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How much does it cost to build a house?

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How much does it cost to build a house?

Everyone dreams of owning a house with all the comforts and luxuries possible. Most people use a mortgage to buy a house. The problem is you are buying what someone else has built. It is built as per the needs of somebody else. You may find that the house does not have what you were looking for. This problem can be solved by building your own house. You can build it from scratch and plan it in the way you want. Depending on your budget, you can build the home as per your requirements.

Building a home is a time-consuming process as compared to buying a ready home in the market. It can also be expensive depending on where and how you build. Let’s take a look at what all expenses go into building a home.

Average costs

The National Association of Home Builders in the US came out with an estimate in 2017 on the costs of building a house. As per the findings of their survey, the average land size used to construct a house was 11,186 square feet. The average cost of building a house was $237,760. On average, the cost per square feet of constructing a house is between $125 to $150 per square foot. This is, of course, an estimate based on a survey. Actual rates would vary depending on various other factors.

The factors that decide how much you need to spend to build a house are:

  • Land value: To build a house, you need land. The cost of land depends on its location. It is more in cities and less in suburban and rural areas. Even within cities, the neighborhood affects the price of land. Apart from the cost of land, there are other factors like taxes, closing costs, and so on. This varies from one place to the other. The first requirement to build a house is to buy land. If you already have land, then you can go ahead with the construction.
  • House size: The cost of building a house depends on how large a house you want. The overall built-up area of the house determines its cost. Whether you want a one-bedroom house, two-bedroom house, or a bigger one will decide how much you need to spend. Having multiple floors in your house increases the cost.
  • Standard or kit: Most homes are standard homes. Building them involves making a plan, which could be done by an architect. Then the construction work happens on-site until completion. A kit home, on the other hand, is built off-site and the materials are transferred to your land and assembled. This makes home construction quicker and cheaper. On average, a two-bedroom kit home can cost anywhere from $55,000 to $125,000. If you are planning to buy a kit home, you need to look into the fine print to know what is included in it.
  • Materials: The quality of materials used determines the final price of construction. If you are on a budget, you can look for low cost materials like weatherboard to build you home. If you want quality, you can use bricks and veneer, which obviously would cost more.
  • Interiors: The kind of interiors you want and the fittings would determine the final cost of a home. You can go for a budget home with the bare minimum interiors. If you have the money, you can spend lavishly on interiors.
  • Manpower cost: You need to pay the workmen who are going to build your house. There would be specialized jobs done by contractors, electricians, plumbers, roofers, interior designers, and architects all of whom would charge for their services.

The Costing

The NAHB survey provides input on the costs involved in constructing a single-family house. The results of the survey can be helpful in understanding how much you would need to spend on each activity in the home building process.

For this calculation, we are only considering building costs and not looking at the cost of buying the land.

  1. Site work

This involves carrying out engineering work and using an architect to make a plan. It also involves fees paid to the Government in terms of permits, impact fee, and other inspection fees. You would need to spend 6.7% of the overall expenses for site work ($15,903).

  1. Foundation

This is the process of excavating the site and laying the foundation for constructing the house. 10.8% of the overall costs should be budgeted for foundation work ($25,671).

  1. Framing

This involves making the frame for the roof and trusses and also includes cost of materials. 17.3% of the overall expense would be for framing ($41,123).

  1. Exterior work

This involves building the exterior wall, windows, doors, and the roof. 13.9% of overall costs are needed for exteriors ($33,066).

  1. Interior work

Interiors include insulation, lighting, painting, flooring, cabinets, fixtures, fireplaces, etc. It is the major expense in building a house and would take up 28.6% of the overall costs ($67,939).

  1. Installation of systems

Heating, plumbing, and electrical work (without fixtures) need 13.8% of the budget ($32,746).

  1. Finishing touches

This involves landscape work, building the deck and patio, laying down the driveway and cleaning work. 7% of overall expenses would go for this activity ($16,591).

  1. Other expenses

You can budget 2% of the overall expenses for miscellaneous costs ($4,722).

The above figures are average costs based on a study done by the NAHB Economics and Policy Group. The actual costs could vary considerably. It can give you a tentative idea on what it costs to build a house. You would have also understood the various activities that need to be carried out and how much each of these activities would cost you.

With this in mind, you can contact different contractors and get quotes from them. Compare quotes and select the best to help build your dream home.

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Why You Should Take On Debt To Stop Dilution

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Why You Should Take On Debt To Stop Dilution 1

By Blair Silverberg, CEO of Capital

Imagine an exciting space dominated by two major companies, each growing and developing at about the same pace. To get ahead, they keep raising more money, but interest rates are low and the global stock of wealth is at an all-time high, so there is unlimited money to raise. Soon enough, their employees are dealing with substantial dilution because each round of equity wipes out the growth in valuation between rounds. Both companies become unicorns and announce their IPOs, but employees are hardly seeing the payoff.

This is happening right now in SaaS, meal delivery, ridesharing, and dozens of other spaces that you and their employees might not even realize.

What if it didn’t have to be like this? What if one company could get ahead without diluting their employees’ shares?

This is why most companies raise debt — and it’s only a matter of time until venture-backed companies do, too.

Why Dilution is Bad for Your Company

When the venture industry was small and companies like Google and Amazon went public after raising less than $50M, dilution was miniscule and thus not often a top concern for executives. The world has changed, with some companies raising billions before ever going public, but mindsets haven’t caught up.

The impact dilution can have on employee morale and retention can be substantial. When employees are first hired, they’re often excited to receive shares as part of their employment. But after repeated dilution, they’ll be asking HR, “Why aren’t my shares worth as much as they used to be? When will I get more?” Some companies start giving out bonuses and extra shares to placate everyone, but this can only go on for so long. Giving out more shares to combat dilution leads to more issues; those shares have to come from somewhere. Usually, these shares come from the founders, who eventually give up so many that they might only own 1% of their own company. That’s a major blow to those who worked so hard to get the company off the ground.

For employees, dilution means they may leave the company if they decide their shares are worth too little, especially if the competition can offer them a better deal. And if employees determine that this problem is industry-wide, they might leave the space entirely. The downside to tech becoming mainstream is that dilution has become unsustainable to employees and founders alike.

The Solution: Raise Debt

Companies are generally funded in one of two ways: equity financing or debt financing. Equity requires giving up a share of the company in exchange for capital. The biggest benefit is that this money doesn’t have to be repaid. Debt, on the other hand, does have to be repaid with interest. But while debt comes with a repayment obligation, it doesn’t come with dilution. Once the debt is repaid, the lender has no further involvement in your business. You aren’t selling a part of your business to get funding.

Understanding your capitalization options can be essential to getting ahead of the competition. When your competitors are raising equity to finance their business, they’re giving employees one fewer reason to stick around. If you raised debt instead, you could still offer employees valuable shares while receiving much-needed financing. You could also stand out from the pack by creating a candidate-friendly brand around prudent wealth creation. Once you start using debt intelligently, your access to credit capital expands, giving you a permanent head start over the competition.

Why don’t more companies raise debt?

Outside of tech, most companies do. It’s normal to raise debt once a company has a working concept. But the tech space hasn’t always looked the way it does today. Early on, it was so inexpensive to start technology companies that raising debt wasn’t necessary; equity financing was miniscule compared to the ultimate market value of these companies at liquidity events. Over the years, it’s become ingrained in tech culture to pursue equity funding, with such a heavy focus on raising the next round that many founders forget you even can raise debt.

But times have changed, and financing will, too. We saw this shift before with Mike Milken, who was a major player in the development of the high-yield bond market. In the early 1970’s, Milken noticed that risky turnaround businesses could be financed with “junk bonds” — bonds with higher interest rates than those offered to more creditworthy borrowers. He famously calculated that despite their higher default rates, the higher interest rates on these bonds produced sufficient compensation for the higher risk. This opened up financial capital to a group of companies previously financed only by equity and created a market that today is worth more than $2T. From the emergence of the high-yield bond market, we know how powerful access to debt financing can be. It gave rise to legendary investors and operators from Carl Icahn to T. Boone Pickens as well as iconic companies from Time Warner to Hilton Hotels and Safeway. For companies who have a kernel of a working business model, the benefits of debt financing are massive. Eventually, tech will go the way of all other industries, leaning on debt as a major source of financing.

Final Thoughts

Debt financing is one of the best alternatives to taking on equity, especially when trying to mitigate dilution. If you want to attract and retain top talent, then ensuring you don’t dilute their shares will go a long way.  The transition to debt financing is coming. Soon, it’ll be common practice across the entire tech space. If you start using debt intelligently now, you’ll have a competitive advantage. You’ll be able to get one step ahead of the competition with access to capital that others refuse to utilize. This not only benefits your employees today, but also your entire organization in the long run.

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Britain to publish new weekly consumer spending data

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Britain to publish new weekly consumer spending data 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s statistics office said it would publish new weekly consumer spending data from Thursday, based on credit and debit card payments information collected by the Bank of England.

The figures come from Britain’s CHAPS high-value payments data and cover the proceeds of recent credit and debit card payments made by payments processors to around 100 major retailers.

The ONS said the figures would provide greater insight into spending on social activities and other consumer services that are not captured by its monthly retail sales data.

(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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Kenya slum dwellers battle COVID-19 downturn with virtual currency

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Kenya slum dwellers battle COVID-19 downturn with virtual currency 3

By Kagondu Njagi

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Sitting on a low bench at her shop in a Nairobi slum, Grace Wangari sifted through a handful of grains that a waiting customer had just ordered.

As she poured them into a shopping bag, the customer scrolled through her phone to pay for the purchase.

Normally, Wangari would have been paid in shilling notes, Kenya’s hard currency, but in some ways she preferred the digital payment that was instantly transferred to her phone.

“I am happy with this transaction because there is no risk of losing my stock to conmen or people who have come to take goods on credit,” said Wangari, a middle-aged trader in Mukuru Kayiaba, one of the city’s poorest slums.

The transaction happened through Sarafu, a blockchain-based community currency that is helping thousands of Kenyan slum dwellers pay for food, water and sanitary items as they battle through the COVID-19 economic downturn.

Each week, families are issued with virtual vouchers worth 400 Kenyan shillings ($4), which they can use to buy essential goods, said Roy Odhiambo, an innovation officer at Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), one of the groups behind the project.

Vendors can then send the vouchers to Grassroots Economics, the Nairobi-based social enterprise that co-developed Sarafu (“coins” in English) with U.S.-based engineering firm BlockScience, and redeem them for cash.

Odhiambo said more than a third of the vendors in Mukuru are already signed up to the project, which launched in 2019 with the aim of helping struggling families get hold of everyday basics without worrying about having cash on hand.

Now the project is providing a lifeline for families trying to cope with the financial pain of the pandemic, he noted.

Antony Ngoka, a field coordinator with Grassroots Economics, said thousands of slum residents, who are mostly casual workers, have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Unable to get loans from traditional banks, many become easy prey for loan sharks, he added.

But, blockchain can help poor Kenyans avoid economic exploitation, said Nelson Ochieng’, a rights activist and social worker in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum.

“Blockchain can foster local trade by tapping resources that are ignored by mainstream businesses. It also increases levels of trust among struggling communities,” he said.

SECURE AND TRANSPARENT

In Mukuru Kayiaba slum, about 5.5 miles (9 kilometres) away from Nairobi city centre, some 4,000 residents have registered with Sarafu, according to Odhiambo of KRCS.

Developed with funding from global government donors, the platform can make an average of up to 1 million Kenyan shillings ($9,0000) in daily transactions, Odhiambo said.

Unlike cash aid, which can be spent on anything, Sarafu can only be used to pay for essentials such as food, health supplies and educational resources, he explained.

And, he added, because the platform runs on blockchain, meaning all transactions are tracked and transparent, that ensures people are spending the money only on necessities.

Odhiambo said KRCS is currently working with the Danish Red Cross and Innovation Norway, the government’s business development agency, to roll out Sarafu across Kenya.

But, seeing the platform as a threat, loan sharks are using political and financial manipulation to lure Kenyans away from it, said Ochieng’, the rights activist.

Informal lenders recruit people to spread rumours that blockchain is a Ponzi scheme with no backing from local leaders, a tactic that has successfully stifled the uptake of other blockchain-based projects in the past, he explained.

“The aim of loan sharks is to divert people from innovations that are helping them access basic services in the slums without having to pay interest,” Ochieng’ said.

They also pull in customers by offering much higher sums than they can get through Sarafu, with exorbitant interest rates, he added.

Violet Muraya, who sells water in Mukuru slum, said informal lenders can offer loans up to 10 times larger than anything available through the community currency.

“When people have emergencies and need huge amounts of money, they cannot use Sarafu. So, they go to loan sharks for help and end up being trapped in financial slavery,” said Muraya.

Odhiambo said the Kenya Red Cross Society is running education and awareness-raising campaigns in areas where the project has been rolled out, to reassure users that the platform is safe and fair.

“At first there was resistance … because of the propaganda. But the community has accepted this cashless transaction because they know it is not some type of betting or loan facility,” he said.

‘NO ONE IS GOING TO SLEEP HUNGRY’

At Isaac Makavu’s food kiosk in Mukuru, customers lined up to order his steaming rolls of baked flat bread, chatting about an upcoming Premier League football game and sharing funny stories about their day.

Makavu said Sarafu has helped people in his community avoid eviction during the pandemic by allowing them to save their cash.

Some come together to pay each other’s rent through table banking, a form of savings scheme where a group contributes a set amount of money every month and then uses that money to help members who need it.

Charities say evictions have been rife in parts of East Africa during the pandemic. In one instance in May 2020, Human Rights Watch reported more than 8,000 people living in two Nairobi slums were evicted from their homes.

“But there have been no evictions in areas where Sarafu is being used by slum communities because they were able to pay their rent on time,” Makavu said.

“No one is going to sleep hungry here because they have community currency.”

($1 = 109.9000 Kenyan shillings)

(Reporting by Kagondu Njagi, Editing by Jumana Farouky and Zoe Tabary. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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