If you’re shopping for a new home, price is undoubtedly one of the things you consider. Many factors go into generating the price of a home.
Occasionally we get asked how much our new homes cost per square foot. The answer depends on a multitude of variables, some of which you might not have considered.
The differences that are apparent are based on the house itself. In a custom home, or semi-custom home, the architecture, and finishes, many of which are chosen by the homeowner, influence the final cost. But there are factors beyond the homeowner’s preferences that can also impact the price.
One of these aspects is the location. You’ve heard of “location, location, location” – well there can be a widespread difference between the costs of the same home design built in different locations. And it’s not just the town or city – the homesite itself plays a role. Regulations and permitting vary from location to location. An accurate price estimate takes these variables into account.
Some homesite conditions that affect price are simple to understand. For example, it costs more to build on a sloped lot than a flat one, due to extra excavation. A very steep slope might require the added cost of an engineer’s survey. And a home with a walk-out basement will require a more expensive foundation.
Another thing that influences the price is the soil itself – foundation costs will vary depending on if you are building on sand, rock, or clay. How close the water table is to the surface is another variable.
Nature plays a part – but so do people. Some of the highest costs are for regulations and services. The price of permitting has skyrocketed in the last few years. The National Home Builders Association (NAHB) estimates that the cost of complying with government regulations has risen about 30 percent in the past five years alone. And the increases, and number of permits required vary among municipalities. In general, permits are higher in an urban area than in the country.
Similarly, utilities in the city versus the country can vastly differ. Some cities charge more than $30,000 for water taps alone. Fees may be less in the outer suburbs or countryside, but then the services might not be available, and you’d have to add in the cost of wells and septic systems. And even if the water, electric and sewers are available, there might be costs for a long trench to have them reach your property.
If the lot you are planning to purchase is in a community governed by a homeowner association (HOA), then understand that their architectural guidelines and covenants can influence the price as well.
Knowing that location, soil, lot conditions, utilities and the presence of an HOA play a large part in establishing a final price to build; if a builder quotes a square-foot price over the phone without taking these factors into consideration, then take that estimate with some skepticism knowing it’s not exact.
Our team will personally visit your homesite to see if there are any issues that may affect your new home build. After this in person visit, we’ll review all options with you and provide a much more accurate cost to build. Explore more about our Build on Your Lot program here. And, if you’re interested we can also Buy Your Property where you can either rebuild or look for a new dream home location. The Sekas Homes team can assist you in all manners necessary to building your new Northern Virginia home.