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Home Building Cost per Square Foot?


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#1 DuncanDad

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:59 AM

I'm looking around at homes for sale in my area and I'm seeing homes on the lake, (with dock) in the 120/ft2 range for a 1900, 3/2 sitting on 1.23 acres.

 

Would it be safe to say I can build a house for 75-80/ft2 range since I already own the land? Since I'm not buying a true lake lot, (that adds $$$). I'm talking about a 2250/ft2 3/2 one storey with maybe a walk out basement.

Locally, houses on the market are anywhere from 55-141 per ft2 depending on the neighborhood.

Not at all sure how new construction costs compare to existing stock prices.


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#2 SnowMan

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:16 AM

Stock prices are almost always cheaper. Usually by a lot.

Per other threads... We're getting ready to build.

I can buy nice places all day for right around $100/ft + acerage around here. A premium place is maybe $120+ acerage.

We're budgeting $170/ft for the build. And that isn't premium finishes. There won't be much if any tile, and certainly no granite or similar countertops.

Overall it's shockingly expensive to build.

The high end custom builders around here tell people to budget 200-220/ft.


I'm sure there's a difference in labor prices down south. But most of the cost is really in the materials. And that's pretty steady nationally.

Edited by SnowMan, 13 July 2018 - 11:17 AM.

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#3 DuncanDad

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:30 AM

That's the question I was getting at: Which is higher? Stock or, build?

 

We have our eye on a 2250 single storey plan but, just trying to get an idea of the cost without bugging a builder.


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#4 DuncanDad

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 07:35 PM

Stock prices are almost always cheaper. Usually by a lot.

Per other threads... We're getting ready to build.

I can buy nice places all day for right around $100/ft + acerage around here. A premium place is maybe $120+ acerage.

We're budgeting $170/ft for the build. And that isn't premium finishes. There won't be much if any tile, and certainly no granite or similar countertops.

Overall it's shockingly expensive to build.

The high end custom builders around here tell people to budget 200-220/ft.


I'm sure there's a difference in labor prices down south. But most of the cost is really in the materials. And that's pretty steady nationally.

 

 

Somehow that seems counter intuitive, (not doubting you one single bit) but, you are paying for someone else's equity in the house.

Just seems weird, I guess.


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#5 SnowMan

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:42 PM

Somehow that seems counter intuitive, (not doubting you one single bit) but, you are paying for someone else's equity in the house.

Just seems weird, I guess.

 

I've thought the same thing.  But that's reality.  Hopefully Aspen or someone else in the industry will weigh in.  

 

Around here at least the scales are kinda like this...

 

Tract house - Custom built in that you get to choose a few things from a book.  On say 1/4 acre in a cul-de-sac neighborhood.  Set # of floor plans in a given development, maybe 4-5 of them, not counting mirrors. $100 a sf. Nicer than a starter home since it's new, but generally the mechanicals, roof, etc are junk.   My sister owned one of these, replaced the HVAC in year 8, roof in year 9.  Sold in year 12 for about $98/sf to be cheaper than the developer who was building new ones for the same basic price as when she bought in year 12.  Tough to compete on resale when you can get new that cheap.

 

Old stock - Just what it sounds like. Older houses, some in neighborhoods, some not.  If it's on acreage say 10 acre or so, you can basically take acreage *5000 + SF *100 and be pretty close. .Stuff is often priced higher than that if the house is really nice, or the land has a pond, polebarn, etc.  If it's in a neighborhood you can genearlly take $40k for the lot, then $100/sf for the house. 

 

Acreage decreases in value the bigger the parcel gets.  I just paid around 5200/acre for our 76 acres.  Literally a mile from me, 10 acres sold for 100k.  

 

 

I think the reason it's counter intuitive is that the tract housing is driving stuff down in price.  To lots of people a house is just a place to live a good roof, HVAC,or even a kitchen are plainly luxuries.  In many cases the tract homes end up the same or cheaper than rent a similar sf.  And they are designed and built to hit that price point.  So good or bad, it gets to set the floor for the market, and everthing else races there. 

 

 

There are outliers of course.  SWMBO and looked at this place.  We honestly liked it.  It checked most all of the boxes our family needs.    https://www.realtor....41_M35903-73515

 

It's priced at Land + 215/sf.  Maybe a bit under 215 if you take the pole barn into account.   I absolutely believe it would cost that much to build it at the quality level it's at.  It's also closing in on 150 days on the market. For a liveable house that is unheard of around here.  I haven't checked recently, but last I talked to our realtor, the average time on market was like 22 days.  Earlier this year anyway.  Why didn't we buy it?  Too expensive.  If I'm spending that kind of $, I'm damn well going to have everything as I exactly want it. And I can do 99% of that, by buying land for the same or similar unit cost, and building. 

 

Interestingly on that place, the owners are retired.  They are downsizing.  I know the builder of their new place personally.  Flat out they need someone to pay full replacement cost for their current place to be able to afford the new one (house to house, land excluded)... so they sit.  I expect that place to sell for high 500's, maybe 600k when it finally does.  Well below custom build cost.  


Edited by SnowMan, 13 July 2018 - 08:43 PM.

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#6 pickle_rick

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 03:37 AM

That listing had a strange pic as pic number one. The interior of that house does not seem that impressive to me for the price range. This is not to say that for everything the price isn't reasonable it's just when I'm thinking of buying a 3/4 million house in Indiana I'm thinking everything is going to be top notch because a person who can drop that kind of coin would demand it.
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#7 the_stain

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 03:59 AM

Damn, shit is cheap in the midwest!
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#8 the_stain

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 04:02 AM

Compare and contrast

https://www.landandf...County-7256735/
https://www.landandf..._Owned-1279975/
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#9 AspenLeif

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 04:36 AM

Snowmans assessment is pretty spot on. Existing stock that is about 5-7yo or older will typically be cheaper per SF than building new. The only way to get around that is to act as your own GC. Not everyone has that option.
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#10 SnowMan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:41 AM

That listing had a strange pic as pic number one. The interior of that house does not seem that impressive to me for the price range. This is not to say that for everything the price isn't reasonable it's just when I'm thinking of buying a 3/4 million house in Indiana I'm thinking everything is going to be top notch because a person who can drop that kind of coin would demand it.


The listing realtor is an idiot. The first pic is of the owners barber shop/man cave in the barn. They could have taken worse pictures, but I'm not sure how. We knew the location well, and knew from the exterior that the pictures were garbage.

That proved out when we viewed the house in person. SWMBO too better photos with her phone while there.
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#11 SnowMan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:43 AM

Damn, shit is cheap in the midwest!


The problem here is that places with acerage don't turn over that much so they get snapped up fast in most cases. Or you have to find something before it lists, like we did.
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#12 Bklmt2000

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 06:14 AM

DD, a question or 2:

 

- if you were to decide to build brand-new tomorrow, do you have a floorplan already picked out?

 

- and if so, do you have a builder in mind that you are thinking of working with?


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#13 JKor

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:02 AM

New builds have to take into account builder profit margin. Existing stock is priced more on market value.

In general, that’s why new stock is more expensive per square foot. AL is right on about acting as your own GC, if you can do it. You put the builder profits in your pocket.
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#14 DuncanDad

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 06:39 PM

DD, a question or 2:

 

- if you were to decide to build brand-new tomorrow, do you have a floorplan already picked out?

 

- and if so, do you have a builder in mind that you are thinking of working with?

We have a plan we like. 2250 ft2. Modern Farmhouse style.

https://perchplans.c...ucts/mirandaise

Just a couple of tweaks, (I want 3/0 doors and the plan has 2/8).

As for a builder, we haven't started down that road yet. Maybe this time next year we will be looking at getting someone on board. I have a lot of questions that will need answers before I start calling around.

Another thing is, I want to make damn sure we want to do this. I'm a "duck your head and go" kind of guy. The W/G is a bit more... cautious.

 

New builds have to take into account builder profit margin. Existing stock is priced more on market value.

In general, that’s why new stock is more expensive per square foot. AL is right on about acting as your own GC, if you can do it. You put the builder profits in your pocket.

 

I was the GC for our addition back just before I joined the Green Board, (2002). I drew up the plans, pulled the permits and hired the construction crews. I did a lot of work myself, (floor/tile/trim). I can do all that again as long as I can find the folks to do right by me on the rest of it.

That's going to be the challenge.

 

Right now, the 1.3 acres we have is fully planted in 15 year old slash pine. I'm going to have to pay someone to clear that off. The trees are a liability-not an asset. This I have been told by 2 different forest service managers. Because of the small size of the lot, it would be hard to find even a pulp wood guy to cut the trees off. Then comes the stump pulling, grading and well/septic system.


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#15 Car ChuckRam

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 06:50 PM

We have a plan we like. 2250 ft2. Modern Farmhouse style.
https://perchplans.c...ucts/mirandaise
Just a couple of tweaks, (I want 3/0 doors and the plan has 2/8).
As for a builder, we haven't started down that road yet. Maybe this time next year we will be looking at getting someone on board. I have a lot of questions that will need answers before I start calling around.
Another thing is, I want to make damn sure we want to do this. I'm a "duck your head and go" kind of guy. The W/G is a bit more... cautious.


I was the GC for our addition back just before I joined the Green Board, (2002). I drew up the plans, pulled the permits and hired the construction crews. I did a lot of work myself, (floor/tile/trim). I can do all that again as long as I can find the folks to do right by me on the rest of it.
That's going to be the challenge.

Right now, the 1.3 acres we have is fully planted in 15 year old slash pine. I'm going to have to pay someone to clear that off. The trees are a liability-not an asset. This I have been told by 2 different forest service managers. Because of the small size of the lot, it would be hard to find even a pulp wood guy to cut the trees off. Then comes the stump pulling, grading and well/septic system.


There is a fella where I live who makes custom hardwood furniture. He also buys soft trees. He’s got a mobile sawmill and wood shop that he takes around to high schools, and youth organizations to teach kids the basics, and to show them that things made of wood don’t just magically appear.

He also has a bitchin’ miniature steam sawmill that he takes around to fairs and Ag. Shows.


Perhaps there is a fella in your area that does something like that.
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#16 DuncanDad

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:11 PM

There is a fella where I live who makes custom hardwood furniture. He also buys soft trees. He’s got a mobile sawmill and wood shop that he takes around to high schools, and youth organizations to teach kids the basics, and to show them that things made of wood don’t just magically appear.

He also has a bitchin’ miniature steam sawmill that he takes around to fairs and Ag. Shows.


Perhaps there is a fella in your area that does something like that.

 

 

There may be but, we are talking 200-300 trees.

He would need 5 to last him a couple of years. :) these are 60 inch or better at breast level trees. Not really big enough for board lumber but, a bit too big for pulp. Make nice fence posts, though.

 

We are on the front end of this whole adventure. It's going to be probably a couple of years in the doing since the front end work, (clear/grading, well/septic system) we want to pay cash for. Gotta get some folks to walk the place once the ticks die off some.

 

There is a chance we would ditch this plan and just buy a house with a dock on the lake. I'm not really in favor of this but, she has mentioned it...


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#17 SnowMan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:11 PM

There is a fella where I live who makes custom hardwood furniture. He also buys soft trees. He’s got a mobile sawmill and wood shop that he takes around to high schools, and youth organizations to teach kids the basics, and to show them that things made of wood don’t just magically appear.

He also has a bitchin’ miniature steam sawmill that he takes around to fairs and Ag. Shows.


Perhaps there is a fella in your area that does something like that.


There's a couple guys around here like that
Generally, unless they are getting a rare or somehow special tree, they won't even bother to come get it, they can get so much delivered to them for free, it's just not worth their time.
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#18 SnowMan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:35 PM

(clear/grading, well/septic system)

Not sure for the clearing.

Around here a well drilling attempt is roughly 3k. To sleeve it and finish it out after getting water is another 4k or so.

3-4 bedroom house septic system is 10k ish. That's for a gravity system. Double that if you have to build a mound system.

Edited by SnowMan, 14 July 2018 - 07:35 PM.

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#19 DuncanDad

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:38 PM

Not sure for the clearing.

Around here a well drilling attempt is roughly 3k. To sleeve it and finish it out after getting water is another 4k or so.

3-4 bedroom house septic system is 10k ish. That's for a gravity system. Double that if you have to build a mound system.

 

 

Not too far off the mark for here although the well will be a bit cheaper since we are less than 100 above the lake low pool line. I think what I heard was 4 grand for the well/pump and 5500 for septic system.


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#20 pickle_rick

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 04:00 AM

The listing realtor is an idiot. The first pic is of the owners barber shop/man cave in the barn. They could have taken worse pictures, but I'm not sure how. We knew the location well, and knew from the exterior that the pictures were garbage.

That proved out when we viewed the house in person. SWMBO too better photos with her phone while there.

 

some of the interior stuff just looks a little dated but yeah, the realtor should have led with some exterior shots.  the grounds and outbuildings look pretty phenomenal.


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