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Cost Per Square Foot

When embarking on the journey of building your dream custom home, one of the most common questions that arises is, “What is the price per square foot?” While this is a valid question, it’s important to recognize that the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Custom home building costs per square foot can vary significantly based on several factors. In this article, we’ll break down these factors to help you better understand the pricing of your custom home.

How Square Foot is calculated:
Everybody uses it. Real estate agents, mortgage loan officers, appraisers, buyers…….. The entire existing home market uses this.

Our definition of “Square Foot Price” is the measuring stick that connects all those involved with real estate to a common analysis of how a home measures against another. Home builders do not, however, price a home by the foot. We price a home by the features and challenges within. We then divide that number by the square footage of the house on the plans and Walla – there it is, your price per square foot.

Before delving into the intricacies of custom home building costs per square foot, it’s crucial to understand how square footage is calculated. The industry standard recognized square footage of a home for our area is determined by measuring the lengths and widths including only the interior living spaces and does not account for exterior features such as porches, garages, or decks and fences but those costs do affect the price. For example, a 2000 square foot house with a 300 square foot porch will be more per foot than a 2000 square foot house with a 200 square foot porch. Same living area, different square foot price.

Complexity of Design:
The complexity and uniqueness of your custom home’s design will have a direct impact on the cost per square foot. Intricate architectural features, custom finishes, and unique structural elements will require more time, skill, and materials, thereby increasing the overall cost. On the other hand, a simpler design with standard finishes may be more cost-effective.

What’s Included in the price?
Hardwood flooring or carpet? Full sod and a generous landscaping allowance? High-end appliances, propane system or all-electric? Budgets for selection items, products, and materials affect price but not the size of your home, raising or lowering the cost per square foot.

Quality of Materials:
The choice of materials plays a pivotal role in determining the price per square foot. High-end materials and fixtures will naturally increase costs. However, investing in quality materials can lead to long-term savings through reduced maintenance and increased energy efficiency.

Total Size of Home:
When considering the cost per square foot for your custom home, it’s important to recognize the role that the size of your home plays in the equation. While it might seem intuitive that a larger home would simply have a higher overall cost, there’s a nuanced relationship between size and price per square foot. In theory, larger homes tend to have a lower cost per square foot due to the distribution of fixed costs over a larger area. Fundamentals such as the foundation, roofing, and initial site preparation contribute to a significant portion of the overall expenses. As the size of the home increases, these fixed costs are spread out, resulting in a lower cost per square foot.

However, it’s important to note that the size-cost relationship isn’t linear. As a home gets exceedingly large, there could be additional costs associated with structural requirements, specialized systems, and unique design elements. Moreover, a larger home may require a more complex layout and higher-quality finishes to maintain a cohesive aesthetic, which can impact the price per square foot. On the other hand, smaller homes may be more simplistic with budget-friendly selections and finishes that decrease the per-square-foot cost.

Balancing the size of your custom home with your budget and desired features is a delicate process. We collaborate closely with our clients and can help you strike the right balance and achieve a harmonious blend of size, design, and affordability. Through thoughtful planning and informed decision-making, you can create a custom home that aligns with your vision while ensuring a reasonable cost per square foot.

Site Conditions:
The characteristics of your building site can significantly impact costs. For instance, a site with difficult terrain, poor soil conditions, or the need for extensive excavation work can increase construction costs. Additionally, factors like access to utilities and infrastructure can affect the price.

Builder’s Expertise:
The experience and reputation of your chosen custom home builder also play a role in the pricing equation. The specialized skill set of a custom home builder is the experience of designing and building a home that has never been built before or again. Production has the distinct advantage of repetition in home building for a more predictable outcome. Custom Home builders require the experience to foresee all issues and adapt to resolve them where needed while still maintaining a high level of quality and design. Established Custom Builders with a track record of successful projects might charge more for their expertise, but they can often provide a smoother construction process and higher quality work. A favorite quote by the Texan native oil well firefighter, Red Adair appropriately summaries this –
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Market Conditions:
Economic conditions and market demand can influence the price per square foot. During periods of high demand, construction costs may rise due to increased competition for labor and materials. Conversely, during economic downturns, you might find more competitive pricing.

In conclusion,
The price per square foot for a custom home is a complex calculation influenced by location, design complexity, material choices, size, site conditions, builder expertise, and market conditions. It’s essential to work closely with your builder and other professionals to determine a realistic budget for your dream home. Remember that transparency and communication are key to ensuring that your custom home aligns with your vision and budget.

If you’re considering a custom home project, we encourage you to reach out to us.

Dusek & Powell Custom Builders can help you navigate the complexities of custom home building costs and provide you with a personalized design based on your unique requirements and preferences. Building your dream home is an exciting journey, and we’re here to make it a reality, tailored to your needs and budget.