The first question in any new home shopper’s mind is “how much to build a home?” Unfortunately the answer is not a simple one. Once you have a square footage price it’s pretty easy to figure, but square footage price varies. The best way to state the square footage range would be $55 to $315 per square foot, and that is a huge range and not very useful. So let’s look at some variables, and where savings can safely be made.
How Much to Build a Home Factor: Location
Location and the purchase price of the lot has always been a huge factor. In some cities lots inside the city are more, while in other cities lots in the city are less than their rural counterparts. In many cities there just aren’t any lots left, but there are always ever growing suburbs and subdivisions. In general within each city there are extraordinarily high priced areas, and less expensive areas. Unfortunately there are usually reasons for the price difference and getting a bargain on a home or lot because of location is rarely a bargain at all. My best advice is to bite the bullet and pay for a lot in at least a relatively nice neighborhood. Unfortunately many great neighborhoods come with restrictions which might blow your housing budget. There are often subdivision’s rules which dictate how large a house must be, and rule out some money saving design features.
How Much to Build a Home Factor: State
What state you build in was a tremendous factor prior to the year 2000, but strangely the housing market shake up has leveled the playing field more than anyone could have imagined. Thirty years ago one could buy a garage in Los Angeles for the same price they could build a beautiful 2500 square foot home in the small town south. That however has changed. Now the price isn’t quite as different from state to state. Still the small town south offers a lot lower price for a new home than most regions.
How Much to Build a Home Factor: Foundation
Foundations cost more than slabs, but in many areas they are well worth the difference. There are many disadvantages to building on a slab and only a few advantages. One advantage is handicapped accessibility, and then of course there is the cost. In my experience the disadvantages of slab construction can be disastrous. In a flash flood, you could end up with ankle deep water in the house. Plumbing is another issue. For example, if you place a toilet near the center of the house instead of on an exterior wall, as it logically should be, and a pipe sags in the gravel under the concrete due to settling you could be faced with the choice of a chronically over flowing toilet, or having to dig up your living room with a jack hammer. And if you live in an areas that can handle basements you can figure on a higher price to have a basement.
How Much to Build a Home Factor: Plumbing
The more plumbing fixtures you place in the house the more expensive it is of course, and the more costly the fixtures the more the price per square foot. In addition to the cost of the fixtures though, putting the bathroom near the kitchen, and putting the upstairs bathroom directly above either the downstairs bath, or the kitchen saves money on plumbing as well. In addition PEX pipe is a durable, efficient and inexpensive option to copper or galvanized pipe, and it is much more durable than PVC.
How Much to Build a Home Factor: Floor Plan
The narrower the gables the cheaper the house is to build, because 24’ trusses are cheaper than 32’ trusses, and anything over 32 is very costly. Plus it may not be as stable over such a huge expanse unless you use steel beams, and that too is costly. It’s also cheaper to build a home that is square rather than L shaped and the fewer gables the better on price.
How Much to Build a Home Factor: Cabinets, Stairways, and Fireplaces
These all vary in price considerably according to quality, but a working fireplace could be adapted to an efficient heating system, thus making it a good investment. Likewise energy efficient appliances are also worth the money. Stairways that go straight up, or even those with a landing are cheaper than curved stairways, and grades of cabinetry vary a lot in cost too.
How much to build a home, is greatly vary as you have seen. There are definitely places to save money and other places that you cannot afford to scrimp on. Never sacrifice quality of construction which might impact long term durability in order to save money, but if you decide on one less bathroom or hot tub, or opt for a hot tub instead of a pool, it won’t hurt the structure of the home.
1. The physical location can dramatically effect how much it will cost you to build a home.
2. Foundations, slab or basement can impart how much it cost to build a home.
3. The more plumbing fixtures you place in the house the more expensive it will be.
4. Gables will impact how much it cost to build a home. The narrower the gables the cheaper the house is to build.
5. Cabinets, stairways, and fireplaces can play a big part in pricing as well.
6. Learn more about how much it will cost to build a home and the overall home building process by downloading the free new home Steps Guide above and become savvy on custom home building from start to finish.
I hope this article on the ”how much to build a home” was useful for you. Good luck with your home building project and let me know if you have any questions.