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Javic Homes' Blog

By Javic Homes | Builder/Developer in Tampa, FL
  • What Do You Charge Per Square Foot To Build?

    Posted Under: General Area in Tampa Palms, Home Buying in Tampa Palms, Remodel & Renovate in Tampa Palms  |  March 14, 2011 9:13 AM  |  869 views  |  No comments

    Many of my homebuilding colleagues get pretty irritated by this question.  Often they respond – “How much does a new car cost per pound?”  There may be some relationship between a car’s cost and its weight, but nobody ever asks that question.  Yet the cost per square foot is common in home building, so rather than be perplexed by the question, I decided it was a perfectly reasonable way for people to understand the cost of a new home. 

    My response has always been that our cost per square foot is a wide range due to three factors: complexity, level of finishes, and size.  Then I provide detailed specifications for these factors, in order to provide an exact cost per square foot.  Here are why these three factors are so important.

    1. Complexity:  As a Tampa and St. Petersburg home builder, it seems clear, but a basic rectangular home with four corners is less expensive to build than a three story home in a flood zone with 16 corners, angled walls, a steep roof and extensive lot preparation, like tree removal and dirt work.  The more complex the home, the more labor and materials and the higher the cost per square foot.
    2. Level of Finish:  Carpet is much less expensive than wood or stone.  Formica counters are less expensive than granite.  Three inch baseboards are less than seven inch baseboards.  GE Profile appliances are less than Wolf and Sub-Zero.  The level of finish you choose for your home has a significant impact on the cost per square foot.
    3. Size:  Size maters in home building costs.  Assuming the two factors above are the same, the smaller the square footage the more it costs per square foot and conversely the larger the square footage the less it costs per square foot.  Very simply, a 2,000 square foot home and a 4,000 square foot home still only have one kitchen, so that high cost area is spread over more square feet in the larger home and less in the smaller home.

    Bottom line, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask how much it costs per square foot to build a custom home in Tampa and St. Petersburg, but make sure you get the details.  Then refine what you want for your home to get a more specific cost estimate that meets your specific requirements.


    Jon Solomon

    President, Javic Homes



  • Custom Homes: The Top 5 Places To Spend Your Money

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Tampa Palms, Home Buying in Tampa Palms, Remodel & Renovate in Tampa Palms  |  March 10, 2011 6:42 PM  |  1,320 views  |  No comments

    Building a custom home is likely one of the biggest investments that many people will ever make.  As a custom home builder in Tampa and St. Petersburg, I think it’s important that our customers put their money in the places where there is the most value.  Here are our Top 5:

    1. Location:  As if we don’t hear this enough, so how about one more time – “Location, Location, Location”.  It’s easy to design and build a custom home with fantastic finishes and great features, but if you build it in the wrong location, you’re simply in trouble.  If we’ve learned nothing else, I urge you to purchase a lot in the best location that you can afford.  Even for our occasional inventory or speculative homes, we routinely over pay for a lot, simply to get an ideal location.  Bottom line:  your long-term investment will be more solid.
    2. Kitchen:  I can’t recall a single customer ever telling us that their kitchen was too large, or had too much counter space, or had too many cabinets.  It just doesn’t happen.  We spend so much time in our kitchens.  Spend your money here.
    3. Family Room:  Oversize this room.  It’s another gathering area, so make this room a little larger than you think you need.
    4. Master Bath:  We’ve heard how this is the owner’s “retreat” or “oasis”.  It’s a place for you to relax, unwind and get away.  There’s no better reason to upgrade the finishes and size of this area.
    5. Closets:  Never underestimate the value of roomy walk-in closets, linen closets and laundry rooms.  Storage is always at a premium, so make sure you have enough closets and that they are large enough.

    These may seem so obvious, but when you’re thinking about a custom home and all the many priorities, it’s easy to get distracted and lose track of where it’s best to spend money on your investment.  Stay focused with these five areas and you’ll experience greater value in your new home for years to come.

    Jon Solomon
    President, Javic Homes

  • Corner Lots – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Tampa Palms, Home Buying in Tampa Palms, Remodel & Renovate in Tampa Palms  |  March 7, 2011 7:34 PM  |  2,151 views  |  1 comment

    Everyone seems to love a good corner lot, but are they really as great they look?  I’ll admit upfront that I’m prejudiced against them, but I’ve worked with many customers to design homes that they love on many wonderful corner lots.  Here’s what I’ve learned.  Just like the old Clint Eastwood movie, corner lots have some Good, Bad and then there’s the downright Ugly part to them.

    The Good

    There’s absolutely no denying that a corner lot feels bigger and more wide open.  There is the excitement that comes with all the flexibility of having roads on the front and side.  You can have a side load garage, which eliminates those large garage doors that so many people just don’t like on the front of their homes.  You can design beautiful front porches that wrap around the side.  And of course, the ultimate good for the anti-social types – you only have one side neighbor.

    The Bad

    So what could possibly be bad about a corner lot?  Well, let’s start with more landscaping, irrigation and maintenance.  Typically, you have to be concerned about some key landscape beds in the front and back.  Now there’s the side yard to plant and maintain.  Remember, how good it felt to have the wide open corner lot.  Unfortunately, many cities reduce the area where you can build on a corner lot, so that traffic visibility isn’t affected.  For example, a side load garage will have to be setback more from the property line, so that a car not parked in the garage, isn’t hanging into the sidewalk and road.

    The Ugly

    Far and away the biggest complaint on the corner lot and “The Ugly” for this conversation is the noise and privacy concerns due to auto, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  Now we have to design and be aware of this on multiple sides.  For many people, this concern results in adding additional fencing and landscape buffers.

    I’m still not sure whether the Bad and Ugly outweigh the Good, but I think it’s always healthy to go into a lot purchase with your eyes wide open.

  • The Shocking Step Most New Homeowners Fail to Take

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Tampa Palms, Home Buying in Tampa Palms, Remodel & Renovate in Tampa Palms  |  March 1, 2011 7:37 PM  |  1,094 views  |  1 comment

    Obtaining feedback from previous customers is a key step to selecting the right builder for your custom home.  It always amazes me how many people select a builder without taking the time to call and speak with past customers to see how they performed on their project.  It’s important to ask what they liked about their builder, as well as the builder’s weaknesses. 

    Every builder will have their good and bad points, so it’s important to realize that one builder can’t be all things to all people.  If you are looking for the “perfect” builder, I’m afraid you going to be disappointed.  One doesn’t exist.  However, if you are looking for a builder who is committed to excellence and integrity, and builds quality, custom homes, then such builders certainly exist.

    The key is to look for the things that really matter:  experience, excellence and integrity.  Here are a few questions to ask a builder’s previous customers:

    • Did your home finish on time?  If not, why?
    • Did your home finish on budget?  If not, why?
    • Was there ever a time that you felt your builder was being untruthful?
    • Did your builder communicate to you clearly throughout the process?
    • What are your builder’s best qualities?
    • What are some of your builder’s weaknesses and areas that need improvement?
    • Lastly & Most Important – Would you have your builder build for you again the next time?
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