A home is the most magnificent American dream. After all, who wants to carry on paying leases which the homeowner can alter at his convenience? A home provides some perks.
It’s cheaper – To begin with, owning a home is relatively inexpensive when you liken it to renting. Yes, there is the initial down payment, but the monthly payment outlay of owning a home far outweighs that of leasing. Tax benefits are also crucial as they save you money. The expenses of a home maintenance such as property taxes are tax deductible meaning you get to keep more of your money. The last factor that makes homes cheaper is the predictable monthly payments. Once you have complete the principal amount, you are at liberty to plan payments for as long as you need. Consequently, you are assured that neither the principal nor the interest rate is going to change. Your mortgage payment can go for as long as 30 years which is pretty decent.
Appreciation – Acquiring home results in financial stability coupled with a valuable asset. On the whole, a house will appreciate by 25% to 50%. Owning a home means you can sell a $200,000 home at $300,000 depending on how long you plan to reside there.
Freedom – All homes/houses should be coupled with creativity and individuality. A home will as well give you the autonomy to make modifications; knock down a wall, re-paint, or add a deck. However, as a renter, you do not have the freedom to do this, and albeit the homeowner was to allow it, it would be to his/her advantage if you do a kickass job.
Privacy – Building a home presents an opportunity to construct it to your specifications. A home means you can employ soundproof resources such as concrete or stucco, unlike some rentals which use sub-standard materials that are not sound proof. You also have the independence to add a privacy fence.
Equity – In conclusion, by consistently repaying your mortgage, you build a creditworthiness that can help you secure funds on a rainy day.
Before we go into the meat of this article, let’s first discern the difference between types of home constructors. In the home construction industry, you will often come across technical jargon such as custom builders, tract constructors, or spec makers thrown around. It is, therefore, challenging to establish the contractor you need for your house.
1. Custom Builders
Custom builders build one of a kind homes, i.e., custom homes. These are site-specific homes for a particular client and made from an exceptional set of plans. They are often small-volume and endeavor to deliver your dream house. However, most clients confuse custom homes with intricate mansions, which cannot be further from the truth. Custom homes can yes be elegant stately homes, but can also be medium and small size houses. Surprisingly, small-size custom homes are increasing in demand as ‘baby boomers’ hunt for apartments they can easily modify in their old age.
The lead of custom builders is that they can meet a client’s desires. For that reason, if you are looking for a home that truly fits your way of life, you might want to employ the services of a custom builder.
2. Spec Home Builders
A spec builder speculates that a home will sell maybe due to the prevailing market conditions. Spec builders purchase a plot of land and begin construction. The house may sell during development where the client can opt for unique finishes, but more often than not, the home sells after completion. Spec builders chief focus is standard to small size homes. Thus, if you are looking for a medium or small size home and are not concerned with customization, spec builders will do.
3. Tract Builders
Also known as production home builders, these constructors focus on ‘stock plan homes.’ They are large volume developers who have large tracts of land that is sub-divided into smaller plots on which to build. Tract developers have model homes that will be the home designs made. There is therefore little room for modification. Also, given that price point is a significant consideration during construction, quality may be compromised. Resale value will as well be compromised owing to the commonness along with the low-quality finishes. However, tract builders are incredible for large projects as well as working on a budget.
General Services Offered by Home Builders
Most homebuilder services will entail designing, building, and general contractor services. Nevertheless, to remain competitive, most contractors will offer more. To begin with, you can get a free estimate for the service you need. These services can be:
The number of services homebuilders offer can go on. However, we would love to pay particular attention to the services the average homeowners need. These include building different types of houses, remodeling, interior design, structural repair, etc. However, development will take the more significant chunk of this piece will feature the costs of building common house types.
Building a House
Building a home can be rather expensive. However, as stated earlier, it is worthwhile. It’s also an opportunity to meet your exact design and usability, a chance to make your dream house a reality.
Estimating the cost of constructing a house is a somewhat daunting task given the different styles and variables involved. That aside, most homeowners report the average price to be $280,000 which is enough to construct a 2000 square foot home at $150 a foot. However, the typical range is $146,000 to $418,000. At times the cost can go up to $700,000 and as low as $17,000. All the same, this is the exception rather than the norm.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Building a Home
When it comes to construction, some factors lead to the massive difference in price.
1. Condition and Location of the Site
The state of a site can decrease or increase the cost of construction as a site determines how difficult or easy it will be for development. Wetlands are kinda challenging to construct on and thus expect the price to be higher. They also call sophisticated drainage systems. Poor soil conditions, overhead lines, groundwater, and utilities such as gas lines and underground tanks will as well affect your budget.
In addition to the site condition, location too will determine the cost. If your plot is in a high-value area, you are obligated to construct a high-value home to observe the neighborhood association laws. The burden to build a pricey house is also so that you can benefit from appreciation. Given that you are making your home in an affluent locale, the demand will ever be present, and you will benefit from an unprecedented rise in value. This is unlike in low-value areas where you can develop an inexpensive home.
Prices of plots in different neighborhoods vary as well, being more expensive in upmarket suburbs and this will also affect your budget. That aside, a buildable plot will cost you $85,000 including the cost of financing it. However, if you are constructing on your land, the site requires roughly $16,092. This is ensuring the plot is accessible and leveling it for construction.
Materials are a chief determining factor in the cost of your home. Their type and quality will vary the price as will the size of your home. The distance from where the contractor is supposed to get the materials can as well reduce or increase the amount. Furthermore, if you are looking to construct your house using stucco or concrete which are sturdier, expect the amount to be steep. However, if you are okay building using inferior materials for instance plywood, then anticipate a lower rate.
The thumb rule when hiring a contractor is to check the gear he owns. If the contractor has most of the required equipment, construction price should be low. However, if he has to hire most of the tools, then expect to incur costs. The unleveled ground also inflates the value as it requires specialized gear.
With that said, the backhoe with necessary attachments, which is the conventional construction equipment will set you back $70 to $90 an hour.
The size and complexity of your house with the pros you have hired will determine your price. There are three key employees you will need for up to par construction: an architect, an engineer, and a land surveyor. For a meticulous architect who will ensure quality construction, you will have to pay roughly $70 to $125 an hour. A punctilious engineer will cost $100 to $150 an hour while a quality land surveyor can cost as much as $300 an hour. These prices are steep, but you can sit pretty as you are assured of excellence.
Other than the various factors that determine the cost of constructions, multiple parts of the house will have their pricing.
Foundation can be considered the most critical part of a house and is the basis for a structurally sound home. On average, laying a foundation will cost you $33,400 which includes excavation, retaining walls and other necessities.
Levelling off the ground costs $1,000 to $2,000 and some extra person-hours as this can take two days. Laying of the necessary foundation costs $6 to $10 a square foot including the slab concrete, which requires $3 to $5 a square foot. The footings need $1 to $2 a square foot and the labor which will set you back around $3 a foot. You can as well add a crawl space, but this means employing more materials and person-hours which will further inflate your budget.
Beyond the original foundation, some enhancements are necessary for a perfect house. A radiant flooring is required which costs $6 to $14 every square foot, and a foundation drain that costs $3 per square foot. You also need a sealant which goes for about $0.50 every square foot.
Putting up a drywall costs roughly $11,744 for a 1000 square foot home. This consists of materials, transportation, site preparation, along with clean up and removal of debris. The arches will determine the cost of installing drywall; it’s cheaper to fix dry walls on basic rectangular or square rooms than in rooms with arches. Price per square foot is higher on smaller jobs than on larger jobs seeing as the contractor has to offset the cost of transportation and insurance. Consequently, don’t be surprised if drywall installation costs, $1.75 on a 10000 square foot home and $3.00 on a $500 square foot space.
On average putting up drywalls costs $1.50 per square foot, and $40 to $60 per panel inclusive of materials and labor.
All sheetrock is drywall, but it does not apply the other way; not all drywall is sheetrock. For a 500 square foot room, sheetrock will set you back $810 to $1,030 at an average of $1.8 per square foot. Of this amount, the materials (1/2” thick gypsum board 4’X4’sheets) will use up $238 to $325. This is inclusive of delivery,paving for repair and waste coverage. Other than the resources, other essentials for installation such as fasteners, seam tape, lopping compound, and beads will cost between $22.70 and $25.85. A 500 square foot area will only take 8.3 hours requiring as high as $635.04 but can be as little as $523. This price is determined by the local labor rates. Last is the equipment allowance which augments quality and efficiency. These will cost on average $40.
7. Windows and Doors
Another critical aspect, windows, and doors will set you back a pretty sum of money. On average, windows cost $5,000 for installation and $12,000 alongside doors and garage doors. The costs are again determined by the number of windows that have to be installed as well as the design and quality. This goes for the doors too. The higher the number, the higher the cost.
These are quite expensive, and we can only advise on their use if your wallet allows. They have long-term benefits as they are impact resistant and thus viable in areas of extreme conditions. You can as well put in windows with shades between them to spruce up your house. Their other advantage is their insulation properties, and thus you will not have to incur massive utility bills.
Double Pane Glass
Though they are a bit expensive, dual pane glass windows are quite efficient at climate control and help save on utility bills. They feature an airtight space that’s filled with inert air which gives it its insulator traits.
Double Hung Windows
These are the most commonly used windows thanks to their pocket-friendly prices and features that make them great for hard to reach areas.
These are for areas where exterior accessibility is limited. Say high rise buildings or multi-story homes. The tilt-out windows fold in or out revealing the glass’s exterior and thus can be cleaned from the inside. Nonetheless, they are a bit expensive than the double-hung windows but far cheaper than the high-performance windows.
Type of windows aside, expect to pay between $450 and $600 for a vinyl window and $800 to $1,000 for a wooden shutter. Doors will set you back $500 each with wooden doors being slightly cheaper than aluminum doors. However, you can install doors for as little as $200 (hollow doors) and as much as $1400 (aluminum barn doors). The above costs are inclusive of all extras (hinges and doorknobs).
Most American homeowners report the average price of installing a new roof to be $7,200. However, you can get a decent roof for any amount between $5,100 and $9,750. If you are on the hunt for a somewhat cheap rooftop, you can have one installed for $1,200, while the most expensive will set you back $30,000.
Some factors will determine the asking price for a roof. The roof size governs roofing prices, gradient seeing as steep roofs expend a lot more time as well as materials, type of application, number of layers and code requirements. Adornments such as skylights, chimneys and plumbing pipes also have to be taken into consideration during construction and therefore affect the price.
When requesting a roofing estimate, most builders will provide you the cost on a per square basis. This forecast covers all the primary materials the roofer needs to complete every square foot, given favorable conditions. What the price does not include are the setbacks he might encounter. It’s therefore wise, to exceed the budget provided by one or two thousand dollars for these unexpected hitches.
Shingles are the most popular roofing type in the USA, with asphalt shingles being more popular than slate, wood shake, metal or tile. Asphalt shingles are light-weight, are easily installed and cost far less than the other options. For a 1000 square foot home, asphalt shingles installation costs between $1,700 and $8,400 but can cost less if you DIY as it costs $680 to $3,700.
Metal shingles are finally getting on their stride as more homeowners realize that they can make lovely roofs as well. They are also long-lasting and impervious to conditions that could ruin other materials making them a better option. Steel shingles will cost you $5,000 to $21,000. Their light-weight counterpart, aluminum shingles will set you back up to $24,000.
Tiles shingles, on the other hand, are alluring since they are customizable. This possibility of having a one of a kind roof is one most homeowners cannot overlook. They are also easy to replace if damaged which is quite desirable. A rudimentary concrete tile shingles roof will set you back close to $21,000. These are long-lasting and much better than ceramic tiles which cost $11,900.
Slate shingles are also an option, and they are long-lasting as well. Their high point is that their natural look which appeals to most homeowners. They are best on large houses as one will enjoy economies of scale. It will cost $27000 to $12,000 to roof a 3000-foot home but can be as low as $21,000 to $27,000 when you use synthetic slate made from recycled rubber and plastic.
Wood shake is another type of shingle but one that deteriorates rather fast. It is high maintenance and prone to fire as well. Another shortcoming is that if not well sealed, they are attractive to invasive insects. Nonetheless, what they lack in lifespan, they make up for in beauty. Wood shake shingles are debatably the most gorgeous of all shingles which is what draws most homeowners. These will cost you $6,800 to $20,000 for a $3,000 square foot home.
The cost of putting up siding will figure in the final cost of the house. Estimating the value of siding is a straightforward job as the factors to consider are few. To begin with, quality of materials you use as the siding will affect the total price. Remember though, low-cost siding is cheap in the short term, but its lack of durability makes it more costly in the long term. This is because it calls on constant maintenance and replacement.
High-quality siding, on the other hand, though pricey to install, it’s cheaper in the long term as the cost of upkeep is low and fewer replacements are needed. The size of the house will as well determines the total siding cost. Larger houses need more materials and extra person-hours. Another aspect that will touch on the price is the shape of your home. Eaves, turrets and multi-storey flats are more problematic to put in siding and thus more expensive. Last is the time of year; installing siding during off-season guarantees you a lower price unlike during summer and spring months when home builders are in high demand.
Vinyl siding is a preferred option for siding by homeowners thanks to is durability and a pocket-friendly price. Vinyl siding needs not be repainted and is not susceptible to insect damage. However, it has its shortcomings; vinyl siding cannot withstand high winds and cracks due to high temperatures and extreme weather. It’s also not waterproof, and water can get in-between the siding and homes surface leading to mold and rot. That aside, vinyl siding will cost you an average $1 per square foot.
Engineered Wood Siding
A much better option than traditional wood siding, engineered wood siding is more comfortable to install, has an authentic appearance, low-cost, and entirely so. It’s also convenient to customize, strong and durable.
Engineered wood siding is plywood sheets made up of bits of wood bundled together with special resins. The wood is also treated with insecticides and fungicides to prevent damage. On average, engineered wood siding will cost you $3000 to $5000 for a standard American home. The only shortcoming with this siding is that it’s a somewhat new material and installation can be difficult for some contractors.
The most common siding, aluminum siding is favored thanks to its superior insulation properties. Aluminum siding is also waterproof and lightweight thus easy to install. Thanks to its insulator traits, you will save money on utility bills. Aluminum siding is also fire resistant as well as recyclable. Quality of materials decides the price with sell-even double 4” aluminum horizontal texture hollow back siding going for $1.99 per square foot, and 8” aluminum siding costing $2.49 for every square foot.
As for the shortcomings, aluminum sidings isn’t aesthetically pleasing as other sidings. It also dents and fades quickly. Over time, aluminum siding becomes disfigured, and it’s effortlessly scratched.
Wood siding is a traditional form of siding that appeals thanks to its aesthetics. Popular options include Pine, Cypress, and Spruce. Cedar and Redwood are good options as well seeing as they have rot resistance but are expensive, and thus most homeowners avoid them.
Wood siding is cheap to install and customize. Replacing is also trouble-free and is often a DIY project. As for the price, cedar costs between $2 and $3 for every square foot while plywood costs $1 to $1.5 for every square foot.
If you prefer hardwood flooring, be prepared to fork up $9 to $12 per square foot. Wall to wall carpeting will cost you $3 to $5 for every square foot. For a standard American home, expect to pay $14,000+.
This is the most expensive room in a house to complete. Kitchen countertops, cabinet fixtures, and hardware will cost you roughly $16000 and an extra $5,500 for appliances.
For a conventional home, plumbing costs $12,000 with the homes electrical system going the same amount. A HVAC system will cost you $12,623.
13. Permits & Inspections
Permits and inspections are other critical aspects that will determine the total cost of your home. Permits and inspections cost 24% of the total cost of your house. Yes, most contractors will factor this into their catalog, but be prepared for any undesired outcomes. Though the cost of construction permits has always been high, it has risen by 30% since 2011. For the average homeowner, licenses will set you back a whopping $70,000.
Summary Of Cost To Build A Home
|Home Builders Services||Qty||Low||High||Average
|A serviced plot||1||$85,000
|Site preparation on own plot||1||$16,092
|Machinery - Backhoe||1 hour||$70||$90||
|Land Surveyor||1 hr||$200||$300||
|Foundation||1000 sq ft||$33,400
|Foundation - slab concrete||1 sq ft||$3||$15||
|Foundation - footing||1 sq ft||$1||$2||
|Foundation drain||1 sq ft||$3
|Foundation - Randint||1 sq ft||$6||$14||
|Sealant||1 sq ft||$0.50
|Drywall||1 sq ft||$1.50
|Sheetrock walls||$1 sq ft||$1.8
|Roofing||1000 sq ft||$5,100||$9,750||
|Vinyl siding||1 sq ft||$1
|Engineered wood siding||1000 sq ft||$3,000||$5,000||
|Aluminum Siding||1 sq ft||$1.99||$2.99||
|Wood Siding||1 sq ft||$1||$3||
|Hardwood Flooring||1 sq ft||$9||$12||
|Carpet Flooring||1 sq ft||$3||$5||
|Permits and inspections||$ 70,000
How to Find a Good Building Contractor
Most homeowners state that the hardest part of the construction is not the construction but finding a credible contractor. Contractors can often be the disparity between a successful home and chaos.
However, there are some tips you can follow to ensure you get a credible contractor.
Before settling on any house contractor, due diligence is required. Fly by night contractors are increasing and you don’t want to become a victim of these. Check out contractor ratings and reviews. Pay close attention to the negative assessments as these might raise some red flags. However, don’t dismiss a contractor by a few negative reviews. If the positives outweigh the negatives, you can still use them but be cautious.
If you have not built a large enough list, request your friends for recommendations and add them to your list. You can take your research further and do check out the contractors rating with Better Business Bureau. Nonetheless, keep in mind that just a contractor topping on a search page or phone list is not evidence of the quality of his work.
Boards are the most basic yet most effective way for a contractor to advertise himself. To find good builders around you, look for places where construction is ongoing and check out if the builder has put up a board. If he has, it shows that he is a trustworthy contractor, proud of his job and is sure to deliver as agreed upon with the client. You don’t have to like what he is doing (after all, he is working for another client), but publicising himself shows credibility. On the other hand, be wary of builders who don’t put up a board.
Talk to Inspectors
Local authority inspectors have a wealth of information on local builders. Though they have been accused of officiousness, most inspectors are gradually reforming and are willing to direct you to good contractors. However, don’t take their word as the gospel truth, but their guidance might lead you to some credible builders.
Expect an excellent contractor to be ever active. A busy schedule shows that other home builders trust him. However, be careful of contractors who are available to start right away. Lack of a demanding programme is not to say good contractors cannot be on hand to start right away, but this is often the exception rather than the rules.
A trustworthy developer should have all the required permits. This goes for insurance as well. A contractor should have insured his workers and materials that are delivered to the site but have not been installed.
Before embarking on any construction project, ensure you get at least three estimates from different contractors. The more, the merrier. For a home, get estimates from general contractors who can subcontract to specialized contractors some jobs that need such as plumbing. With three plus appraisals, you have a wide range of prices to choose from. That aside, always ask the contractors which jobs they will subcontract so to avoid exceeding your budget. Ensure you check the contractor’s equipment as builders who hire tools are more expensive than developers with their paraphernalia. Estimates and apparatuses make sure you get a reliable developer within your budget.
DIY Building vs. Hiring a Contractor
DIY is an excellent way to pick up new skills, save money, and test yourself. However, by building your home yourself, you run a lot of risks that we have discussed below. On the other hand, contractors are a safer bet, but they as well have their shortcomings.
Building a house has different components. Some you can do yourself, but others call on you to hire a professional contractor. Jobs you can DIY are:
Finishing touches – unlike the commencement of construction and much of the development, you can DIY most finishing feels as they do not need professional expertise. These include painting or laying tiles with a bit of knowledge.
Be your project manager – Every home construction requires a project manager, and this is one of the roles you can take up. You get to hire, organize, and pay different tradespeople. By turning into your project manager, you save money that you would have spent on a general contractor. A perfect way to build while on a budget.
Work alongside the contractor – This is perfect if you lack the expertise and are on a budget. By contributing your labor, you save some of your hard-earned cash.
Certain circumstances demand you hire a professional.
Health hazardous projects – Always hire an expert if developing your home or house could be dangerous to you or people close to you.
Damage – When building your home, some parts will need specialized skills. These include plumbing and electricals. A slight mistake could lead to massive losses or significant damage down the line. Always hire specialists to deal with these jobs.
Required by law to hire professionals – The law requires you to engage professionals whenever you are dealing with electricals or working with gas.
Now that we have established jobs that need professionals and those that you can DIY, what are their pros and cons?
Saves you a ton of money – I believe this is the primary driving force would love to DIY their homes. You don’t have to incur the massive wages, and you are at liberty to buy from any supplier. This means you can save a fortune by buying from low-priced suppliers. The freedom it offers is also an alluring factor. The freedom means you can work on your house at your own pace.
Cons of DIY
Skills – Building a house is not exactly rocket science, but it’s not for every man jack. Dealing with soil reports, water & sewer taps, engineered foundations, etc. can be a nightmare for inexperienced builders.
Sub-contractors – More often than not, you will have to hire sub-contractors to handle home parts that require specialized skills. For an average home, you are talking about 20-50 sub-contractors. Such a large number of people can be challenging to manage. They might also not be willing to work together which means your home will take longer to complete.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
Cheats are rife in the development industry, and it would be a shame if you fell prey to one of their cons. In spite of this, there are several ways to avoid being conned.
Only use a licensed contractor – The local authorities should license credible contractors. Contractors too should have their license number indicated on their business cards and any written proposals.
Payment – Never pay in cash to avoid double fees and the risk of being accused of not paying. Credit cards or cheques are much better as they leave a paper trail. Also when remunerating the builder, don’t make the payment to an individual but a company. You should as well not issue the whole sum upfront and never release a fee before the stipulated time. Before making the final payment, inspect the house and make sure you are comfortable with the work done.
Get references – This should be obvious but apparently, it’s not, and most homeowners do not ask for references before hiring a developer. Always ask for a list of recent customers and touch base on their experience with the contractor.
10 Questions to Ask Contractors Before Hiring
1. Are you licensed?
This might sound impolite, but it’s to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate contractor. Credible developers will always provide their license number which you can cross-check with the local authorities.
2. What’s your business history?
A business history is where you get to know the contractor better. You get an insight into the contractor. Make sure to ask if s/he has ever declared bankruptcy or had any legal action taken against them. It’s also wise to ask how long he has been in business and under what names. Beyond that, get into the basics and make sure he carries workers compensation, property damage, and liability insurance and is remunerating his/her employees legally.
3. Can you give me a timeline?
Before settling on a contractor, ask if they can give you a specific start and end date which should be in the written agreement. Work out the communication channels between you and the contractor and ask how he plans to keep you informed on the development.
Find out how the contractor plans to handle your home. Who is going to be on site every day and how many projects is he/she working on in tandem with yours? Knowing their schedule will help you manage your expectations and know who to approach whenever you visit the site.
5. Is the price fixed or just an estimate?
When consulting, most contractors often give a rough estimate of the price. A rough estimate is to avoid the hassle that is finding the cost of sub-contractors. However, before signing a contract, most developers should give you a definite price to avoid any inconveniences that might arise later on.
6. What guarantees can you give me?
Asking for guarantees is to test the contractor’s abilities. A developer who can pledge what to deliver within a set timeline is sure of his capabilities and is one you should hire.
7. Do you have any concerns with what we have planned?
Having a professional look into your plans gives you feedback on the feasibility of your ideas. A skilled builder might provide information on unobvious expenses or problems you might come across once construction begins.
8. Will you subcontract?
When you here of construction going horribly wrong, it often has to do with sub-contractors. General developers will hire other builders to work on particulars that need specialization. Say plumbing or electricals. These sub-contractors might not have the requisite skills and end up doing more harm than good. This question also determines who is going to make payments to the sub-contractors. Ensure you put it in writing.
9. How will you clean up?
A reliable developer ensures that the trash/debris is always taken care of by his crew. Ask is his means of disposal is eco-friendly as well.
Most home builders provide a warranty on their work. Manufacturers as well give warranty on the items used during construction. Get this information as it could save you money at the end of the day.
Hope you found this home construction guide useful, and share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment.