Building your own home is an incredibly exciting undertaking. For many families it could be the largest investment they will ever make. 25 years of design-build experience tells us that people are most often concerned about the cost and the process. We’ve done our best to address common concerns below, but if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
What is your price per square foot?
This is perhaps the most commonly asked question, and the most difficult question to answer. The short answer is that it depends on the project. Each project will have a unique set of variables that will dictate the cost per square foot figure. The two main factors that determine the pricing will be materials and labor. Material costs can vary based on availability, weather conditions, building code requirements, and personal preferences, as well as many other factors. Similarly, labor costs will vary greatly depending on the complexity and scope of the project, the jobsite conditions, the availability of workers (demand), and the like.
In addition to these factors, it should be noted that there is no uniform practice of measuring square footage. When reviewing estimates be sure to consider one-to-one comparisons to determine what is actually included in the bid. Does it include the price of the land? Who pays for the design costs? How is the square footage measured? From the exterior walls? Is the basement included?
A wide range of quality building materials are available, and proper planning and collaboration will reduce unnecessary expenses. We will work with you to help you to achieve your priorities. Ultimately, the price per square foot is in your hands.
What characteristics of a home most impact the cost per square footage figure?
In addition to the variables mentioned above, it is worth noting that two-story homes are generally more cost effective than ranch homes of the same square footage. Foundation and roofing costs will be less, and the stacking allows for the plumbing and ventilation to be optimized in shorter runs. Furthermore, larger homes tend to cost less per square foot as they spread the cost of expensive items such as a furnace across a larger area.
When designing your home’s footprint, consider the effects of a cross-shaped home vs. a rectangular home. Fewer exterior corners ease the complexity of the project, reducing both engineering, labor, and material costs that would otherwise be needed for wall jogs and roof hips and valleys. This is not to suggest that you simply opt for a rectangular floor plan, but rather cited to demonstrate that this initial geometry has implications that will carry additional costs throughout the project.
What is a realistic project time line?
The timeline will vary from project to project, depending on a series of factors. The greatest factors are the availability of the client and the phase they are at in the process. Do you already own the land where you would like to build your home? Do you have architectural drawings? Whether we begin with design-development, scouting for a site, or simply providing construction management services, as a design-build firm we can meet you at a variety of stages to help make your project happen.
What types of budgets can you work with?
New construction is costly. Have you set a preliminary budget for your project? Construction estimating can be a complicated process and if you have a minimal budget, building your own home from the ground up may not be the best fit for you at this time. If you’ve already completed some initial research, and a new construction project seems like an appropriate next step, please give us a call or send us an inquiry via email. We would be happy to discuss the feasibility of your project.
Are you cost-effective?
A project that is well designed requires fewer changes during the construction process. As a design-build firm we are uniquely positioned to facilitate a streamlined process that is designed to save our clients the cost and frustration often associated with homebuilding projects.
What costs are involved?
Like the timeline, cost will vary from project to project. From site selection to project scale to material choices, as the driver of the project, these variables are all at your discretion. We will work with you to achieve your goals while respecting your budget restrictions.
How do we get started?
If you are interested in building an environmentally conscious home, please schedule an appointment to visit us! Share your desires, dreams and wish list. Together we will determine the feasibility and scope of your project. If you decide to employ us, a design/retainer fee (credited toward your construction costs) will be required to begin the design process.
What do you mean by sustainability?
As a sustainability-minded builder, we’re committed to delivering homes that have been designed and built to standards that achieve value well above both the current and future real estate market. Rather than using isolated instances of green home features, we use a true value whole-building approach to “building science.” As we carefully select materials, techniques, and solutions from a systems approach, we maximize your investment. This means better quality, better comfort, better durability, and better appreciation. Please visit our PARTNERSHIPS and GREEN BUILDING pages for additional information.
Why choose a “green” home?
Families choose to build green homes for multiple reasons, with a variety of goals in mind. Whether it be energy efficiency, a healthy indoor environment, reduced maintenance, or some other combination of values, we are committed to helping you meet your priorities.
“Imagine the home of the future. Imagine a home with no utility bills knowing the average low-income family can spend 20% or more of their salary on energy costs. Imagine a home where occupants’ health is so well protected, parents can often throw away their children’s inhalers within months of moving in. Imagine a home where advanced construction practices provide a blanket of comfort like nothing we have experienced before. Imagine a home built to the highest quality standards with detailed checklists and independent verification. Imagine a home built to rigorous guidelines for excellence based on recommendations from the best housing experts in the nation. Imagine a home that protects each family’s investment well into the future by meeting and exceeding future code requirements and performance expectations.
The truth is that you don’t have to imagine this home. The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home delivers all of this incredible value to each and every labeled home today.”
– U.S. Department of Energy
What is “Aging in Place”?
Aging-in-place design addresses the anticipatory needs that must be addressed as bodies required different accommodations over time. An aging-in-place design strategy can help make this happen. Strategies may include widened doorways, grab bars, single lever hardware, a first floor bedroom, or non-slip floors. Many people would prefer to spend their retirement years living in their own home, and incorporating these techniques into the design of living spaces can ensure a more lasting independence.
Sample Design Basis
Sample Construction Agreement
More questions? Please contact us.
Lifestyle Homes, Inc.
P. O. Box 610
Lisle, IL 60532