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Well, I've been quite productive drafting monkey today. I've spent the last few hours playing with the new version of Autocad and drawing up some new floorplans to give to the RE.

I still have a decent bit of work to do though. Drawing these designs up got me thinking though.

So far we've built two of the buildings that I've designed, but in both cases, the design was largely driven by clients. The first building was the first house we built last year where the lady basically told us how much space she wanted for everything and I figured out how to put that into a coherent house. The second was the duplexes we built on Trowbridge. Those were built for us, but I based the division of space on what we had built before. So even though the layout is very different from what we had built, the ratio of public space to bedrooms/bathrooms etc... was fairly similar.

So now the designs I'm doing are pretty much just based on the lots that are available and I'm trying to make them as appealing as possible to people who might want to buy a house. With a little luck, this should be a nice entry into the home builder market. Heh, yeah a little luck being defined as an assload of work and planning and some good fortune too. It's a bit nerve racking though. I'm drawing up designs that I want people to like enough to pay us to build them. Perhaps this isn't rocket science, but still. Putting your work out there in the hopes that people dig it is surprisingly stressful. Particularly when it would be a Very Good Thing business-wise if you do well at this.

Oh well, back to the grind before I really freak myself out about this.



Not including the cost of the land itself, you'd probably be looking at $55-$65 per square foot of new construction if it's not in a swanky neighborhood/area.

That's a pretty rough guess though, you can significantly influence the cost in either direction depending on what your long term plans are and what you wanted to build etc... Still though, for a house with relatively normal features that's a good starting point.


No problem. I like talking about this stuff. Feel free to ask whatever comes to mind, I may not always have the answers, but I like figuring this stuff out too.

Usually when you hear #s like $/SF it includes everything (even the land). When someone says $/SF of construction they're explicitly removing the land from the equation. In your case I would imagine that you'd first want to find a nice piece of land near some prime (and ideally permanent) riding areas and then you'd build a house on that. This isn't a bad way to go because if you find some good land and you buy it outright, that can later serve as collateral when you want to get a mortgage to build a new house (in which case you might not need a down payment).

The utilities can be a big question mark. If you're talking about bringing them into the house from the street that's usually included in the price of whatever is being done. However, if you're buying something on the outskirts of town, you can run into situations where some or all of your utilities are off the grid in which case things like wells, septic tanks, etc... can increase the price (but not excessively). Dealing with utilities can be an annoying detail to deal with, but unless a utility company wants to make you pay for some of the infrastructure (e.g. around here the Water Co. can insist that people pay to extend sewer & water mains to serve their property and that can easily run in the thousands) it usually won't take a huge bite out of your home-building budget.

The real value in having an approximate price per SF is that it gives you an idea of what your dream house will run you. A lot of times home building ends up being a question of making compromises and long term scheduling (e.g. waiting a couple of years to build the pool but setting up stables right away) and you can often maximize how much cool stuff you get if you plan ahead and prioritize what you want/need in your new home.