Oneof the biggest contributing factors for determining the size of yourhome is your home building cost. Several other factors contribute tothe construction cost, as well. However, the price of your home isnot based by its number of square feet, but by its "cost persquare feet".
Inthe building industry, building materials and labor are often figuredon a "cost per square foot" basis.Therefore, if you would like to find out just how BIGyour home can be, let's ask...
Whatis Cost Per Square Foot?
Youmust first answer the above questionin efforttonarrow down your search process.
Thefollowing will help you prevent wasting time by looking through homesthat are either way too big, or small, for your budget. You needto find a house plan that isjustrightfor you and your family.
Areyou concerned that you won't have much
controlover the home building cost of your home?
Youactually have more control than you think.
Followingis a list of variables that willdetermine home building cost. It is up to you to work withineach one to achieve the home of your desires without cutting down onits quality and workmanship.
Let'scheck it out...
Size and Layoutof your home: Notice that I did not say square feet. I will show you the variances of cost when you take the same square foot home and change its "cost per square foot".
Type of Materials that your home is made of: Homes are built of many different types of materials, which could drastically effect the cost per square feet.
Foundation Type: Comprised of footings with pillars or piles, or footings with a slab floor, crawlspace, or basement-all of which can be made of different materials such as poured concrete, block, stone, and more.
Comparative Shopping: Search around to find the best quality and price for everything you will need for your home.
Sweat Equity: Here's that term again. The more hands on experience you take on the more you can save-maybe.
Be "WiseEnough" to decide if you can actually do a great job for the task at hand-and do it well-otherwise, it could cost more.
General Contractor Fees: Usually charged by a set percent of the total cost to build your home-make sure this fee is reasonable and affordable.
Cost of labor for any special details that requires extensive work and/or materials. Most generally figured within a bid; not charged on an hourly basis.
Mid-Construction Changes: It's best not to make any, period. Make sure that all your decisions are made prior to starting your home; changes inevitably cost money.
Construction Material Prices: The prices of some materials, such as lumber and steel, move with the stock market. It's wise to check this out when researching your home's budget.
Quality of Materials: Try to get the best for your money. However, some materials can get very pricey, if you are not careful. Though, if you purchase too cheaply it could cost you more by having to replace it prematurely and/or repair damages.
Roof Design, Pitch, and Type: You can go simple or to the extreme by having either a flat, tall, or multi-gabled roof. Each type affects the cost.
Exterior and Interior Wall Structures, materials and quantity -all affect the cost. Special wall designs and features such as alcoves, curved walls and doorways, and walls made with 2x4, 2x6, block, poured concrete, and so forth, all will affect the price of your home.
Siding Materials and the time and intensity of labor to have it applied. Whether it be lap or sheet siding, brick, stucco, or stone-each comes with its own price.
Windows and doors: They come in all sizes and prices ranging from $35.00 to $1000.00 and up, the prices can get sky high.
Flooring Systems: There are many different options for building a floor system which includes both your joists and your sub-flooring.
Floor Coverings: There are a number of ways you can either spend or save a fortune to cover your floors.
Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, and Airconditioning: All come with different systems and prices.
Cabinet Style, Craftmanship, Materials and Manufacturers: If you think Custom Cabinets are more expensive-look again-you may be able to find some savings.
Driveways, Patios and Sidewalks: All are made of different types of materials such as concrete, stone, or brick, and each comes with a different price.
Deck-size, design, material, and labor will affect the price.
Accidents, Fire, Theft, and Natural Disasters-could cost you a fortune if you aren't properly insured.
Time Delays: cost you added interest on your construction loan.
Thecompilation of all the above, andpossibly more, determines your home construction budget. Therefore,each item can have a direct impacton your home building cost. If you would like a gestimate-Goto the Professionals
Askyour Banker, the NationalAssociation of Home Builders,and a couple ofrespected localHome Builders for anaverage current cost persquare footto build the area,quality and type of home-one/two story, with/without a basement-youwish to build.
Forexample, cars have basically three different classificationsof quality. When you correlatethese classes to a home, this is what you might get:
Economy Range. Basic shell construction, single roof line with no extra features.
Mid Range. Better shell construction with a few added features such as; some brick or stucco, higher ceilings and a more complex roof line.
Luxury Range. Upper line everything...exterior consists of Brick, Stone and Stucco with Architectural interests such as Columns, Dentils and Special Windows and Doors. Interior: Marble and rich trim moldings are very common in this range.
Whenyou consider home building costdifferences in justthe wall construction of a Home: a wallcan be built of either bales of straw (yes, it's true), sticklumber, concrete or solidlimestone, but the price per square foot can be dramaticallydifferent.
Let'ssay that a 2-story mid-range homehas an average cost of $68.00sq.ft. and the owner has a budget of $150,000.00. Now,take
$150,000.00÷ $68.00 = 2,206 sq. feet.
Thatwill give you approximately 1,100 square feet on each floor of a 2story home.
Now,add another scenario to this equation:
Whathappenswhen you add the second floor in thebasement,rather than above the 1st floor.
Saythat the average home building cost for a ranch with a basement is$45.00 per square foot. Now, putthat figure into the equation:
2,206x $ 45.00 = $99,270.00
Thiswould save you $50,730.00.That is quite a difference! The cost of finishing a basement is farless expensive than adding an upper story.
Howmany square feet can we afford?
Inorder to answer that question, put your figures into the followingequation:
"HomeConstruction Budget" ÷ "Average cost per SquareFoot" = Total Sq. Ft.
Whatdo you come up with? Does that soundreasonable to you, or would you like more square feet foryour dollar?
Onceyou know the average price per square foot you can figure an averagecost to build, but remember...
...you're not even going to get a close cost per square foot price untilthe actual bids for the labor and materials are in your hands. Andthat number won't be exact until your home is completed and all thebills are paid.
Perhaps,you should ask...
HowCan I Gain the Most Square Feet for the Buck?
Oneof the main reasons for having your own homebuilt is to gain the most foryour dollar. Right?
Inthis section, you are going to find out some ideas for getting themost square feet for your money.
Onaverage, the most expensive partof building a home is your "MainFloor"simply because, you can't have amain floor without a roof over it and a foundation under it. Next tothat, would be a second story,with the least expensive being your basement.
Sure,youcould build a basement with a roof over it and skip the"main floor" section all together, but that is not how atraditionally built home-it is an alternativehome called a "Berm Home".
Atraditional home is built with a foundation,main floor, a roof, and sometimes a half or upper story. Stickingto the "norm", I will base this discussion on traditionallybuilt homes. Consider the difference it could make when..
Thecost to build and finish a basementcan be far less than the cost to build a bigger single story, or evenadd a second level to your home. Itpaid us tobuild down. Let's see how...
Myhusband and I built a upper mid-range home with a main floor of 1596square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 bath, and with a full walk-outbasement that included 9 foot high walls for added ceiling height.This gave us a homewith a total of 3192 fully functioning square feet. Now, that's not asmall home by any means.
Ourbasic structure included: 2x4 framed walls with mostly lap siding,partial brick front, single story, shake style asphalt roof.
Ourfinished basement cost us a little over $ 15,000.00 whichincluded framing and finishing the ceiling and walls, trim work,windows, doors, plumbing and fixtures, electrical wiring, electricalfixtures, painting and carpeting.
Downstairswe put in: 2 nice sized bedrooms, 1 full bath, a largelaundry room-with a sink, a theater room, a large family room,plumbed and wired for a future bar area, a mechanical room, and 2storage areas into all of that space.
Weactually doubled the size of our living space for a fraction of thecost! Now let's figure...
BasementWalls and concrete floor total: $ 8,000.00
WallFraming, lumber and labor $ 1,650.00
Electrical& Fixtures: $ 973.00
Plumbing& Fixtures: $ 1,596.00
Sheetrockceiling & walls: $ 1,200.00
Paintingsupplies (we did the labor): $ 300.00
Now,figure the total cost per square feet with the basement:
$130,052.66 ÷ 3152sq. ft.= $ 41.25per sq. ft.
Next,figure the cost per square feet to build just the upper floor:
$114,927.66 ÷ 1576sq. ft.=$72.92 per sq. ft.
Ifwe would have added twice the space to the first floor to come upwith the total square foot of our home, let's see the difference.
Don'tworry, you don't have to live in the dark either, there are many waysto disguise being in a basement. Letthe light shine!
Whetherit be natural or simulated, the lighter a basement the less dungenousit will appear. In this section,I will discuss several ways in which to light up a basement.
Followingare a few ideas that can make your basement seem as if it is locatedon the ground level. You may haveother ideas in mind too, but hereare a few to consider:
If you have a flat lot with no chance of a slope at all:
You can have egressed windows installed into your basement walls. This will bring in more natural lighting plus, you will have a fire escape access and be able to use full sized window treatments.
Build the basement with the windows at "garden" level, which is also referred to as a BI-level home.
If you have a sloped lot: it could slope to the back, front, side etc., put in a walk-out basement.
You can get very creative with walkouts plus, you can gain as much natural lighting in a walk-out as an upper floor. Take a look at the following ideas:
Front Walk-Outs: Have your main living area and garage downstairs to make the front to look as if it is a 2-story home built on the side of a hill.
Build retainer walls set back at least 8 feet from the front side of the home in order to have big corner windows.
Side Walk-Outs: There are many options for this type of walk-out. Be creative, here are a couple of ideas:
Build a deck off the upper floor of the home and access it through either a single door or French doors. It would be great if this deck came off a den, breakfast room, or even a bedroom.
Put in a patio along the walk-out level and enclose it with fencing to create a private courtyard on the side of your home.
Rear Walk-Outs: This type is most common.
You will not be so limited in the design of your home as you would with the above two walk-outs. All you need to add to your floor plan is stairs that go down to the basement.
Build your staircase next to an exterior wallof your home and add tall windows to let the light shine down to the basement.
A corner staircase is beautiful and when you add tall corner windows-this is an awesome affect. This idea is perfect with a walk-out basement too, it makes you feel as if you are not in a basement at all. (We have stairs such as this in our home and we absolutely love it.)
Brighten up dark recesses.
There is always a place in the basement that will not get very much light, usually it is towards the front wall of the home.
You may not want to clutter the front of your home with window wells, because they could interfere with your home design.
Build a Theater Room. This is a fun room to add and is perfect in the darkest area of a basement because you want the room to be darker for that authentic theater affect.
Add Mirrors. On the windowless walls and in dark areas, or behind a bar area you could arrange large mirrors with glass shelves to reflect natural lighting. Then install recessed lighting or a hanging bar light to hang over the bar area.
Nowthat we have covered the basement-let's move on up and see what wecan accomplish when...
Addingeither a½or a full secondstory can be more economical than to expand the size ofyour main floor.This area is a great placeto add your children's bedrooms, an office, a loft, library,or even a sewing and/or hobby room.
Youmay not get as much square feetas with a basement, but you can gaina nice loft area and a bedroom,or two, with a bath. The"½" refers to the finished livingspace that is contained withinthe attic of a roof.
Ifyou like a plan and it doesn'thave a ½ story, then you may be able to add one. When adding½ storyabove a single story home, theremust be asteep enough...
...roofpitch, with ample space within theattic to allow for a good ceiling height, as well as maintain maximuminsulation and vapor barriers. Ifyour house plan can accommodate a ½ story, by all means,consider building up.
Theroof's structural supportsmayneed to be altered. Therefore, it is "WISE"toconsult witheither an architect,structural engineer or the houseplan'sdesignerwhen making any structural alterations.
Whenconsidering roof design options; Click on RoofOptions,to check out the different roof styles. On the other hand, you mightconsider expanding just one part of the roof section and/or adda dormer.
Dormersbring in both naturallighting and character to your upper floor rooms, as wellas the exterior of your home. A dormer can have either a single ordouble window. A double window allows more floor space to the upperlevel in addition to more naturallighting.
Ifyou would like to add a second level to yourhome and can't decide whether to build it upstairs ordown, it may help to list the pros and cons.Following are afew extra points to consider:
Main floor ceiling styles are limited when adding an upper story. For example: you can't have a upstairs bedroom above a main floor room that has a cathedral ceiling.
If you want tall ceilings on your main floor - allthe main floor walls will need to be the same height where the upper story rooms will be located, which could get costly.
Which floor would be best to place a bathroom? You may want toconsider installing at least a ¾ bath for convenience purposes. Not many children want to walk up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.
Whether you build up or down, you will need adequate space on each floor to add a staircase.You will need to check out what your best options are for your house plan.
TheMain Floor Level
Theelevation of this level is mostoften at ground level, or slightly above leaving room for thefoundation to support the structure safely above the soil.
TheMain Floor is the most expensive part of building a home!
Simplybecause you can't have a main floor without a roof over it and afoundation under it. Therefore, for the sake ofkeeping down your home building cost...
...youmust decide which rooms take priority forbeing located on the Main Floor. More likely, this level is where youwill more be doing most of your living, cooking, eating andentertaining.
Thereare certain rooms that call out to be on a certain floor, andbecause of theexpense involved in building the main floor youneed to be picky when choosing the rooms to fill it. Mostoften, the following rooms arelocated on the main floor level, we'll call them: MustHaverooms, which are the:
Choiceof: Family Room or Great Room
MasterBedroom with Bath
Thenthere are the "Luxury" rooms, such as...
Youcan limit thenumber of rooms placed within yourmain floor when you add other floors to your home. However if you arelimited to the size of your main floor level, and put all your roomson one floor,one of twothings are likely to happen:
You'll have either a much more expensive home when you increase its size to fit all the rooms
One or more of your rooms will be much smaller.
Ittakes a great deal of consideration while deciding the size andlevels of your home. After youhave a good idea, write down the following applicable informationon your Home Priorities List.
FullUpper Story: Square Foot______
½Upper Story: Square Foot______
Allof the above factors reflect your home building cost, constructioncost, cost per square foot, cost to build, construction budget.
PleaseNote: The above figures and scenarios are example only; not truefigures. In some areas of the country it could be more expensive oreven prohibitive to construct a basement that it would to build anupper story. Consult with your local reputable professionals for advice on the subject as well as check with your local planning and zoning for building ordinances for restrictions.