The Truth About Cost Per Square Foot

“What is your cost per square foot?” is the most frequently question we are asked and for good reason: people want to get a sense how much home they can afford. But does it provide accurate information?

The simple answer is no. The cost per square foot method tends to mislead unaware homebuyers and there is no clear definition of what services and finishes are included in the multiplier. Using a 2D multiplier to figure the cost of a 3D structure leaves a good number of gaps and may not accurately factor for windows, siding type, roof design, decks, dormers, and other items that add cost but not square footage.

The other gap in this method is what is counting toward the square footage total? Some outfits use the total livable space in the area, others factor the space inside the exterior walls, while others use the total exterior dimensions, and some factor decks, garages & basement in the total square footage area. One interesting article about apartments in New York City sheds some light on why square footage can altered to imply one place is a better deal than others.

When building a custom home, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to compare costs per square foot across the board because so much goes into building a custom home. The cost per square footage method doesn’t provide clear details to make an informed decision. So how can potential homeowners get a sense of cost and to make sure they are comparatively shopping?

Our Approach. Rather than using generic multipliers that confuse more than help, we have a different method designed to provide detailed information. Our Conceptual Design Study (CDS) does not require much time or any money from the potential homeowner and at the same time delivers a clear, line itemed, breakdown of the project. Our CDS is clearly laid out so that every item that is included in the cost is listed out. Click here to see our CDS sample

Since 1970, our professional staff of Project Managers have worked with thousands of home owners across three states on the design and plan of their new home. Contact us to learn more and see how we can help.

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