8' or 9' ceilings

17 Replies

I hope to pick someone's brain on this:

I am building a speculative (spec) home in an unincorporated subdivision outside of San Antonio. Comps in the neighborhood generally have 9' ceilings; my plans call for 9' with 2 10' insets in the LR and master BR. Neighborhood comps are ~$117/sqft.

Has anyone here evaluated the ROI of spending more putting in the 9 footers compared to the 8? I ran a couple grand over budget on my foundation and putting in the 8 footers would put me back on budget, but with what affect on the selling price!?!

Thanks in advance,


@James Evertson  

I can't tell you how much it will affect sales price but I can tell you from personal experience that some buyers will not even look at or consider 8' ceilings. Keep in mind that this is in San Diego in the $500-600k range that I have seen this so I am not sure how your home will compare. 

What is the price range on the subject property?

I would definitely go with the 9 foot ceilings.  Not only does it make the house appear larger but it also gives you the ability to put solid core 8 foot doors which I think is an ever bigger bang for the buck.  This will give the house much larger scale and stand out against your competition.

Price range is $200-$250k with average comp at $117/sqft. In my neck of the woods that is lower/mid-range which is why I am contemplating whether 9' is a must.

My opinion is that 8' ceilings feel like you are in an apartment. The 9' ceiling always makes a room/house feel bigger and more spacious. I always think about the buyer and if they are taller they will keep looking. I would look at it this way...If you list your property and another house comes on the market int the neighborhood that has the 9' ceilings will the buyer buy that house over yours?

Hope that helps! Best of luck!

@James Evertson   Go with the 9' ceilings, and save money someplace else! 8' ceilings look dated. 9' makes a huge difference. Ceilings aren't something people can upgrade after they buy it, etc. Not doing it right the first time will be a huge mistake. We've been building for 30 years, and know something about buyers. 

Thank you everybody for opining on this. Maybe I'll leave out the rock fireplace instead (this is central Texas...)

I'm in Heart of Texas, Belton/Temple/ Killeen area. I have built about 400 homes and used 8' foot ceilings in most areas thats not important. Its a matter of perception. I vault from 8' wall plates to 9' in entry, living, kitchen and dining. Master br with 9' pop ups. 8' outside walls saves tons. My hot buttons to draw attention away would be crown, fireplace with limestone, fancy light fixtures, upgraded cabinet doors with 30" uppers, stained concrete or laminate floors and stainless appliances and brushed nickel everywhere and two tone paint. My biggest perception of value was dressing the front elevations with front porches. Bottomline though it all starts with the floorplan design. Square the back, fancy the front, 2-3 ridges on the roof and all hip with a gable on the front. I have lots more ideas, but I make money. Dont be afraid of the 8 footers.

9' is my vote...

Here's a question -- if you've already completed the foundation work, that tells me that you've already completed architectural drawings and have gotten your permits.  How much time and money would it cost to revise the drawings and resubmit for a revised building permit?

@James Evertson  Build the house to allow for the fireplace, and offer it as an option. If someone wants it, they pay for the upgrade. As @J Scott  is pointing out, having to go back and redraw, then resubmit your plans would end up costing you far more than you'd gain in going to 8' ceiling height! 

I'm in an unincorporated area that require building permits. All I have to get permits for are right of way, septic, and flood zone.

I think for the simple fact that it will keep my wife happy I'll stick with 9 footers.

@Barry Ratliff what do you homes sell for typically?

@James Evertson ,

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@Barry Ratliff  

What do you typically sell your spec homes for that have 8' ceilings? 1 story or 2?

@James Evertson

Well James my pricing is not current as I have been out of the industry since 2007. However I am getting the itch again and getting pricing on some plans now. But I can tell my market is not like yours. The $117 per foot is not uncommon but I dont know your lot cost, interest carry, construction costs and realtor commissions. In this frenzy construction and real estate market we/u are in, I would maximize the profitability unless you want to sell below market price and dont go over board on the bells and whistles.

No to answer your question for 8' celings, I was selling them for $69 a foot on $10k lot with city sewer. Houses had no fireplace, vinyl and carpet, no microwave, white appliances, 7-8 windows, flat doors, 3 sides brick, 30" upper cabinets, wilsonart counter tops and fiberglass tub/shower enclosures. There's more but u can see these homes were low low end. Always sold before we finished them and no changes. 70 days to build from permit to certificate of occupancy. Made $15-20k net a house. :)

@Barry Ratliff  

Slab or pier and beam foundation? Stick framing or engineered? My lot was $16k and I have no idea how I would even build for $69 a foot much less realize a $15-20k net gain on top of that...

@James Evertson

Slab. Stick frame. All starts with that floorplan. Depending on who your buyer is, the neighborhood style of homes and competition, your floorplan and standard features will dictate your profitability. Since you have one home, developing a reputation and you're a first timer, just piggy back on what sells and duplicate that.

@Barry Ratliff  

  Always wondered how you guys did it in TEXAS.. It takes us 30 days just to get the dig out and foundation in.. best case scenario is 120 to 150 days start to finish and that's after foundation has been stripped and ready to go vertical.

There was a day we could build a pretty nice home for 70 bucks a foot not including lot. but that is long gone... we are at 75 to 85 now... with custom at 120 to 150... our big issue is permits.. we can have 35 to 45k just for city permits. And CA can be double.

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