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Build YOUR Columbus dream home for $304,933

by Maureen McCabe on November 14, 2007

Build your Columbus Ohio dream home on paper, or calculate the cost of your Central Ohio dream home anyway…

Recently on ActiveRain (a real estate network) Kristal Pooler of the Cape Ann, the Northshore Area in Massachusetts wrote:

“In case you missed it, there was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that discusses new construction cost estimates. The article mentions one site that provides an online calculation: http://www.building-cost.net/. Like all such calculators, it can provide a rough estimate at best.”

I missed it, thanks to Kristal for writing about the “building cost calculator.” I had to try the ” online calculator.” It was fun. I did a 3200 square foot home. I did not spend a great deal of time thinking of whether it’s parts were best, good or average quality… I did only one best and that may not make any sense. Foundation? Or maybe it makes total sense.. but totally miss matched with the rest of the house?

The email I got said “This report is based on the book National Building Cost Manual published by: Craftsman Book Company ( 1-800-829-8123) http://costbook.com.”

“Construction Cost Estimate

This is an estimate for a single family residence built under competitive conditions in or near Columbus, Ohio in November 2007.This estimate includes a foundation as required for normal soil conditions, excavation for foundation and piers on a prepared building pad, floor, wall, interior and exterior finishes, roof cover, interior partitions, doors, windows, trim, electric wiring and fixtures, rough and finish plumbing, built-in appliances, supervision, design fees, permits, utility hook-ups, the contractor’s contingency, overhead and profit. Highly decorative, starkly original or exceptionally well-appointed residences will cost more.Add the cost of the land, government-mandated site development fees and the cost of bringing utility lines to the site.”

Here are what the house I specified consisted of, and how the online calculation priced it out:

Total Living Area 3200
Number Of Corners 6
Foundation Quality Class 1
Exterior Walls Quality Class 2
Exterior Finish Quality Class 2
Windows & Doors Quality Class 3
Roofing Quality Class 3
Interior Finish Quality Class 3
Flooring Quality Class 2
Bathroom Quality Class 3
Kitchen Quality Class 2
Plumbing Quality Class 3

Subtotal Direct Job Costs
Material $126,621
Labor $117,998
Equipment $4,832
Subtotal Direct Job Costs Total $249,451
Indirect Job Costs

Final Cleanup Total $1,247

Insurance Total $8,727

Permits & Utilities Total $5,299

Plans & Specs Total $1,247

Subtotal Indirect Job Costs
Material $15,273
Labor $1,247
Indirect Job Costs Total $16,520

Contractor Markup Total $38,962

Total Cost
Material $180,856
Labor $119,245
Equipment $4,832
Grand Total $304,933

How does that compare to reality? I went to the MLS (Columbus Board of Realtors multiple listing service) and searched for new construction homes sold with approximatly 3200 square feet.*

Total MLS Area (lots of area, includes the outlying counties)

All MLS areas – 52 Properties All Sold since 1-1-2007)

Avg. S.F. – 3196, 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 baths List Price $420,343 Sale Price $408,711

Big Walnut School District (Southern Delaware County) – Properties 3

Avg S.F. – 3227, 4 bedrooms. 3 1/2 baths, List Price $485,725, Sale Price $486,165

Columbus School District – 3 (these are condos)

Avg S.F. – 3213, 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, List Price $502,359, Sales Price $517,531

Dublin School District – 3 Properties

Avg S.F. – 3235, 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 baths, List Price $468,987, Sale $440,466

Hilliard School District – 3 Properties

Avg S.F. – 3239, 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, List Price $504,900, Sale Price $484,994

Olentangy School District – 24 Properties

Avg S. F. 3188, 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 baths, List Price $443,751, Sale Price $429,978

Other local school districts: Worthington, Westerville, Gahanna there are no approx 3200 S.F new build sales since January 1, 2007 in the MLS.

Buckeye Valley School district only one house but it was a deal…under 300K

New Albany (Plain Local School District) a 3200 S.F. home must be dinky although there have been 30+ new builds sold through the CBR MLS there was only one that was about 3200 S.F. An average home in New Albany is 4004 S.F. and sold for $674,021.

I was trying to do a Powell Ohio new build… and came up with 8 properties!

Powell Ohio - 8 Properties (Sold since 1-1-2007 these are included in the Olentangy Schools above as well)

Avg S.F. – 3185 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, List Price $446,987, Sale Price $434,082

Confused? It certainly is.. but still fun for me.

Until I got to the end of the ” calculator” I did not get a choice of markets and my only local choice was Columbus 432_ _. I was surprised that the CBR MLS allowed me to search that way, by three digits of the zip code…. but it did… Powell is 43065, Lewis Center is 43035, Dublin is 43016 and 43017… most of the areas I am looking at are not 432 _ _ zip codes. The three homes in the Columbus school district are in the 432 _ _ zipcode and surpris, surprise they are condos!

An average 432 _ _ Zipcoded property is:

Avg S.F. – 2037, 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 baths, List Price $253,410, Sale Price $246,126

Lots of the 432_ _ new construction properties are condos. The average price with condos included is higher than the single family price… I was picturing the house in Powell and single family… I kind of assumed the calculator was assuming single family too..

Browse Central Ohio new construction options online: The Real Living New Construction portal is to more than what is represented in the MLS. Or is different…

EDIT 2012 Ch Ch Changes to our Real Living HER site make the link not work.  Or not work to my site.

* A lot of new construction in Central Ohio does not get listed in the MLS so would not be included in the numbers above. The Quality Classes – Best (1), Good (2), Average (3) were pretty arbitrary on my part and I don’t have anyway to judge that on the sold houses above.. so I may be comparing apples to oranges. I did a house with 6 corners, not a box but certainly not a complicated foot print. After I got done I wished I would have been more realistic about that. I think if I look at the foot prints of the sold houses, I’d find more corners.

It was still fun.

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{ 4 comments }

1 Chris Shouse November 14, 2007 at 02:25 pm

Very interesting article, thanks for sharing.

2 Maureen McCabe November 14, 2007 at 02:44 pm

Chris I’d love to hear from others about how the Building Cost Calculator works in their market. I think using only Columbus ZIP codes (432_ _ ) is a flaw. The majority of new construction here in Central Ohio is not going to be in a zip code that starts 432. Lots of the new builds in the city of Columbus is going to be condominiums. I wonder if the cost are strictly single family..

3 Jim's Construction Network April 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Great tips for someone looking to build a dream home at a relatively lower cost! :)

4 Maureen McCabe April 17, 2012 at 02:47 pm

thanks… your comment on this 4 1/2 year old post made me come back and remove a broken image, break a broken link, re-add the tags back in. A “relatively lower cost” is all relative.

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