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How to Get an Accurate Quote for Your Home

 Photo: Timberpeg

Q: What do I need to provide to get an accurate quote for my home?

A: Determining the cost of building a log or timber home can be one of the most challenging issues a buyer faces. Allen Halcomb, president of Tennessee-based MossCreek shares this insight:
“At the beginning of a project, you should do an initial assessment of what you think your home will cost before engaging in its design. This is most commonly based on a standard cost-per-square foot of comparable houses in your area; however, these values can vary widely. To get an accurate price range in your targeted size and site, a local custom home builder can be an excellent resource.
 “With this background info in mind, you can start to design a home that falls within your budget. After you have developed preliminary floor plans and elevations, pause to review your plans with your builder to assess where your budget is heading. At this point, the builder cannot only inform you about site costs, like excavation and utility connections, he or she also can estimate the cost of your foundation, doors, windows, roofing and other materials with confidence. But what your builder can’t yet establish is the cost of the finishes (flooring, cabinetry, etc.) you select, which can wildly impact the final cost. For these, the builder will need to make ‘allowances,’ based on his historical data. After estimating the cost of materials and allowances, a builder can give you an idea of what the total cost of the house will be. Then, it’s up to you to stay within that figure.”

The More You Know

The more info you provide to your builder, the more accurate the estimate will be. Below are some items that will help your builder establish a better budget:
  • Logs or Timber Frame: If your house will have log or timber frame on the inside and/or outside, get a quote from your supplier that can be added to your builders estimate.
  • Flooring: Think about the type of floor you would like to have in each room. Examples would be wood, tile or carpet.
  • Interior lighting: A lighting supplier can help you understand what lights may work well within your home and your price range.
  • Exterior lighting: Lighting your home from the exterior can make a beautiful presentation — but at a cost. Talk with your builder about what you would like to see and let him give you feedback on what works within your budget.
  • Cabinetry: A quick trip to a local cabinetry outlet can help you understand the type of cabinets you can afford (custom, semi-custom, stock) but consult your builder before you buy. He/she may have relationships that can result in deals for you.
  • Smart home systems: Today’s technology allows all types of smart home systems at a variety of price points. Visit an audio-visual supplier and discuss your options early in the design process.
  • Landscaping: This is a loose term that covers a wide range of services. Speak with your builder in advance about the level of landscaping you would like and, for intricate plans, consult with a landscape designer.

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