Amanda, Other/Just Looking in Los Angeles, CA

How much would it cost(per sq ft) to build a 2400 sq ft house in Los Angeles?

Asked by Amanda, Los Angeles, CA Sun Mar 10, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


Let me help you.

First, determine what you can afford, income - expenses - debts - taxes = x

Based off of the first number you will have to determine how much income to allocate to a mortgage/loan/additional debt.

Based off of that number take into consideration you will need land to build on and that is not free, mortgage - cost of land = funds for building materials.

Ideally you will look for the least expensive parasol of land but you have to determine what community to choose. Remember the cheaper your land is the less desirable your community will be so try and look at different states to give you a better idea of where you should live your life style.

Now $135 per sq is over what i will spend simply because i can source the labor and materials myself thus lowering my cost drastically.

For most people who do not want to spend the time and day looking for that on their own and manage the building personally they will pay $135 by doing some due diligence and working with the right builders who are bonded and are set up to handle the potential liabilities that can occur.

Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 16, 2016
Estimate of building a home can be all over the place. I get it. But hope the following can help some people out in estimating some costs on their own project...

I have seen homes and apartments sell in the Inland Empire and Antelope Valley of Southern California for less than $100/SF and include the land. I've seen homes and apartments in Texas, etc also sell for less than $100/SF including the land.
Contractors and home builders can become millionaires and even billionaires (ex. Mr Broad). It is the ignorant consumer such as me that feed into that whole industry. Yet, it is really just simple math.

What you really want to know is how much is materials and labor for a pre-finished house. That means before you pick the flooring material, window quality, appliances, cabinet quality, counter tops, other fixtures. Those finished items are what can really change the cost per square foot.

But if you just can figure out the pre-finished house cost, then you can better understand if the contractor bid is out of line. Plus, you can then better plan your budget on the cost of flooring, windows, fixtures, etc.

I don't know how to figure cost for a foundation footings (maybe someone can contribute that information), but I can at least estimate the cost for lumbar to construct a 12 x 12 x 8foot high ceiling room.
As of May 2016 on the Homedepot website::
Eight foot 2x4 prime kiln-dried stud is about $2.50 each retail price.
Twelve foot 2x6 Douglas Fir about $7.50 each.
8 x 4 foot plywood sheet (15/32 thick, pressure-treated rated sheathing) is about $27/each. (There is cheaper plywood if you like).
8 x 4 drywall sheet high-strength lite gypsum board (1/2 inch thick) is about $15/each. (There is cheaper drywall if you like).

So, for a common 12 ft x 12 ft x 8 ft ceiling room: (Not accounting for cut outs for doors and windows, switches, sockets, etc.):

You need:
about 36 8-foot 2x4s vertical studs (spaced every 16 inches around the four walls) x $2.50 = $90
about 18 8-foot 2x4s for the perimeter footing and double-top header x $2.50 = $45
about 11 12-foof 2x6 beams as your foundation beams spaced 16 inches and two end caps (if having a raised foundation) x $7.50 = $85
about 12 8x4 plywood around the exterior walls x $27 = $324
about 5 8x4s plywood for the flooring x $27 = $135
about 12 8x4 drywall sheets for the interior walls x $15 = $180
about an extra 8 8-foot 2x4s to cut into 15-inch pieces to brace all the studs and floor beams x $2.50 = $20

So lumbar is about $880 +/- for that pre-finished room.
Oh, if you want a ceiling you have to add either 9 more 2x6 (($68) or 9 more 2x4 beams ($23), and 5 more drywall sheets ($45).

So lumbar is about $1000 +/- for that very pre-finished merely framed 12x12 8-foot ceilingroom.

I've seen a few Youtube videos about framing. Only including the actual time to use a nail gun to assemble the floor beams, nail the plywood flooring, and wall studs with footing and header (not yet counting for the plywood sheathing and drywall), it takes less than one hour to nail the pieces together for each wall, and the floor. It is not rocket science. Cutting the braces and nailing them between the floor beams and wall studs probably takes about another 2 hours.

Day #1: So for framing that room should take 1 day.
$60/hour rate x 8 = $480 labor. for walls and floor framing.

Day #2: Next day exterior plywood nailing should be about 1 hour per wall. half day labor = $$240
Maybe another half day to do the ceiling beams =$240.
Also put in your wall insulation: R-13 Owens Corning Kraft 15-inch x 32 feet roll is $13/each x 9 (cut to 36 pieces of 8-feet high length to put between the wall studs) = $120.
If you add insulation for under plywood floor between the floor beams then just calculate what insulation you are going to buy with the square footage to cover 144 square foot subfloor area.

Before you drywall, need to coordinate electrical, plumbing, socket and switches placement,etc.
Maybe someone can add to this rough estimate by figuring out those service costs.

Day#3 (Which is likely days after electrical, plumbing, etc work) Drywall the walls and ceiling is likely a whole day's work at $60/hr = $480 .

Nails varies from about $10/1000 nails to $40/1000 nails. Minor cost.

So I listed the above:
$1000 +/- for lumbar
$120 +/- for insulation
$1500 +/- labor (three days of work, not including electrical, plumbing, etc.)
$40 nails
about $2700.

If it takes more days of labor, then just make the adjustment in cost.

Hope someone can contribute the costs of foundation footings versus slab foundation, electrical and plumbing labor costs, and roof laborcosts, etc.

You can see that materials for a pre-finished structure is really not the main costs. It is the labor.
So you have to get a handle on how quickly the contractor can build with how many people.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 7, 2016
Forgot to conclude: so even if it takes DOUBLE ($5400) for the above work to get done, that is about $37.50 per square foot. That sure leaves a lot of room for electrical (how much can wire be?) and plumbing (how much is PVC piping?), windows, doors, switches, sockets, crown molding, base boards, wood versus carpet flooring, etc. It seems still much less than $100 per square foot...
Flag Sat May 7, 2016
But the general contractor is going to want to get paid for his "supervising" services. Probably at least $60/hour, so another $480 per day of construction.
Add another skilled worker or two and you can see how the labor costs run up so fast. I went on Craigslist and found countless people looking for work as framers, drywallers, contractors, etc. I'm sure there are electrical and plumbing services on there too to get bids for their services.
Flag Sat May 7, 2016
how much to build at 2,000 ft home in atlanta,ga?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 19, 2014
That totally Depends on What you are Building and at What stage of the Building Process you are in.
Inflation has hit the building materially industry fairly hard, especially in small items but also fairly substantially in concrete, steel, lumber. Architectural and Engineering Services have remained sable or gone down a bit. If you don't know the process from planning to permitting to building then you have a larger time factor. Time is Money in the building Industry. Low end slab foundation SF $250/sq. ft, High End SF $600/sq. ft. Comm. w/underground parking $600/sq ft.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2014
Hi Amanda, you can see from the responses below that it could be just about anywhere from 150 to
500 / sq.ft. and more.... Why this is such a difficult question to answer with one number or a range is
because it all depends on what kind of home, how large, what kind of construction, with or without a basement, in some areas basements are very expensive because of the existing grounds and then
type of construction, brick, stone, etc. and once the shell is done with big or small windows what type of
roof, then it comes to the finishing of the home and the variety of materials and products is so vast,
that only a builder once you decided what it is that you want, or can afford a number can be set.

And remember you better think it through very carefully pick what you really like and fits into your
financial plan, as any change during construction is quite expensive....

So connect with a good local Realtor to find the right building site, make sure you buy for the right
size of home to be built, and the Realtor also can connect you then with local builders for an architectural rendition of your new home, and a good pricing estimate.
Good Luck to you

Sincerely yours,
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
construction alone... from $160 to $285 p/sq ft. depending on the type of construction and/or fixtures and finishes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 11, 2013
Depends if its on raw land or if the property is already connected to city sewer, water and gas lines. And if the property is flat or if it needs grading. You can guesstimate about $150. To $200. Per sq.ft. But you really need to take in consideration that that guesstimate is on a ready to build land. You'll also need to connect with a good Architect who can do then planning and pull all the permits for you.

Good luck, let me know if you need a few resources to get started, information gladly given with no obligation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 11, 2013
There are many variables that effect building cost as others have suggested however I work with some investment groups that are building for $100-$135 per sq. ft. in low to moderate income neighborhoods in L.A.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 11, 2013
I agree with previous answers - there are a lot of factors that can affect cost per SQF and you need to consider all of them. I think it's best to contact professional and licensed contractor/builder to obtain exact estimate based on your particulars.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 10, 2013
These are some of the factors that will determine your costs:
1. Is land flat or sloped? If sloped how steep is it?
2. Are soils on land rocky, wet, clay or what?
3. Are you on a or near an earthquake fault?
4. Are you in Beverly Hills or South LA (this will go to what type of house you can build)?
5. Do you want to build 1 story or 2 story house?
6. What quality level house do you want to build (a Ford or a BMW)?
7 How big a house do you want to build?
8. Is the land currently served by all utilities (Gas, Water, Sewer, Power)
Costs could be between $150 and $500 per square foot.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 10, 2013
It really depends on what kind of house you're looking at. I would consult with a contractor, not an agent, but estimates can be between $120 - $250/square foot in my experience. Are you looking for any special fixer uppers? I can help you find something that is worth remodeling, rather than building from ground up. Let me know if you're interested.

Caroline Harabedian
RE-Search Concept
8700 Reseda Blvd., Suite 213-B
Northridge, California 91324
(818) 967-9626 mobile
(818) 979-0226 fax
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 10, 2013
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