Lori and her husband have lived in their production builder tract house for a number of years. They recently found the lot of their dreams and are now looking for a local builder to construct a new home for them. Lori’s the researcher in the family, so she’s taken to the internet looking for inspiration and advice. While searching, she’s come across several inexpensive “build on your lot” type builders offering quotes of $35 to $55 per square foot. Her first reaction is it’s a price too good to be true, especially for a quality Northern Virginia home, but it has her thinking – could she actually find a bargain builder who will give her and her husband a well-built home for a price they can afford?
Lori’s now looking for some input and reassurance from friends, family and online forums. She knows if they go this route they’ll be paying extra for some upgrades like nicer flooring, countertops and fixtures, but the one builder she’s most interested in has a long list of “standard” features included that seem reasonable. Lori’s biggest concern, then, is whether this builder’s work will be of inferior quality. She’s gotten plenty of feedback.
The Pros and Cons of an Inexpensive Builder
The type of home that Lori is considering can be delivered at such a low cost per square foot for one simple reason: builders like this offer limited floor plans that can be built over and over using similar materials. In fact, the floor plans are one design that at times may be reversed, or include different option packages, with those options meeting local codes, but not exceeding them.
Price is often the deciding factor for people choosing these lower-cost build on your lot companies. But the savings realized depend on what the price is being compared to. Yes, there will be a significant per square foot difference when compared to a higher-quality custom built home, as one is meant to be inexpensive and the other is built to appeal to an entirely different market.
- Pros, obviously include the lower price. Other appealing factors are a floor plan that works for many people, and standard finishes and fixtures that meet many homeowner’s needs.
- Because these homes are built with price-point as their top consideration, the biggest cons would be the quality sacrificed in favor of cost savings. Framing components, carpet grades, shingle weight, and the like also will also be of lesser quality. Lastly, these home have a real disadvantage when it comes to resale value.
So let’s return to Lori’s biggest concern: will the finished product be of inferior quality? That depends. Some experts don’t recommend focusing on a basic, bottom line price per square foot. Instead, they suggest people consider starting where they want to end up. In other words, think about and add in all those upgrades, as well as what it would cost to have an energy-efficient home that will only increase in value, as you make your decision.
At Foley, we design a range of custom built homes at a competitive price that may surprise you. If you’re thinking about building a custom home on the lot of your dreams, talk to us about how affordable it can really be to own a quality Northern Virginia home. We look forward to meeting you!