Building a House in Miami – The most important questions answered by Miami Builders
A Must Read for Investors Who Are Building A House in Miami
When building your own brand new Miami home there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration. Its worth stating that it takes more than an eye for finding the land, you have to know zoning regulations, construction costs, permit requirements, conditions of the land ( meaning if a pool could be built), topography, type of soil, water levels (WASD) (which will tell you the water lines and drains allowed to the houses on the street), elevation above the water table and so much more.
Below we ask the most crucial questions to Miami’s most renowned builders.
What is the cost per SF of construction in Miami from a normal spec home to a high luxury home?
- DB: The average is approximately $275 – $300 per SF depending on finishes and appliance package.
- PC: The averages will vary between $350 to $500
- DBK: You really need all the property / design / location / fixture /finishes etc details to provide a clear price point but Modern inventory in the Grove for 4,000 SF is around 240-290 per SF. The sky is the limit for high-end.
What are the other lesser known or hidden costs of construction that people need to be aware of? (architectural fees for example)
- Architectural Fees
- Permit Fees
- Utility hook up and inspection fees such as DERM, WASA
- Tree mitigation and protection plans and associated fees
- Shop drawing review and permit fees for specialty trades
- Construction Survey costs throughout the construction life cycle
- Permit Expediting fees for the person running the permit through the municipality.
- PC: If is new construction there shouldn’t be any hidden cost
- DBK: In new construction be sure to do your due diligence during the inspection period. WASD (Water and Sewer Department) very important to check with them to see what there requirements will be from you at your new site.
Whats the difference between spec homes and custom homes?
- DB: A Spec home is a home that is being built on speculation of the market and more of an investment vehicle. The plans are available and the buyer can moderate them slightly. A custom home is more for an end-user and is designed in conjunction with user, architect, and design team.
- PC: With a Spec home the builder specifies everything and with a custom home the new owners does.
- DBK: Custom has an end-user before construction starts while spec homes does not
How much of the lot can i build on? (Coconut Grove vs Coral Gables vs Miami Beach)
- DB: This depends on the type of lot and the zoning designation of the lot. Corner lots are different that interior lots or waterfront lots. This should be one of the first orders of due diligence. Perform a feasibility study and have a Massing of what can be build done. Make sure a FAR (Floor Area Ratio) is provided and studied.
- PC: Everything depends or different cities
- DBK: Confer with your local architects that stay current with the ever changing building codes and additional city codes like Miami 21 overlay.
What’s ‘in’ or desirable right now?
- PC: Modern but with a touch of warm colors, light color woods with the bronze metals are coming back as well
- DBK: For inventory (spec homes) in the Grove I feel that modern is still very desirable.
What are the biggest mistakes you see when people construct a home?
- DB: Not putting enough thought into finishes and some of the minor details such as types of door handles, AC supply grills, front door quality. These are the items that are visible and that are touched and used on a daily basis. Also, not allowing enough budget for exterior improvements and cutting the budget at the end when it is time to do them. It is what gives the house a finished look and curb appeal.
- PC: They think that the SF price will give them the final number but all homes are completely different and also the structural engineer might over-design. This all can end up costing the investor double the structure price
- DBK: Unrealistic budgets
Build from scratch or renovate – which way to go?
- DB: This depends on location, market, and if you are building spec or custom home.
- PC: Depends on the budget but I like building from scratch
- DBK: Depends on many factors. For example: If you tear your current home down you will have to comply will all the new codes/zoning regulations. Which is challenging on small lots.
How long does the typical permitting process take for a new home?
- DB: We are seeing averages of 3-4 months, once plans are completed and submitted to the municipality for review.
- PC: 3 to 5 months if zoning has approved the design first
- DBK: 5-6 months
How long does it take to build a home from an empty lot to a completed home with Certificate of Occupancy?
- DB: This depends on the type of home, the size of the home and the level of details and finishes however we are seeing averages of around 12 to 14 months once the permit is issued.
- PC: It all depends but generally anywhere between 12 to 15 months
- DBK: Depends but my most recent inventory, 4,000 SF took roughly 12 months
Why would a client hire you to for remodeling or building a house in Miami?
- DB: UAG Construction is an experienced firm building in the local market and we have extensive knowledge of the vendors, subcontractors and the overall construction process. We provide excellent and constant communication with our clients and offer a one of a kind experience in the building and managing process. We work with the latest software management tools, accounting, and scheduling tools and allow our clients access to all of it. We have built custom homes, spec homes, renovations, additions and can handle and/or mitigate any problem that may arise. We strive ourselves on meeting deadlines and delivering on time.
- PC: Because I’m simple the best I take every project like it s my own and my quality goes beyond anything. If I don’t do things right I just don’t do them at all
- DBK: We treat each project like it is our own home we are building.
What is your best success story?
- DB: Every time we complete a new home and hand over the keys to a happy client we count that as success. Most of our clients become friends throughout the process and subsequently maintain the relationship past turn over. The building process can easily take up to 2 years from the time you start design and this relationship is a daily and constant interaction. It is important that you work with someone you like and you get along with and we strive to do that not only during the process but afterwards as well.
- PC: My best success story is when clients are completely happy with us and it makes us feel like rock stars
- DBK: Being able to build great homes in my “backyard”
Whats an example of the biggest challenge you ever faced with a project and how did you overcome it?
- DB: Recently we were having some issues with city inspectors in the field and getting approvals on some of the final inspections in order to allow the owner to move in. We managed this by meeting with higher city officials, contacting higher level FPL managers and modifying the review process. We were able to obtain a TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) which allowed the owner to move in and live in the house. The changes the owner wanted to make were then made once the owner was living in the property and subsequently we obtained CO (Certificate of occupancy).
- PC: A very hard project with a lot of details and only had 3 months to do it and the owner was there every day (which we won’t allow anymore) but we got it done and we got him to move in before the holidays
- DBK: Permitting in Miami is the biggest challenge for HB. We hire the right expediter for each particular municipality.