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Custom Home Building Cost Guide

Custom Home Building Cost Guide

Budget

The very first step in the process of designing your custom home is to establish the budget for the project. Once the budget has been established you need to determine what type of finishes you want in the home such as quartz countertops, stain grade doors, crown molding, tile flooring, etc. Once the level of finishes has been established you can figure a rough cost per square foot that it will take to build that type of home and then divide that out by your total budget number to see what size home you will be able to build with those finishes. During the design process, you will work directly with your design-build contractor who will make sure that your home is designed to meet your needs and budget. It is absolutely vital that you work with a contractor from the very beginning of the design phase in order to make sure the plans and finishes are designed to meet your budget. We have seen it happen many times where a complete set of plans have to be thrown away and a smaller or less elaborate home designed because the costs to build the original home came in much higher than expected.  

Here is an example of the design fees for a 2226 sq. ft. home with a 576 sq. ft. garage using a draftsman to draw the plans:

$10,000   Contractor  Value  Engineering, Design,
                           Budgeting & Selections

$5,565     Plans (Draftsman)

$3,302     Structural Engineering

$250        Title 24 Energy Calculations

$2,500     Interior Design

$21,617 – Total

Craftsman-Custom-Home-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc
Craftsman-Custom-Home-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc
Craftsman-Custom-Home-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc
Craftsman-Custom-Home-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

Plans & Design (Soft Costs)

The initial costs involved to get your home designed and the plans drawn will run between 3% to 5% of the overall cost to build your home. So if the total cost to build your home was $500,000 you could expect to spend $15,000 to $25,000 to get the design, budget, selections, plans, structural engineering & energy calculations completed & ready to submit to the local building department. The costs vary depending on if you hire a draftsman or architect and how complex the structural engineering is.               

Modern-Farmhouse-Custom-Home-in-Ramona-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc
Modern-Farmhouse-Custom-Home-in-Ramona-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc
Modern-Farmhouse-Custom-Home-in-Ramona-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

Here is an example of the design fees for a 4,400 sq. ft. custom home with a 1144 sq. ft. garage using an architect to draw the plans:

$16,500     Contractor Value Engineering, Design,                                Budgeting & Selections

$17,600     Plans (Architect)

$6,259       Structural Engineering

$600          Title 24 Energy Calculations

$10,000     Interior Design

    $50,959 – Total

Permits & Fees (Soft Costs)

Permits and fees including school fees, traffic impact fees, building plan check fees, park fees, building permit fees, septic layout & septic permit fees will run between $25,000 to $40,000 depending on the size of the home and its location. School fees are charged on a per square foot basis and will vary for different school districts. Traffic impact fees also vary depending on what location you are in. The numbers above include permits and fees for installing a private septic system & drilling a private water well. If you do not need a private septic system or water well installed you will need to contact your local sewer & water municipality to find out what the costs will
be to tie into the city sewer system & water supply. Tying into city sewer can cost upwards of $15,000 or more. Tying into the city water supply and getting a new water meter can cost upwards of $15,000 or more as well.

Here is an example of the fees for a 2226 sq. ft. home with a 576 sq. ft. garage on a septic system that is plan-checked through the San Diego County building department and located in Ramona, CA.

Custom-Farmhouse-Remodel-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc
Custom-Farmhouse-Remodel-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

$7,747    School Fees @ $3.48 sq. ft.
$4,119    Traffic Impact Fees
$2,331    Building Plan Check Fees
$5,582    Building Permit Fees
$4,500    Park Fees
$2,337    Septic Layout & Permit
$1,000    Permit Processing

  $27,616 – Total

Site Costs

The site costs for building a custom home will vary greatly depending on the land that you will be building your home on. The site costs will include grading, soils testing, BMP’s (erosion control), sprinklers, landscaping, drilling a water well, water storage tanks, booster pump and pressure tanks for water storage tank, septic system, electrical service line, propane or natural gas line, city sewer line connection, water meter connection, asphalt or concrete driveway and area drains. The average costs for all of these site costs typically falls between $50,000 to $125,000. If you are able to find a lot that had an original home on it that burned down in the Cedar or Witch Creek wildfires in San Diego County you will find that the site costs may be lower than $50,000 because all of the utilities are already to the building site and sometimes a good portion of the asphalt or concrete driveway is still in good shape. 

Below are some rough costs on what you can expect to spend on site costs. Utility connections and grading are not included as they vary greatly for each project.

$1,500 to $3,000 Soils Testing

$1,000 to $3,000 BMP’(Soils Erosion)

$25,000 to $35,000 Water Well, Storage Tanks & Pumps

$10,000 to $15,000 Septic System

$3.25-Per sq. ft. Asphalt Driveway

Build Cost

When we are figuring the costs to build a custom home we will look at similar projects we have built with similar finishes and evaluate the cost of three different parts of the home. They are the living area, covered porch area and the garage size. The most accurate way to get a rough or ballpark number on what it is going to cost to build your home is to break the home into these three parts . The reason for doing this is you can have a 2500 sq. ft. home with a 2000 sq. ft. wrap around porch and a two car garage and it will cost more to build than the exact same house and garage with only 500 sq. ft. of covered porch. Similarly if you had a 2500 sq. ft. home with a 1500 sq. ft. garage it is going to cost more to build than the same house with a two car garage that is 576 sq. ft. Another example is if you have a 2500 sq. ft. home with no garage it will be much cheaper to build that home. So using a blanket price per square foot to estimate the costs to build a custom home is just not an accurate way to figure the costs. Again, by breaking the costs into the three different

parts of living area, covered porch area and garage area you are able to get a much more accurate cost projection for building a custom home.

Below are examples of rough prices per square foot that you can use to figure for the living area, covered porches and garages. The bottom of the range is for a home with “Average” finishes & the upper range is for a home with “Upscale” finishes:

Costs to Build

$150 to $250 sq. ft. – Living Area

$45 to $65 sq. ft. – Covered Porches

$80 to $100 sq. ft. – Garage (Attached)

 

 

What affects price per square foot?

There are three other additional factors that can greatly affect the price per square foot to build a
custom home.

1.The first factor is the actual square footage itself. If you build a 4 bedroom 3 bath home that is 2500 sq. ft. the cost per square foot to build that home will be cheaper than if you built a 4 bedroom 3 bath home that is 2000 sq. ft. The reason for this is the smaller home has the exact same size kitchen and the exact same quantity of bathrooms. The kitchen and bathrooms are the most expensive areas of the home to build. When you take the same size kitchen and the same quantity and size of bathrooms and put them into the house with the smaller square footage the price per square foot will be higher on the smaller house. The cheapest square footage to build in the living area of the home is “open footage” which would be open area in the living room, hallways or bedrooms. These areas do not have cabinets, plumbing, countertops or electrical and are much cheaper to build per square foot.

2.The second factor that can greatly change the cost per square foot to build your home is the amount of bathrooms you have. Since the bathrooms are some of the most expensive parts of the home to build, the price per square foot of a 2500 sq. ft. home would be lower if it had 2 bathrooms versus the same size home with 3 or 4 bathrooms. Secondary bathrooms typically add $25,000 or more to the overall cost of a home. A master bath can add $40,000 on the low end and much more depending on how elaborate the design is.

3.The third factor that can greatly change the cost per square foot to build your home is the type of materials you choose to finish your home. These include exterior and interior finishes. For example: a home with a lot of stone veneer on the exterior, an elaborate siding design or Santa Barbara finish on the stucco will definitely increase the cost to build the home versus the same home without those finishes. Similarly on the interior of a home if you have wood windows, open beam ceilings, stain grade doors, stain grade wood trim, all tile floors, a smooth level 5 drywall finish, radiant floor heat and elaborate tile showers in all the bathrooms the price per square foot will be much higher than a home with fiberglass showers, LVP flooring, vinyl windows and drywall ceilings.

 

 

Custom Home Building Costs

Below are some rough cost examples of what you can expect to invest to build a custom home. These costs do not include the “plans & design”, “permits & fees” or “site costs” mentioned above. These numbers are strictly for the costs to build the structure of the home.

Price- $354,178

4 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
2226 sq. ft. – Living Area
576 sq. ft. – Garage
532 sq. ft. – Covered Porch
Average – Level of Finishes

Modern-Farmhouse-Custom-Home-in-Ramona-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

Price- $401,644

4 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
2189 sq. ft. – Living Area
540 sq. ft. – Garage
312 sq. ft. – Covered Porch
Average – Level of Finishes

Farmhouse-Ranch-Custom-Home-in-Ramona-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

Price- $424,732

4 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
2226 sq. ft. – Living Area
953 sq. ft. – Garage
730 sq. ft. – Covered Porch
Average – Level of Finishes

Craftsman-Custom-Home-in-Ramona-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

Price- $657, 863

4 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
2939 sq. ft. – Living Area
1144 sq. ft. – Garage
467 sq. ft. – Covered Porch
Custom – Level of Finishes

Custom-Farmhouse-Remodel-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

Price- $1,177,336

5 – Bedrooms
3 1/2 – Bathrooms
4399 sq. ft. – Living Area
1144 sq. ft. – Garage
714 sq. ft. – Covered Porch
Upscale – Level of Finishes

Craftsman-Custom-Home-in-Escondido-CA-by-Freemans-Construction-Inc

So to recap how to get the total costs to build your custom home you will need to add up the following:

3% TO 5% – PLANS & DESIGN

+ PERMITS & FEES
+ SITE COSTS

+ BUILDING COSTS

    =

TOTAL COST

TO BUILD

YOUR HOME

You will also need to factor in the cost to purchase the land if you do not have it already
bought and the cost to get financing.

We hope that you find that this pricing information for building a custom home was
helpful and informative. If you have more questions you can email Bill Freeman at
bill.freeman@tfgonline.com or Brian Freeman at
brian@tfgonline.com. You can also call the office at 760-788-6846 or visit our website at www.tfgonline.com. You can also look us up on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.

Freeman’s Construction Inc. has been building custom homes and completing whole house remodeling projects in San Diego County for over 38 years. To schedule a project consultation please call us today at 760-788-6846 or fill out a request at www.tfgonline.com.

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