Complete 3D Home Design
Complete 3D Home Design
Bridging the Gap between Idea and Reality
Wolfgang Richter  Tel:828-625-1459
Lake Lure, NC 28746   Cell: 828-691-8439      
....affordable Service in Three Dimenisons
Complete 3D Home Design

A Closer Look

Do you buy a car by the pound?

By Wolfgang Richter

When people start to think about building a home, they immediately begin to calculate how much a particular home would cost. Unfortunately, there is a time-honored industry yardstick, called the “square foot method”. This determines, it is believed, the cost of a home. When you have a square-foot cost, it enables you to make a quick comparison not only between different-sized homes, but between builders, who quote you a price for your future home. Right? Wrong!

Comparing a cost of a home on the basis of the square foot area should be avoided. You do not purchase cars by the pound and you should not buy homes by the square foot. What square foot area do we consider? There is heated square footage, there are square footages for decks, garages, unfinished basements, all have different cost involved. If all the homes and builders would be alike, the theory would work. But all homes and builders are not the same, and considering the cost of a house based on the square footage does you and them both a disservice.

There are several reasons why the cost analysis by the square foot is inappropriate:
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  • picHome styles vary. The square foot method is not helpful in comparing different styles – a contemporary to a traditional home, a brick home to a log home.
  • Home design. It can not be accurate in comparing a one story to a two story home.
  • Specifications. The square foot method really falls apart when you have the same home design and style but different specifications. It gives an inaccurate comparison of cost / value when one home was brick, hardwood floors, solid cherry cabinets and Kohler plumbing fixtures while the other home has  Masonite siding, carpeted floors, laminate cabinets and basic white plumbing fixtures. Does the square foot method include site work, well, septic, landscaping, basements, garages, fireplaces? Some quotes include all of those, some quotes include several and some include none. This is not helpful for comparison shopping.
  • Home size. The square foot approach is totally inadequate when one attempts to compare a 1000 sqft home with a 5000 sqft home.
  • Room definition. If the same size home has one floor plan with four bathrooms and the other plan with two bathrooms, it would create a skewed comparison.
  • Marketing considerations. Builders know that some people rely on the square foot value analysis and they tailor their bid to meet your requirements. In order to match your square foot cost number, they may knowingly or unknowingly downgrade the specifications to accommodate your square foot budget.

In summary, do not compare homes or builders based on square foot approach. It may have been a effective tool in the days of Abraham Lincoln and log home cabins, but it is totally
inappropriate and in fact dangerously misleading in today’s housing market. In fact it is unfair to both parties, the builder and the prospective owner of the house.  At the very best it can give you a broad range what your house may cost after completion of the building process.

The better approach: The design method

To give you a better and much narrower range of the cost of your future home, have a designer put all your ideas on paper. This includes several steps, where the home of your dreams and its features are documented in floor plans, elevations, colored 3D pictures inside and outside, ceiling heights, personalized kitchen layouts, external features and many others. And, as always, keep later years in mind and avoid steps you have to climb as a daily necessity. There will be many questions early in this process, but they will come sooner or later anyway. When they come sooner, changes have to be made on paper, which is much cheaper than the changes in the field, when walls, windows or fixtures have to be moved.


picComplete 3D Home Design saves you lots of money in cost over-runs after the house building process is complete. Proper planning and a design package, which you can give to the prospective builder for bidding, can avoid cost over-runs. Only this approach is fair to both parties: the owner and the builder of your future home.

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