To Build or To Buy?

We get asked this question all the time in practice.   Does it make more sense to build a custom home on a lot or to buy a home?  There seems to be a general prevailing perception that it costs more to build than to buy.  The answer is simply that it depends.  So what does it cost to build a custom home?  We have worked with clients to build custom homes in the Austin area ranging from $100 per sq/ft and all the way up to $300+ a foot.  These are homes built with integrity with varying degrees of finish outs. These homes are designed for the needs of the occupant, for the occupants lifestyle.  They are not built as a happy medium that will mostly satisfy everyone.  They are designed with resale value in mind but are generally planned to be flexible to allow for change and to accommodate the owners changing needs.  They are designed sustainably – the actual site is taken into account. We don’t just call it green, we design individually to work with the land where it sits.

Custom Residential Rendering by Clark Richardson Architects

When you purchase a house you can stand in it to understand the space and know exactly what you are getting, some people feel more comfortable with this route. It is absolutely important that we communicate the spatial implications of our designs and as architects we produce numerous visualization renderings to help people make informed decisions about their new home.  We build 3-D models and make animations that show you what it will feel like. Here is a sample animation from a renovation we designed recently.

A good architect will work hard to make the process simple for you, this is what we strive for.  Once the design is complete we can provide the permitting services and help you select the perfect builder.   With tighter budgets we recommend that a contractor be brought on early to make sure the numbers stay in check.  When a higher level of finish-out is desired clients often enjoy meeting with numerous contractors and getting full bid proposals for the actual cost of construction.  We work with clients throughout this process and serve as their representative to ensure that the standards of the project are met.

Custom Design Renovation and Addition in Hyde Park Austin

Our services continue on through the construction phases where we often have weekly job site meetings to ensure there are no questions.  We find that designing and building your own home can be a very intimate process and very enjoyable – your home will truly be yours.  We love working with clients in this capacity, send us a note if you have any questions.


About clarkrichardson

Clark Richardson Architects practice design with the goal of creating contemporary architectural experiences through form, sustainability and detail. We specialize in green building, sustainable residential and commercial design and have architectural studios in Santa Fe and Austin and a design studio New Orleans.
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2 Responses to To Build or To Buy?

  1. Wow, that remodel project looks awesome! Love the steel floor framing, I’m sure that helped protect the giant tree’s roots next door. Keep up the good work CR.

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