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October 4, 2020

How much will a new construction home *really* cost you?

You’ve probably noticed homebuilders – not just in Painted Prairie, but all around the Denver metro – often market their new homes using just the base price.

You might see a builder website say: “Starting in the low $500,000s.”

Or perhaps you’ve seen: “Priced from $600,000.”

If you’ve stopped by and chatted with one of our builder’s sales representatives, you’ve probably been able to get a very general ballpark number in terms of what their homes actually cost.

So how much does a KB, Epic Homes, McStain, Meritage or David Weekley *really* cost?

In general terms, here’s how to price out a new construction home in our community and most other new construction neighborhoods in Denver:

(1) base cost for your floorplan

+ (2) lot premium

+ (3) structural upgrades

+ (4) design upgrades

– (5) lender and other incentives

= All-in home cost.

(1), (2), and (5) are known quantities. Your realtor can easily get this information for you.

However, for many potential buyers, (3) and (4) are unknown. This is why the builder’s sales representatives are reluctant to provide specific pricing information. They don’t really know what structural upgrades you might fall in love with, and they certainly don’t know you’re going to pick at the design center after you’re under contract. Perhaps you’ll spend $30,000 on structural upgrades and design center costs. Or maybe you’ll spend $100,000.

The short story is the builder might provide you a range or estimate of what typical buyers spend, but they don’t want to tell you a home costs $450,000 and then you end up spending a lot at the design center and your home comes in at $550,000 and you have loan/financing issues.

Also, what we’ve learned here at Focus Real Estate going to dozens of design center meetings with our clients and working with all our builders is that all the builders are a little different. Some of Painted Prairie’s builder base package items are wonderful, and you might not want to upgrade much. Others? Well, you might end up upgrading quite a bit.

In addition, Meritage offers an “all-in” type package where you will know exactly how much your upgrades will be at contract.  They don’t allow much, if any, structural change.  Other builders like KB and David Weekley have design center meetings where you will choose what finishes you would like, so your budget can really change.

As a brief aside, since we’re chatting about upgrades and pricing, I’m often asked by friends and clients what to do if they have a limited upgrade budget. Here’s my typical answer:

At the end of the day, a lot of improvements can wait. So if you have a limited upgrade budget, spend your money on those items that are difficult if not almost impossible to add after your home has been framed and drywalled and you’ve moved in – and also, your floors. For example, some builders will let you add a breakfast nook or an outdoor room to your main floor. Others will let you add a large mudroom as an upgrade. These upgrades require structural changes to your home that could be cost prohibitive to add after your home is complete.

On the topic of floors, in my experience it can be expensive and difficult to replace hardwood floors. If you’ve ever watched one of the house-flipping shows on HGTV, you’ve likely seen contractors trying to save and re-finish the original hardwood floors. Now you know why! Get the floors right the first time, and you’ll save yourself dollars and headaches in the future.

Regardless, we’ve helped over 150+ of our wonderful clients build homes around the Denver metro and are experts at new home budgeting. We can provide you an estimated “all-in” budget using pricing data and help you manage that budget up or down (Note: we can’t promise an exact number since there are many variables. But if nothing else you’ll have the builder’s estimate and our estimate, which could help you triangulate what the real final cost could be).

If you’re thinking about building a home, I’d love to chat and walk you through the costs and process! 

Also, don’t miss our article “How does a realtor fit into the new home construction process” if you’re curious how we as realtors fit into the new construction process – and what the cost is.

Last but not least, don’t forget that Focus Real Estate now sells homes in Denver for 1.5%.  We’re a full-service brokerage with discounted commissions!

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