How Much Do You Charge Per Square Foot?
Building a custom home is a bit like buying a new car, right? Not
If you asked a car dealer how much he charges per pound, you’d get
some very strange looks. Of course, there is some correlation between
the cost of the car and its weight, but not significant enough to prompt
that question. We all know car dealers don’t sell by the pound.
In the same way, I feel perplexed when someone asks me how much I
charge per square foot to build a home. It’s not the right question.
There are three factors that contribute to the cost of a home, regardless
of where it’s built: complexity, level of finish, and size and components.
1. COMPLEXITY: A home with more features and greater complexity
requires more labor, and therefore costs more to build. For example,
a rectangular house with four basic corners is less expensive to build
than a three-story home with 40 corners, angled walls, and steep roofs,
because the latter is more complex and takes more time to complete.
2. LEVEL OF FINISH: Obviously, vinyl flooring is much less expensive
than wood or stone. Formica countertops are less expensive than granite.
Twelve-inch baseboards cost more than six-inch baseboards, and a lot
of molding is more expensive than no molding at all. The level of finish
you choose for your home will have a significant impact on the home’s
3. SIZE AND COMPONENTS: Size matters in homebuilding costs.
A 6,000-square-foot home will cost more than a 2,000-square-foot
home. A 2,000-square-foot home would probably include a two-car
garage, while a 6,000-square-foot home normally has three or four bays.
So not only does the larger home cost more due to the size of the heated
and air-conditioned space, but it also takes into account things like
garages, number and size of porches, whether the home has a pool, boat
dock, circular drive, and other costly components.
It’s a good idea to ask a builder what price range per square foot he
builds at, in order to know if you’re talking with the right builder.