Cost to build a house

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
I know finding a contractor after owning the land and everything isn't how its generally done around here but...

I may have found a nice piece of property that already has utilities to it. Curious how much it would cost to build a house vs buying one in a subdivision from a developer.

Lets say a single story 1800 sqft with basement and over sized two stall garage.
 

UglyBear

Active Member
Depends on which county.
Approx. $350-400k, if you need septic and well .
That's a lower estimate, if one doesn't run away with making it all "fancy". You could easily double it if custom quartz counter tops, designer paint, designer siding and shingles, landscaping, etc runs away from you.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Patron
I have heard so many horror stories about having homes built that I would never do it myself. I had a friend who paid her builder half up front (almost $500k) for her big ass home; he got about halfway through and declared bankruptcy. Left her with no house and out half a mil.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
St Marys, it is also in a subdivision that has METCOM water and sewer, the previous house there was torn down due to a fire.

What I am looking for is more of a % of the cost to buy a comparable house next door that already exists sort of thing.
 

UglyBear

Active Member
If you already own the land free and clear, that's at least 25% of the cost.

We have gone through this math. Here's what we concluded:
1) building (hiring a small-scale builder) vs. buying new built home from developer (we tried to compare models as close as we could find):
  • cost, building plus land purchase, was 90% of the developer-built (they do have to make their money, I don't blame them)
  • building, you have a say in what model -- we wanted at least one or two bedrooms and a full bathroom on the ground floor of two-story, and no developer that we saw does that
  • Developers have only three-four standard models and all you could change is the finishing, any other alterations start avalanche in cost
  • Builder-grade is apparently the crappiest grade of materials you could get -- that's developer; building "yourself" you can at least control to a point the quality of materials used
  • Building "yourself" is a hassle -- you have to work a lot with your builder, on every step, you have to keep track of plan approvals, etc.
  • Building "yourself" you are not immediately tied in to an HOA -- those fees could be significant
  • Building "yourself" you have to find a construction loan, which is not as easy as a normal house loan
(you can guess I'm prejudiced against developers, but it removes a lot of hassle from you)

2) Buying a "used" house and bringing it up to a decent condition, similar to a quality new-build:
  • Cost outright -- buying "used" would be $100k-$150k less, but then replacing the bathrooms, roof, HVAC, septic, brickwork patch-up, leaky basement and mold fixing, etc, would be that same $100k
  • (There are two types of basements -- ones that leak and ones that will leak)
  • So, from our calculations, the cost is the same -- you just spread the $100k difference over time
  • Have to find separate contractors for all the jobs -- hassle
  • You can find a gem "used" house that was meticulously maintained and does not need all the replacements and upgrades, but it takes time and you have to jump on it right away.
That's what our experience was for a house without utilities, and having to find and buy land. Your situation is slightly different. Hope this was helpful.

We decided to go through "find land -- find builder -- construction loan" route, still in the process of it. If you want to know who our builder is, PM me.
 

Scat

Active Member
St Marys, it is also in a subdivision that has METCOM water and sewer, the previous house there was torn down due to a fire.

What I am looking for is more of a % of the cost to buy a comparable house next door that already exists sort of thing.
100.00/sqft for “builder grade” (low end cabinets, flooring, fixtures,etc. 2 x 4 walls). 150.00/sqft is a more reasonable number when talking good cabinets, granite counters etc. This is for a turnkey construction, on your lot (No well, no septic, less than 150 ft drive)
You can check here too https://www.nahb.org/News-and-Economics/Housing-Economics/Estimating-Tools/House-Price-Estimator
 

glhs837

Power with Control
Builder grade is indeed the cheap stuff. Nice enough surface finish to impress in the model, not enough quality underneath to last more than whatever warranty the builder puts on it. Go look at houses for sale in 10 year old subdivisions. See where they are falling apart. Pay close attention to hinges and wear surfaces and where things join together. You see brand names on doors and windows like Andersen and such. What you don't see is that you are getting "1000 series" products. Not the "5000 series" that has the engineered chops to last 20 years. Another thing about developers is the even if you hire them, you are getting crews that have been beaten into worshiping the god of production speed over quality, led by foremen who make money by knowing how to rapidly cover over problems if it means tearing stuff back out to fix it.
 

Scat

Active Member
Builder grade is indeed the cheap stuff. Nice enough surface finish to impress in the model, not enough quality underneath to last more than whatever warranty the builder puts on it. Go look at houses for sale in 10 year old subdivisions. See where they are falling apart. Pay close attention to hinges and wear surfaces and where things join together. You see brand names on doors and windows like Andersen and such. What you don't see is that you are getting "1000 series" products. Not the "5000 series" that has the engineered chops to last 20 years. Another thing about developers is the even if you hire them, you are getting crews that have been beaten into worshiping the god of production speed over quality, led by foremen who make money by knowing how to rapidly cover over problems if it means tearing stuff back out to fix it.
Well, developers are really just money and sales people. The “developer” buys a tract of land and evolves it into buildable lots adding whatever required infrastructure (water, sewer, electric, roads, curb and gutter). Then the developer strikes a deal with the builder (one, 10, 100) to either sell the whole development or just parts of it. Smaller subdivisions (less than ten lots) it may be the same group but usually the signs are misleading.
Integrity really is the driving factor in residential construction. the crew is only allowed to do what the boss wants done. Tract homes and lower end townhouses are really cookie cutter stuff usually built with the lowest cost materials.
The real whores (IMO) in the business are the real estate “professional” sales people. 99% of the ones Ive met know 0 about construction, building codes, utilities, lot markers, etc. No real knowledge about the product they are selling. They have one goal - charge very hefty fees, sell you something and boost their profit.
 

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
That depends how handy are you, can you read a book ?

a lot of the interior work can be done by you with the right subs ...
most anyone can drill studs and pull wire .. mount boxes
same thing with the plumbing rough in ...

but then I worked the Trades for 20 yrs before getting into IT Work .. I have a good handle in the basics ... having Worked Plumbing, Electrical Carpentry
 

Scat

Active Member
That depends how handy are you, can you read a book ?

a lot of the interior work can be done by you with the right subs ...
most anyone can drill studs and pull wire .. mount boxes
same thing with the plumbing rough in ...

but then I worked the Trades for 20 yrs before getting into IT Work .. I have a good handle in the basics ... having Worked Plumbing, Electrical Carpentry
You neglected the part about those pesky inspectors and permit requirements. Some jurisdictions do allow a homeowner to take a test and pull their own permits though.
 

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
You neglected the part about those pesky inspectors and permit requirements. Some jurisdictions do allow a homeowner to take a test and pull their own permits though.
:yay:

I did mention working with the right subs ..... but yes, I could have been more specific in that regard
 

Scat

Active Member
:yay:

I did mention working with the right subs ..... but yes, I could have been more specific in that regard
I dont know too many subs that I could hire to pull a permit and let me do the work without charging me for the privilege. Might as well let them do the job. I, for one, would not let anyone do gas work under mine.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
My brother is a master carpenter and has been building our new house from the foundation up (foundation alone was 55K..because its in a flood zone) . It's a little over 3500sf and will be around 350K when we finally do complete it. I'd say that's dirt cheap compared to the going average cost per SF in this county..and no corners are being cut anywhere.
I had no problems at all with the county as far as selecting "self" as the general contractor.
 
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