Why is it more expensive to build a smaller home?
Home buyers often wonder why it costs more per square foot to build a small home.
Below are 12 reasons why small homes cost more to build, along with cost-cutting suggestions from a Raleigh custom home builder. Each of these factors contributes to the overall cost per sq ft of your new home.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #1
"Footprint" space is expensive.
Build up, not out - bonus room space is often the cheapest sq ft in the house.
There are two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, across from this bonus room - an example from a version of The Scottsdale.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #2
Size of kitchen.
Kitchens are the most expensive room of the home - with cabinets, counter tops, hardwood or tile flooring, plumbing, faucets, appliances, and so much more - that makes your kitchen also the most useful room of the home.
If your floor plan has an oversized kitchen, consider balancing out your square footage allocation to reduce the overall cost per sq ft.
Peninsula kitchens are generally smaller than island kitchens, but packed full of usable space - like the efficient kitchen design in this version of The Gershwin.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #3
Size and layout of baths.
Do you need a separate tub shower in the master, or is it better to have a shower in the master and a tub/shower in the secondary bath? (See pictures of master bathrooms without a tub, here.)
More home buyers are requesting shower-only bathrooms, like in this version of The Smokey Ridge.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #4
We're seeing more home buyers opt out of the living room fireplace. If a fireplace is on your must-have list, ask your builder to locate it on an outside wall.
Exterior wall fireplaces are more cost effective to build than interior wall fireplaces.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #5
2 baths vs. 2.5 or 3 baths.
Bathrooms cost more per square foot than any other room in your home (besides the kitchen).
Depending on the sq ft and selections, a powder room can start in the $2K range. A full bath with tile and nice fixtures generally starts closer to $4K.
There are many ways to build small, efficient bathrooms. Get more ideas from these 10 powder rooms for small spaces.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #6
Stay angular. Cut those corners.
The more corners on the exterior, the higher the cost. To get a visual example, compare these two floor plans:
The rectangle footprint of The Silverwood makes it a more cost effective plan to build. With only a 200 sq ft difference in size, each plan has three bedrooms, two baths, and a two car garage.
The Silverwood is copyright Plans, Inc.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #7
Keep the roofline a little simpler. Soaring rooflines can add expense without necessarily adding livable space.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #8
Specialty windows and rooms filled with windows.
Large window designs are a top custom home request. To reduce the cost of your home, ask your builder how to cut out specialty windows, and plan windows carefully throughout the home.
This version of The Bostwick has the best of both worlds - the design incorporates lots of windows for tons of natural light, but with lower-cost standard window sizes and shapes.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #9
Size of laundry room.
Similar to bathrooms and kitchens, laundry rooms are more costly to build than other rooms, especially when a larger laundry is filled with cabinetry and countertops.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #10
Add built ins later.
Popular floor plans often include built ins throughout the home. Adding built ins down the road can save cost up front, and give your family weekend projects to complete together.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #11
Two car, not three car.
When finding ways to cut the cost of your home, one of the first things to consider is removing the third car garage.
Most families find ample space in more standard two car garages, especially when nailing down true "must-haves" versus "really wants."
For this version of The Dinsmore, the home owners reduced their home's footprint - and saved on building costs - by removing the third car garage.
Small Home Cost Per Square Foot Factor #12
Limit the size and quantity of covered porches.
The cost of porches and other outdoor living areas adds up quickly.
Consider a front OR back porch, but not both, if you're looking to save money by building a smaller home. Which would you use more? That's the one you should build.
Often, homebuyers decide on outdoor living spaces after buying a lot - to maximize the use of their land.
Remember - patios and decks are much more cost expensive than porches, and offer great outdoor living options.
How to Build a Custom Home:
These cost-cutting tips should help your family stay on-budget when narrowing down your favorite floor plans.
Ultimately, building a custom home is about quality, creativity, and personality. Ask Stanton Homes how we build custom homes - in budget - without sacrificing what matters most to YOU.