All too often we see homeowners asking for a price based on a simple floor-plan and elevation they found online. You are running a great risk with this method of pricing! The prices you will get can be nothing but guesses and as an educated consumer you should understand this. Typically you will get 2 kinds of prices; underbid so the builder can gain a foothold with you or overbid so the builder covers the unknown. Both are of marginal use to you, but the underbid is the most dangerous. Nightmares come from a builder constantly handing you change-orders or finding out afterwards what is "not included".
The solution? Invest in proper plans and specify what you want as much as you can before having a builder price it. With complete plans and specifications you have a roadmap to follow and so does your builder. Make your plan and work your plan!
So many times customers begin a conversation with "what is your price per square foot". We do not think that is a viable way to shop for a custom built home. Certain builders have developed this marketing method to influence buyers, but it is a just a marketing game. The game is to strip out all possible items (landscaping, insurance, driveway) to lower the "advertised" price per square foot. Then they include garage and porch square footage which also dramatically reduces the price per square foot price as well.
As the consumer you are left to sort out this marketing ploy. The true price per square foot should be based on heated space only and the reality is that you have more influence over the cost than your builder, based on your selections. Make sure you understand what is included in a price per square foot cost as it is not usually a fair apples-to-apples comparison.
We believe a better way is to shop is by total cost and compare what is included in this cost (or what is not). After all, your real interest is to get all the quality possible for the budget you have available!
Over the years we have discovered that customers want the transparency of cost-plus pricing but do not want the risk involved in this method. We have developed a unique pricing platform that gives our customers the assurance of a fixed-cost project but also has the reassurance of an open-book cost plus project. Our unique "Cost Assurance" pricing gives you the best of all worlds, creating a hybrid of both!
We price our homes in two phases, fixed and variable.