Originally Posted by BenWolfe
A lot will depend on your choice of finish work, the quality of construction, the size of the house and the builder you choose, but I think your friend has estimated a little high. My experience in other areas in Colorado have been $160 - $180 per square foot on the main level. The cost of the upper level will be a little less and finishing the lower level will be considerably less.
yeah, pretty high, but subs in this area are busy and property at a premium.
NOW is the time to buy materials, or through about April. I often 'prepay' my lumber packages before April. See if you can buy a place with a trashed mobile home, and already have utilities in place (and approval to build is easier, if mobile had a 'legal placement'.) Consider putting up a quick shop to live in and store materials.
You should be able to 'dry-in' for under $15/sq ft for framing + $250/ yd for footing and foundations + $1.50/sq ft for flatwork (all including materials) Windows are ~ $150 each and roofing $80/sq installed). Total shell had better be less than $40/sq ft... Finish material choices are biggest expense, and typically you are only 1/2 way through the money AFTER sheetrock
. Tonight I am working up a spreadsheet for estimated building costs, but also a spreadsheet for comparing costs of different regions (Taxes, income, property, sales + groc + energy + fees + commuting...)
I can often build for ~$50/sq ft. (finished) but I do some creative shopping (like buying stuff at Habit for Humanity Stores, (a very good store in Loveland) and Re-building centers. I often buy windows from a dealer, as 'misorders',~ $20. and my last prehung doors were only $10 each. Light fixtures $5. I line up cabinets from manufacturers or places like Home Depot, (who've run a forklift through the side...) the sides don't show anyway, if designed around that... + you can fix easily. ...I.E. I collect materials, and build house around available stuff, as long as it doesn't look that way
. We built a very cute 'swiss style Chalet' for $48/ sq ft. our last home school project. The kids cut the clear cedar bannisters with a 'forest' of fir trees on the band saw. We got a "super insulation" award and rebate for $5000, for only $1000 of insulation sealing measures. They (inspectors) did a lot of tests on the home (to verify our 'quality'...) AIR DOOR blow test (seal... ), 100% electrical and plumbing and framing. The inspectors told the kids it was one of the best wiring jobs they'd seen
(I would hope so after house #4, and strict orders from me (a Toolmaker by trade) "Perfect ! is close enough...")
I also concentrate on building a 'low-tax' house, and add the fancy stuff AFTER the tax assessor visits. (no Islands, built-ins, decks, tile, marble or slabs till later) also I maximize Daylight basement Sq ft (1/4 the tax costs of main floor) AND in our case if you don't sheetrock till after July, you can save a years 'finished' taxes. Also minimize 'finished' bath units, pre-assessment
I think you should be able to get by fine in this area, but finding property will be a challenge. I typically try to never use a realtor, and instead find my desired areas, then go to the court house (or GIS) and determine "out-of-state" owners who have held for several yrs, then write them letters of interest to purchase their props. Now is also the best time to buy, Feb > April. Venture to Loveland for Valentines Day