Expenses to be considered for lot purchase and New Construction
- Purchase price of the lot/vacant land
- Survey: When purchasing a lot there are 2 different types of surveys you can order:
The “Boundary Survey”. The surveyor will measure the size and square footage of the lot, the cost is approx. $400.
The “Building Survey”. This survey does not only cover the size and square footage of the lot but also the height in the middle and at all property lines.
The basis for this calculation is the “Mean Water Level” (average water height in that canal).
This survey is important for the following bullet point but also in case you want to have a seawall constructed (mandatory for lots with Gulf access). This survey runs around $600.
- Fill dirt: Most likely your lot will need fill dirt or a higher than normal stem wall. First it will have to be determined in which flood zone the lot is located. According to the building code, the finished floor has to be above a certain height and the basis for that is the flood zone height. The reference point is the finished floor or the height that will include your laid flooring material.
The flood zone can be found out by your Realtor or the surveyor or you call the City directly. With this information the builder can calculate how many additional blocks of stem wall are needed to get the house to the needed height.
Then, the additional fill dirt needed can be determined now. Some properties in certain areas are already pretty close to the required height, however there will usually have to be an adjustment made with stem wall and fill dirt as the height constantly changes and is determined by FEMA according to storms and other environmental influence.
The cost for adding blocks or fill dirt can in the best case be just a couple hundred dollars but in most cases it will range up to $5,000 or sometimes more.
- Contract price for the seawall: In general, the cost for a standard width lot (80 ft) is between $10,000 and $15,000 and depends on the amount of plants that have to be removed (like smaller bushes or bigger trees), as well as how much soil can be reused when backfilling the lot. Also, rocks may have to be smashed or taken out of the water with special machinery due to the sheer size.
- The home price includes the garden and landscaping as well as the appliances in the kitchen and laundry. There will possibly be additional expenses for the architect and engineering in case a standard plan is being changed (like moving bearing and outside walls) and any modifications that require that additional work. If your lot is located outside the city utility areas, the builder will have to add a drainage field, drainage pit and well equipment which could add $20,000 or more.
- Construction insurance (Builder's risk insurance). During the construction time it is recommended to execute an insurance that runs around $2,500 depending on the size of the house and the value of the project. After construction is finished this insurance can be converted into the standard dwelling insurance for a lot less.
- Subcontractor payment check: Supervision package by the title company is approx. $550
This supervision package is very rare and usually is not directly offered by builders. This serves to protect you with regards to the “Lien Law”. Should you pay your general contractor for work that is being performed by subcontractors, you can usually never be 100% sure that the money actually goes to the company it is intended for. If the subcontractor does not receive the payment they can use the lien law and come back to you and force you to pay them directly which makes you pay twice. This happens when builders get into trouble and start using money from other clients, meaning your money may be used to finish another project.
To prevent this from happening, the so called “Notice to Owner” (which is sent to you by the subcontractors that want to make sure they can lien against your property in case of non payment) will be checked by the title company. To do that they will request a notarized paper confirming that the subcontractor has been paid before you pay the next construction draw. These confirmations are called partial releases of lien. This will not be done for every single little piece of work performed but will give you security for the larger expenses that can hurt if something goes wrong.
Another benefit of the very transparent German quality builder we are working with is the fact that he will not receive a 10% deposit directly into his hands at the time of contract signature from you. The first 10% are considered a security deposit and will be held at the title company and cannot be accessed by the builder unless you break the contract. He will then start with his own money to finalize the building plans, apply for the permit and pick it up at the City, at which time there will be several thousands of dollars due to the City for fees etc. This results in about $15,000 or more that the builder will advance. Only after this is done, will the first draw be requested by the builder. This again gives you a form of security so you know your money is not going somewhere else.
- Furniture, decoration and electronics, so the house potentially can be rented out: From experience, an average package for a complete house will amount to approx. $25,000-$30,000. If you want to go a little more upscale you should reserve about $35,000. Kitchen appliances like dishwasher, oven/range, microwave and fridge are always included in our home models. You can furnish the house yourself but you should understand that this will take 2 week vacation for you to achieve. In case you do not want to waste your holiday time for that, the builder's wife will do that with perfection for an additional fee.
- Boat Dock/Tiki-Hut. A standard wraparound boat dock with lift starts at roughly $22,000. As a standard the better closed case motors as well as the quality composite decking is used. An additional Tiki-Hut with an 8 foot diameter will add approx. $3,000-$5,000, including some additional seating area.
If you have taken all these factors into consideration then you should be safe with a fixed price for your home without any surprises or added cost later on.