You know your budget, or at least have an idea, and are looking around online to find out average costs to build a custom home. The process for pricing a custom home isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are a few factors that could cause your custom home price to be more than industry averages; but if you learn about what they are, you can be prepared and do your best to avoid them.
The costs that go into building a custom home seem pretty obvious, but are they? Here are a few things to look out for that can drive your custom Utah home costs up.
If you already own land or are in the market, keep in mind that your land will affect your overall custom home budget. If you don’t yet have land, it’s a great idea to ask your home builder for some guidance. If you’re buying a developed lot in Utah, your land will already be set up to access gas, electricity, and plumbing. However, if you’re interested in raw land, it may have issues that you don’t see on the surface that could need too much preparation to be cost-effective. The soil content, moisture, tree removal, grade of the land, and more could keep you from building the custom home you’re hoping for by taking up too much of your budget.
If you search online to learn about price per square foot for a custom home, you’ll likely find averages depending on the level of finishes and the location. Of course, a larger home will cost more, but what you won’t find is how much the types of rooms you decide to include in your custom home design will affect your unique cost per square foot.
For example, the price per square foot for a kitchen and a bedroom will vary. A kitchen includes cabinets, countertops, appliances, and more details that a bedroom doesn’t need. Two homes with the same square footage could come at different costs. If Home A has more bathrooms and a much larger kitchen than Home B, which has a larger living room, less bathrooms, and a smaller kitchen, Home A will cost more.
How you plan to use your basement will also affect the price per square foot. Will your basement be a guest suite, a home office, or a billiards room? A guest suite will probably have a higher cost per square foot than an office.
The shape and layout of your home can also affect its cost. A more complex design will require more framing materials and labor. Unfortunately, it will also result in more waste. This is because with every turn and corner, drywall and lumber will require being cut to size, and excess material will be thrown away. So, even if the square footage of your design is the same as a more simple one, a more complex design will require purchasing more materials.
If your home is a single story, your cost per square foot will cost more than a home that’s two stories with the same types of rooms. Why? A larger footprint will need more excavation, foundation, and roofing. Work with your designer to explore the different layouts and floor plans to figure out what the cost differences would be when you simplify your layout or choose a two-story home rather than one story. Reducing your materials and labor needs could mean having more room in your budget for high-end finishes.
This is really where your budget can vary by tens of thousands of dollars. Think about the difference in price for marble versus quartz, real hardwood floors or luxury vinyl tile, builder-grade lighting fixtures or custom designer-level lighting. Volume will factor here as well. Your home will require a lot of flooring materials, but only a few statement light fixtures. So, if you know if the budget will be tight, consider compromising on the materials that will eat up a lot of cost to be able to splurge on the smaller details that can still impact the overall style of a room.
Framing archways are more labor-intensive than openings with straight lines. Parquet floors will also take more time, thus more labor. Custom tile patterns? More labor. This is another consideration when thinking about your must-have list and the features you can compromise on to get the style you want. A living room with built-ins and a brick-faced fireplace will cost more per square foot than a living room with only walls, a floor, and a ceiling.
Finally, consider your kitchen and bathrooms. These are the rooms with the most finishes and features. Work with your designer or architect to get the style and design you want while choosing finishes, features, and amenities that will help you stay on budget.
Your custom home builder can have a big effect on your final cost. When your architect or designer works closely with your builder, the cost for every material and labor rate will be more accurately reflected in your contract. If your contract lacks specific details, it should be a concern and can point to possible problems during the construction phase of your project.
For example, if you don’t have specific materials and costs for those materials listed outright, you may end up with something that's of lesser quality than you expected. When you ask to upgrade to the material you originally expected, this will initiate a change order and add to your final cost. Once you sign off on a design and a budget, any changes you make will result in an unforeseen cost and possibly push your project over budget. This is why it’s important to ask the right questions when you’re in the interviewing stage for custom home builders.
There are a few costs that homeowners tend to forget when budgeting for a custom home. When you have your budget in hand, subtract these costs so you’ll know the actual amount you will have left to work with for your custom home design.
If landscaping isn’t part of your home design, or if you’ll have to hire a landscape architect, you’ll want to factor this into your overall budget. If landscaping isn’t deducted from your budget before designing your home, you’ll end up paying for landscaping out of pocket. Your architect or builder will likely have a network of landscapers that they can recommend.
Smart homes are becoming more and more common. Many smart home features can give you convenience, security, and peace of mind, like a smart thermostat, security system, or smart kitchen appliances. If installing smart features is something you’d like, talk to your designer and builder about having them installed during the custom build rather than having to hire a contractor after-the-fact. Smart invisible speakers, for example, will require cutting into your drywall and making repairs after the installation. It’s best to have your home building team tackle the installation of these types of features from the start.
Many new homeowners forget to factor in furniture, drapes, electronics, etc. when they’re thinking about their budget. Just as with landscaping, try to calculate what you’ll need to set aside from your budget so you won’t have to fill your home with new furniture out of pocket.
Your custom home builder can be your biggest asset or liability when it comes to keeping your custom home within your budget. When you’re interviewing potential custom home builders be sure to bring up these concerns to hear how they will approach them. 10X Builders is a custom home builder that serves Utah County, delivering custom homes that are within budget and exceed expectations, every time. We can help you find your perfect plot of land, ensure every budget item is accounted for, and build your vision. Contact 10X Builders to schedule a consultation and we’ll answer any question you have about your future custom home.