Home Buying in Denver>Question Details

Crfox77, Home Buyer in Golden, CO

What are the current costs for building a custom home in the Denver suburbs? We're considering some lots in Golden.

Asked by Crfox77, Golden, CO Wed Oct 10, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


I have 15 years purchasing experience in construction and let me say this to those reading these forums and looking to build. A 2x4 costs what it cost. The variables are going to be location (land prices), permitting, finishes, and how well of a job your builder can do in negotiating his labor costs. The art of negotiation is just that... an art. Some people are good at it and some people just pay sticker. When a framer tells you that he's going to charge you $7.00 per sf to frame your house instead of the $3.25 he charges a company like Lennar because you are building a "custom" home... your response should be every house you frame is custom the first time you frame it. Yet... all too often people pay the $7.00 per foot. If you walk into a St. Aubryn home that's 4,000 sf and priced at $87 per foot why would anyone pay a custom builder $125 per sf (excluding land costs) for the same spec level? It makes no sense. These same consumers who overpay often rationalize by saying, "my home is custom so I can charge more when I sell it". Oh really? Why would a buyer want to pay a premium for a custom home that was "custom" built to your tastes not theirs? I also have never understood all of these "custom" builders who already have a plan designated for a lot and balk at making changes to suit the potential buyers... isn't the home supposed to be "custom"?... Otherwise it's just a spec house. I know I'll probably get slammed by a lot of builders here but what I'm saying is true. At the $140 - $250 per sf price a 4,000 sf house will set you back $600k- $1.25 million (not including your land and permits). Now, check Zillow and see how many of the listings in that price range are selling. You are supposed to build a house to gain equity, but the way these guys are trying to play the game if you build it you better love it and NEVER plan on moving.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 10, 2014
Because St. Aubyn, Lennar, etc. Build shite, and cut corners everywhere. You get what you pay for with a good builder. Good builders are more attentive to detail, use better materials and the overall fit and finish is far better. I've seen evidence of this in remodels too. If cost per square foot, not quality is your priority, have a pole barn built.
Flag Fri Oct 23, 2015
As a General Contractor turned Realtor, I can say that it is impossible to price a "custom built" home on a general per square foot basis, because it is custom. I have built homes for $68 per square foot and I have built homes in excess of $450 per square foot. I will give you a couple things to consider about pricing:
1. It is wholly dependent upon material selection, you can get ceramic tile for
$.50 psf and you can get custom tile materials for $100+ psf.

2. Pricing is a curve based upon size, larger homes cost less than smaller homes per square foot with similar finishes. This is because the high fixed costs, can be absorbed into the space, and a carpeted family room is much less expensive to build than a kitchen or bathroom.

3. Multi-level homes are less expensive per square foot than ranches, as excavation, foundation work and roofing materials are more expensive than walls and flooring.

If this was helpful, I would love to chat with you further about securing your land and sharing recourses and contacts within the building community. Good luck on your search and building your dream home!

Carl Larson
The Bartic Group
(303) 880-8778 - Cell
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2014
I've seen a lot of great answers here recently to your question. I would like to comment, however, that I've not yet seen a true Design / Build, Custom Home Builder respond and would like to throw my two cents in.

After working for four small to national home builder in Colorado and building in over 60 communities along with over 10,000 homes, we varied in hard costs from $50/sf up to $200/sf, so again many of the answers below are certainly correct. The one thing you won't see here however is what your unique dream home will cost.

Now have three companies of my own and working the custom home business from the Design / Build aspect, this, in my opinion, is the only way to build a home. It caters to you, the owner, in what you need, can afford and ultimately will enjoy as your home. We, together, can search out the right land, fees, home style / genre, costs, finishes, etc.

First step is "Design" and with the right plans and/or architect we work through the best design that will blend with your lifestyle, while at the same time understanding what the costs are along the way keeping the budget in mind. This includes selecting all of the products, colors and finishes, that you so desire. Also during the stage, there are multiple preliminary budgets that are arrived at to be sure were going down the right path on costs.

Second step is "Build" and with being a one stop, "turnkey" operation, we handle all of this as well, taking the design and costs we came through with on the front end and executing the permitting, land development and building of your new home.

In summary, to answer your question on what are the current costs for building a custom home and as you can tell from the answers you may have already received, there is not one answer. The Deign / Build process, however, will get you the best overall answer and will also give you the best overall breathtaking experience at arriving at your dream custom home.

Kind regards,

Brian Dotson
Genre Homes
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
all these answers are correct. 1. depends on your budget.2. then we see what your MUST haves are. 3. then we go shopping. I built custom home in crested butte . my Must haves were bath and larger room wood floors. I am a terrific hunter. be open to non custom cabinets, flooring these raise the costs tremendously1 would love to help
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 15, 2015
My framer friend ($10 million homes) tell me that:
A garage (labor, brick, foundation, shingles, sheetrock) costs $20 Sq. FT and it is around $30 sq. ft to make it 2 story.
AC & Heating (separate units or thermostats) < $15,000; Electric < $5000; Plumbing < $4 sq ft
Roofing < $10,000, Slab Foundation < $8000 OR Finished Basement < $30,000
Framing (labor, materials, supplies) < $2.50 sq ft
Kitchen with Island or bar $2000 - $5000 (custom 10x10)
Master Bath (glass shower, jetted tub, tile including wall, labor, granite, toilet, cabinetry) < $25000
Other Bath (tub, cabinetry, tile, labor, toilet) < $6000
Flooring (including labor): (Porcelain Tile PEI > IV) $4-$8; Carpet = $3-$7 sq. ft; Engineered Wood Flooring (1/2inch & hardness > 1700; labor) $4-$8 ft
Large Windows installed (102x60; 72x60; etc...) $500 - $900 each
Vaulted Ceiling < $1500; Crown molding (labor & materials) < $6 ft
BTW for Colorado: Majestic builds from $70 sq. ft - $100 sq. ft on ur land. The homes are spacious and beautiful! Visit a location where they are building for their model.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 20, 2015
I would also like to know what the price range would be. I've been wanting to move into a new, custom built home. I can't imagine what it must be like to live in a home that was custom built for me. http://www.mvmch.com/about-us.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 4, 2014
You have a lot of great answers below. I'd say you're probably looking at $200 per square foot minimum. Remember, new construction implies water and sewer tap fees, etc. There's a great expression, "You finish your home, you finish your budget." And, new construction financing is different than the typical home mortgage.

In today's market, I would suggest you also look at some newer resale homes. You may find a home that meets your needs for less. Let me know if I may assist you in locating custom builders or helping you compare new vs resale.

Jean Stevens
Broker/Owner, CRS, E-Pro, GREEN, 5280 Magazine Five Star Realtor
The Stevens Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 13, 2012
I saw your post and see that you've received a lot of consistent responses. The best advice I can offer is to get someone you trust to help you identify and assess the entire project, the investment cost, and the return you can produce. We live in Golden and have been looking at lots too and it's a big project. At our company, we've been modifying, reinventing, and building homes from central Denver west to Golden for the past nine years, selling quickly and producing a following of happy buyers. If you are looking for help and want to talk, feel free to contact me directly. You can find out more about our company at http://www.brixtonassociates.com, or on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brixton-Real-Estate-LLC/126159…

Jenn Morrison
Director of Sales & Marketing - Associate Broker
Brixton Real Estate
Phone- 303.949.7959
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
We're a custom home builder with a slightly different approach - our clients act as the G C (General Contractor) on the project and we're there to guide them through the maze. Saves them money, gives them more control, and results in a great product.
We've helped our clients build "modest homes" for as low as $125 per square foot. We've also helped clients build "legacy" homes for upwards of $275 per square foot. These numbers include everything except land (architecture, permits, utility costs, our fees, etc).
Best way to get a good handle on price is to sit down with us and let us discuss your specific plan, on the various lot's you're considering. We can start you on the right path with a good ballpark number.
We have 10 years experience, more than 160 complete custom homes.
Bob Hinz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
Bob, I know that you and your clients have worked with Altitude Electric on several custom homes. Your plan and methodology are excellent, and the homes that I have seen are fabulous testaments to you and your company's success!
Flag Wed Oct 10, 2012
My husband owns Altitude Electric LLC, and that business was built on custom homes. Because of that, I've learned a few things ... Keep in mind that a contractor building a home for resale is focused on low cost; however, $120/sq ft is really minimalistic.

Typically, when someone builds a custom home for their enjoyment, choices are made to enhance the comfort of the home. For example, more attention may be paid to the choice and quality of kitchen cabinets, surround sound wiring may be added to the television room, radiant in-floor heat may be placed in the master bathroom, and the list goes on.

The best way to get a handle on building cost is to meet with both an excellent and reputable general contractor and quality sub-contractors. They will talk with you about your budget and help you prioritize wants and needs in order to provide you with a home that does not leave you dissatisfied. Most features are far less expensive to install during rough construction than as a remodel later.

Selecting the "low-cost leader" is typically not in your best interest. Money you think you are saving will become added expense and headaches later. Be sure to check licensing, insurance, references and past work. If you need recommendations, feel free to e-mail me, and I will provide some local resources.

Best regards,
Jody Wagner
Keller Williams Foothills Realty LLC
Cell (303) 668-9796
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
All of the answers below are within range. I've seen new builds in Denver range from $130-200/SF. Most variance depends on design & finishes as well as skill, ability, negotiations with subs on behalf of a general contractor. Higher-end custom can definitely go over that $200/SF estimate.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012

Good question, but too many variables to answer without more detail. Location, size, level of finish and many other factors can cause the costs to soar. You could build a home for $150 to $200 per square foot, but certain areas and finishes could conceivably double that amount. Especially when you say 'custom' home. There are builder homes, semicustom, and ultimate custom homes with unlimited costs involved to get exactly what the buyer wants. Good success with your build.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Direct - 303-669-1246
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
I met with an architect that thinks he can get a custom build for closer to $120 a square foot, but I don't believe it. I met with a proven custom builder last week and we discussed this at length. Besides the homes construction there are other costs to consider like do you have a virgin homesite or are there exisiting structures that need to be removed, does your lot include water and sewage service and are the tap fees included which can run into tens of thousands of $$$? That disclaimer aside, Alex Rogl at Encore Homes builds lovely custom homes in the $180 per square foot range. If you want to build a custom home, contact Alex Rogl at Encore Custom.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
I have built a couple of very nice places for about $135 per square foot, but that can go as high as $200+ depending on the finishes you select and the nature of the structure itself. Complex architecture and engineering can drive that price up. There are a lot of variables to consider. If you'd like to bounce some ideas around, please feel free to give me a call. No obligation, of course. 303-829-7527.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
The cost of new construction varies significantly from builder to builder. The lowest price I've heard of was $200 per square foot.

Best of luck!

Marina Bay
Cherry Creek Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
There are many variables to consider Crfox77. Using your own plan or use a builders footprint/blueprint? How many sq feet? Finishes? Beds, baths? Style? Basement? Garage? Size of the lot can determine the size too. I recommend you talk with a couple builders and ask to see some past builds/examples. There are many to choose from but do your due diligence to proceed with a good builder.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
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