Pricing Policy at Starco Realty & Construction

Our most frequent asked question continues to be “How much do you charge per sq.ft to build any
sort of building?”   


Well this is not an easy question to answer. Charging by the square foot is a very inaccurate way to price a new home, a renovation or any construction project and any reputable builder will not quote by that means alone. Local building costs vary depending on:

  • Location
  • Design
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Type of exterior

It also depends on the amount for allowances given for custom choices for items such as kitchen and bath cabinets, lighting fixtures and flooring.


Where you build, also affects the cost of construction. Each of our six municipalities charges different fees for plan evaluations and for building permits. The water tap impact fee varies from under $3000 in un-incorporated Dare, Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores to over $6000 in Kill Devil Hills.

Some cities charge review fees, some charge separately for plumbing, electrical and HVAC permits, while still others charge one fee based on the total footage of the home. There is usually a smaller charge for unheated areas such as sundecks, porches, storage areas, and garages. Two equal size homes, but one without decks or a garage, will cost less and cannot be compared in the square footage price.


Typically, a two-storey home will have a lower cost per sq. ft. price than a one-storey one. A 2000-foot ranch has 2000 ft. of foundation, floor and roof insulation, roof framing, and shingles. A two-storey, 2000 ft. home may have 1000 ft. of foundation and 1000 ft. of roofing system. By building a multi-level home costs can usually be reduced. In the last few years new building and energy codes have affected these savings – due to the extra efficient HVAC systems now required. However, under normal circumstances multi-level homes still give cost savings.

One of our favorite topics at Starco is rooflines. The Outer Banks style of architecture is patterned after the old Coast Guard Stations, which were built locally and had multiple gable roofs and dormers. The beauty of these roof systems is undeniable, but they do add to the bottom line. A 2000 ft. home with multiple gables adds to the street appeal of a home, but does not increase the heated area and therefore drives up the cost per square foot.

Due to health department regulations, all Dare County septic systems are designed by the number of bedrooms and soil conditions and not by the number of bathrooms. This determines the size of the tank and the amount of drain field. Therefore, a 3000 sq. ft. three-bedroom home will require a smaller, less expensive, septic system than a 2000 sq. ft. five-bedroom home.

Pilings or Masonry Foundation

The type of foundation is sometimes determined by the area you build in. All homes built in the 100-year flood plain must be above BFE. Therefore pilings may be required if the ground level is low.

Pilings are also a popular choice for new homeowners. The advantages of using pilings are better views, covered drive-under, and storage. The disadvantages are slightly costly and you have to carry groceries and belongings upstairs all the time. Navigating an extra set of steps may be fine for a two-week vacation, but could become a chore if you have to do it full-time for everyday chores such as checking mail and removing trash.

Foundation homes tend to sway less in storms and lend themselves to more diversity in style and planning. Some neighborhoods also have covenants, which require that your home must blend in with neighborhood standards.

Custom Features

Custom features will ultimately determine the cost of your home and usually have nothing to do with square footage. How many and what type of kitchen and bath cabinets and special features are you planning? Would you prefer granite or solid surface counter tops in lieu of Formica laminate? Would you like a fireplace and what type? Do you want a large expansive sun deck or just something large enough for a couple of chaise loungers and grill? What about a screened porch? None of these items are figured in a square footage price.


Starco includes generous allowances for items such as cabinets, lighting fixtures, flooring, site preparation, landscaping and driveways and walkways. You select these items and the possibilities are endless. What you are using the house for may determine what your selections will be. We design and help with your selections based on your plans for the home.

Are you planning to make it a weekly rental investment home, a weekend retreat until time for retirement?

Do you plan to live here full time but want to rent it out in the interim or is it your first home or your retirement home?

How far would you like the house from the street, which will determine your driveway allowance?

Does your lot need fill to meet septic requirements or would you like to add some just for landscaping details?

Pools, outdoor showers, tiki bars, and amenities can make your home the paradise you deserve. However, they do not add to the square footage and therefore will increase the final cost. Starco advises that you take some time to look at appliances, cabinets, and flooring to make sure that the allowances are adequate to cover your choices.

We have collaborations with all of the major suppliers in our area and will assist you with your selections. One final suggestion is that you do a thorough site evaluation to determine site clearing and preparation of your home site.

Would you like to avail any of our services?