home building development costs

The Home Building Process – Step 2:

Development Costs that Could Affect the Price of Your New Custom Home

When designing a new custom home, beware of additional costs that you might not have previously considered – something builders refer to as development costs. This specifically relates to what it costs to construct a new custom home on one site compared to another. Items such as soil condition, topography, vegetation, utility location and availability, city and individual subdivision requirements are all examples of variables which greatly affect the cost of a home.

For example, a flat lot with average trees, no fill required, sewer, water, power, and cable TV available at the site, in the county (vs. an incorporated city) will typically produce the lowest possible construction cost. Moving away from these variables can increase the cost to build, without adding any additional footage, features, or any high-end creature comforts to the home.

Topography is often a large consideration that affects many costs which must be figured in as a “potential cost increase to the living area cost per foot”. While lots with severe topography, such as those on hillsides, typically provide incredible views, these views come at a high cost to the overall project. Consider the following:

  • Extra foundation materials necessary to make a stable building site,
  • Exterior masonry (stone, stucco, and exotic wood siding) often require scaffolding 15 to 30 feet high to get to the top of the structure,
  • Underground utilities,
  • Landscaping,
  • Bobcat work for stone retaining walls,
  • Excavation for swimming pools, driveways, etc.

Highly experienced custom home Realtors always consult with a quality-oriented professional builder for their opinion prior to recommending the purchase Lot A with elaborate topography vs Lot B with less drastic topography. Lot cost versus lot price is the point here. A $75,000 lot can be much less expensive to the overall project cost than a $50,000 lot.

Square footage calculations, plan design and geometry, and materials & specifications are other cost drivers to be aware of.

Todd Glowka Builder can help you determine if the property you have your eye on is actually a good lot to build your dream home on. Contact us to schedule a consultation.