How Much Does a Luxury New Build Cost?

new build project

At our Luxury Dream Home Date Night Event, we discussed how our clients and industry professionals can navigate a luxury custom new build budget. We were honored to have Brady Fenn & Adam Kostis join us for the evening. Brady Fenn, with Fenn Rogers Custom Homes, is a luxury home builder, contractor, and remodeler, specializing in new build projects and full remodels. Adam Kostis is the Creative Director at Cosan Studio, a Scottsdale-based architectural firm, executing thoughtful, well-designed projects. At Alisha Taylor Interiors, we are thrilled to have many projects with both Fenn Rogers Custom Homes & Cosan Studios creating efficient, beautiful, and well-thought-out homes for our clients.

The biggest question that we get in this professional field is, “How much is my luxury new build project going to cost?” And my short answer is, “I don’t know. We’ll add it up when it’s all done.” And that’s the case because there are so many unknowns. Brady and Adam are here to educate our readers about what to expect for a luxury new build budget.

As a custom home builder, Brady, how do you field those cost questions when referencing a luxury new build? 

Brady Fenn: The first few questions that we’ll need answered is, “What lot are you building on? What are the restrictions of your lot? Is it a flat lot? Is it easy to build on?” That’s kind of the first indicator to cost. The next indicator depends on your lifestyle. So, answering questions like, “What are you used to? What’s your current home like? Are you going to be building something similar to where they’re living now or is it going to be the next step to luxury?”

A question we like to ask to indicate the level of luxury is, “What appliance package are you used to?” That’s a big one. If it’s LG or it’s Subzero Wolf, then we know what type of client we’re dealing with and that can guide the cost of the project based on those expectations.

Yes, I agree. We navigate our clients’ budgets in the same way by really diving into what are they used to and what kind of lifestyle do they currently live or are expecting to live in their new build. What are you seeing for costs per square foot in this market right now from Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Queen Creek areas?

Brady Fenn: I think for us, we’re a little different kind of builder and the way we do things, but the bottom of what we could do starts at $350/sqft. But honestly, that’s getting harder to do. A year ago, that was a little bit easier to accomplish, but as prices and costs increase, and with so much demand, it’s getting hard to gauge. Ultimately, I would say the cost per square foot is in that $350 range up to even $1,200 a square foot. But with that being said, that cost includes the lot, the pool, and landscape design, whether this is a full turnkey package. There are just so many different variables to drive cost.

So many factors go into the cost of a luxury build. I like to use the analogy, “Well, how much would a car cost?” The response could be the cost of a Hyundai or the cost of an Aston Martin. So as the process goes on and as the designs from the architect and interior designer come in, we gather those little bits of knowledge to help to completely understand that budget and what level of luxury they want. My rule of thumb is to not be afraid of talking about budget and costs. As an interior designer, builder, architect, and especially as a client or homeowner, it’s important to tell your team what your expectations are. As an architect, Adam, how do you approach the conversation of budget with your clients?  

Adam Kostis: The earlier we know [your honest budget] on the front end of things, the better. As architects and interior designers, we value your constraints. Our job solely is to understand your constraints and your wants & needs and be able to assemble them into one package.

We want to push you in the design ability. We want to give you all those bells and whistles within your constraints, but we might have to dial back a little bit as we work through it. And that’s where Brady, your builder, comes in and starts putting numbers to those sticks & bricks and we work together to stay within that budget.

By the end of it, we’ve got something that you’re proud of and fits within your budgetary constraints.

Absolutely. And unfortunately, no one has a magic wand. Costs are costs. If budget isn’t shared, you are leaving a lot of room for headaches and negative outcomes. We all either design or build on any reasonable budget. Just because you have a luxury builder that has done an $800/sqft, doesn’t mean they can’t do the $400/sqft build. It’s just about education, expectations, and communication within your team!


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