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House Building Cost per Square Foot

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House building cost per square foot varies considerably, but for the typical family hiring one of the major national home building companies to put up a home in a nice subdivision the cost will be at least $130 per square foot in most states. Costs on the West Coast will be about 40 percent more, and 30 percent more in the Northern Atlantic states. If this is within your price range and getting into that fabulous gated community or exclusive neighborhood controlled by a certain builder means everything to you, then this is the route for you. Many people feel they have no choice of builder, because the builder controls the entire subdivision. Others do have a choice but decide to use one of the biggest builders in the country. Seventy percent of the homes in our country are built by the top 20 builders with locations in many cities throughout the USA.

House Building Cost per Square Foot: Mainstream vs. a More Creative Solution

If you observe costs and quality in any goods based market, whether food, clothing, furniture or wedding flowers, there is a sort of standard knee jerk procedure that most people believe is the only way of purchasing these goods. Using one of the biggest nationally known companies for home building is very much a standard procedure. It’s what most people do. But there are other options, some more and some considerably less expensive.

House Building Cost per Square Foot: Local Quality and Custom Homebuilders

Before you sign up for one of those national home builders, it might pay to visit a local home builder with only one office. These guys can sometimes beat the price and can almost always beat the quality, level of service, and warranty if you choose a local quality or custom homebuilder with a good reputation. You will find that when using local quality home builders, the standard finishes are sufficient in most cases and you will not need as many upgrades to get a nice home.

House Building Cost per Square Foot: Modular, Budget and Affordable Homes

It is possible to purchase a very nice modular home for as little as $60 per square foot in the Southeast or Midwest. Prices are higher in the Northeast and in California. Budget and Affordable homes are a bit more but generally cost around $80 per square foot in the South East, and again about 30 percent more in the Northeast and California. These homes are an amazing value and are often more durable than more mainstream homes.

House Building Cost per Square Foot: Shells and Kits

If that’s still too pricey, most Shells and kits cost about $25 per square foot. It must be considered though, that a shell or kit does not include carpet, appliances, cabinets or paint. Many do not include insulation or drywall, and some do not include windows and doors. There are a few that do not even include rafters or a roof. Some include labor for construction of the shell and others do not. It is important when comparing the prices of kits and shells to learn exactly what is included. Shells and kits are often a great bargain for people who enjoy home improvement projects and are talented with these sorts of projects. They are also perfect for people on a very low budget. They are not however, good for people who want absolute cosmetic perfection. Most do it yourselfers can live with a couple of imperfections that were the result of their own work. Many shells finished by the owner turn out beautifully but one has to be willing to accept it if things do not turn out exactly as planned, if you are not a professional. As for price, it will include the cost of hiring a plumber and an electrician, and materials to complete the home. The final cost will be at least $40 to $50 per square foot in the South. Costs will be more in other areas.

The cost of building a home per square foot varies by quality and the amount of work you are willing and capable of doing yourself. In addition, shopping wisely for a homebuilder can make a difference in quality. For more information on house building cost per square foot download our 98 page free book, and read the many articles on this site.


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