Why Price Per Square Foot Doesn’t Work

Let’s be honest here. There is one question as a custom home builder that isn’t quite as easy to answer: How much do you charge per square foot?

Asking a builder for a simple price per square foot is the wrong way to approach it. It isn’t going to tell you much about what you’re getting. The right question to ask is what the total cost is and what is included. If budget is a big driver in your custom home build, then we can modify the size, finishes, and architectural features to stay within your budget. 

Factors for square foot price variation:

    • Finishes & Materials Used – Different price levels of flooring, tile, cabinets, lighting fixtures, windows, exterior siding & stone, doors, and more.
      • Example 1 – Flooring: Basic carpet flooring can be as little as $3-$4 per sq ft installed, whereas some nice hardwood flooring, premium vinyl, or tile at $8-$12 per sq ft installed. Flooring alone can easily increase your sq ft price by $4-$8.
      • Example 2 – Cabinets: Basic kitchen and bathroom cabinets installed might be about $10,000 for a home, yet a higher quality product with more details could be $20-$30K bumping your sq ft number again by another $4-$8 per sq ft (Depending on the overall size of your home).
      • Example 3 – Appliances: Standard stainless steel kitchen appliances from your local hardware store might cost you around $4-$8K, whereas your high-end appliances from brands like Viking, Wolf, Sub-Zero, etc could easily be $20K or more. 
      • Example 4 – Roof: A standard 30-year shingle roof like we offer as a minimum on all of our homes might cost around $6-$8K, while a standing seam metal roof could cost around $35-$50K, bringing your price up by over $10 per sq ft!
      • On the high side of these 4 examples, we’re talking a $30-$35 per sq ft difference in the same exact floor plan.
      • Ultimately, A LOT depends on the level of finishes you want in your home.
    • Layout, Structural, and Architectural Features – There’s a big difference from a 3,000 sq ft home where the floor plan is the shape of a box and has minimal roof lines, vs the same size home with fancier and steeper rooflines, big porches, high ceilings, nicer exterior finishes, and more. More detail in your overall curb appeal of the home quickly brings up your price.
    • Overall Size and Floors – Another factor in overall square footage price is the size and floors. A smaller 2,500 sq ft home with only one floor will be a lot less per square foot than a 4,500 sq ft home with two floors. Including a second floor in your home adds a good amount of extra labor in framing, trusses, stairs, and many other areas that increase your overall sq ft price. 

What matters most is being able to build your home that meets your dreams, needs, and desires while sticking to your budget. We’re here to help you do just that!

**Anytime we refer to sq ft, we’re referring to “Total” Square Foot under roof. This includes the living (air conditioned) area, AND porches, garages, and other spaces under the roof of the home as compared to just living sq ft as you might commonly see and hear in the Real Estate world with websites/apps like Zillow, Realtor, etc.

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