A Rough Guide to Costing Custom Home Construction

Published April 13, 2020.
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

For most people, planning to build their own home is probably the biggest single project they will undertake in their lifetime.

Fully costing a custom home construction may be a complicated process but it’s essential to know where you stand and how your budget is going to be used before you get the builders on site to start work.

At Sunset Homes in Calgary, we’ve worked with a wide range of clients helping them to realize their dream of not only owning their own home but building it from scratch as well.

Here we take a closer look at the basic steps involved in costing your home construction project and the steps you need to consider.

Size and type of land

The biggest single, one-off outlay for your building project will be the land you choose to purchase. The cost will vary depending on whether you buy in a rural or urban area. There are a range of issues associated with location that will have an impact on the final, overall cost of your home construction.

An infill site built on premium real estate land in the inner city may cost a little bit more but a rural acreage in a new area will have substantial extra costs associated with it in relation to installing utilities, sewer and water outlets.

An infill site has all the utility connections fixed in. You may, however, need to spend extra money demolishing an existing building before the project is able to begin.

The ground you build on can also make a difference in the cost of the construction. Rocky land, for example, may have to be broken up to allow for foundations to be laid. Uneven ground will have to be leveled out.

Each location has its own characteristics so understanding how working with these will impact the final construction cost is essential. We at Sunset Homes will inspect any land before our client makes the final offer to purchase and advise on any constructability issues we foresee.

Permits and preparation

There are likely to be numerous legal fees incurred in obtaining your property. You will also need to apply for permits to build on the new land or knock down an existing build. You might even have to apply for permission for additional electrical and plumbing work.

Clearing the land and getting it ready for work also has a significant impact on costs in the early stages of your custom home construction. This is especially true if there is a problem with the land which needs to be addressed first. That’s why this stage also usually involves engineering surveys and inspections.

Design of your property

It goes without saying that the larger your custom build, the more it is going to cost. Once the land has been selected, the architectural design can be worked out in greater detail.

Architects generally work on a cost per square foot when it comes to designing a property. They are not just there to create plans, they also have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure those plans are implemented properly.

The cost of the materials you want to use and the quality of installations can also be considered here. For example, if you want luxury glass in the windows or state of art energy-saving features, there will be an impact on the cost involved. At this stage, making the right selections is vital. That is why it is essential to work with a design and construction company which is able to offer you options.

At Sunset Homes, sustainability is built into every aspect of our operation. One of the key questions any project of this size and breadth needs to address is the energy-saving approaches that are going to be employed.

Clients should consider a couple of parameters. The first is what is desirable. We find that many of clients today are looking for a sustainable home but are worried about the costs. The second is the cost savings that building a green home brings and the difference it makes to the resale value if the house is put it on the market.

You can find out more about our approach to green building at Sunset Homes on our recent blog post: Why is Energy Modelling Important for your New Calgary Custom Home?

The construction of your custom home

If all the previous stages, including your selections, have been considered fully, the cost of constructing your new custom home becomes a lot easier. Materials cost a set amount. The builder knows what quantity will be required, more or less, and an estimate can be calculated.

The time to complete the build may also be reasonably calculated and the cost of labor and equipment estimated. There may be various inspections that need to be carried out but the core outlay for this part of the process is much easier to keep track of.  As with any project of this size, however, there will be times when things don’t quite go according to plan. Working with a construction team that has a good track record will keep these to a minimum but it’s important to factor in some potential delays during construction. Openness and transparency are essential and a key quality you want to find in the team you contract.

Overall, it’s essential to have some leeway in your costing for a job of this size to ensure that you have the funds available if challenges arise during the construction process.

Interior design

Outfitting your home is almost as important as the construction. The interior design will include everything from the wall color and kitchen-top choice to the type of bathroom you want, the flooring materials and the lighting. This part of the process is all about prioritizing – you can always add non-essential fixtures and fittings at a later date.

How Sunset Homes can make your dream come true

We can help you with every stage of the custom home construction process, from the very initial concept through to full completion. At Sunset Homes, we know how much this project means to you and that you’ll have high expectations.

We bring many years of experience and a great reputation to the table. We’re a Built Green company and sustainability lies at the heart of our operation. We’re also highly customer focused. Our aim is to deliver your dream, not dictate what you can dream.

If you are searching for a friendly, transparent and talented home construction team to work with, contact Sunset Homes today.

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