blueprintsWhen you are talking about new construction what’s the first thing people want to talk about? Square footage cost. For some reason the primary conversation focuses around the cost of each square foot as a way to compare builders.

What is your cost per square foot? Builder says $129, Builder B says $145, Builder C says $165, Builder D says $189

Most consumers are socialized to think Builder A is the best deal and therefore that is who they should build with. But what is included, and maybe more importantly, what is not included in that cost per square footage? What will the quality of the home that Builder A constructed be like in ten years? Are all of the options you wanted included in that price or is it a low square footage cost but when you add all of the options you wanted it’s higher than Builder C?

In the building industry there is no agreed upon standard as to what is included in cost per square foot. Does it include all square footage, finished and unfinished, garages, decks, landscaping, upgraded options or bare minimums to meet building code? Are the materials and labor costs the exact same quality when you are comparing square footage? There is the trap for consumers: each builder decides what is included in their square footage costs. That is totally confusing and not in the best interest of potential buyers because it’s not a reliable way to compare builders and what you are getting in your new home. Does it make sense to base your largest financial decision on a completely inaccurate measure?

The lesson here is that the prospective client needs to determine what is included in the cost per square footage if they are going to use that as a determining factor in choosing a builder. Each builder needs to help buyers understand what’s included in their cost per square footage as well as other factors that make that builder a great choice. The question of cost per square foot may never go away, and that is because perfectly reasonable consumers will continue to seek a way to make sense of massive volume of information, advertising, and sales propositions, and find a simple, quantifiable unit of measurement.

Our suggestion is to ask better questions “What’s included in your cost per square foot? Do you have a list of options that are not included in cost per square footage? How long have your vendors and trades worked with your business? What’s your rate of completing homes on time? Do clients often give their builder referrals?

Once the square footage discussion has been had, both the builder and prospective client can focus on the viability of the project and the possibility of working together. After all the most important thing is choosing a builder who is a good match for what you want and can provide a positive experience while Designing & Building Lasting Memories in your new custom home.