What is the square footage cost of the homes you build? I’m sure that every veteran builder has heard this question many times. In truth, only a range can be given. There are just too many variables to give a price based on just square footage. These variables range from design, materials used, and size.
How is the square footage calculated? Do you count the garage, a basement, what about rooms that are cathedrals or raised? I’ve seen these questions answered differently by many builders or their marketing departments.
The design alone is a huge factor with a ranch home being the most expensive to multi-story homes which offer the lowest by dividing the foundation and roof cost by the number of stories. With the building materials that are available to most builders, a square floor plan or box shaped home offers the highest ratio of floor space to the area of the exterior walls. This certainly may not be the most pleasing design, but it is the most efficient as to cost to construct on a square footage cost basis.
The materials used can cause a huge difference on the same floor plan. A brick or stone veneer usually has a very attractive appearance, giving the home a rich, substantial look, but adding a tremendous amount of cost in comparison to the same sized home with vinyl siding. One example of many.
The kitchen is the most expensive room in a home. The cost difference of cabinets can vary from affordable to very high end with prices many times higher. Today, many customers are choosing granite counter tops, very nice but hugely more expensive. The same is true for appliances.
Permits are another issue when planning on building a new home. In most areas, the permit costs of tapping into the sanitary sewer and water line make up the biggest part of the total permit costs. This cost is the same, regardless of square footage of home. This is also the same from a labor and material cost stand point when the contractor connects the piping involved from the main lines to the new home.
The examples go on and on, making it impossible to state a builders square footage costs on all the homes they build. Obviously, once a plan is bid, the square footage price can be calculated.
If a low square footage cost of your new home is your goal, it is suggested that you build a large two story home with standard materials. The reason is a large home is likely to have a lower square footage cost, is that there are so many costs that are or to close to the same on a small home as a larger home using the same building materials. The examples of this goes on and on. Here’s some things to think about. If the lot and the materials are the same, the exterior concrete costs will be the same. The driveway, lead walk, and public walks. The front door, the house to garage door, and garage door will cost the same. The garage door opener will cost the same. Going to the inside is much more of the same. If there is the same amount of bathrooms, the cost of these will be the same. I’m sure now you can see the trend and these costs will be divided by a smaller number of square feet on a smaller home than on a larger home. This effects the square footage costs when the building materials are the same.
These are some thinking points for you to use if planning to minimize the cost per square foot of your new home.