Two + Two = Nine

Home Builder with Garabedian Properties

Add CommentOne of the hardest aspects of construction for home buyers to understand is how homes of similar size and room counts can have so many variances in their respective prices.

In one of my continuing education classes Steve Zbranek, our instructor, placed a very simple drawing on the board which helps illustrate the quandary homeowners face when reviewing pricing on their home.

Example

Structure A measures 10' x 10' for a total size of 100 square feet in size.  This creates a total of 40 linear feet of wall space.

Structure B measures 2' x 50' and also has a total size of 100 square feet.  However it has 104 linear feet of walls.  This is over 2 1/2 times as much linear footage in walls than Structure A.

If both of these structures are 8' tall and were covered with bricks you would have approximately 1,600 bricks required to cover Structure A. However, even though Structure B is the same square footage in size, it will require over 2 ½ times as much brick (4,160 bricks) to cover Structure B's exterior walls.

The Math

Assuming brick costs you \$1 per brick (labor, material, brick costs, etc..), then Structure B will cost \$2,560 more to have it covered in brick than Structure A.

This translates into an additional \$25.60 per square foot of the structure for the additional brick.  Remember both structures have the same square footage.

Even if Structure A was 15' tall and Structure B was still only 8' tall, the numbers are still not equal.  It would require 3,000 brick to cover the 15' walls of Structure A, which is still 1,160 bricks fewer than Structure B with 8' walls.  Structure B will still cost an additional \$1,160 or \$11.60 per square foot.

This is why building higher can often cost less than building out (larger footprint) when designing and building a home.

Cost Variances

Brick is not the only costs associated with an exterior wall, there is framing lumber, carpenter labor, insulation, bracing, house wrap, windows, roof bracing, gutters, paint, siding and the like.  You will find that the variances we illustrated with brick will also hold same for these costs as well.

Numbers Need Facts

We share these examples to help illustrate why comparing builders/homes on per square foot pricing is seldom an accurate reflection of the value and costs associated with each structure.  Designing and building a custom home is a very complex exercise and if some just throws you out a price without serious and detailed analysis of what you are hoping to accomplish, be prepared for surprises.  And I am not referring to the type of surprise that makes you smile.

When you interview a custom home builder, spend time on understanding how they work and guide your family through the process.  Their experience can help you understand how the design and layout of your home can create or save you on the costs of construction.

Real Life Example

One of the most illustrative examples I have shared with families is from two homes we built about 4 years ago.  They were both about 5,400 sqft in size and had very nice finish out.  However, due to the architecture, homeowner selections, floor plan and design elements, there was over \$500,000 in price variance between the two homes.  This excludes the land costs.  That works out to \$92 a square foot for homes of approximately the same size.

Small Changes Big Money

It can be frustrating for families to understand how small changes can affect the costs of their home.  Experienced builders will avoid giving you a firm price on your home until they have final plans, complete specifications and all the inclusions accounted for and priced out.

Small changes such as moving a wall, redesigning a roof or adding windows can add thousands to a home without ever changing the size of the home.  Even deleting some items can cost you more money, such as removing a wall that was designed to brace the roof.

Custom homes are very complex projects and although on paper a change or modification may seem simple, the reality can be much more involved.  Don't become blinded by the price per square foot trap.  Give consideration to all aspects of the home, its amenities, location and design.

We were always taught that 2 + 2 = 4 but when building a new home sometimes 2 +2 = 9.

Thank You

I hope this has given you seemingly simple choices made early in the process can had significant costs to your home budget.  By working with your builder all the way through the process you will have opportunities to learn about these factors and make educated decisions.

If you have a question on how we can help you build a custom home, please feel free to email your questions to our offices.  Garabedian Properties is a full service building firm serving the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  We offer new luxury homes, premium remodels, green building/remodeling, home care services, storm/roof repairs and commercial building contracting.

Please feel free to leave your comments, drop us an email at mike@garabedianproperties.com or call our office at 817-748-2669. I also encourage you to visit http://www.garabedianproperties.com to see movies on our homes, hundreds of pictures and information on how we can be of service to your family or clients.  Or become a Facebook Fan.

If your family is not quite ready for us at this time, we will be at your service when you are in need or wish to request our assistance.  If you know someone we can help, we welcome and honor your referrals. ΔΆ