What is the True Total Cost to Build a Quality Residential Home?

Trying to figure the total cost of a building project is a serious undertaking.  There are the obvious costs involved, i.e. a material list from a lumber company.  However, this represents only a small fraction of the total investment required.  There are literally thousands of parts, pieces and processes involved for the successful completion of a quality residential structure and most of them go above and beyond the material that is delivered from a lumber company.


A homeowner will usually spend more for a home than if a general contractor does the project, even though the general contractor has costs for operating expenses and profit.  The additional costs are found in these primary areas:

  • Unbudgeted cost overruns. A lack of understanding of all of the hidden costs. Material estimates from suppliers alone can amount to shortages of 10%. Other hidden costs can amount to under estimating the project by 20%.
  • Lack of subcontractor leverage. Subcontractors know that they will be working with the homeowner one time.  There is no preferential pricing and certainly not service.
  • A homeowner will easily spend two to three times the amount of time building a home as a professional general contractor. The financing costs for a construction loan, plus maintaining existing housing expenses can easily add up to thousands of dollars.
  • Homeowner’s time. If a reasonable amount of money is allocated for a homeowner’s own time, thousands of dollars will be spent.  This time is also taken away from family, work, vacations and other activities.  Everything else is put on hold for at least one year.

Carpenter/Small Builder

Either of the above may have technical knowledge for the actual construction of a home.  They probably have subcontractors that will work with them as well.  What they typically do not have is:

  • Time to produce and manage effectively.
  • Time to properly communicate.
  • Time to follow up on problems.
  • Time to handle warranty issues.
  • Time to handle the selection process.
  • Convenient hours or a place of business to meet with the customer.
  • Ability to work on more than one project at a time, without one project suffering
  • Staff to handle calls any time, every day.
  • Ability to specialize in new home construction & management. Usually have to spread themselves out over remodeling, pole barns, additions, light commercial work.

Riemco Design + Build

A professional general contractor and builder specializing in custom new home construction.  This allows us to:

  • Provide a streamlined, organized, and highly effective process for building extremely high-quality homes at very reasonable and competitive costs.
  • Provide a fixed cost building agreement that ensures that the customer is staying within budget. Hidden costs are eliminated.
  • Organize and tightly manage our building schedules with all subcontractor trades, inspection agencies, and suppliers for a well-defined completion time.
  • Communicate easily and frequently. All of the latest technologies are available to ensure that the customer is well informed and all questions or concerns are immediately addressed.
  • Provide an exciting and enjoyable building process for our customers.
  • Full staff support specializing in helping our clients through the design, selection, and construction.

It is not until after “all of the dust has settled” that the true cost of building is realized by the homeowner or small builder.  Optimistic estimates often become a realization that guessing and hoping for the best results in serious cost and time overruns. Riemco’s experience and knowledge of building several hundred homes is invaluable in determining the true cost of building a home.

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About Riemco

Riemco is your partner for building your custom dream home, remodeling your home, designing an addition, or light commercial construction needs in southeast Michigan. We offer complete design + build services.

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