Tag Archives: new home construction

Tips for New Home Building

I have been receiving emails lately asking advice about New Home Building. As you may or may not know, we offer Custom Home Building services, and would be happy to chat with you about your personal questions or concerns!

A new home is going to cost between $100 and $150 per square foot, plus land costs, plus driveway, landscaping, sidewalks, etc. When you build a new home, there is a lot of extra expenses that the builder does not usually mention.

We are a different kind of builder, where we want you to know up front the true overall costs that you need to budget for.

When building a new home today, the things that matter are different than years ago when energy was cheap. Today you should consider high efficiency products that will cost more up front, but will cost less in the long run.

Although there are at least 100 decisions that affect the price, the biggest price difference is the decision to go with full brick or not.

I built a new home in Romeo in 2009. It is a 3000 sq. ft. ranch with a full finished walk-out basement, including upgrades to all phases of construction. The cost was $450,000 ($150/sq. ft.), including the yard, driveway, landscaping, full brick, 3 car garage, a swimming pond, and 5 acres of land.

So if you build a 1,500 sq. ft. ranch with some high efficiency products, no finished basement, brick front, sided sides and back, etc. I would expect the price to be closer to $150,000 plus land, and extras, for a total of $250,000 +/-.

That being said, can you buy a 1,500 sq. ft. home, and fix it up to what you want in a home for less than $250,000? It really depends on your priorities. My personal feelings are that a new home is a better value for several reasons, the main one being energy efficiency, and the fact that it would be 100% brand new. We can design the home to be exactly what you want in terms of room sizes, etc, to make sure that no square footage is wasted on rooms that don’t get used. (i.e. the front living room of most older ranches).

As the housing market comes back, home values will rise, and the newer homes will rise the fastest, especially if they have incorporated high efficiency and low cost of ownership into the design.

The cost of building is also going to rise rapidly, as soon as the demand for new homes comes back, because suppliers and sub-contractors have been waiting anxiously to raise prices as soon as demand increases for their services.

We build anywhere – in the woods, or subdivisions – doesn’t matter to us.

Step 1 is to decide on a house plan, so that the width of the home is known.

I recommend that you look at the “Cool House Plans” web site (www.coolhouseplans.com) and pick out a home that you like. But don’t buy the plans – just write down the plan number and send it to me. With the plan number, I can tell you how much it would cost to build.


Step 2 is to obtain land that the home will fit on with at least 10 ft. extra on either side. (A 40 ft. wide home would need at least a 60 ft. wide lot, etc.)

Some things to consider when looking at land:

  • Flat is cheaper to build on.
  •  Look up, and stay away from giant towers with overhead wires.
  •  Nearby airports are noisy.
  •  School system reputation affects resale value.
  • Trees are expensive to remove.
  •  Dirt roads are hell on vehicles, and lowers resale value.
  •  Try to buy a lot where the rear faces south or west.
  •  Square lots are better than deep ones.
  •  Main roads and Mile roads lower resale value.

For more information, email Dave Kopke: davekopke@kopkehome.com