Custom built house

Any builders here? Imagine I’d like to get a small 1,400 sq. ft, 1 floor + basement house built based on an existing house from the late 50s. I already own the land, got the blueprints, and the permits squared away. All that’s left is building the house (and hooking up the utilities, which obviously varies from city to city.) Can anyone tell me roughly how much construction would cost for an extremely simple house like this:

Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks! :slight_smile:

Sorry, I have no idea what building a custom house costs, but I love that type of house. Good luck getting it built!

I wouldn’t think it can be too expensive, but I’m totally clueless. Maybe someday I can have one built!

go to a building contractor with the plan or use home design software with cost feature. you enter parameters for aspects of the house and it spits out a rough cost.

Shouldn’t you tell us where you live? Isn’t that likely to affect costs?

Obviously it depends a great deal on how much you want to spend on appliances, hardware, lighting, floors, etc

You can do it for around $100-$125 per square foot, probably. Or, it could get a lot more expensive.
I’ll admit that I’ve only built high end homes, so I’m not exactly sure how the costs would translate to something of that size.

Your location is very relevant here. Building costs vary widely across the country. The only thing that makes that house look expensive to build (to me) is the windows, which are pretty non-standard, and might bring the cost up a fair bit. Other than that, yes, it depends on what materials you want to use on the inside.

$75/sq foot on the cheap. $300/sq foot top end…

I’m only slightly kidding.

Small houses are more expensive per square foot than large ones. “Custom-built” is always more than a standard plan, which is more than a manufactured home, in turn more than a converted trailer. Most builders build in a certain price range with standard crews (sub contractors) who build a standard way to that builder’s home type. They may not even know how to build the type of roof you want. It’s sort of like the difference between you putting in your own garage door opener where it takes all day because you have to learn everything as you go, and the guy who can do it in 30 minutes because he’s done a hundred.

Try a couple of approaches: look at manufactured homes such as Wausau to get an idea of the low end cost/sq foot just to build. Approach several builders and get an estimate. Or consider using some estimating software, e.g. Resi-Cost® Online Residential Cost Estimator :: Builders Websource®

One other way is to build it cost-plus; that way you can get a builder to custom-build it but you take the risk of the “custom” part.

I’ve built all our homes the last 30 years. It’s a lot of fun but a lot of anxiety if you have no experience.
If you outsource the whole thing a builder is going to make his own estimate and then add in profit and padding; perhaps on the order of 20%. Decisions you make are huge and for that reason it’s almost impossible for an outsider to give you an estimate. Consider that windows alone can vary 3 or 4-fold for the same size, and several fold depending on the kind and total glazing required. Consider that a refrigerator could be $500 or $5,000. Consider the difference between a drop-in pre-molded tub surround and custom tiling. etc etc etc

Thanks for the information everyone :slight_smile: Well, I’m considering possibly having the house built in PA being that I currently live and work around Philadelphia. I’m thinking that if I can get a house built like that for $150,000 or less… it may be worth it (moneywise, not headachewise!) because with the added price of land it would almost be about the same as buying a cheaper (for the area at least) existing house. The benefit would be that I would be getting the exact house I want as opposed to settling for something else.

Actually, that’s pretty good. Here in CA, more towards the high end.

No. Larger homes often have more expensive features. Your statement would be true only if the exact same materials are being used.

My experience is more like Chief Pendant’s. What you are talking about is upscale neighborhoods that don’t have small homes.

Big houses in a given neighborhood tend to be two story buildings on the same lot size and using the same infrastructure and even a similar slab size. As I recall when, I bought my house in 2003, the 2800 square foot house was only about $30k more than one with 1700 square feet.

Having recently built a custom house my advice would be to find at least 3 general contractors in the area who are interested in the project. (Don’t be surprised if some of the ones you talk to aren’t interested because it’s a relatively small house and they may not see enough profit in it to make it worth their while). As was mentioned previously, the price will depend to a large extent on the finishes. A 2X4 is a 2X4, but you can spend $150 on a stove or $1,500, so you need to do some window shopping so that the contractor knows what finishes you want, including counter tops and flooring. (In many cases the contractor will provide you with an allowance for your finishes so that you can pick out whatever you want as long as it is less than or equal to the allowance, but that will force you to pre-select what you want to make sure you stay within the budget).

You have the land they can go look at so you can just take your plans and your list of finishes (if appropriate) and let them bid it out for you. You will be surprised at the range in bids you get for building the exact same house. Why is there such a range? Some contractors need to make a lot more profit than others due to overhead. Some contractors are hungry and will take less profit while others are busy and will charge you more. Some contractors consider themselves “high end” and expect you to pay more because of who they are. Let them all know that you are getting a number of competitive bids and that you aren’t looking for the cheapest one but the one with the best value. Make sure you factor in the work schedule if the completion date is important to you. If possible, choose contractors that you have heard of or that have been used by friends before… check with the local Better Business Bureau to make sure there aren’t a lot of complaints filed against them, and always insist on a signed contract before you hand anybody any money.

One other suggestion… mid-century houses are cool, I grew up in a 1960’s Eichler in Northern CA, but they weren’t particularly efficient compared to houses that are built today. Having a lot of glass usually means a lot of money to heat in the winter. Try to be be green but also energy efficient since it’s unlikely that heating costs will be going down any time soon. The house we just built in Montana has a ground source heat pump which saves a bundle on heating costs in the winter. The system cost more than a conventional heating system, but the rebates from the state paid for the increased cost and I benefit from the savings every day.