National home builders have been lowering the entry barriers to home ownership across the country by implementing systematic building technologies that reduce construction costs. That’s positive forward momentum toward fulfilling the American dream. However, broad swath land development does have drawbacks. While lowering entry barriers, these builders are also lowering buyer expectations.
These home developers leverage a few basic architectural designs to develop neighborhoods with hundreds of homes. This lowers the cost of design for the buyer, but has created the term “Cookie Cutter Houses;” a term that often carries a derogatory tone. The pride of home ownership can be diminished by the reality of mass production. And mass production, in turn, can have dramatic impact on long term property values, making Home Owner Associations (HOA’s) a necessary evil.
The proper term for cookie-cutter housing is Tract Housing. Tract Housing facilitates a reduction not only in architectural design costs, but also material and labor costs. Like any efficient production assembly line, production costs are reduced by producing in bulk. The scale of the construction project enables bulk purchasing of materials, reduced shipping costs for building supplies, and standardization of labor skills. Tract housing isn’t for everyone though.
Infill Lot Construction and Remodeling
Urban and suburban Infill Construction, or construction of new housing units into established neighborhoods, can allow home owners to build exactly the home they want within their budget. It provides the home owner with more options. They can decide what type of home they want, what part of town they would like to live in, and tailor the home to their specific needs.
Residential remodeling of existing homes in established neighborhoods is also a great option. Often a home owner may have found a home they love in their favorite neighborhood, but the dated floor plan or finishes make the home impractical for their needs. These types of projects tend be a bit trickier, often times working with established utilities, within tight confinements, with some unknown circumstances, or “hidden conditions,” that cannot be identified until the work begins.
Infill lot construction and remodeling requires a contractor or construction manager that can listen to your needs and assess your circumstances. Often times, you need to work closely with the contractor through planning and design so that you can quickly assess the costs of different options and make informed decisions.
But isn’t it more expensive to build your own home?
The short answer is, it doesn’t have to be. Many potential home owners do not realize how affordable it can be to build their own home. Run this quick comparison yourself:
- Pull up your local property appraiser’s website and check the latest sale prices of homes in the neighborhood of your choice.
- Divide the latest sale price of the home by the square footage of the home.
- This tells you the home’s Cost Per Square Foot ($/sf), which can be used as a quick value comparison tool.
Let’s say you’ve found a 2,000SF home that sold ten (10) years ago for $250,000. $250,000/2,000, that home sold for $125 per square foot (note that the lot is included in that price). Most new Tract Homes in this same price range are constructed at a rough cost of $50 – $80 per square foot, the other $75/sf +/- goes to land development costs and profit. For $125/sf that home buyer received a home that cost $50/sf and had very limited options in the design and finishes of the home.
What is that home valued at 10 years in the future? $275,000, $300,00? As property values increase, the value of your dollar spent decreases. It is not uncommon to see homes originally sold at $150,000 now valued at over $300,000 (at least, that’s fairly common for Central Florida). In this instance, the home owner would have paid $150/sf for a home that cost less than $75/sf to build.
The beauty of building your own home is that for an equivalent cost of dated product built on an assembly line, you can design the exact home of your dreams and build it brand new. You can decide what features are important to you and emphasize those features in the design of your home. Whether you already have a set of home plans or you need help navigating the design process, our team of experienced home builders can evaluate your project and get you on the right course. We offer personalized solutions that cater to your concerns, constraints, and desires.
If you’re not a builder by trade, you probably are not up to speed with all of the latest construction technologies and products. You may have an idea about what features you desire in your home, but not know exactly how to implement them. You may find it challenging to get through all of the marketing jargon to determine which technologies are really effective and which are just smoke and mirrors. Different home owners have different priorities. As experts in our field, we can help to educate you about your options as you consider what is important to you.
- Home Security
- Storm Resistance
- Energy Efficiency
- Architectural Aesthetics
- Flex Storage Space (an often overlooked, though pivotal feature of any home)
- Function and Layout
Each home site has its own unique features and unseen challenges. We can evaluate your property to identify project costs and provide clarity as you make important decisions. We can assist in the following areas:
- Validate design costs to identify overpriced design professionals.
- Value engineer designs to save money on features that are are less important to you and concentrate your resources on the features that matter most.
- Assess the condition of the existing lot and inspect for potential hazards.
- Provide current property survey and identify utilities, access, and easements.
- Secure correct permits, check applicable state and local municipal fees.
We can partner with you from the outset of your project. As your representative, we will assist in navigating the complete design and construction process and ensure that it is tailored to your needs. We can outline the project specifications to save time and money in the design phase; procure the supporting construction documentation required to obtain permits; and provide detailed pricing and cost breakdowns based on the design, your property, and the features that are important to you.
Are you considering a large home addition such as an added bedroom suite, outdoor entertainment area, or even a detached garage? It can be challenging to even decide where to start with such projects. In consideration of any home additions, remodels, or detached buildings we can guide you to the resources you’ll need to design and permit your project. Where improvements are desired we can bring together the design and planning elements to fit your vision, while protecting your interests as a home owner.
Your home is your safe space and you should feel fully protected and at peace within its walls. The construction industry is innovating new products, retrofits, and designs that can prepare your home and protect your family from disasters such as severe weather, home intrusion, or natural disaster.
When dangerous conditions approach, every family should have a safe space for refuge. We work with the latest in building technologies to provide tornado and hurricane safe room options, which can provide secure access, emergency lighting and air, while being easily accessible and fully integrated in your home.