• WLH Custom Homes

Factors that affect Turn-Key Pricing

Updated: Oct 3, 2018

Our design/build team has worked on projects of all different sizes, complexities, architectural styles, and in all different types of locations. If you choose to use our in-house design services, our experienced designers will bring your visions to life, while offering ideas to reduce or increase your home’s complexity and cost without sacrificing its original concept. From day one, before drawings are even started, you will receive honest and upfront ballpark estimates on what your home is likely to come in at according to our experience with completed homes similar to your plan’s design complexity and level of finishes. Designing your home within your budget parameters is not only important to you, but it’s important to our team and we make it our responsibility to keep you safely within what you want to invest.

It is crucial that you are prepared and educated on the many factors that can influence your plan’s turn-key cost before you begin designing your home. This guide will help you understand how every aspect of your home will affect its turn-key cost.

What does Turn-Key mean?

The term turn-key originated from the idea of a homeowner “turning the key” to the front door and moving into their completed home. This is the total cost of your entire home completely finished and ready for move-in.

What’s included in a turn-key price?

Your turn-key price considers all materials and labor required to complete the design and construction of your new home. Everything from excavation to light fixtures to appliances are included in our turn-key price, unless otherwise noted.

Building sites and site conditions can radically alter the turn-key price, which is why turn-key prices do not include land cost or necessary building site improvements, such as tree removal, blasting, roads, septic, well, utility lines, etc.

Why are turn-key estimates important?

WLH Custom Homes provides turn-key ballpark estimates and cost per square foot estimates at the very beginning of the design process to ensure that the home is within the amount you are willing to invest before moving forward. If an original estimate based on your visions does not fall within your budget parameters, we will carefully review your plan with you and suggest alternative modifications to the design factors affecting your home’s turn-key cost. It is our responsibility to guide you in a direction that is right for you and your budget.

What major factors affect overall turn-key price?

The turn-key price of your home is affected with every decision you make throughout the home design process. Our experts will work with you through each step of the design process to ensure that you get the home of your dreams at the price you are willing to pay.

The four major factors that affect your turn-key price are:

1) Home Size

2) Architectural Complexity

3) Building Materials

4) Level of Interior Finishes

1. Home Size

It’s apparent that the amount of square footage will affect the overall cost of your home. The size of your home will affect most factors that go into the design and construction process. Carefully assess your family’s needs – including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need, the space your kitchen and great room will require, the number of levels you want, and so forth. The size and slope of your building site will also determine your home’s final size and layout.

2. Architectural Complexity

Architectural complexity is more difficult to measure since it’s not as straightforward as the other factors. Your plan’s level of complexity has a direct effect on your construction labor costs - as your plan’s complexity increases, so does the time to build your home, consequently raising the cost of construction. The simplest way to understand a design’s complexity is to examine the following elements of your plan:


While some prefer a more basic home, others envision dramatic angles and corners in their design. Along with more corners come more roof lines, angles, labor and materials; meaning that your home’s turn-key cost will be affected by the number of corners your plan has.


Although multiple roof lines and pitches add character and dimension to your design, they also add complexity and increase your home’s cost. Roof lines typically resemble your home’s size and complexity. Since each roof line/pitch is determined by the number of corners your plan has, sometimes additional corners are added or removed to create the perfect look.


The number, size and type of windows and doors can also directly affect your home’s cost. While some plans will call for standard sized windows and doors, the home’s cost can still be dependent on the manufacturer, type, and finishes you prefer. Many window manufacturers offer various wood species, hardware, glass, and grill options which can really turn any standard window into a unique custom unit. If your plan calls for custom windows or doors, the manufacturer will need to specially make your units from custom cut pieces of glass and wood. Our team will work directly with you to ensure that the windows and doors meet your design preferences and budget.


The smallest design elements can sometimes add just the right amount of flare and character to your design. Mixing unique architectural elements into your design can add a great amount of personalized character to your home. Inherently, extra design options like these will also increase its turn-key price. We will work with you to incorporate ideas like these into your budget.

3. Building Materials

The building materials you choose to use in your home can be some of the most obvious costs impacting your turn-key number. For example: the greater the complexity of your home, the greater the material, time, and cost it will take to construct your plan. Like everything, material costs are dependent exclusively on the type and quality you choose to use. Factors like the type of exterior siding you choose, the composition of the stone (cultured or real), and the roofing material (asphalt, shake, metal, or tile) you select will all alter your turn-key cost. Another factor to consider when figuring your turn-key cost is your HVAC system. Many people are using forced air systems, while others are choosing to use radiant heat or geo-thermal systems. In most cases, the type of HVAC system won’t affect the look of your home, but it will affect the turn-key cost.

4. Level of Interior Finishes

One of the largest variables in estimating your home’s turn-key cost will be its level of finishes. The finishes you choose to use will have a dramatic impact on the overall turn-key cost of your home because the costs of these materials can vary largely depending on the type, style, and quality you prefer. For example, granite or quartz countertops, full tile showers, whirlpool/jacuzzi tubs and reclaimed hand-sculpted wide plank flooring are all more expensive than Formica countertops, fiberglass showers/tubs, and carpet. Our job is to guide and educate you throughout all the decisions that need to be made to be sure you are making choices that meet your expectations while remaining within your budget.

Want to receive a ballpark estimate for the type of home you’re looking for? Contact our team at 920.434.3010 or info@wlhcustomhomes.com.