When evaluating the costs of building a home, a lot of aspects beyond square footage are worth considering. Here are the three main factors that determine cost, and a little insight into each.

1. House Size

Square footage is the go-to for all of real estate. Simply put, the bigger the house, the more it costs to build, right? Not necessarily…

In home building, layout is always more important than square footage alone. This is because a bedroom, for instance, is much less expensive to build than a kitchen (think of cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, etc.). If your home is 1,500 square feet but incorporates an extremely large kitchen, it’s going to cost much more than another 1,500 square foot house with a smaller kitchen and larger bedrooms. Pay attention when searching through home plans, and remember to take layout into account. A smaller house is not always a less expensive house.

2. Design Complexity

A lot of homebuyers don’t consider complexity of a home design and it’s extreme effect on building costs. Here’s the simple truth: The more complex the design, the more expensive it is to build. The roof and foundation size are going to impact your costs significantly. For example, a 3,000 square foot single story ranch house with a simple roof will be much less expensive than a 3,000 square foot French country design with 2 stories and varying roof lines.¬†Every angle, patio, level, and window will add complexity (and cost) to your home. Keep this in mind while shopping through house plans.

3. Finishes & Fixtures

In home building, finishes and fixtures account for all kinds of extra costs, and they can creep up on you quickly. Flooring, cabinetry, countertops, and moldings are all included in this category, not to mention hardware and faucets, etc. All of this accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the total cost of the home, and the higher the quality, the more you wind up spending.

Here’s a tip for those with tight budgets: Put the nicer, more expensive finishes and fixtures in the kitchen and the master bath. This is where you will see returns on your money in home value. Leave the less expensive alternatives in the rest of the baths and everywhere else.

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