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Any tips on building a custom home and working with a builder contractor. How does a person come up

with a cost per sf.  Its like dealing with a used car salesman.Any advice
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March 23 2013 - Loveland
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Answers (7)

New construction can be a little tricky, Interview plenty of builders.  You will get a better understanding of the process the more builders you speak to. 
Builders understand the loan and appraisal process and know they can't over charge per square foot.  For the most part all builders will come in close to the same price per square foot.   I would be more concerned with customer service and the reviews the builder has.  I would also tour as many homes as you can that the builder has built, not just tricked out model homes.  Look for a builder with the highest quality and the best customer service.  The biggest complaints on builders is follow through on punch list items and problems after the buyer has moved in.  Make sure the builder you choose has good follow through after the sale.   Make sure you have a confirmed start date and approx. completion deadline.  Builders in Northern Colorado are very busy.  I've seen build times approaching 8 to 10 months.   A little research goes a long way. 
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June 01
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Just be nice without being a pushover. I've encountered more than one of the new home builders in Calgary who say they'd be willing to lower prices just for a nice, non-overbearing client. Then again, it is Canada.
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October 25 2013

Pricing for reasonably upgraded finishes should be more or less $150 per foot. with smaller units being a bit higher and larger units being less simply because of distributing baths and kitchen areas over a larger foot print and those are obviously the most expensive consolidated areas of the home. Those smalle and more expensive areas can vary greatly as can the larger living space areas specifically due to finish product selection. Example; a fix and flip stainless steel appliance package $2600 and the same number of appliances in Wolf or Viking might be $25,000.00  Labor and lumber fluctuates of course but it is truly the tastes and/or the ablility of the owner to be frugal and get "the look" without the costs in managing their allowance categories for finishes that will have the greatest effect on the costs. Buyer beware.. This is a huge undertaking and is both exciting/wonderful and stressful. Like a 1 year marriage it is much easier to get into than to get out of and communication is key. So feel comfortable with the company you choose to work with.

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March 24 2013
If you have not built a home, interview three builders that are local members "in good standing" with the local builders association and preview their homes and then pick the home you feel most comfortable with.  
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March 23 2013
Search for "construction, project management in Colorado" to find either an individual or firm that provides consulting services.  As SoCal mentions that may include architectural firms but many large custom builders consult in PM outside of their building business. Want you are looking for is an "owner's representative" in your process. The cost should max out at about 10% of your construction cost but you should be able to structure it on a T&M (with a max), at that number. there is a standard AIA contract for the agreement.

Having spent over 35 years in custom home construction management I can say that we are out there and that there are probably some Construction Managers (PM) floating around the Rockies.
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March 23 2013
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When I was looking into custom-build, I used this site to get a general idea of a cost/sqft for the actual construction. While it may not be spot-on, and it does not include land costs, it will give you an idea. I found it actually quite helpful in evaluating bids I received on the plans.

Also, if you are hiring an architect to do the plans, they can be very helpful in providing general ideas about construction costs. Mine was very helpful. If, however, you're working with a design/build contractor, this avenue may not be available to you.
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March 23 2013
There are a lot of builders in the area - and it's an important decision to make. I would recommend interviewing several different builders and taking a look at recent past homes they have built.

If you are in the Loveland area - you could start with calling Jace 970-213-2817 at GJGardner Homes - they are a custom home builder that will either customize one of their own floor plans for you or use your own. I just talked to the owner and he explained they come up with a hard bid so there are no surprises and do not mark up the permit fees at all.

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March 23 2013
 
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