How much does it cost to build a new custom home in Santa Fe?

Typically, high-performance custom homes built in Santa Fe often will cost anywhere from $325 to over $500 per square foot of heated living space to construct.  Each custom home is a unique, one of a kind, site specific, hand crafted architectural expression.  Thus, typical costs for construction land within a wide range as shown here.  Is it possible to design a home which will cost less than $325/sf to build?  The answer is YES.  It is also possible to design a home which will cost more than the typical range.  And where your home building aspirations land according to the typical range will be based on numerous factors including, specific conditions of the site, soil types encountered, topography, access, proximity to utilities, architectural style and detailing, square footage, and other choices including finishes and fixtures and specialty materials. 

If you would like to have a free consultation on the likely construction costs of your own home building project contact us here.

How much does architectural design cost?

At Palo Santo Designs we focus on the efficiency of the Deign-Build approach.  We provide all of the architectural design and construction services under one roof with our integrated team of in-house architects and builders. With this streamlined approach we are able to provide architectural services in a faster time line than typical Architecture firms, and at a considerable cost savings, without sacrificing detail, accuracy or aesthetic concerns. Learn more about our design/build process here: Palo Santo Designs – Design Build Book .  The cost to provide the architectural services needed to go from concept to shovel ready will often be between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on the project.  Contact us, and we can discuss our approach to design and the likely costs for your specific project.

How does square footage of a home affect construction costs?

It would seem logical that a smaller home will cost less to build than a larger home, and that is most often the case.  However, on a cost per square foot basis the opposite is often the case.  When measuring the cost of a home on a square foot basis, not all square feet are created equal.  That is to say, a 1500 sf 2 bed/2 bath home (even one with economical finishes and fixtures), will cost more to construct per square foot of heated living space than a 3000 sf 2 bed/2 bath home with the same finishes and fixtures. That is because there are many costs which are static relative to total square footage.  Bringing utilities, power, gas, water, sewer to the building site will be the same regardless of square footage.  As will the costs of developing the driveway, and other site improvements.  The number of and cost of appliances, cabinets and plumbing fixtures may be identical in a 1500 sf house as in the 3000 sf house.  Both have only one kitchen, and both have 2 bathrooms.  The cost of the boiler may be the same in each example, yet in the smaller home, there is less square footage to distribute those costs across, and so the cost of smaller homes can often be more per square foot than larger homes.

How do I determine the square footage of my home?

There are many different metrics by which to measure the square footage of a home.  The most common is to refer to heated living space.  This is the metric that realtors, appraisers and lenders use to compare home sizes. Builders and contractors often prefer to use total square footage or total roofed area, which is how building permits and local zoning codes are often quantified and enforced. Both approaches are valuable and important to consider when developing a project budget.  See Palo Santo Designs’ Pre-Design Budget Exercise for a more detailed assessment of construction costs based on these metrics.

To measure the square footage of heated living space, measure the exterior dimensions (outside of the finished wall surface) from outside corner to outside corner of all of the walls that enclose your heated living space.  This will include areas of the home which are open to heated areas, even if a specific heating zone is not assigned to the area (for instance a sunroom that opens onto the living room). Garages are generally not included in Heated Living Space, even when they are heated.  Keep all your measurements in feet using decimals for measurements which are more than a whole foot.  It is useful to round to the nearest quarter foot, or 0.25 ft which is equal to 3 inches.  12 feet 1-1/2 inches can be considered 12.25 ft for simplicity.  Feel free to be as precise as you feel comfortable, but for the purposes of getting a clear sense of the size and probable construction costs of your home, a quarter foot is plenty precise.  Use the formula AREA = Length x Width to calculate your total heated living space.  Hint, you may need to break down the area of your plan into smaller rectangles to incorporate jogs in the layout. 

To measure the total roofed area, use the same approach described above but include all areas whether heated or not, and include out door covered areas as well.

Both of the above approaches are useful in early planning for the probable costs of your construction project. Again, use our Pre-Design Budget Exercise to hoen in on the numbers.

Also, contact us here to schedule a free consultation.  We can help you sort out the numbers and costs projection.