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Questions on Square Footage Cost
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 • Posted February 28, 2013 7:12 PM

So many times, we get a call and the first thing we are asked “How much per square foot to build a 2000 SF home?” If people only knew, this is a loaded question. As a custom builder, we have a standard rate, but it varies. As a tract builder, they too, normally have standard rates. Do the two match? NO. A custom builder is totally different from a tract builder in more ways than one. I will try to break the various scenarios down.

Wow, what a bargain at $85SF, but what are you really getting for that price? Tract builders can give you these low prices. Tract builders get their materials in bulk, have large accounts established, and more. Quality of material might be less, or corners are cut to keep cost down. Most tract builders have many floor plans for you to choose from. The larger guys most likely bring the workers from the big city or other towns – cheaper labor. All of these items add up to a lot less per square foot in building. You can upgrade the basic features and this price per square foot will continue to go up.

What would you get for $135SF? This price is more likely to occur with a custom builder. Custom builders’ price per square foot really ranges; it could be higher or lower. It all depends on what you put in the home. Chances are the material will be higher-quality and the builder will have to pay a bit more since they don’t buy in bulk. Some builders specialize in certain features, such as engineered slabs, various inspections, blown-in insulation, and high-grade tile or carpet.

The bottom line, when you see a low price, what are you really getting? You must include all the add-ons to get the real price per square foot. It’s the same concept as buying a car. You can go buy a cheap car, and start adding power, sun roof, warranties, etc., and in no time you have the price of a luxury car. Wouldn’t you rather just buy the luxury car?

Do the tract builders have the time to spend holding the owner’s hand and making sure the home is built by specifications and quality… maybe.... The small guy/custom builder is usually more eager for the work, plus takes care and building with pride. I recently had a cousin building a tract home in a large city. The copper was stolen out of the walls. The sheet rockers came in and put the sheet rock up. Guess what? The sheet rock had to be torn out, so the copper could be put back in. Where was the project manager? Where was the personal touch? The small guy is also more likely to have additional time to spend with the owner and at the job site.

Get a couple bids and compare, see what each one can provide. You might be surprised at what you can get for $135 SF versus trying to settle and save money at $85SF. Custom homes tend to carry more value then a tract home. Always ask questions. What is your gut feel? First and foremost - Protect yourself!

For all Your Real Estate and Building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658.

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