Anyone has done spec home or custom home in the Bay Area?

It is a bit of vague and vast question, but I appreciate any input or referral publicly or privately. I am considering to learn more about the process, fees and referral.

I appreciate if you share your experience regarding price / sqft, any soft cost to watch out for, and any referrals for lender and builder.

I’m curious too. I met a spec builder awhile back. He bought a number of tear downs in 2010-2012 and has been rebuilding them. I believe he is done now and waiting for the next downturn to buy more tear downs.

He built higher end homes in MP/PA and said $300 per sq ft to build, then another $100k to $200k on architect, permit fees, landscaping.

I think I got around 300 or 330 per sqft for high-end building. I didn’t know the number on the architect. Did he tell you how long does it take to build it? I have been told to prepare for 6 months for pre-construction and about 9 months for the construction period.

Built 10…remodeled dozens…designed 100s…Better get a good team together. …Design control is key…Knowledge is important or the subs will run you instead of the other way around. …

Said 6 months for permits and 12 months to build. Warned that outspoken NIMBY neighbors can delay a project 6m+, particularly if any heritage trees have to come down.

I’ve seen a number of spec homes go up around here recently. Average seems to be around 2 years from sale of the home. The fastest I have seen was done by GSI Home ( They had 2 homes on a flag lot up in less than a year. Haven’t seen the inside so can’t tell you quality of construction. Outside looks good.

Would you mind sharing some overall number regarding soft cost (for flat lot), fees for permit & architect, duration of the construction, and advice or lender around construction loan? I have done a few extensive remodel but never done a tear down. And looking to do one (or duplex lot) for primary residence.

Where? Soft costs depends on the city…probably $100k…construction is cheaper if you hire the subs directly. .hire an architect who has done many specs in your town…meet a competitor and hire their crew…

Thanks, good advice on architect who work on the same town! Say Menlo Park. Do you think 250 to 300 is reasonable estimate for per sq price? Doesn’t need to be super high end finish.

Depends on design, style, and building size…The larger the less per sf…Generally the garage is not included. .makes the sf cost higher on smaller homes…Efficient size is 2500sf 4/3…cheapest to build, craftsman stlye…20% premium for mid century modern…basements cost a lot more…figure $750k plus $100k soft plus loan costs without basement