One of the most often asked questions is: “what is your price per square foot”?

Lenders, appraisers, real estate agents all use the term “price per square foot” but when you build a new home you cannot in all fairness compare homes by that criterion.

There are numerous opportunities for a homebuyer today to be misled and often confused when trying to sort out the “price per square foot” dilemma. However, there are a number of categories where questions can be asked to help sort out the data being used to calculate the ‘per sq. ft.’ costs.


Question # 1

Is the cost of the land included? For an accurate figure of the cost of just the structure, you must remove the cost of the land and all site improvements to the land.


Question #2:

What square footage was included in the calculation? In this area we do not include the space in garages, unfinished basements, porches, decks and patios.


Question #3:

What is the style of the home? For example, a one story ranch has more basement and roof than a two story of the same size therefore costing more to build.


Question # 4:

What materials were used in construction? You can have two identical homes sitting next to each other and the price per square foot will differ quite widely based on the materials used by the Builder.


Other key factors:

Design features such as sophisticated rooflines and grand two story entryways cost more but do not add to a home’s square footage, thus adding to the cost per square foot. Other features affecting cost include vaulted and cathedral ceilings versus flat, tub/shower versus a whirlpool tub set in a ceramic tile deck and vinyl flooring versus ceramic tile.


Obvious but often overlooked:

Labor costs vary with plumbers, electricians, heating contractors, carpenters, drywallers, flooring installers and painters. A builder has more quality control by building with their own employees and enjoying long-standing relationships with quality subcontractors.

Cost per square foot seems like a very fair way to compare prices and builders but with all of the variables the number itself can be used in a misleading way by an unscrupulous builder!

Fine Line Homes maintains an extensive database of costs and can typically price out a home during a meeting with a Housing Consultant.