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How to Estimate the Price-Per-Square-Foot for Building a Home

April 9, 2019

Recently, Tim Rawlings gave our readers some insight into building a home on your land. This discussion prompted questions about the cost of homebuilding from the ground up. Once again, we’ve turned to McGuinn Hybrid Homes’ expert to offer his take on how to estimate the price-per-square-foot for building a single-family home. Tim says you first need to start by understanding what’s included in the price. “Most people see a price and think that is everything.” You can’t make assumptions, so be sure to cover all of the following components with the builder:
  • Site preparation
  • The shell, which is the basic frame of the home, without any additions or even the foundation
  • Insulation
  • 4-inch versus 6-inch studs
  • Foundation
  • Doors and windows
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Drywall
  • Floor covering
  • Wall covering (paint, wallpaper)
  • Stairways
  • Cabinets and countertops for the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Trim and other special woodwork (e.g., crown molding, wainscoting, coffered ceiling)
  • Landscaping
  • Labor
  • Home plans
  • Permit fees
  • Inspection fees
The cost of building materials in a certain area will be impacted by the builder’s purchasing ability. A custom builder, for example, doesn’t purchase materials in high volume, so they pay a higher price. A company that works with their own plans is able to forecast their materials needs and can take advantage of volume discounts, which reduces the price to the homebuyer. This level of experience with the floor plans also prevents them from making mistakes in the quantities they need, like lumber and sheet rock. Labor presents another variable. You’re basically paying for time here, so greater efficiency equates to a lower price. When a crew is working with plans for the first time, they’ll use more man-hours. The building plans can be a significant factor in the total cost of your home. The design and floor plans for a custom home can cost $30,000 or more. You can purchase a set of plans online for about $1,000. McGuinn Hybrid Homes includes any of our plans in our price. A dollar here, a dollar there per square foot—it all adds up to potentially paying more than you need, a lot more. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has the experience to carefully estimate each home we build. Our homebuyers choose one of our plans and then personalize it to fit their specific needs and style. We also include a basic landscaping package, something that is an add-on for many homebuilders. Our price is $64 to $84 per square foot for a single-family home using a McGuinn Hybrid Homes plan. In the Columbia, SC, area, a custom builder averages about $120 per square foot. When you choose the homesite or choose to build on your land, we’ll give you an all-inclusive price—and that will remain the price unless you make changes. This price also reflects our high standard for energy efficiency, adding even more lasting value to your home. Your home warranty is also factored into the price of building your new home. All questions and claims are handled directly by McGuinn Hybrid Homes. We don’t hand it off to a third-party. When you’re ready to build a new home in or around Columbia, trust the team at McGuinn Hybrid Homes to give you the quality design and construction, personal attention, and follow-through you deserve for your investment. Let’s talk about your ideas and see how we can work together, so that the only surprise you experience with your home is not the cost, but how fantastic it is!  

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