Home Design

A few years ago, my wife and I took the leap, bought a lot in Estes Park and built our dream home in Windcliff.

If you are contemplating doing the same, here are some numbers to start your analysis with.

The prices below are irrespective of (do NOT include) the cost of the lot. You can make your own analysis of that cost based on which lot you plan to purchase – the current list is posted on our real estate pages for available lots and land for sale in Estes Park.

What does it cost, roughly, to build a home in Estes Park?

Of course, no two homes cost the same to build.  But as a rough rule of thumb, we are seeing most homes cost approximately $285-$345/heated square foot to build.  Now add the cost of the lot.  Finally, take a swag at what it will cost to decorate and furnish the home.

We were able to stay at the bottom end of that scale when we built our home.  We were VERY conservative with some finish-out materials. First of all, we had a relatively simple, clean design to work with thanks to our architect who was worth EVERY PENNY. We used modestly priced exterior sidings, used industrial/construction materials instead of exotic hardwood finish details, eliminated almost all expensive steel sub-structures, used lower-priced engineered wood flooring, used painted concrete instead of expensive flooring downstairs, used formica countertops instead of granite (saved us nearly $7,000 from the builder’s original budget!), melamine cabinets instead of exotic hardwood, and modest appliances all contributed to a slightly lower build-out than most home builders would probably shoot for these days.

Now, to be fair we also splurged a little: the fireplace, the amount of decking, the size of the garage, the standing seam roof w/gutters, the flatwork, additional insulation options, higher capacity HVAC boiler, relatively expensive tile work in the bathrooms, high-design plumbing fixtures, and some late change orders.

But we did it:  AscentEstesPark.com turned out looking like a much higher cost home than it actually cost us.

Budgeting your Estes Park Home Build

I would advise those building in Estes in the near future to consider the following (more) accurate budget expenses, however:

  • Appliances – $10,000 minimum – I just can’t see how you can equip a house with reasonable quality appliances for $6,000 any more!
  • Fireplaces – they’re expensive. Ours was “only” $5,000! Most in the showroom were FAR more expensive. Budget accordingly.
  • Garage Doors – $130 per linear foot – So if a single 16’ door, budget $2,000. If three 8’ doors, budget $3,120. Yes, ours were insulated and had window panels w/electric openers. Don’t most?
  • Landscaping – not included in budget – really needs to be. We have probably added $20,000 in landscaping since building the home.  So when budgeting the initial build, we would recommend you line item at least $10,000 for landscaping.
  • Permits – I’m not sure how the budget was built for permits ($4,146), but the total for permits and additional tap fees (the prepaid taps are ONLY for 24 “fixture units” – that’s not “fixtures”!) which ended up exceeding $17,000! Ouch!  Credit: Upper Thompson Sanitation District for their very expensive tap fee structure in the Estes Valley!
  • Surveys & Copies – same story. Budget was only $1,500. But the total of my invoices to Van Horn exceeded $3,300 by the time the project was complete. Adjust accordingly in the future.
  • Structural Engineer – Budget $5,000 minimum. Yes, our house design had some unique challenges, but Larimer is demanding. Budget accordingly.
  • Trash, Toilet & Final cleaning – Budget was only $1,300 but actual costs exceeded $4,000.

Also be sure to budget $35,000-$55,000 for window coverings, decor and furnishings to finish the project.

Will these estimates be 100% accurate for all projects?  No.  Not at all.  Again, these are rules of thumb.  But they tend to give you a pretty good IDEA of what you’re getting into.

Our last piece of advice to anyone considering building in Windcliff:   JUST DO IT!  No one has ever said, “we wish we didn’t build that home in Windcliff.”  Ever.