Is the cost per square foot a good way to compare builders?

Unfortunately, no, it's a terrible way to compare houses

Cost per square foot pricing is a terrible way to compare houses since it doesn’t consider any of the unique features and finishes of your home. As a simplified example, let’s say that a 1,000 square foot (SF) home costs $150,000. That makes it $150/SF. But what’s included in that? We don’t have enough information to know. There are so many variables that affect the cost of a home. For instance, does the home have any carpet, or is it tile? There is a large price difference between these two.

Consider the roof for example. A metal roof or a high-pitched roof could affect the price by thousands. But we don't know anything about the roof, the floors, the cabinets, or even if the house is on one or two levels.

A far better way to compare builders is to interview them. Absolutely, price is important, so ask about the average price range the company builds and what type of finishes are typically included. You’re looking for the builder’s answer to be in your price range with many of the features that interest you. If it’s not, that company may not be your builder. But, just because one builder’s house costs more than another’s, doesn’t mean that the first builder is charging more. Usually, the price difference is caused by finishes and the complexity of the house. A more expensive home will usually have higher-end finishes and will probably have higher quality materials used during construction.


Booklet: What you need to know before hiring a home builder. A guide for home buyers.

You should feel confident and excited during your home-building process. After all, the builder you choose could mean the difference between a project that's done right, on time, and on budget and one that costs too much, takes too long, and is fraught with quality problems.

But with every builder claiming to be qualified, how can you be sure you’re picking the right one?

Download What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Home Builder, written by Choice Builders’ owner, Roger Thomas. This guide will help you choose a builder who is right for you.

In it, you'll find answers to questions like:

  • How do I make sure a contractor can build to my budget?
  • Why do some contractors appear to cost more than others do?
  • Should I ask for a “free” estimate?
  • How do I choose a good contractor, let alone the best one?
  • How should I compare prospective contractors?
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