A Look at Other Costs
Less obvious but equally important than the land are design and engineering costs. Plans will cost several thousand dollars and structural engineering fees are in addition to architectural fees. These are all budget line items in a new custom home. As are regulatory fees. These include city building permits, plan review fees, utility deposits and more recently we are seeing “Impact Fees’. These impact fees are utility costs passed on by the land developer on a per sold lot basis. In the past they were simply added to the lot cost. Today in an effort to hold down the sticker shock of new lot prices these are added to the sales price in the contract. And, this is typically no small amount. Our customers have paid as much as $ 25,000 for this kind of impact fee. The key here is to know what to ask when looking at lots and consider the entire number as the lot cost. Design Build Custom Builders do not budget for, or pay for these fees unless they are building an unsold ( speculative ) home. Another often unexpected cost is a grinder pump. This is an electric machine that catches the waste from a home much like a septic tank, then pumps to to the main sewer line in the street. An estimate here is $ 5,000 to $ 10,000. Lastly, it is the clients responsibility to supply water and power to the site. The cost of doing this ranges from not much to very expensive depending upon the development.
Then, finally, the new home. So far we have not discussed size, specs, design and the other well known items that the client controls in the new home budget. Most clients are excited and want to start here. The best builders understand the total project budget and start with the items listed above. Once those costs are covered we can tell how much is left for the home, almost. There is also landscaping, swimming pools, boat docks, decks, cassitas, large circular drives and home automation. It’s not hard to see that an “All In’ project budget of $650,000 can mean that there may be only $ 500,000 (or less) available for the new home. Yet, all of these associated costs contribute to a price per square foot of the new home.