Many a dream home has turned into a money pit that is a major task to finish just because these self-build projects did not first consider the overall budget. To make sure that you are able to build your own home and see it to its completion, you have to estimate the construction costs and discuss the budget with your architect and builder. You should do this even before you buy the lot. Fortunately, there are plenty of free software that help you estimate construction costs, even before you start.
A brief search on the internet using the phrase "construction estimating software" will reveal dozens of cost calculators that will give a detailed breakdown of construction costs. The overall cost will depend on the location, home size and the features that you build into your new home. These online calculators can take into account fairly precise details using the zip code, property style and square footage to provide a reasonable estimate of the build cost.
Using these construction estimating software solutions is only part of the overall story. We've already mentioned that building your own home is likely to require you learn the art of compromise and this is where a good builder and architect will help you enormously. With subtle differences such as the pitch of the roof used making a significant difference to your total cost, working with your builder to explore the alternatives that are available can make the difference between success and failure.
When negotiating with your builder, you can use construction estimating software to highlight the areas where you can negotiate on the price. You can use the estimates you get from the online calculators with quotes and estimates from different builders. You can compare these and use them as bases for negotiation.
You do not do cost estimation once. You need to do this at varying stages of construction because once you start on the project, you will still need ensure that the costs stick to the budget. This will definitely be a big headache. As you continue with the construction, you should run a construction cost estimate to help you manage costs and plan for changes in the design before it is way too late. The earlier you identify the changes that are needed, the more you are able to avoid additional expenses incurred by reworking work that has already been finished.
Remember that materials and labor costs can change during the course of the construction. That is why you should understand that an estimate is just that, an estimate. You will do well to prepare a reserve fund in the event that costs increase midway. Of course, a decrease in costs will work in your favor.
Construction estimating software is freely available and is an easy-to-use tool to help you manage your costs. However, you will still have to carefully go through your budget to ensure the successful completion of your dream home.