Cost to Build a Home-Square Foot Estimates

Hi Carl. Thanks for you book and for the great website. I've had the book for a while but just got to the website.

I have a couple of questions about square footage cost...maybe you can help. In your book you talk about adding up the heated space to come up with your square footage. So just to be clear, when I see a plan for say, 2000sq ft on the internet, the cost of the garage is just factored in to your $80-$100 estimate, right?

Also, the lot I plan to buy does not have sewer, so I will have to get a tank and drain field (which I expect will run in the 8-10,000 range. Can I safely assume that to be an additional expense that is not factored in to the $80-$100 sq ft costs?

Thanks in advance for the help.

Hi Earl,

As to whether or not it is safe to assume that additional expense for a septic drain field is not factored in the median average cost to build a house, it is best to assume nothing

That said, since all homes have to have some sort of sewer system one would hope it is.

In rural construction, the septic and well are considered part of the cost to build the house.

In metro areas, where water and sewer are available and paid for by the local government or developer and are part of the land cost, only the utility tap in fees (usually part of the permit fees) are considered part of the cost of building the house.

To paraphrase what I said at the end of my above mentioned blog post;

The median average cost to build a home may or may not include a garage or septic field.

That is why preliminary estimates are only good for getting you to a point where a semi-educated decision can be made to go with a particular house plan or not, based on your budget.

One should never make a final “build or don’t build” decision until actual bids and estimates are completed as spelled out in my article "Cost Estimating Explained."

This is, I realize, a tedious job. It is the most important job the General Contractor has. Nothing else even comes close.
Good Luck,