Which Budget Technique is Best for Your Home Build: a Guestimate or a Pre-Construction Service Agreement?

Choose a builder who can provide the most accurate budget for your home project.

Consider a builder that offers a free ballpark estimate on a project before it has been designed. What really goes in to this number? What assumptions are being made on materials, finishes and quality? Can you really trust this number without any actual data? Unfortunately, this is a tactic used by many builders/contractors called “bait and switch.” If the owner decides to use that builder because the price sounds good, what can go wrong?

Well, a lot can. What happens when you realize the builder assumed $6/s.f. for flooring but everything you like is $12? What happens when you get the design drawings back and the house is actually bigger than you thought it would be? What happens when the cost exceeds that initial “budget”? (Because it will.) Does the owner actually have enough money to pay for the extra costs? What happens to the relationship between the owner and builder? What happens to your stress level?

Consider the risk of making a decision based on a price guestimate. Are you comfortable moving forward with such a large investment based on the one or two pages of information you have? What potential risk may you incur as the result of an unrealistic budget?

Instead, consider a builder who covers all the bases. An experienced and thoughtful builder will account for all your desires as well as for unforeseen costs in the budget, which prevents surprises and creates a more seamless construction experience for their clients.

The alternative (and we think better) solution to a “free-estimate” is a Pre-Construction Agreement (also called a Professional Services Agreement). For a modest fee, your builder can arrange to start on the home design, and then create a preliminary budget estimate. Once the rough budget and design are dialed in to your liking and agreed upon, we will prepare detailed project specifications, research permitting and zoning requirements, begin the selections process, obtain actual bids for your job, finalize the design and construction documents and compile all of that into a nice neat package for you to review BEFORE you’re ever asked to sign a Construction Contract. If you’re signing a six or seven figure contract with less than that amount of information, you’re exposed to a lot of uncertainty and risk.

Articles related to this topic:
Which Comes First: Design or Budget?
How to Pick the Right Builder for Your New Home
The Not-So-Obvious Benefit of Building a Custom Home in Indianapolis

Little is more meaningful and personal than a home, and the experience of designing and building your own home should be rewarding and enjoyable. The homebuilding process involves numerous decisions about components, systems and services selected from criteria that includes price, quality, appearance, and performance. While choosing a builder may be difficult, through our Pre-Construction process Green Square can help ease your worries and provide accurate information for you to make decisions
on your home project.

The Green Square team is here to collaborate with you every step of the way! Contact us at greensquareinc.com/contact to learn more.