HomeSource Custom Homes has been helping clients realize their dreams for over 35 years now and inevitably one of the most common questions we hear is, “What is your price per square foot?”
Easily enough to answer but more complex to explain. We counsel our interested clients to be cautious when assessing a home’s value based upon price per square foot. There are so many different factors affecting a home’s price that to compare builders by price per square foot is like comparing apples to oranges.
First of all, there is no universally accepted methodology for measuring square footage. If there is one thing you can count on, it will vary from builder to builder. Some measure rooms from the outside wall rather than interior dimensions – which could easily add 50 – 100 square feet, depending on the size of the home. Others include half of the space on the second floor of an open 2-story room in their calculations.
It is common for home buyers to focus on the square footage of the conditioned space but neglect the other design elements that contribute to a higher price per square foot. For example, a home with a 3-car oversized garage, an extensive front porch, and a covered deck will be considerably more expensive to build than one with a standard sized 2-car garage, small front porch, and rear patio. Other design features contributing to higher costs include steep pitched roofs, complex roof lines with multiple gables or hips, or a walkout basement with 9’ walls. So two homes may have the same floor plan and square footage, but the cost to build is not the same.
Then there is the quality of the building materials and the specific standards of construction. At HomeSource Custom Homes, for example, all of our homes include 2’ x 6’ walls with R-19 insulation, the Silent Floor I-joist system, 30 year architectural roof shingles, and Tyvek house wrap. These features all have to accounted for when comparing price per square foot. More importantly, they are features that we believe are critical to constructing a home that will endure over time due its quality.
HomeSource Custom Homes advises you to resist the inclination to make snap judgments on your choice of a builder based upon price per square foot alone. Consider all of the factors that affect square footage cost and then make a reasonable assessment of the value being offered by your custom builder. Remember that all square footage is not created equal.