How Much Does It Cost To Build A House

The house is usually the biggest purchase people make in their lifetime. Whether it is purchasing a house or building a custom home, the cost can really go very high. Since the investment is high here, it is always important that you get the best house that will cater to all your needs and will reflect your personality. You do not want to get a house where you spend so much of your investment but in the end find it unfit to you and your family. Hence, getting a house must be a very careful process involving a lot of planning, evaluating, and decision-making.

If you want the most fitting house for you and the rest of the family, the best way to get one is building a house. This will help you customize the house to follow your preferred design, shape, size, and a lot of other details. But before considering building your own home, understand that no matter how you approach this, the cost will definitely be big. This article is designed to help you understand house building costs today.

Typical Cost Of Building A House

The general price range of building a home is $100 to $400 per square foot.

Included In The Price Of Building A House

The price for building a house includes the following:

  • Site preparation (getting the building site ready and establishing a solid foundation)
  • Foundation and flatwork
  • Framing and roofing
  • Mechanical rough
  • Insulation and sheetrock
  • Carpentry
  • Finishing touches (brick, mechanical trims, and paint)

Factors That Affect The Price Of Building A House

Size. The size of the home you are trying to build greatly affects the cost of building a home. The bigger your house is, the higher the costs will become. If we do the math, a 2,000 sq. ft. home can be built from $200,000 to $800,000. On the other hand, a 3,500 sq. ft. home can go from $350,000 to $1.4M. However, take note that the larger your home is, the lesser the price per square footage is. This is true because expensive additions in the home can be distributed to the overall size of the home. Hence, a smaller home may cost more per square foot as compared to a large home.

Shape. Same with the size, the shape of your home will also affect prices. Square and rectangular-sized homes (with four corners) are usually cheaper to build as compared to those with six, eight, ten, or more corners. In fact, the more corners the house has, the higher the cost usually goes.

Design. A one-story home is usually more expensive to build as compared to a two-story home with the same square footage. With a smaller roof and fewer foundations, two-story homes will be cheaper to build. This is true as well because plumbing and ventilation in a two-story home is more compact as compared to a large one-story home.

Details. If your home design has a lot of details, expect that the cost of your home will go higher. Simple things such as more windows in the house can already add up to the cost of building a house. Moreover, the more complicated the details and designs are, the more costly the price can go.

Materials. Your choice of materials will usually determine the quality of your home. If you choose average-grade materials, the price will be cheaper as compared to using high-quality materials when building your home.

Quality. The class of the home you are trying to build will also determine costs. Class 1 or luxury quality homes are the most expensive to build while class 6 or the minimum standard quality is the cheapest. Here, different parts of the construction can be labeled as luxury or standard quality (best, good, average, and minimum). If you choose more parts at the minimum standard quality, the price of building your home will go lower as compared to getting every part under luxury quality. Some construction jobs that can really affect prices in terms of quality are the foundation, exterior walls, exterior finish, interior finish, floor finish, roof, windows and doors, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Features. More complicated and sophisticated features in your home can easily increase house building costs. For instance, high roof pitches and valuated ceilings usually add more to the overall cost of building the home. Moreover, a central heating and cooling system can make the cost go higher as compared to getting unit heating and cooling systems for select rooms in the house.

Additional structures. Getting an attic, balcony, basement, garage, and porch under the main roof can really affect prices. Choosing one or all of these can increase prices of building your home.

Geographical location. Basically, it will be more expensive for you to build a home in an urban area as compared to rural areas. The cost of living will definitely affect the cost of materials, contractors, and labor in most areas.

Site for construction. The lot you have chosen to build your home to can also affect prices, though not usually much. For instance, building a house in a flat lot will cost lower as compared to building it in a lot that requires clearing of trees, clearing of large rocks, and grading. If there is more work involved in the site preparation, the contractor can charge you more for the cost of building your home.

Inflation rate. The market affects the cost of building a home as the cost usually increases three to six percent every year. So if you have made the estimates this year and you plan to do it the next year, the price can go higher already due to the inflation rate.

Additional Costs

Hiring an architect to make a custom-designed plan for your house is definitely extra. Architects usually price two to 15 percent of the total construction cost of your home. The good thing about hiring architects is that they create a plan as well as oversee the construction process to ensure that the house is built properly. If you just want an architect to review a plan you have bought and see to it that it will fit your site and meet local codes, expect to pay around $50 to $150 per hour.

House plans are also an added cost when building a house. Expect to pay $500 to $2,000 or more for a custom home plan.

Getting local building permits will also be an added cost when building a house. This price depends on the city or town you are in. However, this usually costs thousands of dollars for a complete set of permits and licenses when building a home.

Purchasing a lot where you will be building a home will cost you extra as well. This will vary depending on the size of the lot, the kind of neighborhood it is in, and the geographical location.

When the construction has begun and you want to make changes in the choice of materials or the design, expect to spend extra. The scope and nature of the changes you want will determine prices here.

Decorating and furnishing the newly-constructed house will be an additional expense here as well. You may need to purchase several appliances and furniture and you may need to hire an interior decorator to help you with the decorating tasks.


Deane House 3
Photo by thivierr

Tips Before You Decide To Build A House

Plan for the project very carefully and make sure to stick to it. Last minute changes can really cost a lot of money.

Make sure that you love the neighborhood where your house will be built. Make a research on the background of the town as well as crime rates, nearby establishments, and the like. If you have children or planning to have one, you may need to consider the proximity of schools in the area.

Let a qualified architect check the house plan before getting the project started. He will make sure that every detail in the plan is feasible. Also, it is always a good idea to hire an architect to oversee the construction process to ensure that the plan will be followed out correctly.

Contact a reputable, licensed, and efficient builder to build your house. Get price estimates from several builders and make sure you know what is and what is not included in the price. A good builder will give you a list of all materials they will use for building your house and all the things they will do for you in line with the construction. Evaluate this list and make sure the builder can attend to everything you need in the home construction process.

For a smoother house building project, it is best to get a builder that can do everything for you instead of dealing with several sub-contractors. Talking to a lot of different people can mean a lot of confusion in your part and shopping for different contractors can be a lot of burden for you.

Get all the necessary building permits first. A good house builder can do this job for you or simply help make sure that your house plan will pass through local codes and regulations smoothly.

You may want to check out newly constructed homes in your area that come close in the size, style, and features you want in your house. Knowing the complete price of the home will give you a close estimate of the cost of building your own home. Doing this kind of research will help you avoid instances of a builder overcharging you because you have a basic idea of how much the same kind of house costs to build.

Prepare more money than what the estimates tell you. Understand that house building costs will usually be higher in the actual construction process as compared to estimates. Getting prepared with extra money during the construction process will help you prepare for last-minute and unexpected expenses. Plus, this will help make sure that the construction will be completely done the way you want it to be.

Check out this building cost calculator from to help you get a close estimate of your house construction project. You need to input the size, shape, quality, and a lot of other details, which assures you of a closer estimate to the real project at hand.

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