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One of the first questions asked at Whitmore Custom Homes when individuals begin the dream home building process and their first consultation is pricing. Pricing is one of the most important aspects to building, you wouldn’t want to start building without having a clear budget and understanding of project costs.

Custom home builders use the cost per square foot average of a home as a way to calculate a benchmark cost. This helps to estimate the cost of the project, it’s important to point out this is an estimate, not a hard and fast rule. There is a lot more than just the square footage cost that needs to be taken into account.

With each custom home being specific to each customers’ personal design no two budgets can be the same. More information is needed up front than just the square footage. One tool we use is historical data from past custom home builds. We can use information from previous builds with similar square footage and features within the home to give a more accurate estimate of homes final price. Of course your homes exact price will be determined by your exact square footage and desired features and finishes.

Designing and purchasing your custom home is similar to purchasing a new vehicle. Two customers can purchase the same car but depending on the options chosen for the car one can cost much more than the other. Car number one can be a basic model, while vehicle number two can be loaded with leather seats, navigation system, backup camera, and chrome trim. Vehicle number two will obviously cost much more than number one the basic model. Similar to these vehicles depending on the amount of features chosen for your home will also determine the cost of the home.

Remember when considering cost per square foot the real price of your home is found by adding up all different costs associated with building your home project. All aspects should be taken into account here such as, landscaping, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, etc. While these have nothing to do with square footage these add-ons will still influence the overall price of your home. There are three major aspects that can affect the price of your custom home:

Kitchens and Bathrooms:

Kitchens and bathrooms can be the most expensive rooms in your new home. With lots of expensive appliances, special flooring, plumbing, and extra design elements they can add to your budget quickly. Depending on exactly what features you choose your price per square foot on these rooms can be quite a lot higher than other rooms in your home skewing your average price per square foot of the overall home. For example, your basement could cost around $80 per square foot, while your kitchen in the same home could cost $250 per square foot. It’s good to remember this when viewing your average square footage number as it can be somewhat misleading.

Your Home’s Footprint

The overall design, shape, and general footprint of the custom home will also effect the overall cost of the home. Two homes with the exact same square footage can cost different amounts depending on the homes layout. For example, two homes both of 2,500 square feet can cost different amounts if one is designed as a ranch style home and the other a two-story. The ranch will cost more per square foot due to its linear design and all 2,500 feet being framed in one large foundation. The two-story, on the other hand, being vertical can have a smaller foundation and therefore less construction cost. It’s important to take these factors into consideration when making your building plans.

Special Projects

Any special projects can influence the cost of a custom home greatly. These projects can include high-end and custom appliances or an expansive outdoor living space that don’t necessarily add to the actual square footage but significantly increase the home’s value and price.

If you choose to add an outdoor living space with an inviting built in kitchen your builder will have to add the cost of this custom outdoor oasis to your overall budget too. Say that estimated cost is around $60,000, then your overall budget will rise by that $60,000 without adding any additional square footage to your new home. While the added expense will still affect your estimated cost per square foot in your beginning estimate, it won’t add any actual square footage but must be reflected in the overall budget of what it will cost to build the home.

Features like an outdoor living space, gourmet kitchen, and custom bathroom tiles all add greatly to the cost per square foot of your custom home and are the reason custom home prices fluctuate so much. This is why it is important to be upfront with your builders on your plans and wants for your new home. Do you want a spa like master bathroom? Will you have a state of the art chef’s kitchen? Do you want a custom outdoor fireplace?

Having a consultation with your custom home builder and designer beforehand is the best way to get a solid estimate on an overall price for your future home. Be upfront about all the features you plan to include and a good builder will be able to guide you through the cost and process of adding each feature to your home. The right builder will also be there to help you make the harder decisions like what to cut if necessary to stay within your budget.

At Whitmore Custom Homes we know pricing out a custom home is not an easy task but we are here to make the process simple and guide you through the entire custom home process. We provide examples of previous homes for inspiration and years of experience to help you choose the right budget and with all the right features! Be sure to contact Whitmore Custom Homes for all your custom home needs in the West Michigan area, including Ada, East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, Cascade, Rockford and surrounding areas! Give us a call at 616-446-3482 or contact us here!

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