Why Cost Per Square Foot Doesn't Work for Home Remodeling Projects

Why Cost Per Square Foot Doesn't Work for Home Remodeling Projects featured image

September 15, 2017 / by Gregg Cantor / In Home Remodeling

Cost Per Square Foot is a commonly used method for estimating probable construction costs. People use this system in hopes to gain an understanding of how much it will cost to remodel their home or business. Though widely used, cost per square foot is seldom an accurate representation of actual remodeling costs. It is important to understand why cost per square foot doesn’t work for home remodeling projects before starting; otherwise, you might be surprised to find your beautiful home is really just a pretty penny!

Remodeling Costs Should Not Be Estimated in Square Feet!

There are a number of actual factors that explain why cost per square foot doesn’t work for home remodeling projects. Without a builder knowing any of the specifics of the remodel, it is impossible for them to give an accurate price based on cost per square foot. Finished house plans can give a more accurate representation of price, but still the cost will vary due to difference in rooms, difference in builders, and even difference in location. Preliminary design does not have a lot of detail – this is usually what early prices are estimated from.

Difference in Rooms and Materials

Price for square foot will vary greatly between rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the most expensive rooms in the house because they contain more expensive appliances and plumbing/electric necessities. Bedrooms on the other hand, are less expensive as they tend to have a simple structure and layout.

Kitchen remodels, for example, may need to include appliances, countertops, cabinets, backsplashes, electric lights, gas hook-ups, plumbing connections, floors and walls. Bathroom remodels also incorporate plumbing connections, tiled floors, countertops, lighting and walls. These rooms can often be complex and builders often run into unexpected issues that take a toll on finances. Even little things like the paint selection can provide for a very big difference in cost at the end of your project. Higher quality materials cost more and will therefore also increase the overall cost. The price will continue to change as different materials such as windows, door handles, or even roof materials are required.

Different Professionals

Often times, different builders will give a different price for cost per square foot. Builders will give bids in hopes that their bid looks more appealing than their competitors’. Usually the difference in calculation is done out of innocence. The difference can be caused simply by one builder including garage and decks into the square footage and another builder only including heated rooms. Not to mention different builders often have different building practices that can cause a variation in cost per square foot. Depending on the size and specificities of your project, you may also need a surveyor, a lender, or other professionals in the process.

Protect yourself as a homeowner by avoiding the question, “What is the cost per square foot on my remodel?” Most builders don’t like to answer this question because they know it is an inaccurate representation of the actual cost. A good builder will put more thought into your home and tell you what is realistic for your budget and what you want to achieve. Be sure to ask your builder how they determine the remodeling costs of a project before you start!

If you have any questions about your San Diego home remodel, contact Murray Lampert or reach out for a free in-home consultation!

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