Are You Ready for a New Exterior Home Design? Now You Can Have It!

photography by Lisa Russman

To build the house of your dreams, it helps to understand the cost breakdown and some of the most expensive parts of building a home. The key to staying within your budget (while still having everything you want) lies in making wise decisions. Keep in mind these top five expenses when it comes to the cost of building a house.

1. Framing
Framing is the most expensive part of building a house. While exact framing costs can sometimes be tricky to predict, there are general guidelines that can help you understand what will drive costs up.

    • Size. The bigger the house, the more expensive it will be to frame.
    • Type. Stick framing is the most common and least expensive (approximately $100 to $200 per square foot). Timber framing is a special type of framing that uses carpentry techniques rather than nails to hold the frame in place. It costs approximately $100 to $200 a square foot.
    • Materials and labors. The price of lumber plays a big role in the total cost. The cost of labor plays less of one, but it still needs to be taken into account.

In order to obtain an honest, accurate, and detailed cost estimate, it’s important that you choose a trained and trusted professional.

2. The foundation
There are two key determinants for foundation price:

    • The location of the home. Local material costs influence the foundation price, as does the skills of local laborers. In some locations, contractors stick to building one type of foundation—becoming highly skilled and competent in the foundation they build, but not with others. Homebuilders may see a price increase when they choose a foundation that their local contractor doesn’t typically build.
    • The type of foundation. A slab foundation is the simplest and cheapest type of foundation. Perimeter foundations and full basement foundations require more materials and labor and are more expensive.

The foundation is what your entire house will be built on. Finding someone you trust to build your foundation is important for cost savings and peace of mind.

3. Plumbing
One of the more complex jobs when building a house is installing the plumbing. Because plumbing installation requires a specific skill set and knowledge, the job is oftentimes bid out, which can raise costs. Other important factors that influence total plumbing cost include the following:

    • The number of stories. Two-story houses cost more.
    • Excavation work. Heavy machinery and special skills are needed for excavation work. Plumbing installation that requires lots of tough excavating can be expensive.
    • Materials. The size and type of pipes and fittings can vary.

When choosing a plumber, architects and contractors generally can steer you in the right direction, as they know which plumbing companies do the best work at a fair price.

4. Roofing
The size of the roof and the type of material used determine roofing cost. Many different types of shingles (each varying in cost) can be used to roof a home. The most common type of shingles is asphalt. Because they are light and easy to install, they are also the cheapest. More expensive shingle options include:

    • Wood shake
    • Tile
    • Slate
    • Metal

Each has their own advantages. When choosing a shingle type, it’s important that you know exactly what you are choosing and why you are choosing it. This is something that’s best discussed with a professional roofer.

5. Flooring
The size of the house and type of material play a significant role in flooring costs. The most common types of flooring include the following:

    • Carpeting
    • Hardwood
    • Tile
    • Bamboo
    • Laminate
    • Vinyl and linoleum

Each has its own pros, cons, and price. Because many factors (children, pets, local weather) influence flooring decisions, it’s important to have a discussion with a flooring expert when making your decision. It should be noted that in some cases the costs associated with flooring installation can tremendously increase the total flooring cost.

This information can help guide you as you make important building decisions. Remember to stay patient and always use recommended professionals you trust. Their expert skills and knowledge help build dream homes with ease.

Your new home construction should not break the bank, but it’s very easy for that to happen if you’re not working closely with a professional and paying attention to all the moving parts. We know that building your own home can feel like a daunting task. For those who have never been through the process, new home construction can seem like a dark cave – deep, scary, and full of unknowns. What most people worry about is keeping the price of their new home construction project within their budget. The cost of building a house does not have to be scary, it just takes a lot of planning and knowledge.

When you buy a pre-owned home, the price is pretty upfront. You give them this much money, and they give you a completed house. But, when planning to build a new home, costs have a way of expanding while your home is under construction if you are not paying attention. Knowing how to manage these potential budget busters can help keep your costs low and the entire project well within your budget.

Keeping Your Custom Home Budget In Check
Working with a residential architect who knows and understands your needs and must-haves will help you design a house that is affordable while still addressing the demands of your family. Your architect should know your budget and can help keep your newly built home well within your price range. Communicate openly with your architect about how much you plan to spend as well as your priorities for the overall design for your home.

Your architect can help you design an open footprint that can keep the size of your house low while also maximizing the use of space within its walls. For example, a kitchen doesn’t have to be gigantic to have everything you need, it just needs the right ergonomic design to place what you need where you need it. The right architect can help you achieve big dreams in small spaces.

Next to your architect, the other person you need to choose wisely and communicate with regularly is your contractor. First, select a contractor through a competitive bidding process and be sure whoever you choose understands and respects your budget. You don’t want to be arguing with your home builder the whole time your home is under construction over prices and budget, trust us!

A good contractor will work to keep you on your budget by helping you select materials that match your needs as well as managing all their subcontractors effectively to keep their costs down. Communicate clearly and precisely with your contractor at all times about what you want and how much can be spent. Clear expectations are essential to finishing your home at a price you can afford.

If you have the knowledge and skills (or have friends and family who do and are willing to help), talk with your custom home builder about doing some of the work on your newly built home yourself. You can even opt to eliminate some things from your contract with your builder altogether and do them yourself once you complete the house. Hanging cabinets, finishing floors or countertops, painting, and installing hardware on cabinets and doors are all things many homeowners feel capable of doing, and this can save you significantly on labor costs. Don’t go this route if you don’t have the skills, though, as mistakes could end up costing you later on.

The Bottom Line on Controlling Costs
In the long run, you want your home to last, serve your needs, and not break the bank. And, it is possible to have all three of those. Frugal and cheap are not the same thing, and you can save money on your new home construction without being a penny-pinching Scrooge. Professional and reputable architects and contractors can build the house you want that also allows you to live within your budget, so be sure you choose yours wisely.


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