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Residential Construction Cost per Square Foot

Home Building
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Before you begin on any building project, you need to calculate the residential construction cost per square foot. Construction costs vary according to neighborhood, whether it's residential or commercial building, and according to the type of house you're building. For example, a small vacation cottage costs are going to cost far less per-square-foot than a large, elaborate home design will. That's not just because of the size of the building, but because of the very different materials used in these two types of projects. Here's what to think about before you begin construction on a new home.

Where to Find Residential Construction Costs

You have several options when you research into residential construction cost per square foot. First, you can talk to experienced realtors in your area. They deal with residential and commercial properties every day, and they know what they sell for. What homes in your area sell for isn't the cost of construction per square foot, but that number can certainly tell you whether your costs are anywhere in the ballpark or not. Beware of contractors that quote costs far higher than the average square foot costs in your neighborhood or where you're interested in building, because they may be padding their numbers to add to their overall profit.

Next, look to your local building department and contractors' board for help. They should have records of homebuilding in your community and what the average cost-per-square-foot is running. They should also have information on inferior general contractors in your area, and what companies you should avoid when you're looking for builders.

Finally, talk to local contractors in your area. They should all be licensed in your state and free from consumer complaints. They can give you estimates of what it would cost to build the home you have in mind. Compare their estimates and their quality of work before you make a choice, and talk to references, too. Don't choose the lowest residential construction cost per square foot. That usually means the builder is cutting corners somewhere, especially if their estimate is far below the cost-per-foot average in the area you've researched. Choose a contractor in the middle, because high costs don't necessarily mean better workmanship and material, it just could mean a contractor is padding their estimate to get the most out of you. Before you sign any contract, be sure to check on your contractor's business and their prior work.

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