Pricing Out a Custom Home

I just ran across this interesting situation, when a friend of a friend asked me to price out their home they wanted to build. They had purchased plans from a site that sells floor plans. They are generally good plans just lacking detail (I’ll explain later). They asked me along with another builder to price it out for them.

Not having spent any time with them on plan development, I wanted to first take the time to understand what their vision was for their home, how they were going to function in it and what were some of the most important parts and details to them.

I hit the ground running to get them their bid. Long story…short version, my bid came in very high, much higher than the other builder. I was shocked, along with my client. We decided to put the two bids side by side and see if there were any differences. We were surprised at what we found.

Because I had met with them prior to bidding out the plan, I knew exactly the details they wanted. I knew their window sizes were important and non-negotiable, their fireplace stone fascia they wanted up to their ceiling (not just the mantel), their interior trim they wanted at 4 inches with a traditional scallop, and canned lighting in certain areas was a must. And the list went on.

Their bid from the other builder included NONE of these items and therefore at first glance looked like the better bid. However my client quickly realized the house they would have built with the other builder and the house they wanted would have been two COMPLETELY different homes. If they would have built with the other builder they would have incurred many change Orders to get the home they wanted. And likely they would have had a very frustrating building experience!

So no, all pricing is NOT Equal!

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