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Old 07-21-2009, 01:55 PM
 
387 posts, read 1,347,378 times
Reputation: 217

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i'm thinking about building a new home in monmouth county. there is a lot for sale through the MLS that I am interested in, but before making any kind of offer, i'd like to have an idea of construction costs.

i have already talked with a local builder who comes highly recommended, but he really wasn't too much help and said that he needed very specific info, ie plans in order to talk about pricing. i understand this but i'm feeling like this is kind of a chicken or the egg scenario. i like the lot, but i need to be confident that i can build what i want there with total costs making economic sense; further i don't want to spend money at this point hiring an architect etc.

i'd be building a 5 bedroom 3.5 bath home appx 4000-4500 sq ft. custom home. would need well & septic.
i found this this free online program, but it's really over my head:
Building-Cost.net -- free residential building cost calculator

i welcome any advice from anyone who has new construction/building experience.
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Union County (Central New Jersey)
6 posts, read 13,774 times
Reputation: 11
Hello Hal,
I read your post and understand that you don't want to spend any money on an architect but at the same time your trying to determine the feasibility of your project. If you haven't done so already you should definatley check with the local zoning ordinance to determine all your bulk requirements for the zone that you will be building in. This will help in understanding the physical size of what your building envelope can be. You may discover that the size of your home may be limited by the zoning ordinace given your lot area and the zone your in. If you determine that the house exceeds the bulk requirements in some way, then you could apply for a variance or scale back on your design. Applying for a variance is a whole process in itself. You should at least start with zoning review to determine the reality of what you want to do and what further requirements will be applicable to you.

You also mentioned that you felt hiring an architect may be premature or as you related it to the "Chiken or the egg" scenario. I am an architect so hear is my sales pitch of the day. Your about to make a big investment obviously. However, your investment is a little different from others in that you want something custom and very specific, which is why any reputable builder can't give you a cost estimate, or a per square foot cost number. This is probably why your builder refered you to an architect. So what do you do? One way to look at this is through the eyes of a developer. After all, you are going to become your own developer in many ways when you build your own home. A developer understands the value of having to expend some time and cost up front in having architectural designs, code review, and discussions with their architects and engineers. They have learned that it saves them from possibly making huge investment errors later on down the line. Also, understand that many architects work in phases, as do I. So you can develop some drawings that can be used for obtaining a preliminary budget in an earlier design phase to see if your in the ball park.

At this point, I would encourage you to speak with some architects. It can't hurt you to understand what they offer and what their fees are. You can check out local architects through the American Institute of Architects at WWW.AIA.ORG.

<mod cut- no advertising>

Last edited by BobKovacs; 09-07-2009 at 02:56 PM..
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Union County (Central New Jersey)
6 posts, read 13,774 times
Reputation: 11
Hi Hal,
Just wanted to see how you made out with your project

Sincerely,

Giuseppe Barberio AIA
www.gbarchdesign.com
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: NJ
29,913 posts, read 34,204,488 times
Reputation: 22323
im considering building and people here seem to think of it as kind of crazy. my wife is from Puerto rico and its a pretty standard thing to do there. so she is surprised at all the negativity she gets when she mentions it. im most concerned about being taken advantage of by a builder. you just don't have what im looking for out there.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:01 AM
 
Location: NJ
29,913 posts, read 34,204,488 times
Reputation: 22323
when people mention a cost per square foot for building a home, how does the basement figure in there?
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:01 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
11 posts, read 18,267 times
Reputation: 18
The cost of basement is added to the cost per square-foot of living area for the type of house you are planning to build. The cost per square foot changes as per the parameters you specify:

Number of stories
Building class
Size of the house
Number of bathrooms and kitchens
No basement, finished or unfinished basement.
etc.

I am an architect in NJ, feel free to direct message me.
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:47 PM
 
56 posts, read 100,129 times
Reputation: 31
$125-$130psf for above average materials, using an efficient plan with not too many corners/angles.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:56 PM
 
Location: NJ
29,913 posts, read 34,204,488 times
Reputation: 22323
Quote:
Originally Posted by meridian8 View Post
$125-$130psf for above average materials, using an efficient plan with not too many corners/angles.
you have had a home built for that price?

I wonder what the best route is to go if you want to make sure you don't get screwed. do you hire someone to oversee the builder or someone to ensure that everything you want is included in the price given?
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:07 PM
 
56 posts, read 100,129 times
Reputation: 31
sorry for the late response. You can get to $100 psf if you hire a construction manager and know exactly what you want. The CM will manage bids to subs, etc. and a CM will typically charge $75/hr or a small percentage on top of subs. Architect about $3-4000 depending on complexity/size. These numbers are for 4300sf approx center hall colonial.

for plans, start with Toll Brothers - they have this down to a science. Most cost efficient to build for the largest sf house you can buy. They have a new community in Branchburg where they're selling a 4300sf for about $1M, so do the math and subtract $250k for land and improvements, $516k for construction, and 234k for profit and carrying costs.

go to homeadvisor and look for a construction manager. put your project details in they'll have a few companies call you to discuss.

if you go with a contractor, you'll pay around $125-$135. this is standard number all throughout the northeast. maybe cheaper if you pay subs and don't need financing.

you're better off not going with a GC because GCs don't do much other than make a profit on top of subs. You should go with a foundation/excavation company to start, since that's the most costly and critical part of new construction. If you're handy and have time, you can even hire a company to do a dry shell and you finish the rest with subs you choose. A dry shell can cost about $200k closed in with excavation, walkout bsmt, framing, roof, etc. In construction, the faster you have a water tight envelope, the better off you are.

if you want some names, numbers, spreadsheets, pls PM me and I'll send you what I have. I have build new construction in NJ, NY and MD.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:26 AM
 
Location: NJ
29,913 posts, read 34,204,488 times
Reputation: 22323
thanks for that post meridian. im about 5 years away from building my custom home, but im trying to learn about doing it now. I recently went to some of the large builders web sites because I figured its better to use someone with a standardized process and prices that are standard. one issue I came up with is that they have very traditional homes when I am looking for a very modern looking home. can I approach toll brothers about building a home that they don't have in their model library?
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