How much does it cost to build a house? It’s like answering the question, “What’s the cost of a dinner out?” It depends. If two people go to a fast food restaurant, they can be full for between $10 to $15 dollars. If they go out to a five-star restaurant with a months-long waiting list, it can cost hundreds of dollars. Affordable new homes in Florida follow some of the same logic. “Affordable” means something different in two different ways: 1) based on your previous experience of owning a home, and 2) depending on your needs and budget.
What Affordability Means
An affordable home for two people planning a family might look very different from an affordable home for a family with multiple generations living together. In many ways, affordability is relative. The key is to find out what affordability means to you, and look for ways to increase savings and efficiency over time.
Assume affordable new homes in Florida cost between $80 and $200 per square foot. That’s a wide range. Perhaps affordable to you means $90 per square foot. Perhaps it means $150 per square foot. Talk to a local builder about the cost to build a house; model homes, for example, are available in a variety of footprints and budget ranges.
As for Synergy Homes’ model home pricing, many variables affect the cost to build – including, but not limited to, location and customization. Generally speaking, our base prices start at $186,900 for a Hudson 3 model home built in St. Lucie County. For more base prices and an apples-to-apples comparison of our model home floor plans, check out this free model home comparison guide.
Think About Long-Term Costs
Luckily, one major shift happening in home design and construction is a better sense of what cost-cutting now can create down the road in terms of additional expenses. Consider different circumstances:
If you use inferior windows, insulation, and appliances, you can reduce your home building costs. Over the years you own the home, this will increase the amount you have to pay to cool it, heat it, and run your appliances. Your home doesn’t conserve its interior temperature and costs more to run.
In Florida, it gets hot and humid. Energy-efficient homes can save you thousands of dollars a year in energy costs. If you save $8,000 in materials starting out, but you have to spend $20,000 extra in energy costs over the first several years you own the home, have you really saved money? It would have been kinder to your bank account to invest in the better materials and save on energy costs over the years.
Focus on Building Value
Another factor to consider is how the home will build its value. Energy-efficient homes will retain value better during economic downturns and see their values rise more during upturns. If you sell the home years down the road, you’ll see a much higher return on investment if you choose energy-efficient materials.
Keep in mind that energy efficiency isn’t the only area where this holds true. It’s one of the most important ones, but other choices can also impact your home’s ability to retain and build value. These include the durability of your flooring, how well aesthetic choices remain up to date in future years, and how the property itself is maintained. As a general rule, elements of your home that will save you money over time and that are exceptionally durable will help your home build more value over the years.
It can be a great idea to estimate future budgets. This helps you look at a variety of factors. If you need to replace a floor in 10 years, will it be more expensive than simply installing a floor that lasts for 30? If you cut costs on insulation now, how many years will it be before you’ve paid more than you saved? This advanced planning can make a great deal of difference in the money you have to spend years down the road.
Don’t Trade Costs Today for Costs Tomorrow
Above all, don’t just look at short-term costs. A home that’s $10,000 less expensive, but that costs $2,000 more a year to operate and maintain, won’t be worth it in the long run. Look at long-term cost saving measures featured in energy-efficient homes that can help you save on utility and other bills. These homes also can hold and build their value over time better than homes without energy-saving features.
Consider the different mortgages you’d pay, the costs of energy bills, and a home’s likelihood to build and maintain value. This will give you a much more realistic picture of not just the cost to build a house, but also the cost to live in it happily and securely.
Got more questions? Let us know; our Florida home building team is happy to help!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.