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What is Turnkey?

Posted on May 7, 2013

We all dream of that ideal timber frame home that is perfectly suited to our needs and wants, but does that dream align with our wallets? Like everything else in life, cost is a crucial consideration on the road to your custom wood home. The best way to ensure that your design, lifestyle, and budget are all in sync throughout the process is to establish a realistic turnkey budget before you begin.

Defining Turnkey

The term ‘turnkey’ originates from the act of a homeowner “turning the key” in the front door and walking into their finished home. Turnkey cost typically refers to the total cost of building a timber frame home, without the inclusion of land or site improvements.  In the terms of building, if a builder claims they will provide turnkey construction, it means they will build the entire home.

How Does Design Affect Turnkey?

The most important factors that influence a turnkey budget are a home’s square footage, its complexity, the level of finishes, and its location.

  • Square Footage—the bigger the house becomes the more it affects all other aspects of the design, which in turn increases turnkey due to the need for additional building materials.
  • Design Complexity— complex aspects of a design, like multiple corners, roof ridges and valleys, in contrast to footprints that feature only four corners and one roof pitch, will be cause a design to be more expensive to build.
  • Level of Finishes—while granite countertops and wide plank flooring may be luxury finishes that look great within the home, they are definitely more costly than Formica counters and carpet.
  • Geographical Location—what many people forget when they go to build their timber frame home, is that where you choose to build will affect turnkey costs. Lake Tahoe, for instance, is a resort area where materials and labor will be more expensive than a non-resort area.

How Riverbend Determines Turnkey

Here at Riverbend, we use our 30+ years of experience in design and attention to detail to ensure that we are creating a timber home concept that fits within a turnkey budget. While many companies will give a client a general kit price, we will pay attention to your entire turnkey budget throughout the design process. As you suggest or make changes to the layout, size or style of your plan, we relay the impacts to the overall cost to build. By doing this, we design your home to better stay in line with the turnkey budget you had in mind.


Turnkey is a tool that gives the client not just an accurate estimate of their costs throughout the conceptual design phase, but also the confidence to move forward with financial security to create the home they’ve been dreaming of. Visit Riverbend’s Cost Feasibility page to learn more.

Need More Information?

Whether you’re looking for more information or would simply like to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Please follow the link below to access our online form or call us at 888.486.2363 in the US or 888.999.4744 in Canada. We look forward to hearing from you.

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