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By Steve in Columbus, GA on 6/28/2007


I am looking to compare my estimate of construction costs with what others have actually used. Please use this thread to post your construction budget, if you built within the last two years. Please also include the square footage, city, state, when you built and duration of construction.

Thanks,

Steve


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By Mark in Seattle, WA on 9/25/2007


Steve,

Get a copy of the 2007 (or 2008 if it's out) Means Cost Estimator. It will be more help than somebody telling you what they remember paying for what sounds like similar construction. I paid $80 sf for 1,100 square feet, but it's bermed into a hill, that included geotech reports, building permits, only lower kitchen cabinets, two story, no tub, vinyl flooring, etc. Too many variables to really help you. Get the Means book.

Moderate Mark


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By Barbara in Gladstone, OR on 9/26/2007


Hi Steve,

You might try building-cost.net. It is an online calculator. If any O-Bs have used this tool I would be curious to know if it came close to actual numbers.

Thanks!

Barbara


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By Bob in New Florence, PA on 9/30/2007


I just tried building-cost.net to see what it would say, and it estimated out at about $510,000 which is probably what it would cost through a GC for my project. However, we are doing it for $230,000. So for me in my area, it was pretty high.
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By Barbara in Gladstone, OR on 10/9/2007


Hi Bob,

I was wondering if you have a blog on this site or if you would mind sharing more information about your build?

Thanks!

Barbara


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By Bob in New Florence, PA on 10/9/2007


Bob's Blog

Try this link, Barbara. I am still adding spreadsheets and other stuff to it as time allows. My wife does a lot of that on our PC, and I am usually on the laptop.


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By Barbara in Gladstone, OR on 10/10/2007


Bob,

I enjoyed looking through your Blog. It looks like you are making great progress! Thanks for posting the link.

Barbara


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By Eric in Seaville, NJ on 2/27/2008


Hi Steve,

I'll be finished in April, so all of the numbers are actual except for the furniture, which is now much higher. I'm in Seaville, NJ (Cape May County) Home is 4,510 sq ft. Broke ground September 24th, and should be in by 4/11.

Hope this helps.

P.S. Got the template off of this site.

Eric


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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 2/28/2008


I just started using this budgeting system: home-cost.com. It comes with a guarantee and is also expensive--but extremely detailed.
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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 2/28/2008


Bob,

What is the square footage on your house (under roof, including garage)?

Pat


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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 2/28/2008


I just ran my numbers through Building-Cost.net vs. the Home-Cost.com and they weren't even close. Building-Cost came up with $265,000 total cost and Home-Cost came up with $382,000 (both without general contractor mark-up).  That's $112/sq foot vs $162/sq foot. For California, the $162/sq ft is very reasonable. I don't see how it's possible to build below $150/sq. ft. here unless you are planning on doing the majority of all the work yourself.
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By Bob in New Florence, PA on 2/28/2008


Pat,

We have 2,125 feet on the first floor of our Ranch house. The basement, which we are finishing, is also the same size. So we have 4,250 sq ft of habitable space. The garage is 780 sq ft. We also have an attic space that runs through the entire middle of the house and garage. Haven't tallied that up yet. So all totaled, house and garage, we're around 5,000 sq ft. We borrowed $230,000 and had $20,000 cash into the excavation, sand mound, land purchase, etc. We purchased 2.25 acres of wooded ground for $10,500. So, $250,000 to build.
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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 2/28/2008


Wow! That's a lot of house for $250,000 total. You've done a great job! 

California is killing us! Our 2.5 acres was $159,000 and most half acre lots go for $130,000, so we got a real steal on the land. Plus, our permits, county fees, and utility hook-up fees are coming in at $28,000. The real kicker--we have a steep slope on our driveway (600 feet long) and the county requires it to be paved so that's an additional $30,000. So, we are up to $217,000 and haven't even broken ground yet. Don't even get me started that the county requires ALL windows to be made with tempered glass. Ugh! Frankly, if we can't find about $50,000 to cut somewhere, we won't be able to break ground this year.


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By Bob in New Florence, PA on 2/28/2008


Thanks Pat, my wife did an outstanding job planning and shopping. Our bank is in the process of trying to hire her as an owner-builder consultant. We followed The Owner-Builder Book as closely as possible and we literally took a year to plan this. Our build from footprint to the move-in day took six months and ten days, so we were pretty pleased.

We were at the house every day, myself and my father-in-law have a lot of sweat equity in it. We saved several thousand dollars doing a lot of work ourselves. The problem now is that everyone we know wants to try and build the way we did and you try to explain to them that if you can't dedicate the time to it, you may want to look at other options.


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By Lisa in Fredericksburg, VA on 2/29/2008


Our three acres cost us $111K. My father's three acres down the road assessed this month for $190K, every other three-acre lot in the area is "for sale" for over $230K. So, we are getting a good deal here (and this is Virginia, not California and we're one hour outside of DC).

Currently, we're in the planning stage for the home -- total budget is about $412K. This is for building a 3,600 square foot house on a full basement (about 1,800 square feet) with a 23x24 garage and a 10'7"x25 workshop. We are building ICF from basement to roof. My goal is to actually build the house for $375K. So far, everything I have budgeted has been way high over my actual bids. ICF is $10K less, geothermal HVAC is $8K less, kitchen cabinets are $8K less... saving $2K in the second and third bathrooms, flooring is down by $6K--I'm almost there!


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By Guy in San Luis Obispo, CA on 4/5/2008


The unnerving website contractorsfromhell.com has a link to an interesting web-based project management program at buildIT.com. It comes with a free trial period and is worth a look. Really enjoying your posts and journal.

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By Miriam in San Antonio, TX on 5/3/2008


Here's a copy of my construction budget.
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By Dave in Richmond, CA on 5/3/2008


Thanks! Very nice of you to post this -- a great help.

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By Guy in San Luis Obispo, CA on 5/3/2008


Here's a budget post from Jon in Hawaii: ownerbuilderbook.com/Message15950
I toured the house last December with Jon. It's a package home with all the lumber shipped from Oregon! I'm looking into green construction, possibly rammed earth to minimize the amount of imported materials to the islands. I'll post costs as I get them sorted out, though they won't mean much for conventional construction comparisons. I highly recommended before the architect website found in Resources here. That guy knows standard frame construction like nobody's business and posts a lot of free info at his blog. Also of note are links at Home Depot's (I think) website to daily lumber prices, since it is priced daily as a commodity. Many Canadian lumber firms have gone bankrupt though, so not sure how that's going to affect things. Aloha, hopefully soon.

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By Douglas in Sacramento, CA on 5/13/2008


How much square footage are you doing? Assuming it's a full house, it seems like a very good deal. Although the roofing seems amazingly low. In Sacramento I got four bids for roofing and the very low outlier was from a company that I later found out several people gave negative reviews to on Angie's list and also there are some complaints on the CSLB website. The other three were about the same at $3,500 for roof over about 1,000 sf (garage + addition, with a tie-in and hip roof). Also the framing cost is very reasonable at under $7K. My next lowest bid was $9,900. Also you should check that the HVAC is properly sized for your house. It may be, but you may want to be sure you know what they are using.


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By Miriam in San Antonio, TX on 5/19/2008


Hi there, our home is a little under 2,000 square feet (living space). The roof is being done by our contractor and his sons. I am going to double-check on the A/C size. We are so far getting a good deal. We got approval for the loan and are just waiting on a final line-item budget breakdown to submit to the bank. Once that is completed, we should close on the loan in three weeks and then will be able to get started.

FYI...

Our contractor said the price of lumber is going down, so we may be able to save a little more money. I can't wait! We are waiting on our plot/site plan to be ready (tomorrow) and then we will be submitting it for permits.

Also...

We just visited a home two streets down from our lot and they used the same subs our contractor did and their house was awesome... except they were selling it for $269,000... way out of our budget. Our contractor's highest-selling home was $199,000. Our house will be of similar grade; we have a lot of the upgrades that they have. However, we will be doing some of the upgrades ourselves. We are installing bracing for our LCD TV’s, surround sound, fiber optic wiring, and prewiring the alarm system. We are providing our own appliances, plumbing fixtures and electrical fixtures. We didn’t use all of the subs offered by our contractor. We did some legwork and found our own too, but have his subs as backups in case they fall through.

Also after visiting the more expensive home, I told my fiancé we could tile our own backsplash and guest bath to save some money. Floor and decor has some tumbled travertine tile that comes on a net... all you have to do is install and then grout it. We will probably go that direction. I have a friend whose husband works for a tile store and they will be getting our tile for about $.77/sq ft (18x18 in). I really want my dad to install our tile because he does such a great job, but I’m afraid it may be too much work for him to take on at his age. So that is still up in the air... if anything we will have him supervise the tile work. He's a perfectionist and is less likely to miss something then we are.

Well, I will post some more as we progress... This is our first home! Words can't express how excited we are!


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 8/22/2008


Barbara,

My build is almost complete so I tried that cost calculator out of curiosity. It was way, way off. It said $1.2 million. I don't know if that was supposed to include land but in the house cost I only spent $300,000. My 8 acres were another $80,000. I think those numbers might be very discouraging to people.
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By Barbara in Gladstone, OR on 10/1/2008


Faye,

I had not been to building-cost.net in a while and they have completely changed the site. The calculator is more detailed yet it seems to be giving estimates that are much higher. I would agree that those numbers would discourage a lot of people.  In the past, the criticism was that building-cost.net was too low, but it seemed to be pretty close for our area. 

Barbara


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 10/1/2008


Barbara, I think it also took into account my acreage, which would explain the higher cost. However with the current real estate market, it is difficult to get accuracy there. My bank did an appraisal and it came in at $550K, while the calculator came in at over $1 million. I would suggest that people thinking about O-B'ing should get a local appraisal and then go from there to see where they can save $$.

In my, area general contractors get about 20% of the cost to build. So if you act as your own GC, you can knock 20% off right there. I also did a lot of shopping around and storing materials. I am doing quite a lot of the labor on my home and have been lucky to get really reasonable bids for the rest of the work. My cost is coming in at right around $255K. That seems very low but a huge amount of planning, preparation, and work went into that savings.
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