“Price Per-Square-Foot and Your Home”
We have noticed lately that many builders are “fishing” for new clients by advertising a low price per square foot for new construction. There is nothing wrong with good value, however, in most cases, this “formulation” of home value can be very deceiving, and hide many secrets. One must be knowledgeable and aware of the things to look for when comparing homes and builders.
Some builders include very small, unreasonable allowances, for the typically unfamiliar client. They may also use substandard products that may not be apparently known at the preliminary stage of interviewing builders and researching homes. The quality of the products in a super low price home will also be low, and clients must do their homework so they can compare “apples to apples”. If these builders can’t win you over by their marginal quality, they must win you over by their price.
Many people new to the home construction process also might not understand Total price per sq ft as opposed to Heated price per sq ft. These numbers can be used either way to look better in certain situations. A home with a large garage, big porches, (unheated, but covered areas) and a small heated area, will have a low total price per sq ft, and a high heated price per sq foot. The opposite also applies. Generally, second floor square heated or unheated footage is also cheaper to produce due to the slab, roof, and fixed costs already covering some of the price.
The prices per square foot are not proportional exactly to the size of house. As the house gets bigger, the price per sq foot usually will come down (especially if added to the second floor), because many of the “fixed” costs are already built in, such as lot clearing, utility fees, arb fees, landscaping, SOME allowances, etc. These are not relative to the size of the house and they are always incurred in any project. The overall price of course depends on the allowances and inclusions for each individual project. We always include reasonable allowances in our estimations from our more than 25 years of experience dealing with client desires and choices. When we can, we like our clients to tell us exactly how much to allowance for items so that they do not incur more or less costs than our contract price.
Many low cost/low quality builders quote and/or contract homes with baseline inclusions, such as “carpet in bedrooms” but are not specifically described in the contract. That could be the lowest cost carpet, and an unrealistic value if wished to upgrade. We always give the specific price per sq ft or yd of flooring, with a real value that our clients can shop with. We try to identify all the options each individual client wants in their home, to include in our contract, so that they don’t feel like everything is an extra cost once construction begins. Of course there will always be options to upgrade or change during construction, but that’s why we build CUSTOM homes. We don’t charge large change order fees to discourage straying from the contract specifications like some builders, and our answer is never “no”.
We aim to inform our clients as much as possible about what is included in our homes, so they are very knowledgeable about the product that we produce, and the investment that they will own.
Steve Fournier Custom Home Building has been a Myrtle Beach Custom Home builder and designer for over 25 years. From custom one story houses to custom homes with fifteen bathrooms, Fournier Custom Home Building can build the house of your dreams by blending high quality work with affordable solutions.