Personal tools
log in | join | help

Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

by Robert M. Carnochan last modified Nov 11, 2005 08:45 AM
Editorial Rating: 1 2 3 4 5
Average Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 ( 0 votes)



Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Robert M. Carnochan at September 29. 2005

I would really like to build a 2100 sq ft modern house as close to central Austin as possible - I know, I know, what a novel idea!!!!

Does anyone out there have a clear, plain and simple (as simple as possible) break down of ALL costs involved in building a house like this? Here is a very basic list of stuff I already know about with VERY general estimates I've received from folks via email or brief phone conversations . . . what am I missing??

Lot: $50 - $200K (there's no way I can afford a lot that's $200K let alone above that)

Arctitechture/Engineering Fees: $15K - $20K from scratch or $5K for modified already done plans.

Construction Costs: $120 a sq ft. QUESTION - Would a $120/sq. ft. estimate include finsh out, appliacnes, landscaping - I know there is a WIDE range of finish options so this is hard to estimate. I have no problem with Ikea cabinets and synthetic counter top (silestone) materials and do not need Viking or Sub Zero appliances, but not the cheapest stuff either.

GC Fees $35K - $45K

Permit Fees - No clue here

Thanks in advance for you time and information!

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Karen Pittman at September 29. 2005


Questions of cost can't exclude where?.

Are there utilities already there, or will you have to run a gas line, wastewater hookup and line, power lines? Is there in fact wastewater, or will you need to install a septic system? How steep is the lot? What sort of soil does it have? These factors affect the type of septic system required, if you need one, as well as what kind of foundation you'll need.
A 2100 sq ft modern home on a flat lot with stable soil will be less than a 2100 sq ft modern home on squishy clay or a steep lot.

Just some other potential sources of cost you should look out for. I can't really hazard a guess about cost of a septic system, but foundation costs for a house that size might vary by tens of thousands depending on conditions, and utility hookups might run you as little as 500 or 600 if you are in an established neighborhood (less for a tear-down? not sure) on up to MUCH more if you are in a rural situation with no utilities.

Best of luck with your endeavors,

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Robert M. Carnochan at September 29. 2005

Thanks KP -

I am looking for a flat city lot (in the 50 x 130 - 150 range) or possibly a tear down situation. I have no idea what a tear down costs - does anyone have that kind of info?

I'm really interested in the French Place and Brentwood/Crestview areas - Id' love Hyde Park but can rule that out due to costs.

Thanks again,

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Susan McElroy at October 27. 2005

You know, if you like Brentwood/Crestview and are looking for something afordable, have you considered crossing Lamar to the East on Brentwood and continuing on towards the area just bordering the railroad tracks? My family has owned semi-industrial property in this area for decades and a lot of these quite small houses (OK, teardowns some, but by no means all) can still be bought fairly reasonably for such a close-in area. Also, check out the city's plan to build a commuter rail system within spitting distance. (Shhh...highrises, HEB, Transit-Oriented-Development in the works...) Cross Airport on Guadalupe and do some look-seeing in those areas, too.

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Robert M. Carnochan at October 28. 2005

Thanks Susan - I have looked in that area and there are some lots for a lower price (~$75K), the problem is schools - that area falls in the Lanier High School districts and that is NOT so good. I have a growing family which is why I like the Crestview/Brentwood area - Brentwood Elem. has a very good record and MaCallum HS is the Fine Arts magnet.

I've read about the transit center - that could be good and could be bad . . . a little to early to tell since the plans are still in the works.

Thanks again for the advice!

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Mark Meyer at October 29. 2005


As you know there is a great range in property prices, so that will be your biggest variable.

You are pretty much right about the cost/s.f. of nicely finished construction. Keep in mind material costs are on a steep slope up recently, so $120/s.f. is fast becoming a lower threshold to construction costs.

Also note that GC fees are a PART of that cost/s.f. as are permitting fees, which in Austin are essentailly negligible, not like in CA.

Arch/Engineering fees are in the range you stated, but PLEASE keep in mind that there is far more involved in those fees than just providing drawings. A good Architect/Designer will provide the above mentioned drawings but ALSO a significant amount of contract administration, which allows them to keep track of the actual construction process and HELP the contractor keep to the Contract Documents. Too many times to count, I've seen clients think they could do this part on their own, and too many times to count I've seen them HAVE to live with details the contractor fudged. If you are working with alternative materials or methods it becomes even MORE important to have the Architect/Designer stay on the job until completion. You won't be sorry you did. Remember the Architect/Designer is the part of the team that is YOUR representative and is there to look out for YOUR and the projects best interest during the construction process.

Mark Meyer

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Elizabeth Shuff at November 10. 2005

My husband is absolutely bent on moving to Austin -- we currently live in Northern Virginia. I have no idea about the school districts or anything, and we have a son who will be starting high school when we move, which will be June 2008. I want to build something simple but liveable, and love the modern homes, but again, does anyone have any kind of estimate for what it will actually cost? He has to work; I will be pulling in a pension. We will have, at a minimum, about $250K in equity from our current home to apply to a house in Austin. Will we be looking at half a million to build something within commuting distance?


Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Karen Pittman at November 10. 2005

It's really hard to predict what things will look like 2 1/2 years from now. Forecasts have the national housing market leveling off, but who knows what that means for Austin. I think you'll just have to wait and see. It also depends on what you mean by commuting distance. Currently, there are some really affordable areas quite close in to the east. (The science magnet high school and junior high are east.) But people do drive from much further away.

There's a new modern development starting up soon called Agave, which will be at the east edge of town (which is much closer than the other edges of town!). There's a thread about it here:

All architect-designed homes, many quite affordable.

Good luck,

Re: Plain and Simple (and Real) Cost breakdown?

Posted by Robert M. Carnochan at November 11. 2005

Based on the info from folks on this list and many others - I would be able to build a VERY nice modern home in the 2000 - 2200 sq ft range for $500K and well within a 10 - 15 minute drive to the center of town (MUCH less if you buy a lot on the east side of town). This includes good quality finish out. In general, the school on the west side are considerably better than the east.

If you don't need quite that much space (say 1600 - 1800 sq ft) and only want to spend $180 - $250, the Agave Community will be right up your alley (as it seems to be ours). They are planning a few homes at or just above 2000 sq ft, but most I believe will be smaller. BTW, Agave is in the MAnor School district, not Austin. I don't know as much about those, but based on ALL the new building going on on that area, the schools will be growing a LOT in the near future!

I wish I had half a million, but the lottery has not been my friend yet!!!!!

Best of luck!

Powered by Ploneboard




Website migration, maintenance and customization provided by Grafware.