Comment of the Day: What It Takes To Build at the Upper End

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD AT THE UPPER END “You are right that you can build a very nice house for $150/sq. ft., but when you are in this stratospheric range, $150 is your starting point and you jump off from there. . . . Your roof will be slate and not composition. Goodness knows how much that costs, and how it impacts your structural engineering. Your floors will be stone and/or wide plank salvaged wood and not 2 1/2″ plain sawn oak. Your facade will be brick, not hardi plank, and bricks will cost $2-$3 each and not 50 cents. And on an 8,000 sq. ft. structure you may get 50,000, 100,000 bricks. Then you pay the mason. Your trim and doors will be custom manufactured and not stock. Your window package will be custom manufactured and not stock. Saw one house where custom fabricated metal windows cost $250,000. For the windows. Your light cans will cost 10x the cost of the cans you get in a builder spec house. You will have paid a lighting designer a fortune to tell you how to position those lights. Your HVAC, security, A/V systems will be state of the art, each of which will run tens and tens of thousands, if not more. You will insulate your house to an extreme level. And so on and so on. It all adds up . . . But yes, you can build a nice house for $150/sq. ft., but if you are building on a 50,000 sq. ft. lot on the corner of Kirby and Inwood, you just won’t.” [KG, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Out of the Closet]

6 Comment

  • Without disagreeing that one CAN spend $300 psf to build, we are able to include all the items you mentioned and then some for around $175 psf builder cost. Ours was about 12k sq ft included clay tile roof, Cantera facade, custom mahogany windows and doors, hand distressed walnut flooring, travertine, Wolf appliances, etc.

  • Heck, I’d take Hardi Plank over Faux stucco any day of the week. I’ve seen enough fauxcco houses in the River Oaks area having to be rebuilt from the outside.

  • “Fauxcco” has officially become my favorite word for the day.

  • Not sure what Faux Stucco is, stucco is a cement based product which is natural. If you’re referring to EIFS which IS an artificial product, it hasn’t been used in residential construction in over a decade because of insurance issues and lawsuits. Stucco is actually a very good construction material… it’s a good choice for wet climates like ours because it doesn’t “hold” moisture like brick does and it actually adds structural rigidity to the wood frame unlike brick which merely stands a couple of inches away from it.

  • Oh yeah OKC & Little Rock are two places I Do NOT want to go to. All of the entities involved need to rethink their priorites!

  • The problem with stucco is that most homebuyers (and their agents) are fucking stupid and either don’t know or can’t tell the difference between stucco, EIFS, or even HardiePanel.

    Consequently, someone that builds a single-family home with stucco or anything that looks like stucco should typically expect a lower resale value. (On the plus side, ARB members are also fucking stupid, and so it makes a good argument for each year’s property tax protest.)

    For my money, I like fiber-cement siding if it is properly installed on a structure that has been engineered for it.