Ready to build your dream home? How do you get from the dream to the bottom line… the cost to make it happen?
I can certainly empathize with you in your desire to know what a home building (or remodeling) project will cost before you get too far along in your planning. After all, you don’t want to plan for something that you cannot afford or for which you are not willing to put out the money.
The Preparations Leading to an Accurate Home Building Quote
Here are the steps to take in preparation for getting an accurate General Contractor quote for building your home. It will take some time and it will involve industry professionals. I advise people to take most or all of these steps. In the long run, it’ll pay off in spades.
1) Understand the real estate market where you will be building your home.
Each real estate market has its own flavor. Each market has its building styles and general labor cost range. You must know your market and know how your home will fit into it and know what uniqueness you want to achieve.
2) Make decisions about the general quality you want in your home.
The quality you put into your home will be reflected in the cost to build it. Will you build your home with low-end fixtures, finishing, and structural materials? Do you plan on high end materials? This decision will have a huge effect on the eventual bidding and quoting process. Decide early on!
3) Find a house plan or floor plan that is close to what you want.
At this stage in your preparations, you should find a floor plan that also shows what the exterior looks like. What you’re looking for here is a fairly close replica of what you want to create. These will not be complete. You’re just looking for a reasonable facsimile.
4) Get a general idea of the cost per square foot to build this type house in your market.
Your next step is to get a basic idea of the cost to build based on what you know so far. Knowing the market, the size and style, the quality and the lay-out, you can now talk with industry professionals to get a rough estimate of the cost per square foot to build it.
Some of the professionals you might speak with include: Architects, builders, real estate agents that work closely with builders, structural engineers, and developers. If you speak with enough of these professionals, you will get a decent idea of the potential cost to build.
5) Have blueprints created by and architect or purchase a complete set of house plans.
Armed with the approximate cost per square foot, you now know if your project is feasible. At this point it’s safe to either buy a full set of blueprints or go to an architect or residential designer to have the blueprints created to your specifications. Make sure the blueprints are complete and specify materials choices and follow building codes.
6) Create a detailed “take-off” (which is a complete materials list) from the set of blueprints.
This materials list will assist you or your builder in pricing out the complete package of materials for the home. Some of the materials will be provided by various subcontractors so be aware of this and don’t add these up twice!
7) Get at least three complete home building quotes from General Contractors.
Once you’ve taken all these steps, you can now get your building quotes. By preparing in this way, you’re going to get better bids and you won’t be comparing apples to oranges. Every contractor will understand exactly what you’re after.
Use the Same Process for Major Remodels
With minor adaptations, you can use this same process to get accurate quotes for a major remodel. With smaller home improvements, you can omit a lot of these steps. For instance, an upgrade to your bathroom will not likely require blueprints or General Contractors.
But, a major remodel or home addition will likely require blueprints, materials take-off lists, and someone to manage the entire project. So, the same attention to detail and proper preparation is critical.
Take your time. You’ll feel in control of your project. And that’s a great feeling!