Kephart Living


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Home Price Comparison

Condominium Prices:

First Tracks at Wildhorse Meadows in Steamboat Springs

Studios at 545 to 565 square feet opened at $179,000 or $316 to $328 per square foot and went on sale in Nov. 2010 for $119,000 or $210 to $218 per square foot. These are special discounts to attract holiday skiers visiting Steamboat Springs. Prices include community amenities and buyers should take into account the monthly association dues of $320 per month.

One-bedroom units of approx. 800 ft2 opened at $368 per sq. ft. and were offered in Nov. at $292 per ft2.

Market pressures drive the variations in prices today in 2010 but it is evident that square foot sale prices for the smallest living units are quite similar to the total costs of building an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in the backyard.

posted by Custom Blogs @ 11:51 AM 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How much does an ADU cost?

ADU, Accessory Dwelling Unit, meaning a second home or dwelling together with a primary (usually larger) home on the same lot or property. ADUs are often called by other names. For instance, in California they are referred to as Secondary Dwellings or Residences, but you will find ADUs called Granny Flats, Carriage Houses, Studios, and in Austin, Texas they call them Accessory Apartments.

The key elements that define an ADU are: first of all a kitchen complete with cooking facilities,
at least one bathroom, plus sleeping and living arrangements. Code enforcement officials usually look for plumbing or cooking facilities to separate ADUs from accessory buildings used for storage or even as a shop or art studio. Every city's regulations are unique however.

There are six (6) major variables that affect an accessory Dwelling unit’s construction cost:

-Home Size



-Lot cost

-Utilities and fees

-Production & Repetition

Home size:

A median sized 2400 ft2 wood framed one-story home costs an average of $83.15 per square foot to build. However a small 600 square foot one story home costs $133.40, a difference of $42.15 per square foot or 50% more for the smaller house.


Home construction cost varies across the country with lower prices in Texas, Florida and the Deep South. Homes on both coasts will average higher. Variations between locations, for the same design, can be as much as $90.00 per ft2.

Lot Cost:

While lot or property price is not included in any of these numbers, the construction cost is affected. It's subjective, but homes on expensive property usually employ higher quality materials and better craftsmanship in order to justify the total cost. The converse is also true, a home on less expensive property is usually built with less expensive materials and methods. The test for this decision is at the time of resale.


A 1,000 square foot two story home costs $111.55 per square foot while its 1,000 square foot one story home counterpart costs $118.25, a difference of $7.70 per square foot. I've seen differences of up to $20.00 per ft2 and a $10.00 difference is common.

Utilities and Fees:

Water service in some areas may cost as much as $5,000 or $10,000 and even more just for the right to have water service. Fees and regulations can total more than $50,000 for each new home. $50,000 in fees for a 3,000-ft2 home adds $16.67 per square foot, but in the case of a 600 ft2 home $50,000 represents $83.00 per square foot. To help nulify this inequity some cities reduce rates for ADUs or allow service connections to the primary house which may cost nothing in fees.

Production & Repetition:

Building one house at a time is more costly than building a large quantity of the same plan over and over.

The typical one of a kind home in my city, Denver, costs approx. $200.00 per square foot. Part of that is in upgraded materials but much of that is offset by the less costly large size of most custom homes. A production home including the same items may cost as little as $90.00 per square foot or less than 50% of the custom home cost. Every carriage home or Granny Flat in the backyard is essentially built as a one-of-a-kind home.


Many of the above items can be added together to get the total price for your area. I got all of the cost data from R. S.Means 2009 edition of their residential cost estimates. I hope this exercise gives you a better feeling concerning the things that impact the cost of a new ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit.

Mike Kephart

Sidekick Homes

posted by Custom Blogs @ 2:47 PM 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Introducing Kurowski Develoment Co.

John Kurowski is our Sidekick builder for the Denver Metropolitan area. John is currently working with sidekick on a backyard cottage right next door to my home so I only want the best for our neighbors and for the neighborhood. I'm confident that John will deliver on that promise.

Mike Kephart
Sidekick Homes

Turning Dreams into Reality

Your dream home may not be as far from reality as you might think. As you look at today's homes, with their wide choice of features and finishes, options and upgrades, you may feel overwhelmed. Here's a method for sorting out what is most important to you.

As you begin to think about a new home, whether it's your first house or a seasonal residence, take time to create a wish list of what you'd like to have and a separate list of what you must have to meet your family's needs.

The "wish" list allows you to dream, while the "needs" list keeps your feet on the ground. The process of creating the lists establishes expectations, minimizes impulsive decisions, and fosters an objective balance between fantasy and reality. This exercise can also help determine the location and setting of your new home. Together, your lists create the foundation for a focused search and the ultimate discovery of the house that best suits your lifestyle, going a long way toward assuring your satisfaction now and long into the future.

Consider the following guidelines to get you started:

Keep separate lists. Maintain individual "wants" and "needs" lists. Separate lists will help you recognize what you really need and help you prioritize everything else.

Take your time. Keep both lists open for brainstorming sessions as well as random thoughts. Put time aside to add to your lists following visits to open houses, model homes, sales centers or local home shows. The goal: explore and weigh alternatives as part of the process of finding your dream home. As builders, we find that it is easier to provide clients with exactly what they want when they come prepared with clear ideas.

Start a clip file. Supplement your lists with photos and articles from magazines, newspapers, and online resources to reinforce and illustrate your ideas, providing even greater detail for a design professional or homebuilder. If you are using paper for your file system use a binder and have tabs identifying key areas such as exterior, kitchen, entry way, master bath etc.

Think outside the kitchen. In addition to the "glamour" rooms, keep in mind storage areas, laundry and service rooms, and family and entertainment spaces. These 'additional spaces' are vitally important to the comfort of your family and critical to your ultimate satisfaction.

Community considerations. Consider what you want and need regarding the environment around your ideal home, such as climate (temperature or seasonal changes), drive time or distance from services and amenities, and proximity to family and friends. Documenting such preferences will help you narrow the choices of general location or community for your new home. In addition, list the daily tasks and recreational activities you like (and perhaps don't like), both in your home and within the surrounding area, to help further define the features of your home and its setting.

List your don'ts. Keep track of the things that annoy you about your current house (as well as homes you've lived in, seen, or visited over the years) and promised yourself to avoid or change. Your new home is a chance for a fresh start, so take advantage of the opportunity.

Upon completing each list to your satisfaction, take an objective look at what's really needed and what you're willing to trade-off, for whatever reason. Prioritize each list and eliminate items that you know are unrealistic or unnecessary. Then transfer low priority items to separate lists of wants and needs that you can hope or plan for in the future.

By the time you are finished, what started as a rough collection of your dreams has evolved into a clear-cut set of expectations and priorities. At the same time, you have created a guide for a design professional or homebuilder that will be of great assistance in the creation a home that meets your lifestyle and reflects all that you hoped for in a new house.

If you have a spouse or a partner, create your lists separately and then merge them.

Warm Regards,

John Kurowski
Kurowski Development Co.
9200 West Cross Drive, Suite 319
Littleton, Colorado 80123
Phone: 303.972.8680

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posted by Custom Blogs @ 9:58 AM 

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