FAQ

  • Resi-Cost is a mighty subscription based estimating application used over the Internet. Although it may be generically referred to as software, it is not software locally installed on your computer. With the purchase of Resi-Cost you have a license to use the application on a subscription basis over the internet from any computer.
  • Resi-Cost is superior because of its accuracy, ease of use and ability to instantly determine cost impact of a design decision.
  • Several features make Resi-Cost the best in its class.
    • Resi-Cost's estimating engine is fundamentally unique and protected by a United States Patent. This patented technology allows evaluations of different design choices, features or materials. As you make a change you immediately see the cost impact of that decision. This is not available with any other residential cost estimating software.
    • Use of a 5-digit zip code data base providing over 40,000 unique locations for unsurpassed regional accuracy. The database includes costs for labor and materials, sales tax and climate considerations used in sizing heating loads.
    • Last but not least is a deep bench of design and construction options. Resi-Cost provides over 4,000 options for your home design resulting in virtually unlimited design possibilities.
  • No, complete house plans are not required. Resi-Cost is unique in its ability to accurately estimate a home's cost at any stage of design, with or without developed home plans.
  • Resi-Cost does not use typical take-off estimating techniques. Even if you have no particular design developed you can still estimate the cost to build based on the design parameters and criteria you establish for the home design.
  • If you have a sketch, basic house plans or full blown blueprints, you just answer the questions and enter the corresponding design criteria reflected in your design.

Resi-Cost achieves its accuracy through these key features:

  • Patented estimating engine;
  • Inclusion of all construction scope needed for a project such as site work, excavation, appliances, etc.,
  • Extensive cost database including over 40,000 unique locations throughout the continental US, Alaska and Canada;
  • Ability to provide over 4,000 material and construction technology options;
  • Ability to estimate special finishes, counter tops and cabinetry at a room by room level
  • Use of тАЬConstruction AssembliesтАЭ and parametric estimating methods so nothing is accidentally left out as is common with traditional take-off estimating methods.
  • Resi-Cost has a cost database for the continental US, Alaska and Canada. Local costs are determined by using a 5-digit zip code which provides over 40,000 unique locations and targeted regional accuracy. Costs for Hawaii are not in our database.
  • Yes, it includes costs for site work such as site clearing, driveway, walkways, access road, decks, patios, landscaping, irrigation, retaining walls, utility extensions, well, septic and more.
  • Yes, all appliances needed in your home are available in Resi-Cost including options for stoves, ovens, cook-tops, exhaust hoods, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, trash compactors, wine coolers, washer and dryers, warming ovens and more.
  • Yes, sales tax is included and is determined by your project zip code.
  • Home-Cost.com provides a 90 day 100% money back guarantee that Resi-Cost's calculated construction value will be in a cost range established by 3 licensed contractor bids. We require you get contractor bids of the same house design, scope and quality level of materials and contractor markup used in the design you estimated with Resi-Cost. Please see our Terms of Use for more information.
  • If you give the exact same plans and specs to 3 different builders you will get back 3 different prices. That's why we require multiple bids and guarantee Resi-Cost's calculated construction to be in a cost range established by 3 licensed contractor bids.
  • If you have a budget problem, remember that it is common for a client to have selected different scope of work or material quality than what their builder assumed in the quote. This is often the reason why a contractor's quote is not consistent with a client's design selections.
  • Evaluate your contractor's bid detail for adequacy of all allowances and the possibility of different scope or assumptions inconsistent with the choices you made in your Resi-Cost estimate.
  • Your project account session data is saved during your subscription period. Except for Resi-Cost PRO, once your project subscription is canceled or expires then project data is no longer available.
  • The only exception to this is with Resi-Cost PRO where a project account may be archived for a nominal monthly fee. Archived accounts have all the project session data and all Project Information data saved for later restoration.
  • Only the Archived feature available with Resi-Cost PRO allows deactivation of a project account and reactivation later.
  • If you have a Resi-Cost Lite and Resi Cost Full Function account, then your project data is unavailable once your subscription is expired. Resi-Cost provides you the ability to print out your design and material selections and cost report at any time during your subscription.
  • You cannot add more time before your subscription expires.
  • No, Home-Cost.com does not retain any personal credit card information.
  • Yes, the Control Panel for Resi-Cost Lite or Full Function subscriptions allows you to mange your account with the following actions / information:
    • Launch the application
    • Upgrade your account (from Lite to Full Function)
    • Subscription time remaining
    • Add another project account
    • Contact Us (Technical Support)
    • Clear Session's box to clear out all your selections and start over
  • It allows you to completely start over. At some point you may wish to cancel out all of the selections you have made in your project estimate so that you can start another estimate fresh.
  • We highly recommend you print out your existing cost report before you clear all data. To clear your project of all previous selections check the "Clear Session" box for your project account and then confirm.
  • When you open the project account your session data will have been deleted. Use this feature with care.
  • Yes, the Control Panel for Resi-Cost PRO is very comprehensive. It allows you to manage multiple accounts at two levels: the Control Panel and the Project Information Panel.
  • Please see Using Resi-Cost PRO for more information.
  • Resi-Cost Lite and Resi-Cost Full Function are provided with 60 day subscriptions.
  • Resi-Cost PRO project accounts are monthly pay as you got subscriptions with automatic billing. They may remain active indefinitely or may be canceled at any time. To purchase these PRO project accounts, a $99 one time purchase of a Master License must first be completed.
  • “Yes” with Resi-Cost PRO which allows you to determine the length of your subscription period.
  • “No” with Resi-Cost Lite or Full Function. They come in 60 day subscription periods.
  • No, the Resi-Cost PRO Master License is a $99 one time only cost and allows you to purchase individual project accounts.
  • Yes, you may cancel Resi-Cost PRO project accounts at any time.
  • To access this function click “Edit Info” in your Control Panel for the project you wish to cancel. That launches the Project Information Panel for the project. In your Project Information Panel you will see a tab called “Cancel or Archive Project.” Click the “Cancel Project” radio button and confirm your selection.
  • If you decide to cancel your project access to that project will terminate upon cancellation. Please use the Automatic Renewal Date shown in the Control Panel for reference and cancel on that day or before. You will no longer be billed on a recurring monthly basis for the project once you cancel. No refunds are provided for partial month usage.
  • Upon cancellation all your project related data will be deleted from our servers and is no longer available. Please make sure you have made hard copy of all information before cancelling.
  • If you wish to stop active use of the project but come back to it in the future, then please use the “Archive Project” function found on the same tab as “Cancel Project”.
  • By use of the “Archive Project” function. To access this function click “Edit Info” in your Control Panel for the project you wish to archive. That launches the Project Information Panel for the project. In your Project Information Panel you will see a tab called “Cancel or Archive Project.” Click the “Archive Project” radio button and confirm your selection.
  • Archiving your project will make your account inactive but will retain all your data in both your Resi-Cost account and Project Information Panel. Archiving is recommended if you think you may want to come back to it in the future.
  • Archiving a project is available as a recurring billing of only $9.50 per month or any portion of the month.
  • Simply click the “Reactivate” link in your Control Panel for the project you wish to reactivate and complete the purchase of your monthly subscription.
  • Once you reactivate the project, your account the project account status becomes “Active,” your session will be restored from where you left off and monthly billing will again resume.
  • Resi-Cost has “Help” links at major questions to assist you in understanding a question or construction term. If you still have a question or need any help in using Resi-Cost just use our Contact Us form for more help.
  • Yes, just complete whatever page you are on and click the “Next Step (Save and Continue)” button at the bottom of the page. Your selections are saved until you come back later.
  • If you leave a page without clicking the “Next Step (Save and Continue)” button at the bottom of the page, your selections for that page will not be retained.
  • “Cost per SF” for cost estimating is fundamentally unreliable and can be an estimating trap since it only applies the “Cost per Square Foot” against Finished SF of the home.
  • “Cost per SF” estimates also do not consider varying quality levels within an individual home design and often omit costs for site work, excavation and appliances.
  • Construction cost however is determined by the Constructed SF of a home and the quality level of materials and finishes, not just Finished SF.
  • Although “Cost per SF” budgeting may seem quick and easy, it is unfortunately also incorrect.
  • Finished SF only includes livable areas such as bedrooms, kitchen, great rooms, etc.
  • Constructed Square Feet includes all areas that are being constructed whether livable or not such as an unfinished basement or crawl space, garage, bonus rooms, enclosed porches, etc.
  • An “Assembly” is a grouping of construction components against which a cost of the components can be assigned.
  • For example, cost for a “sink assembly” in Resi-Cost includes the sink, faucet, waste and vent line, hot and cold water lines, labor and sales tax.
  • A “window assembly” includes the window unit, finished casing and trim, labor and sales tax.
  • An “exterior wall framing assembly” is priced at a cost per square foot of wall area and includes costs for the wall framing, insulation, sheathing and vapor barrier, labor and sales tax.
  • Unlike take-off estimation, “Assembly” based estimating can be used at a conceptual level for early stage costing or at a detailed design level for final blueprint stage estimates.
  • Assemblies carry costs for their components and the unit of measure that makes sense for that assembly. For example, wall framing is measured in “wall square feet” not board feet of lumber. As quantity of an assembly goes up or down, costs for all the corresponding components are always included and cannot be accidentally forgotten or omitted as with take-off estimates.
  • No, Resi-Cost is only designed to accurately estimate a freestanding single family residence.
  • Resi-Cost will estimate almost any style of single family detached home up to two stories plus a lower level and garage, attached or detached. It does not estimate swimming pools or other outdoor structures other than a detached garage.
  • Over 4,000 options are available for your home design resulting in virtually unlimited design and material possibilities. For example, you can select from over 15 countertop options including granite, quartz, tile, concrete and more; over 30 flooring options including carpet, cork, tile, stone, wood, vinyl, linoleum and more. Exterior options include over 30 siding options such as vinyl, aluminum, wood, cement fiber, log siding, stucco, stone, imitation stone, etc. Roofing options including asphalt, wood, tile, slate, metal, concrete, rubber, flat and so on.
  • Green design construction options are also available. Resi-Cost provides structural system choices including ICF (Insulated Concrete Form), SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) in addition to stick-built wood framing or concrete block construction. You also have the option of Timber Frame construction.
  • First of all don’t panic. Over 95% of home projects are initially over budget. With Resi-Cost however you now have the power to evaluate your design decisions and vary the quality level and scope of your home’s design to meet a realistic budget.
  • You are over budget for one or more reasons including:
    • You may have selected expensive construction materials or finishes. Go back and reconsider all your construction material quality levels. Make sure you have selected the most economical construction selections and quality levels except where you absolutely needed the increased quality.
    • If you still are over budget, your home design may be too large and the scope of construction needs to be reduced. Look at ways to reduce the home size and amount of finished square feet and constructed square feet.
    • If you have gone back and reduced the quality of materials in all acceptable areas and reduced the home size and are still over budget, you may have had an unrealistic budget in mind to start with. Resi-Cost will allow you to model and simulate the costs of various designs and materials of construction until you are in budget. It is easier to fix a budget problem on paper than while a home is being built.
    • One last option exists, although we do not recommend it unless you have the experience and time, is to be an Owner-Builder. This is where the Owner does not hire a General Contractor but rather directly hires the multiple subcontractors and manages their scheduling and work. This can save between 10% to 20% of your home’s construction cost if managed well, but you will add at least that much to your costs if handled incompetently. If you choose the route of an Owner / Builder, be careful and do the research needed to fully understand your responsibilities.
  • Yes it can. All projects have three interrelated variables that must be balanced. They are Quality, Cost and Size. You can pick any two and the third is determined by your selections. For example if you know your budget (cost) and you know how big your house is (size) that will drive the quality levels of what you can afford. Resi-Cost allows you to vary your home’s Quality levels and Scope (or size) until your budget is in balance.
  • In an over-budget situation improper Quality and/or Size decisions have created an out of balance condition with Cost. The solution in an over-budget circumstance is determining how to vary the Quality or Size variables to meet a predetermined Cost.
  • The power of Resi-Cost™ is that you will be able to model and change any of these variables to see the impact on the other two, until you get things in balance.
  • Resi-Cost process puts you in control of modeling "what-if?" options to building materials, design characteristics and home size, until you are satisfied and within budget.
  • The Master License allows you to buy unlimited PRO project accounts on a recurring billing basis for $24.50 per month per project (about 50% off retail). To use Resi-Cost PRO you must first purchase a Master License for a one time cost of $99.00.
  • Resi-Cost PRO allows you to manage multiple accounts at two levels: the Control Panel and the Project Information Panel.
  • Control Panel: At a high level the Control Panel allows you to mange your account with the following actions / information:
    • Observe the status of all project accounts
    • Launch any one of multiple project accounts
    • Edit a project name
    • Manage contact information for each project
    • See subscription time remaining per project account
    • Review project account status (active, archived, to be reactivated)
    • Resi-Cost application page last accessed
    • Observe date you last modified a project account
    • Add another project account
    • Contact Us (Technical Support)
    • “Clear Session” box to clear out all your selections and start over
  • Project Information Panel: At a detailed level each project account has a link to its own Project Information Panel. The Project Information Panel has multiple screens and allows you to track all kinds of sales, customer, construction and design information related to a specific project. You may also cancel your project at anytime or archive your project data for only $9.99 per month.
  • You may edit and save information unique to your project including Project and Contact information, House Plan information, Contact Notes and personal contact information for the design and construction team including notes, websites house plan information budget information and much more.
  • By clicking on the "Edit Info" link on any project in the Control Panel. That launches the Project Information Panel for the project.
  • Yes, each project has its own unique Project Information Panel.
  • Resi-Cost provides very detailed cost reports but they are based on construction “assemblies” and not organized in an obsolete quantity take-off format.
  • Quantities used for measurement in take-off estimating are often somewhat obscure such as “board feet” of lumber or “cubic yards” of concrete.
  • Resi-Cost’s patented estimating engine develops costs using construction “assemblies.” Assemblies carry costs for their components and the unit of measure that makes sense for that assembly. For example, wall framing is measured in “wall square feet” not board feet of lumber. As quantity of an assembly goes up or down, costs for all the corresponding components are always included and cannot be accidentally forgotten or omitted as with take-off estimates.
  • Take-off quantity estimating can only be done after a design is completed and is labor intensive and prone to errors due to missed items and incorrect quality level assumptions.
  • Take-off quantity estimating also cannot provide instant cost feedback to a design change or reflect a qualitative change.
  • With take-off estimating, any design change made requires that the computer drawing be revised or manually updated to reflect the change before take-off quantities can again be recalculated.
  • Take-off unit quantity estimating cannot answer questions like “What if the house was a little bigger, or smaller? Or what if it had another bathroom or an addition, or finished Bonus Space? How about granite or quartz counters?”
  • These problems are all avoided by Resi-Cost and the use of assembly based estimating.
  • Resi-Cost provides different levels of cost reporting depending on the detail needed and on the product purchased (e.g., Lite or Full Function or PRO).
  • Cost estimate reporting comes in three levels of breakdown with Level 1 being the most summarized and Level 3 the most detailed.
    • Level 1 Report: "Executive Summary" of major construction systems (12 lines of detail)
    • Level 2 Report: Costs summarized by construction category (±70 lines of detail)
    • Level 3 Report: Construction assembly costs itemized by line item and unit price (±350 lines of detail)
    • Level 3 Reports also provide a line item specification for the assembly and its unit price. For example a concrete slab may have the description: “Concrete 3500 psi; 4" thick; broom finish; 6x6 wire fabric; 4" gravel base”
  • Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 cost reports are provided with Resi-Cost Full Function and Resi-Cost PRO.
  • Level 1 and Level 2 cost reports are provided with Resi-Cost Lite. Resi-Cost Lite does not provide detailed line item reporting as in Level 3, only summarized category cost reporting (although it uses the same estimating engine as Full Function or PRO).
  • You may print your cost reports out to a printer or as a PDF with any Resi-Cost product.
  • You may export the cost report to an Excel table format (no formulas) with Resi-Cost Full Function or Resi-Cost PRO. This feature is not available in Resi-Cost Lite.
  • Using Resi-Spec protects you from incomplete or faulty subcontractor assumptions of your home's design requirements as you solicit construction quotes by accomplishing the following:
    • Provides specifications for technical building systems;
    • Includes HVAC, plumbing, electrical and site work specs;
    • Defines scope not covered in a typical set of plans;
    • Provides better bid scope definition and basis for bid;
    • Results in less assumptions on the part of the subs;
    • Results in more consistent cost quotes to you;
    • Reduces scope surprises and Change Orders.
  • Resi-Spec consists of detailed guide specifications based on traditional Construction Specification Institute (CSI) bid divisions.
    • Division 0 - Bidding / Agreement
    • Division 1 - General Requirements
    • Division 2 - Site Construction
    • Division 3 - Concrete
    • Division 4 - Masonry
    • Division 5 - Metals
    • Division 6 - Wood And Plastics
    • Division 7 - Thermal And Moisture Protection
    • Division 8 - Doors And Windows
    • Division 9 - Finishes
    • Division 10 - Specialties
    • Division 11 - Equipment
    • Division 12 to14 - Not Used
    • Division 15 - Mechanical
    • Division 16 - Electrical
  • Please see PRO Estimates / Resi-Spec for more information.
  • No, you are provided a Microsoft Word® file for each spec section and are responsible for any editing.
  • Please see PRO Estimates / Resi-Spec to purchase.
  • Affiliates are less of a formal collaboration and more of a commission driven sales referral program. Our Affiliate Program is a “pay-per-sale”, high commission program open to quality relevant websites. Becoming an Affiliate is available only by invitation or approved application and generally has these benefits:
    • 20% Sales Commission Base
    • Tiered Commission Performance Bonus
    • Co-Branding Opportunity
    • $75 Average Sale
    • Incentive programs for successful affiliates
  • Our Affiliate commission program is managed and hosted by a third party network, Shareasale.com, to ensure objective collection of site metrics and commission calculations.
  • If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate then please let us hear from you by using our Affiliate & Partner Contact Form.
  • Home-Cost.com Partners are more of a strategic relationship with mutual marketing objectives, featured placement and promotion on our respective websites and the goal of enhancing the customer experience of our respective websites.
  • Partners may or may not even result in an actual sales referral compensation structure to you or to us but will always result in a co-marketing synergy that benefits each others customers and our mutual websites.
  • If you are interested in becoming a Partner then please let us hear from you by using our Affiliate & Partner Contact Form.
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