Beware the “price quote”

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Shiny luresIf you’ve asked a builder to quote you a price to build and he or she has answered you based on square footage (instead of a detailed home design) or a pre-printed list of specifications (not a list of details based on a conversation with you about your needs and wants), then beware!

This “quote” isn’t real, it’s just a shiny lure. It’s a common sales tactic meant to pull you in and get you committed to a contract. Once that happens, it’s too late to back out.

If a builder is quoting a price, shouldn’t it be based on a home design and a detailed list of every feature and item that goes into the home—a list based on your personal requirements?

I’m repeatedly surprised when someone shows me a price quote from a builder, and it doesn’t include any of the information you’d need to determine the cost to build a house. Unless someone’s talked through all your wants and needs in a home, how can they really price you a quote?

To know how much of a financial investment a particular home will require, you can’t just price it by square foot. You have to know what kind of faucets there will be and how many will be installed, where the tile will go, how large the cabinets will be, and even the finish of the doorknobs. How can your builder know how much the home will cost without any of that information?

Isn’t that builder just creating an arbitrary (and attractively low!) price per square foot? Unless you’ve figured out what exactly will go into that home beforehand, that price will eventually increase. And that could create problems with your bank.

The builder who gives you a low price quote without knowing what you really want is throwing out a shiny lure. Don’t bite.

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