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Question DetailsAsked on 12/29/2014

can you build a 1500 sq ft house cheaper than builder a 1000 sq foot house

I am wanting to downside to a 1000 square foot home. I've read I could get more bang for my buck by building a larger home.
I have a buget of $55.00 per sq foot and am building in South Carolina. I don't need a larger home.
We would appreciate any ideas on cutting cost in all areas.

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Larger home costs less per square foot yes, but not 1500 SF total for less than comparable quality 1000 SF house total. OR did you mean DIY for 1500 for same price as full contractor 1000 SF ? If that is what you meant, that would probably be in the ballpark, assuming you are actually able to DIOY basically everything but maybe concrete.

Most bang for buck - some suggestions below, but for $55/SF while it is maybe possible in your area due to low building and labor costs, don't expect much - that is REALLY skimping it - that sort of number is far more common for DIY houses with only the utility install and concrete done by contractors, or garages with no utilities. Note these suggestion are ways to cut your cost, not necessarily things I am specifically recommending to get the "best" house, and some of the choices will lead to shorter life for those components than using top-end materials - but to come in naywhere undewr $100/SF for a contractor-built house you will have to make a LOT of sacrifices.

1) get a building site where you can build slab on grade rather than having to build a deep foundation, or if in soil where a full foundation is feasible or needed and not getting into water problems do so but it means using the basement as living space, because basement square footage is generally cheaper than a second story - this is where daylight and walkout basements work nicely.

2) daylight basement is also nice because it is very cheap to put in a frernch drain during construction, daylighting on the low side.

3) in warm areas like you are likely talking, without real winters, use 2x4 rather than 2x6 construction

4) if committed to a second story, overhang it (on at least one side) over the basement/first floor - gives you a couple extra feet on both sides (off the ends of the floor joists) without adding to foundation footprint.

5) avoid long utility runs to the water main / sewer, and avoid well/septic

6) gravel/crushed stone versus paved drive and parking area

7) DIY as much as possible on interior finishes

8) consider eeking some usable space out of the attic down the center of it, or maybe one side of a tilted-roof and celestory window design. Another possibility is an elevated roof - using what would normally be the attic area as a second story close up under the eaves, but still an adequate (though maybe low) attic above it for ventilation - gets you a second story for only a bit more wall height all around on that level. IF combined with full living space basement, can get you three living floors in much less footprint (so less foundation and roof cost).

9) economy finishes and cabinetry, like masonite or particle board cabinets, stock material laminate countertops/vanity tops, economy carpet, sheet vinyl or linoleum bathroom, kitchen and dining room flooring. Prefab fiberglass or plastic surrounds, though I do recommend cast iron tub to avoid problems with synthetics cracking.

10) economy siding like T1-11 or vinyl

11) economy standard factory size vinyl or fiberglass windows

12) forgoe A/C if viable in your area, or if demand is small and maybe preodminately only for living room and bedroom say, consider a smaller mini-split unit rather than central air able to cool the entire house. Of course, if you do that, be sure you can live with the warmer house, and expect frowns at resale time - especially if you are in hot, sticky part of SC as opposed to the nice ocean or mountain breeze parts.

13) do all landscaping yourself, or stay rustic and natural to avoid that cost

14) economy standard-size prehung veneer interior doors like Premier, and standard economy Schlage or similar hardware

15) economy shingles and tarpaper underlayment rather than synthetic underlayment and long-life shingles - though of course if in hurricane or tornado country you need to take that into consideration. Plain full gabled roof is also a bit cheaper than other due to total lack of valleys on a rectangular house footprint.

16) no fireplace, or if you want one then a direct vent wood stove insert type without chimney - - flue goes straight outside.

17) economy appliances like lower-end Kenmore or Amana.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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