“What is the cost per square foot price?” is probably the most common question we get from homeowners. Usually what our answer is ‘it depends’. While the cost per sq ft is a common metric for home budget discussions, we have to be really careful when comparing projects and builders that we include the same basket of expenses. While one builder may include some costs in, another may not have the same costs in their ‘budgeting basket’.
Typically potential clients will approach multiple builders to get a cost per sq ft for comparison. This is only effective if you have an exact set of specifications, the exact same home plan and fitted with the exact same finishings. It’s very difficult to specify every single detail and material that will go into your home before you start the custom build process. This becomes especially complicated when you are building a truly custom home where flexibility in choices is what you are paying for.
When you are allowed to choose any items you want to go into your home, from carpet to floors to cabinets, we’ll specify allowances. We include these allowances in the budget, sometimes with a low and high range if requested. We base the amount on the price and overall finishing of the home, the information we gather about your preferences, your budget requirements and pricing information from recent and relevant past projects. Budget items that have allowances are:
- Flooring (hardwood, carpet, and tile)
- Light fixtures (including chandeliers)
- Plumbing fixtures (bathtubs, faucets, and sinks)
- Kitchen appliances
- Tile (showers, backsplashes)
- Entry Doors
You may want to consider looking around at some showrooms and price out some of your options beforehand that way you have a better idea of what you are looking for. We believe transparency and accountability are key to a good client builder relationship and we want you to know all the numbers upfront with no surprises.
When comparing quotes between builders, make sure you check the allowances. Some builders who want to appear to have an especially affordable and aggressive bid for your business will set these allowances so low that it is essentially impossible to stay within them. When this occurs, you could find yourself with some unexpected and unpleasant expenses during the build process.