Clients deserve a straight answer, but getting it requires an honest conversation
Some builders and realtors often market homes in terms of square-foot costs, but that approach can be misleading for a custom home. Sam Rashkin, founder of the Energy Star for Homes program, expressed this idea forcefully at a recent industry conference. "If you put 100 of the smartest people from the building industry in a room for a week and asked them to come up with a worse metric than cost per square foot," he said, "they wouldn't be able to do it."
Rashkin was talking specifically about energy-efficient, healthy, and durable high-performance homes—the kind built by today's best professional builders.
It's no mystery why so many homeowners latch on to this metric, however. It's an understandable shortcut people use to try to understand what they will be getting for their money. As builders, it's up to us to provide that understanding.
Some builders simply reply that square foot costs depend on what you want. That's factually correct—custom homes are by definition unique, so the final cost will vary with the details. But the answer is incomplete in that it doesn't address an important underlying concern.
Yes, people want to know if they can afford a given builder, but they also want assurance that the builder will be a good steward of their budget and their vision. That's why a professional builder will view this question as a conversation starter. This conversation is an opportunity to demonstrate our respect for their cost concerns, perhaps by showing photos of completed homes and sharing the final prices of those homes. But we also need to go deeper.
Part of the custom builder's job is exploring the client's vision and budget to help build the best house they can afford. Having a collaborative team involving an architect alongside the builder allows everyone to be working to the same design, quality and budget goals for the benefit of everyone. It lays a foundation for each aspect of the team to be working toward a common goal. We often see that working together allows for some "out of the box" thinking on materials and finishes, landing in a place where all parties are excited about the final outcome. The variables are nearly infinite, but a talented team can maneuver through them while keeping the client in mind.
Besides fleshing out their needs and wants, we also must understand the clients' budget. If they have a particular cost target in mind—say, a 3000-square-foot home for a specific price per square foot—we seek to understand what design and products realistically reflect their goals as well as tradeoffs they may want to make.
The conversation is also a chance to clarify the clients' notions of square footage. Do they assume it includes only heated space or does that number include porches, a garage, hardscape or landscaping? How about site preparation costs that are needed prior to building? Structural, permitting or design fees? There's no standard way of calculating the cost of a home that easily with so many variables, so a reputable builder will work to discuss each aspect to give a more complete and accurate price as the assumptions are created and reviewed with each client to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Ultimately, what most people want is assurance that they can trust the builder. One way a good builder earns that trust is by investing the time and effort needed to understand all the variables involved, then using that information to calculate an accurate price. Clients deserve nothing less.
SBC Home is proud to announce that we will be involved in the new Kiawah River development! Located just 15 miles from downtown Charleston on idyllic Johns Island, and guided by stewardship of the land and water, this new waterfront village is a perfect place to celebrate traditional Lowcountry pastimes and create a healthy future. The developers have gathered the finest land planners, architects, engineers, and builders and have partnered with farmers, artists, wellness experts, fishing guides, historians, naturalists, chefs, and gardeners to protect the beloved landscape and inspire all who visit. Visit Kiawah River’s website to learn more.
You will not want to miss the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, a three-day showcase of all things wildlife and nature! This Expo brings together people of all ages, men and women, sportsmen and conservationists, artists and artisans, fans and families. You can view the incredible line up of events here, exhibits here, special events here, and featured artists here. Come out and enjoy conservation education, sporting demonstrations, and special events!
Members of Structures Building Company and sister company SBC Home had the great pleasure and privilege to participate in a Day of Giving Back. With generous donations from Southern Lumber, perfect weather, and a really great cause to bolster us, we were able to finish a Saturday project of building a fence on the premises of Tricounty Family Ministries. Really proud of this one.
Getting into the Spirit of the Season with a trip to Brookgreen Gardens to see Nights of a Thousand Candles. The grounds were stunning, between the candles and the Christmas lights, the warm cup of cider and hearing the sounds of holiday music! You can walk the grounds between 3pm and 10pm, and it’s an experience you don’t want to miss. Recipient of the 2018 Charles A. Bundy award for excellence in tourism, and named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, this display boasts more than 4,500 hand-lit candles and countless more sparkling lights. Visit brookgreen.org to buy your tickets and look up dates.
We are beginning a new home in Carolina Park’s new Bolden Lake at Riverside with great views of Bolden Lake! With 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths and a detached Garage with a FROG, this home will have a well-appointed 3,623 square feet. As framing is taking place, this is the perfect time to select finishes to your taste. Call Haley Cuzzell or Patty Lynn Connell at Carolina One New Homes to find out more info: 843.654.5083.
It is incredibly rewarding to see a custom home project come to completion when the results are as lovely as these! Not only are our wonderful clients over the moon for their new home in the Riverside community, but we are thrilled to showcase the many unique details and features our team created for them. Working with SBC Home, they chose the Saluda River plan - a 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bathroom cottage design with an exceptional open floor plan. The home features a downstairs master suite and a back porch perfect for entertaining, complete with a dining space and cozy seating area by the exterior fireplace.
The kitchen, too, boasts some great custom details including a shiplap accent wall and a gray painted ceiling which pairs nicely with beautiful concrete countertops and a walnut island countertop. They also worked with our SBC Home designers to create a range wall that demands attention with its large stainless steel hood and beautiful subway tile. To balance the dramatic range wall, the client chose a stately trio of built-in stainless steel appliances – a refrigerator, freezer, and wine cooler.
Follow us on Instagram! SBC Home is sharing images of our custom homes and other day-to-day building news on Instagram, and we would love for you to follow along. It's just another fun way for us to keep you in the loop and show you some great custom details on the homes we have built and that are under construction. You can find us on Instagram as sbchomsc.