Okay- let's hear your input. We have been quoted anywhere from $250 to $850 per square foot for building costs. What are you hearing?
I'm very interested to see what people have to say about this post. My husband and I have been traveling to the Caribbean for years and last month we purchased a villa. We will be renovating our villa this fall, but it is our goal to eventually build.
My husband is a building contractor with 30 years of experience in the building and development industry. Building a successful business from the ground up.
We thought that it would be a good idea to renovate first so that we can immerse ourselves to the ins and outs of the local building building protocol. We will be doing the majority of the work ourselves and hiring locals for any work that requires licensing (plumbers, electricians etc.), and to search for our perfect property.
When we were in STT in March, my husband was impressed with the inventory that the have at Home Depot. He thought that the prices were around 15% higher than our local Home Depot, but again, you pay no sales tax. We have no interest in starting a business in STT, but to build something special for us to eventually retire to and escape the brutal Midwestern winters.
I want to thank everyone who has given me advice and recommendations on everything from dumpsters and cistern repairmen to appliances (thanks Jules and Betty).
I know I've rambled on, but I thought that I would give a little back round info. Does your square footage cost include the price of the land? Most builders do not incorporate the land cost in their bidding process. It is also a good idea to get 2 or 3 bids from different contractors and make sure that they are detailed and give specific information on what products they are using. Get the back round on the contractor, ask to not only tour homes, but to meet the former clients. Are they satisfied?
I was told between $150 to $200 / sq ft for a "nice" house on STX. Also that depends on the topo of the lot. I had two contractors look at ours and said between $160 to $190 because of the hill.
OF COURSE this can go up depending on how facny you want things; Granite or Formica counter tops, marble or tile floors, Etc, Etc, Etc.
I had one contractor tell me it depended on where on island it was as well.
The lady at one of the dive shops was getting $300 prices for a very modest home in the east end. I gave her the name of the contractors I talked to. And YES both of them came very highly recommended for their good work and good work ethic. I have a list of good contractors and bad contractors from people that I talked with that had work done. No I won't list the bad ones on this board, because it was just someones word that they should be someone to stay away from.
Molly--As far as I know the price per sq ft does not include land. I would get two or three bids but a large part of the deciding factor would be put on how recommended the contractors came. Word of mouth and friends recommendations are important here. These are small islands if someones a no good or lazy or whatever word gets around quickly. I have a couple of contractors I use repeatedly, they are not the cheapest at all but they are good and havent taken any shortcuts so far.
Thanks for the clarification, Betty. I also agree that word of mouth and recommendations are crucial. If you get an unscrupulous contractor, it's not only the shoddy work or the lack of progress, It's if he has paid all of his subcontractors. It's essential that you get lien waivers from everyone doing work on your home, all the banks that I deal with require them, as well as a contractors affidavit every time there is a payout request. If your contractor subcontracts part of his job out but fails to pay them, it could result in a lien being placed on your property. And ultimately you would have to pay twice for the same work being done. It is illegal, but I've seen it done.
I have been investigating this very issue quite intensively on STT. I am getting estimates anywhere from $200 - $300 per square foot -- and that does include the land. Just an FYI.
Friends of mine built a beautiful, huge home in 2005 for $165 per square foot. They used a very good builder and were intimately involved with all of the details. They told me that we could probably build a home in 2007 for approximately $220 per square foot. For budgetary purposes I would estimate $300 per square foot and then add to that another 10% (or so) as a fudge factor.
Another thing to consider in the square footage of your house is the size. Smaller homes have a higher price per square foot. All homes need cisterns, septic(not sure what the rule is locally on that), all the mechanicals and a kitchen. Those are the things that take up the largest portion per square foot. But also in general, people who can afford a larger house usually have lots of upgrades.
I will give this board my contractor when he is done. Here on STX he is doing well. $75 sq for the rough framing that is all concrete & roof then i finish the rest. Then you spend what you want granite or tile no Formica. That will not last very long. Hard wood cabinets are a must to.
Thanks for the great advice!!!! We are currently in negotiations for an existing home, but we and the seller are not quite "there" with the price yet and it remains to be seen if we will be.
For the longest time building was completely out of the question in our minds, but we have seen enough people successfully do it now, that we are more open to the idea and have been investigating the possibility in earnest. I will definitely be back in touch if we decide to go that route.
Thanks so much again!!!
Here's the "rule of thumb" that I used when budgeting to build my island home - $100 to $125 per Sq. Ft. will get you the foundation, cistern, your basic four walls with openings for widows and doors, roughing for plumbing and electricity and the framing and sheething for the roof. Everything else, including finish materials, paints, stains, roof tiles (or other roofing finishes), floor & wall tiles, mastics, hardware, windows, doors, electrical & plumbing fixtures, appliances, etc. can add anywhere from $100 to "the sky's the limit" per sq. ft.
The reality is $250 to $275 per sq. ft. gets you a fairly nice "builder's standard" house. If you want upscale or designer finishes you can easily spend upwards of $500 to $600 per sq.ft. None of these numbers include landscaping which is a whole other story.
Take a hint from someone who's been there, done that. You'll be behind schedule and over budget almost from week one of your project. Get your best pre-constructions estimates than add 50%. If the resulting number doesn't scare you than proceed with the project.
My friends are off island until late next week, but when they return, I will get this information for you.
I'll also get the number of another builder who is building a home for some other friends and doing a terrific job. All I know is his first name, Zachary, but I will try to get his number and PM it to you. Give me a little time because I am not sure if these friends are currently on-island or not, as they live part time in the states.