Our most frequent asked question continues to be “How much do you charge per sq ft. to build
Well this is not an easy question to answer. Charging by the square foot is a very inaccurate way to price a new home, a renovation or any construction project and any reputable builder will not quote by that means alone. Local building costs vary depending on location, design, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type of exterior sideing and the amount for allowances given for custom choices for items such as kitchen and bath cabinets, lighting fixtures and flooring.
Where you build also affects the cost of construction. Each of our 6 municipalities charge different fees for plan evaluations and for building permits. The water tap impact fee varies from under $3000 in unincorporated Dare, Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores to over $6000 in Kill Devil Hills. Some cities charge review fees, some charge separately for plumbing, electrical and HVAC permits while others charge one fee based on the total footage of the home. There is usually a smaller charge for unheated areas such as sundecks, porches, storage areas and garages. Two equal size homes but one without decks or a garage will cost less and cannot be compared in the square footage price.
Typically, a 2 story home will have a lower cost per sq. ft price than a 1 story. A 2000 foot ranch has 2000 ft of foundation, floor and roof insulation, roof framing, and shingles. A 2 story 2000 ft. home may have 1000 feet of foundation and 1000 ft of roofing system. By building a multi level home costs can usually be reduced. New building and energy codes have affected this savings some in the last few years due to the extra efficient HVAC systems now required, but under normal circumstances still give a cost savings.
One of our favorite topics at Starco is roof lines. The Outer Banks style of architecture is patterned after the old Coast Guard Stations which were build locally and had multiple gable roofs and dormers. The beauty of these roof systems is undeniable, but they do add to the bottom line. A 2000 ft home with multiple gables adds to the street appeal of a home, but does not increase the heated area and therefore drives up the cost per square foot.
By Health Dept regulations all Dare County septic systems are designed by the number of bedrooms and soil conditions and not by the number of bathrooms. This determines the size of the tank and amount of drainfield. So a 3000 sq. ft. 3 bedroom home will require a smaller less expensive septic system than a 2000 sq ft 5 bedroom home.
Pilings or masonry foundation
This is a choice that sometimes the area you build in determines for you. All homes built in the 100 year flood plain must be above BFE (base flood elevation). Therefore pilings may be required if the ground level is low. They are also a popular choice for new homeowners. The advantages are better views, covered drive unders and storage. Ths disadvantages are a slightly higher cost and having to carry groceries and belongings upstairs all of the time. Navigating an extra set of steps may be fine for a 2 week vacation, but could become a chore if you have to do it full time for every day chores such as checking mail and removing trash. Foundation homes tend to sway less in storms and lend themselves to more diversity in style and planning. Some neighborhoods also have covenants that will require that your home must blend in with neighborhood standards.
This item will ultimately determine the cost of you home and has nothing to do with square footage. How many and what type of kitchen and bath cabinets and special features are you planning? Would you prefer granite or solid surface counter tops in lieu of formica laminate? Would you like a fireplace and what type? Do you want a large expansive sun deck or just something large enough for a couple of chaise loungers and grill? What about a screened porch? None of these items are figured in a square footage price.
Starco includes generous allowances for items such as cabinets, lighting fixtures, flooring, site preparation, landscaping and driveways and walkways. These are items you pick out and the possibilities are endless. What you are using the house for may determine what your selections will be. We design and help with your selections based on your plans for the home. Are you planning on making it a weekly rental investment home, a weekend retreat until time for retirement? Do you plan on living here full time but want to rent it out in the interim or is it your first home or your retirement home? How far would you like the house from the street which will determine your driveway allowance? Does you lot need fill to meet septic requirements or would you like to add some just for landscaping details? Pools, outdoor showers, tiki bars and amenities can make your home the paradise you deserve but it does not add to the square footage and therefore will increase the final cost. Starco advises that you take some time to look at appliances, cabinets and flooring to make sure that the allowances are adequate to cover your choices. We are associated with all of the major suppliers in our area and will assist you with your selections. One final suggestion is that you do a thorough site evaluation to determine site clearing and preparation of your homesite.