Building Homes or Extensions/New House Plans


QUESTION: Hello - we are going to have a house built and are working with a plan drawer. We have talked to a few different builders who have said (understandably) that they need to see plans before tellng us the cost. All have given us ballpark price per sq ft but ballpark to actual can be quite different.  My question is: with all other things being equal (eg same windows, siding, kitchen, etc) would one of these be obviously be cheaper to build? #1 an 1820 sq ft all on one level that is spread out or #2 1600 sq ft rectangle 1 1/2 story with 500 sq ft upstairs unfinished with bathroom roughed in for future finishng of two bedrooms on each side. The upstairs would be inside the roof with windows in each end gable rather than a full second story -hope you know what I mean.  Is this enough info? Thanks for any thoughts you have on it. Understand if not possible to say :)

ANSWER: I am sure the builders would give you a price on both designs. 1820 sq ft on one level will require more excavating, roofing shingles, backfill, waterproofing and more concrete. It sounds like your second plan will be a 2100 sq ft home. That will required extra lumber, but wood would be quite a bit cheaper than excavating & concrete.

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QUESTION: Thanks very much. This is the info I needed. I didnt explain properly in question but we are trying to avoid having two sets of custom plans drawn up (quite expensive). I spent months trying to pick a stock plan (way more affordable and could have then have bought two different plans for quotes) but could not even find one that didn't require too many modifications. So we are going ahead with custom plans so we have to figure out which one to go ahead with before the quote. Quite a chicken and egg situation.  The things you have pointed out are quite helpful. Thanks again :)

There are two places I buy my plans from. Maybe you already looked at their sites. But if you didn't, here are the links and

Now what you can to do avoid buying two sets of plans is to print out a one story 1820 sq ft house and a 2100 sq ft 1 1/2 story house. You can find a lot of house plans on the internet. Then give them to the builders and get a rough estimate on the cost

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Russell Spataro


I can answer all questions regarding building homes or adding on to an existing home


14 years experience building custom homes

25 years as a carpenter

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