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Posted: 9/29/2004 12:37:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2004 6:27:30 AM EST by wedge1082]
Mrs. Wedge and I are looking to build a house on some land we have. I have been calling around to some different contractors to get a rough price per square foot of construction so that I have some idea of how much we can afford, before I go crazy with the house plans.

This guy just calls me back and I ask him if he can give me a rough idea of his price to build per square foot. I tell him this is nothing that I am going to hold him to, just need something so that I can get plans together with some idea of how much it is going to cost.

He tells me he can't give me a price until he looks at the plans. I said I understand and I am not looking to get something from him and hold him to it, I would just like a very rough estimate so that I know about how many square feet I can afford.

After going back and fourth like this a few times, he says that he can't help me and hangs up on me.

WTF????
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:38:33 PM EST
Find a couple more GC's.....................that guy is tard!
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:40:24 PM EST
He must have be a prior gun shop owner
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:40:49 PM EST
All contractors are liars, get a completion bond and check many references. I had to sue mine. Check them out any way you can. BBB ,state licensing board,etc. Contractors are real turds.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:40:56 PM EST
The price per square foot is going to be very dependent on a number of things:

Type of construction (Frame - wood or steel, masonry, etc.)

Level of customization (Cedar shakes, tile roof, slate flooring, etc.)

Construction details, (a single-level ranch will be different from a three-level home)

Etc.

He needs some idea of what the house will look like first.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:41:23 PM EST
How much does a car cost?

Could you really expect someone reasonable to answer this question without knowing more information?

Houses can vary in cost by more than $100.00 per SF easily. Some are $ 175.00 per SF and some are $65.00 per SF.

Anyone who would answer this question without some information isn't really telling you the whole story. If you want to know how much houses cost, go and look at some for sale to get an idea.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:41:51 PM EST
There is no way I am using this dick after he hangs up on me, and he was even recommended by a real estate friend.

How the hell am I supposed to draw up plans for hime to look at when I have no idea how much square feet I can even afford?
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:42:54 PM EST
Hire an architect, cost more but you won't have to deal with all the b.s.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:42:57 PM EST
He should know roughly what it costs per square foot. Just make sure you put it in a contract before you start. Residential contracting is filled with scumbags. We were there once though.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:43:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 12:55:06 PM EST by nightstalker]
Sounds like he doesn't want your business and indeed he may be too busy to "hold your hand" (his interpretation). He should have been able to give you a range say from basic cheap to custom but the more info you give him the closer he can estimate.

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/9596640.htm?1c

Lots of headaches for builders and their customers.

I would think about hooking up with an architect also who would have contacts with builders.

Just a guess but basic would be $80 to $120 per sq ft. Custom closer to $200.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:44:07 PM EST
most GC don't do anything over phones. You're being the typical customer. Calling for estimates over the phone. Without knowing ceiling heights, trim packages, etc how can he give you a "rough" estimate just by sq footage alone? Will a mechanic give you a quote without opening the hood. GC's get burned by customers all the time. He's in business to make money. He's not a tard , he's probably busy with paying customers.


J
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:44:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By KBaker:
The price per square foot is going to be very dependent on a number of things:

Type of construction (Frame - wood or steel, masonry, etc.)

Level of customization (Cedar shakes, tile roof, slate flooring, etc.)

Construction details, (a single-level ranch will be different from a three-level home)

Etc.

He needs some idea of what the house will look like first.



He can not provide his avarage cost per square foot to build? If he gave me that then I could complete some plans with that square foot and then let him give me a price. I just need a starting point. I don't want to waste time making plans for a house that is not even going to be close to anything I can afford.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:46:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 12:49:07 PM EST by wedge1082]

Originally Posted By Aim4MyHead:
most GC don't do anything over phones. You're being the typical customer. Calling for estimates over the phone. Without knowing ceiling heights, trim packages, etc how can he give you a "rough" estimate just by sq footage alone? Will a mechanic give you a quote without opening the hood. GC's get burned by customers all the time. He's in business to make money. He's not a tard , he's probably busy with paying customers.


J



I am not the average customer. I am a mechanical engineer for commercial construction. I know these contractors have an idea about how much they charge just by square foot. I know it is not going to be exact but give me a break.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:48:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:
Hire an architect, cost more but you won't have to deal with all the b.s.



I am hoping to complete the plans and then let an architect look them over just to make sure it can be built.

I have to deal with architects everyday and they drive me crazy almost everyday. No offense to architects.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:49:09 PM EST
He should have been able to give you a square foot range based on the last 5 or 10 houses he has built or something like that.

In his defense, even though you told him you wouldn't hold him to the price, a lot of owners only remember the first price you tell them then freak out when their solid gold version turns out to cost more than the original budget.

Call another GC. There should be plenty that will help you.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:50:20 PM EST

Originally Posted By PieHole:
He should have been able to give you a square foot range based on the last 5 or 10 houses he has built or something like that.

In his defense, even though you told him you wouldn't hold him to the price, a lot of owners only remember the first price you tell them then freak out when their solid gold version turns out to cost more than the original budget.

Call another GC. There should be plenty that will help you.



I am. This just happened and I am a little hot about it. Just needed to rant.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:50:47 PM EST
Just storm an old Baptist church and take it over....taht's what I did.


Sgat1r5
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:52:47 PM EST
The Construction business has the highest percentage of smartass jerkoffs than any other type of business. Almost as many as the gun business ....

Keep looking ....
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:53:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 12:55:50 PM EST by Torf]

Originally Posted By wedge1082:
Mrs. Wedge and I are looking to build a house on some land we have. I have been calling around to some different contractors to get a rough price per square foot of construction so that I have some idea of how much we can afford, before I go crazy with the house plans.

This guy just calls me back and I ask him if he can give me a rough idea of his price to build per square foot. I tell him this is nothing that I am going to hold him to, just need something so that I can get plans together with some idea of how much it is going to cost.

He tells me he can't give me a price until he looks at the plans. I said I understand and I am not looking to get something from him and hold him to it, I would just like a very rough estimate so that I know about how many square feet I can afford.

After going back and fourth like this a few times, he says that he can't help me and hangs up on me.

WTF????



Price per square foot can vary greatly based on the floor plan.

Cookie cutter 2 story is going to be quite cheap compared to a nice brick ranch.

ETA: I don't know of any GC that will give a quick square footage quote before seeing the plans.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:53:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Just storm an old Baptist church and take it over....taht's what I did.


Sgat1r5



Thank you Sarge I needed the laugh.


Now where was that Baptist Church?
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:54:36 PM EST
Buy cardboard in bulk.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:55:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 12:56:36 PM EST by CAMPYBOB]
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:55:48 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:57:18 PM EST

Originally Posted By wedge1082:

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Just storm an old Baptist church and take it over....taht's what I did.


Sgat1r5



Thank you Sarge I needed the laugh.


Now where was that Baptist Church?



What jerk...must have worked the DNC


Take over any church...you will put it to better use...
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 12:58:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By CAMPYBOB:
vary? it can vary by 100% or more.

just going to all-brick adds 20% to the cost over vinyl siding.

a vinyl deck of any size can add$10k-$20k.

spec house or custom?

oak trim or red ash?

the devil...and god...is in the details. the guy may have been rude in hanging up, but it sounds like he tried to get thru to you more than once and you didn't catch on.

the best way to get a feel for what pricing levels are at in your area is to go to a couple of local spec home builders and price a few of their packages. add for detail changes you require and throw in 10% more for good measure.

good luck and as advise, make sure the contract suits YOU! get a completion date that is iron-clad and a warranty written to YOUR standards.






I'll +1 on Campy's first post but not his doubletap!

I have personally seen quotes anywhere between $35 and $120 per ft.

Call him back Wedge and give him some idea of the house you want. I'm sure he will be happy to give you a quote if he has enough info.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:02:01 PM EST
Why don't you look at new builds in your area- Go and see whats in you area/town, find a price range and go look at the house to get a idea of sq footage that you'll get for the money. Custimization will add greatly to the cost of a house.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:03:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 1:04:47 PM EST by wedge1082]

Originally Posted By Torf:

Originally Posted By CAMPYBOB:
vary? it can vary by 100% or more.

just going to all-brick adds 20% to the cost over vinyl siding.

a vinyl deck of any size can add$10k-$20k.

spec house or custom?

oak trim or red ash?

the devil...and god...is in the details. the guy may have been rude in hanging up, but it sounds like he tried to get thru to you more than once and you didn't catch on.

the best way to get a feel for what pricing levels are at in your area is to go to a couple of local spec home builders and price a few of their packages. add for detail changes you require and throw in 10% more for good measure.

good luck and as advise, make sure the contract suits YOU! get a completion date that is iron-clad and a warranty written to YOUR standards.






I'll +1 on Campy's first post but not his doubletap!

I have personally seen quotes anywhere between $35 and $120 per ft.

Call him back Wedge and give him some idea of the house you want. I'm sure he will be happy to give you a quote if he has enough info.



No can do on the call back. I asked him what he needed to know and all he could say was I need to see plans. Well I can't make plans until I have some idea of the total square foot of the house.

Another guy told me around 100 to 105, I was just trying to get a few more prices and then average them together and base it off of that. I just need a starting point so that I don't waste time drawing up some mansion that I can't afford. If I know that I could only afford around 2000 square foot then I can make a 2000 square foot house get some prices from the plans and make adjustments from there.

eta - I don't care if he is the cheapest and most talented builder out there now. He hung up on me, I will live in the streets before I live in a house built by him.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:06:11 PM EST
Wedge;

Get more specific.

If he had given you a ballpark figure if from $125-750 a sq. ft. what good would that have done? GCs get this sort of stuff all the time...lots of it from people who are "price shopping"...which does not sit well with many of them IF they suspect that someone is going to use their figures to try and leverage someone else...which many will do.

Keep trying and you will eventually find a GC that youi will "click" with. Check him out...good... and you will be on your way to a new home. The very best GCs will almost never quote a firm price because they don't have to...they are overflowing with work from past, satisfied customers. Check out this forum and ask there...you might get your feelings hurt but you WILL hear from some of the very best!

forums.prospero.com/tp-breaktime/
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:07:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:
All contractors are liars, get a completion bond and check many references. I had to sue mine. Check them out any way you can. BBB ,state licensing board,etc. Contractors are real turds.





BULLSHIT. Have you worked with every one.I'm an honest contractor for over 22 years.If you think everyone is a liar perhaps you should buy all your buildings pre-built.That being said yes you should check out a contractor just like you say above.If you had done that in the first place you would not to have sued.I have even went to court to testify on a customers behalf because of another contractor rippingthem off.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:08:58 PM EST

Originally Posted By KBaker:
The price per square foot is going to be very dependent on a number of things:

Type of construction (Frame - wood or steel, masonry, etc.)

Level of customization (Cedar shakes, tile roof, slate flooring, etc.)

Construction details, (a single-level ranch will be different from a three-level home)

Etc.

He needs some idea of what the house will look like first.


yup. around here, a very rough estimate is ~$100 per square foot.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:10:54 PM EST
Our firm represents a fair number of contrators. 90% of them are lying tools (great work for us), the other 10% are saints who really care. Sounds like your guy was in the 10%--there are one hell of a lot of factors that go into price and he wanted to give you an honest range.


Originally Posted By wedge1082:
Mrs. Wedge and I are looking to build a house on some land we have. I have been calling around to some different contractors to get a rough price per square foot of construction so that I have some idea of how much we can afford, before I go crazy with the house plans.

This guy just calls me back and I ask him if he can give me a rough idea of his price to build per square foot. I tell him this is nothing that I am going to hold him to, just need something so that I can get plans together with some idea of how much it is going to cost.

He tells me he can't give me a price until he looks at the plans. I said I understand and I am not looking to get something from him and hold him to it, I would just like a very rough estimate so that I know about how many square feet I can afford.

After going back and fourth like this a few times, he says that he can't help me and hangs up on me.

WTF????

Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:26:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 1:27:32 PM EST by nightstalker]
www.homeplanfinder.com/docs/faqcostofbuilding.asp

Typical prices in the midwest according to this chart are $70-$120 per sq. ft.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:26:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 1:27:44 PM EST by Stryfe]

Originally Posted By Happyshooter:
Our firm represents a fair number of contrators. 90% of them are lying tools (great work for us), the other 10% are saints who really care. Sounds like your guy was in the 10%--there are one hell of a lot of factors that go into price and he wanted to give you an honest range.


Originally Posted By wedge1082:
Mrs. Wedge and I are looking to build a house on some land we have. I have been calling around to some different contractors to get a rough price per square foot of construction so that I have some idea of how much we can afford, before I go crazy with the house plans.

This guy just calls me back and I ask him if he can give me a rough idea of his price to build per square foot. I tell him this is nothing that I am going to hold him to, just need something so that I can get plans together with some idea of how much it is going to cost.

He tells me he can't give me a price until he looks at the plans. I said I understand and I am not looking to get something from him and hold him to it, I would just like a very rough estimate so that I know about how many square feet I can afford.

After going back and fourth like this a few times, he says that he can't help me and hangs up on me.

WTF????



+1, what would you have done if'd he given a rough estimate to placate you, and then when you came back with a plan, he told you double his original estimate? You'd have to go back and revise your plan.
Get an idea of what you want. You must know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, and whether you want a large family room, or a den. Put together a layout, and get an estimate on the basic structure, with an incomplete interior. Now you have a baseline for your budget and you can decide all of the rest of the details.
If it was me, as in when I build my house, I'd get the framework and siding up, and the plumbing and electric stubbed in, and then start work on finishing it. A lot of the interior work, you can do yourself, or sub out yourself. You should be able to pick up a residency permit, even with the interior unfinished, and just keep moving on.
just my 2 cents.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:27:55 PM EST
Fuck him.

He would only lead to problems down the line.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:29:25 PM EST

Originally Posted By wedge1082:
He tells me he can't give me a price until he looks at the plans. I said I understand and I am not looking to get something from him and hold him to it, I would just like a very rough estimate so that I know about how many square feet I can afford.

After going back and fourth like this a few times, he says that he can't help me and hangs up on me.

SOunds to me like he had a sliding price scale.
Big plans = you can afford more = he will charge a higher rate

I absolutely would NOT do business with someone that plays that way. Be up front with me, or get the fuck out.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:36:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 1:39:19 PM EST by scrum]
Use this calculator for a basic estimate yourself:

House Rough Estimator

It might be able to help you with some really, really rough estimating. Then factor in the pricing variables for your area. At least if you have an idea on a basic home with X sq ft then you can start adding variable as you look at plans you like.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:47:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By scrum:
Use this calculator for a basic estimate yourself:

House Rough Estimator

It might be able to help you with some really, really rough estimating. Then factor in the pricing variables for your area. At least if you have an idea on a basic home with X sq ft then you can start adding variable as you look at plans you like.



That was fun! Here is my 2,000,000 sf house.
Building costs for this house

This is an estimate for a single-family residence built under competitive conditions in Zip area Ski resorts, Colorado in September, 2004. This estimate includes a foundation as required for normal soil conditions, excavation for foundation and piers on a prepared building pad, floor, wall, interior and exterior finishes, roof cover, interior partitions, doors, windows, trim, electric wiring and fixtures, rough and finish plumbing, built-in appliances, supervision, design fees, permits, utility hook-ups, the contractors' contingency, overhead and profit. Highly decorative, starkly original or exceptionally well-appointed residences will cost more.

Item Name Material Labor Equipment Total
Excavation -- 2,190,933.00 649,853.00 2,840,786.00
Foundation, Piers, Flatwork 5,435,183.00 7,423,939.00 1,321,842.00 14,180,960.00
Rough Hardware 530,689.00 726,001.00 130,071.00 1,386,761.00
Masonry Frame 18,123,694.00 21,682,595.00 1,391,757.00 41,198,040.00
Insulation 3,291,163.00 1,953,870.00 -- 5,245,033.00
Exterior Finish 9,356,525.00 4,852,216.00 683,380.00 14,892,120.00
Exterior Trim 633,741.00 866,404.00 154,816.00 1,654,961.00
Doors 1,606,338.00 1,170,354.00 -- 2,776,692.00
Windows 2,766,424.00 1,633,180.00 -- 4,399,604.00
Finish Hardware 267,583.00 195,212.00 -- 462,795.00
Garage Door 758,292.00 268,531.00 -- 1,026,823.00
Roofing, Flashing, Fascia 7,348,587.00 5,352,675.00 -- 12,701,260.00
Finish Carpentry 975,327.00 4,266,155.00 -- 5,241,482.00
Interior Wall Finish 4,681,571.00 6,278,219.00 -- 10,959,790.00
Painting 2,797,041.00 5,671,348.00 -- 8,468,389.00
Wiring 2,840,021.00 4,656,286.00 -- 7,496,307.00
Lighting Fixtures 2,129,189.00 581,584.00 -- 2,710,773.00
Flooring 2,091,924.00 2,577,744.00 -- 4,669,668.00
Carpeting 4,162,303.00 1,289,407.00 -- 5,451,710.00
Bath Accessories 1,031,136.00 551,369.00 -- 1,582,505.00
Shower & Tub Enclosure 658,116.00 479,464.00 -- 1,137,580.00
Countertops 1,990,802.00 1,448,995.00 -- 3,439,797.00
Cabinets 6,545,288.00 1,787,423.00 -- 8,332,711.00
Built In Appliances 3,184,682.00 386,070.00 -- 3,570,752.00
Plumbing Rough-in and Connection 2,988,486.00 6,302,803.00 427,900.00 9,719,189.00
Plumbing Fixtures 6,071,044.00 1,670,224.00 -- 7,741,268.00
Heating and Cooling Systems 3,848,800.00 5,773,200.00 -- 9,622,000.00
Unit Heating and Cooling 13,835.00 20,752.00 -- 34,587.00
Fireplace and Chimney 16,406.00 24,610.00 -- 41,016.00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subtotal Direct Job Costs $96,144,233.00 $92,081,592.00 $4,759,619.00 $192,985,420.00

Final Cleanup -- 878,887.00 -- 878,887.00
Insurance 6,152,212.00 -- -- 6,152,212.00
Permits & Utilities 3,735,272.00 -- -- 3,735,272.00
Plans & Specs 878,887.00 -- -- 878,887.00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subtotal Indirect Job Costs $10,766,370.00 $878,887.00 -- $11,645,260.00

Contractor Markup 27,465,230.00 -- -- 27,465,230.00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Total Cost $134,375,833.00 $92,960,492.00 $4,759,619.00 $232,095,920.00
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:47:27 PM EST


Market is too good right now. All those fokers in our area have so much work they don't want more. Wait till things slow down, winter?, and call around again if you can hold out longer.

And if he asks for plans tell him to pick up a pencil draw a 5" by 5" square on a sheet of paper, tell him thats your plans and your Square footage is 2500.


WTFOVER? this is not a trap?
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 1:57:17 PM EST
I also have to take exception to the fact that ALL contractors are rip-offs or thieves. I have been a residential contractor for close to 6 years, and I have had 0 (zero) complaints against me. I have built from $250K to over $700K and treat each customer with the same amount of respect, and have plenty of referals to show for it. Yes, there are MANY fly-by-night 'contractors' out there, ( I have built next to a few) and the consumer needs to do dilligent research on the company they want to get a bid from. I have had countless people call and ask me a 'price to build me a house'. I am more than willing to help them, even though 9 times out of 10 they never call back. (And, I would NEVER hang up on anyone) My prices can start at $65 sf and go up from there. If the price is Okay, I would then ask to see a set of plans and bid according to what the customer wants. I even go as far as letting the customer do some of their own work, or have the 'family friend who is a subcontractor' do some of the work. Everything has an impact on the final cost of the home from the slope of the lot to the type of roof going down. I don't make a killing on the houses, but I feel that I would rather be able to sleep at night than worry about the next call or complaint.

Steven

*Hey, If you ever move to PDX Oregon, and need a house built, look me up, I'll treat you right.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 2:01:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 2:02:40 PM EST by DUNC]

Originally Posted By wedge1082:

Originally Posted By Torf:

Originally Posted By CAMPYBOB:
vary? it can vary by 100% or more.

just going to all-brick adds 20% to the cost over vinyl siding.

a vinyl deck of any size can add$10k-$20k.

spec house or custom?

oak trim or red ash?

the devil...and god...is in the details. the guy may have been rude in hanging up, but it sounds like he tried to get thru to you more than once and you didn't catch on.

the best way to get a feel for what pricing levels are at in your area is to go to a couple of local spec home builders and price a few of their packages. add for detail changes you require and throw in 10% more for good measure.

good luck and as advise, make sure the contract suits YOU! get a completion date that is iron-clad and a warranty written to YOUR standards.






I'll +1 on Campy's first post but not his doubletap!

I have personally seen quotes anywhere between $35 and $120 per ft.

Call him back Wedge and give him some idea of the house you want. I'm sure he will be happy to give you a quote if he has enough info.



No can do on the call back. I asked him what he needed to know and all he could say was I need to see plans. Well I can't make plans until I have some idea of the total square foot of the house.

Another guy told me around 100 to 105, I was just trying to get a few more prices and then average them together and base it off of that. I just need a starting point so that I don't waste time drawing up some mansion that I can't afford. If I know that I could only afford around 2000 square foot then I can make a 2000 square foot house get some prices from the plans and make adjustments from there.

eta - I don't care if he is the cheapest and most talented builder out there now. He hung up on me, I will live in the streets before I live in a house built by him.



They guy who quoted you $100-105 pulled that number out of his ass because you gave no details. C'mon man used your head. The guy who wouldn't quote without some preliminary info is exactly the guy you want to use. Why? No bullshit. He tried to help you and you ran round and round the mullberry bush. Look at new home prices in the paper and determine sq ftg costs.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 2:08:21 PM EST
If you want to build something that you can afford, get an architect. Any competent architect will give you exactly the house you want for exactly the price you can afford. Tell the Arch. what you want and how much you can afford and for 1500 to 2k he will give you contractor plans you can bid out to a number of contractors. He will also do some inspection work and keep the contractors honest for a small reasonable fee.

Any other advice is bullshit and you'll lose.

take that to the bank

Link Posted: 9/29/2004 4:43:06 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 4:46:21 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 5:11:00 PM EST
Building one of a kind of anything is tedious and expensive. Go look at some high end track homes about 3200 sqft or so, and double the price. That will ballpark a modest 2500-3000 sqft custom in your area.

Keep in mind standard ceiling heights, standard grade flooring, unfinished basements, cheap countertops and cabinents.

At the other extream is the "This Old House" buildings where a kitchen makeover costs $125,000.

Also, you can bet come next spring, materials will take a big jump in price. Election years always benifit from some price stability, only to be corrected the very next spring.

Link Posted: 9/30/2004 12:10:54 AM EST
Do you have the land yet?

Do you know how much excavation and grading will be required?

Hook-ups to water, power, sewer - Are there any extra fees or requirements? If no sewer has anybody done a perc test? Water are you in a well area? Phone , power, cable (?) off of pole line or undergrougn?

Do the various cities in your area have varying electrical code requirements?

Hell you're an engineer? What would your reaction be if one of the marketing types came in and asked you for an estimate for design and installation of a roadside traffic monitoring system to be installed in X city . You'ld do like I did, ask things like which units, how many units, what kind of poles, can we use existing structures, existing conduits, who pays for traffic control, etc etc etc. I had a marketeer do that to me. then he called my bosses boss and complained that I wasn't being cooperative. So I got called on the carpet. And I told my boss to call him in, he did got the routine, that we don't know how many units, mil-spec, commercial grade, etc, which bells and whistles. The Program Manager told him to get the f out and never darken our door again. I later direct liased with his boss and told him we'ld do what we could but we gotta have some kind of something to start with.

As many have noted a lot of contractors are real busy now. There are shortages of certain wood and metal construction products. Just the costs of materials is fluctuating now. I got the feeling he is just too busy.
.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 1:15:39 AM EST
what you may not have noticed so far in this thread is that those who are telling you you're nuts for asking are all "in the biz" and those that are telling you the guy's a jerk wouldn't know a tie-beam from a lintel.

You're leaving out a key piece of information. Have any of the other GCs you've called given you this magical $/SF price?

I'd look into hiring an architect, with one caveat. If you can afford $200k, tell the architect its $150k. If you can afford $500k, tell the architect $400k. They are always way off on their estimates, and it usually puts the project over budget from the get-go.

With that said, if you're in the $200k range, you shouldn't be planning on custom unless you really can draw it up, correctly, yourself. $200 is for those plans you buy off the internet, not a custom home.

In general it sounds like you need to do ALOT more research into the residential industry. As people have pointed out the $/SF can vary wildly. Most of it depending on finishes. Most people these days go for as big as possible while chintzing on the finishes, because most people build to impress everyone else and size impresses the masses. Personally I'd design a house with provisions for future expansion (for future kids etc.) and build something smaller with good quality windows, doors, and interior finishes.

You also need to do some life-cycle costing. Going to a window that costs $1000 more may drive the price of your house up, but what are the savings over the life of the house on heating and cooling? Going to a roof that costs $2/SF more may cost more on the front end, but what if it lasts twice as long as the cheaper roof? Going to a heating/cooling system that's more efficient may mean you have a bigger mortgage (or a smaller house) but it'll last twice as long and cut your utility bills by 1/3.

Still think there's such a thing as a $/SF house? My dream house right now would cost $200/SF and only be 1000 SF. YMMV
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 1:35:13 AM EST
My contractor is awesome!

He built my home, and now he is contracting my shop. For this project, I write all the checks, and he gets a pre-agreed flat fee. Every check I have written for labor has been below my estimate, and the materials costs have been spot on. More than one crew has told me flat out that they are charging me less out of a favor to Larry (contractor).

You really should expect alot from your contractor. You're paying them alot of money!

In turn, the contractor should expect you to be flexible, reasonable, and realistic. They don't control the weather or the markets, and they hold all the risk until closing.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 1:57:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By KBaker:
The price per square foot is going to be very dependent on a number of things:

Type of construction (Frame - wood or steel, masonry, etc.)

Level of customization (Cedar shakes, tile roof, slate flooring, etc.)

Construction details, (a single-level ranch will be different from a three-level home)

Etc.

He needs some idea of what the house will look like first.



I would agree.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet that he's the only honest contractor you've spoken to because he actually wants to understand what YOU want before he quotes a price, rather than pulling one out of his ass first then fleecing you later.

IMNSHO, asking for price quotes (even rough estimates) prior to having a basic set of plans (addressing the items above) is foolish at best, because the numbers you get will be meaningless and give you a false sense of security.

110% guarantee that the guys who gave you quotes will say, "Oh! You meant THAT. Well, in that case..."
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 2:02:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By wedge1082:
He can not provide his avarage cost per square foot to build?



As any statistician can tell you, averages don't mean shit.

Throw together a basic list of characteristics. Rooms, bathrooms, square feet, construction type, anything special, number of floors, etc. At least then he'll have SOMETHING to work with.

If I asked you, "Tell me, how much is a car going to cost?" what would YOU say?

Remember, you can buy a used clunker for $1,000 or a Lamborghini for $250,000. That averages out to a cost of $125,500. Is that an answer that would help you?

See what I mean?

I honestly think this guy is trying to at least be honest with you...

Link Posted: 9/30/2004 3:28:19 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2004 3:28:50 AM EST by wedge1082]

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By wedge1082:
He can not provide his avarage cost per square foot to build?



As any statistician can tell you, averages don't mean shit.





In this case they do, and that is exactly what I wanted. I was not, am not, looking for a final price. With an average price I can get some plans done the first time that are most likley 80% close to what I can afford. I would happily show these then and change as required to get them in my budget.

Contractors know a somwhat close estimate to what they charge to build. I know a close estimate to how much I charge for engeneering drawings even if I have not seen the plans based on square foot.

It does not matter now anyway because this dick hung up on me. I am not paying someone who is going to just hang up on me.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 3:31:07 AM EST
buy from the Amish.
it may seem to cost you a little more but in the long run you will find it'a a much better built house.
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