry wall. Therefore, even if they cost more than a structural insulated panel, you will have to add the cost of dry wall and the exterior siding of your choice, in order to make a fair comparison. If you are comparing concrete insulated panels to traditional framing, then you will have to include the cost of insulation and drywall, unless it is included in the package.
If you elect to purchase a shell package either assembled by a local contractor or a shell home dealer, you will need to add up all the costs not included in your shell. Find out which of these are included in your shell, and which you will have to pay for.
• Rough plumbing
• Rough electrical
• Dry wall
• Finished plumbing and fixtures
• Finished electric and fixtures
• Roof and roofing
Any items which are not included in the shell will have to be purchased, and installed. If you can’t install it yourself, then you will have to pay for labor to install these items. In addition you will have to purchase and install:
• Floor coverings
• Kitchen cabinets
• Kitchen sink
• Bathroom fixtures
• Light fixtures
• Paint or wallpaper
Doing the work makes sense if you are able to do it. Check with local dealers in these products though, to see if they deliver or will install for a small fee. For example, floor covering dealers routinely include installation for little or no extra cost.
Add up all the materials and labor required to finish your home to compare shell costs and the costs of actual materials you will include in your home, in order to learn how much money you will save over the cost of a home completed by a contractor.
The secret to comparing prices is keeping all the bids equal, and it can be tough when comparing a shell price to a finished home price. It is also important to consider overall quality, durability, and energy efficiency when deciding on materials and contractor estimates, or deciding between a shell and a finished home. Sometimes the cheapest purchase price isn’t the best value.
Also consider how much your time is worth spent in your own areas of expertise. If you are a brain surgeon, it makes little sense to learn how to use a table saw. It could also destroy your career if you had an accident. On the other hand, if you are handy with a saw and want to finish up your home just the way you want it, consider the savings. When you estimate home building costs, be sure to consider every aspect of the job.