Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Journey Home: Cost Estimates & Choosing a Builder

When we first sold our house, we chose 3 plans that ranged from 1800sqft to 2700sqft that we could use for comparison when getting cost estimates from builders.  We hadn't chosen our final plan yet, but we had to have something to use as a guide for what we could afford.  I'll refer to the first builder as Builder A and the second builder will be referred to as Mike because that's really his name.  Ha.  Ballpark figures from builders upon first meeting told us that the 2700sqft home was OUT OF THE QUESTION.   That home came in at $350,000 and $397,000 from Mike & Builder A, respectively.  Screwww that.  I want a nice house, but I'm not trying to go broke or anything.  So we started working with the 1800sqft model and figured we would work our way up from there if the estimates came in low.  For price quotes we gave them a general idea of what we wanted in our home and they shot back a general idea of how much it would cost to build it.  Nothing set in stone, nothing signed. 

This is the list I gave as far as what I had to have in addition to all of the general must haves:

Poured concrete basement walls (9ft)
Plumbing roughed into basement slab and framed for future finishing purposes
Hardwood floors throughout entire home, bathrooms will be tiled
Brick or stone to grade, Siding exterior, & dry stacked stone on front gables and on interior fireplace
Architectural 30 year roof shingles
High grade custom kitchen cabinets
Granite countertops in kitchen and all bathrooms
Stainless appliances

I know, that list is vague...but it's what I gave the builders to work with... and work with it they did.

Builder A came back with a quote of $325,000 plus $10,000 for well/septic, $5,000 for a graded driveway with gravel, and $2000 to prepare the yard.  That came to a whopping total of $342,000 just for the construction of an 1800 sqft house plus a bonus room.  And I knew we had to have a driveway because of neighborhood restrictions, so add that to the running total of $43,000 that we had already paid for land and we would've been sinking $385,000 (not even including a driveway) into an 1800 sqft home.  There is no way in HE(double hockey sticks) that we would pay that.  Even a dummy like me knows the house wouldn't appraise for that so it would be beyond crazy to spend that to build it.  Don't get me wrong, Builder A was super nice and his work is awesome....but seriously we couldn't see that happening.

I felt defeated and sad and started wishing we had never even sold our house.

Then my Daddy, who I'm convinced knows every person in our state and has limitless connections, hooked us up with one of his golfing buddies.  Mike...A contractor that spends his days building homes in a very nice neighborhood 1 hour from our town.  The standard selling price in this neighborhood is $315,000 for brand new houses that were identical to the size & style we were interested in including the land, many of the amenities I requested, AND a concrete driveway. Shut the front door!

Dad took him the 2286 sqft house plan and my list, and he came in at $260,000.  Now that's more like it.  We met with him and he gave us a tour of two homes he was building that were nearing completion, and we were super impressed with his work, his go-getter personality, and his prompt communication with us when I emailed or called him.  We knew we could afford more than $260,000 so we continued looking through plans until we discovered the plan we ultimately chose.  We chose Mike as our builder of course, and after meeting with him several times and discussing what we wanted in detail our cost-to build landed us right on top of $300,000.  So with our land and our home, we will have spent $343,000 total. (Update:  We went over that price!)

So far we have been completely satisfied with our builder because he keeps us in the know and calls us before any decisions are made.  He responds to my texts and phone calls within 5 seconds, and he is super knowledgeable about everything that we don't have a clue about.  When choosing a builder, I feel like communication and quality of work are key...but ultimately his reasonable pricing won us over.  Cheaper isn't always better, I know this.  But we know what we are getting because we have seen his work firsthand, so for that reason I'm very comfortable with our choice. 

In other news, the weather has finally given us a break and cleared up enough to work with the hole that they were digging in the ground 2 weeks ago.  We have footers y'all!  If you haven't built a house before and you're anything like me you're probably all like "What the what is a footer?"  I said the same thing.  But now that I actually see them in the ground I understand their purpose.  They are like an anchor in the ground for our future home.  Footers really shouldn't make me this excited, but we ride by our lot everyday on the way to work and just seeing action on it makes me so very happy. WooFrickinHoo!


This is Where We Started
Land & A Plan
This Post:  Cost Estimates & Choosing a Builder
Coming Up:  Detailed Cost Breakdown

4 comments:

*Anna* said...

cant wait to see the house!

Kelsey Almond said...

Me either! :)) Hopefully things will start moving along soon!

Kelsey Almond said...

Me either! :)) Hopefully things will start moving along soon!

concrete driveways cost said...

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