Your New Home – a Contractor Estimate Without the Contractor

By:  Cyd Oldham           


So, you want a new house … have your dream home firmly in your mind and are working on getting it set out on paper.  But can you afford to bring your dream to reality?  Knowing how much that dream will drain your bank account will help you merge your dream plans and your budget.  What you need is a Construction Estimate.


A General Contractor is responsible for hiring and supervising subcontractors to work on your new home, and this can be a difficult job.  However, at this early stage, planning and estimating on your own can save money which can be spent on construction or decorating costs later.  If you have the knowledge, ability and available time to work directly with all of the subcontractors there is no reason you cannot act as your own general contractor throughout the project.


The costs of building a new home seem mysterious to most of us, however there is a definite process used to break this elephant down into each of its parts to estimate its true cost.  Construction pros call this process “ Take off ,” and it begins with a blueprint.


Each component, line, and segment of the blueprint is measured and accounted for in the estimate.  Everything has to be factored in, included labor, materials and fees for permits and licenses.  Sound complicated?  The good news is Takeoff Live Estimating Software. Takeoff Live Estimating Software eliminates the need for a ballpark-size table to hold the plans, abolishes eye strain, and saves valuable time.  Even better – Takeoff Live offers its full version for a free 14-day free trial.  Perfect for home residential estimating.


What to Do Next:


*     Obtain a house plan (blueprint) for your new home.

*     Choose which materials you want to use for flooring, roofing, windows, siding, etc., then visit local supply houses to get prices.  (This is where you can adjust your plans to fit your budget.

*     Decide whether or not you want to work with a General Contractor.  If not, you will be responsible for subcontracting out to various contractors such as carpenters, roofers, electricians, and plumbers.

*     Contact each contractor to get a price for the work required.

*     Add the contractors’ quotes to the prices for materials you obtained earlier (some materials will be included in contractor’s quotes).

*     Finally, add in the costs of obtaining building permits, permits, insurance, and architectural fees as well as financing and legal fees.


This will give you your beginning estimate or “Takeoff.”  Remember, a construction takeoff, or budget estimate, is basically a financial plan.  It gives you the best Guestimate of the dollar amount to design and build your new house.  While you don’t have to create this document with surgical precision at the outset of the process, it is certainly made easier using estimating software.  You can always refine your plan as you go along.