How Much to Build a House?

18, November, 2022

One of the primary advantages of building a house is the ability to choose and decide every detail, from the layout and flooring to the cupboards, doorknobs, and even the paint colors – so far, you can afford it.

However, before you commence building, it is vital to know everything it will cost you, at least an approximate estimate, to be sure if you are really prepared to embark on such a project.

This article comprehensively explains how much is needed to build a house, alongside every other detail you must know about financing a home project. But before we dive into the details, let’s address a lifelong argument about building or buying a house. Which is better?

Buying Vs. Building a House

Pros of Buying a House

  1. Potential Negotiating Power: With existing real estate, you might be able to leverage data to get a suitable price. For instance, if your dream home has exceeded 30 days in the market, the seller could be willing to reduce the cost, or if the property in the location is priced lower, you can use that as a justification for a lower offer.
  2. More Options: If you plan on residing in a particular area, it might be easier to get a house there than trying to find land to build on.

Cons of Buying a House

  1. Potential Market Competition: The bargaining power stated earlier might be zero, depending on where you’re looking. According to a recent Confidence Index from the National Association of REALTORS®, sellers receive an average of about four bids per property.
  2. Compromises: In reality, the chances of getting your dream home are minimal when buying. Even when you see a home within your price range, it may not suit your specification. So, you’ll need to be ready for compromise, like having one less bedroom.
  3. Older Appliances and Internal Systems: While it’s a new home for you, technically, it has been used by someone else. Depending on the property’s age, you might need to carry out some repairs sooner than you think. In addition, your insurance rates will probably be more than what you would pay to secure a new home.

Pros of Building a House

  1. Get What You Want Exactly: Construction means modifying. So instead of desiring your dream home with some specific kind of sunroom, flooring, or some other unique features, you’ll be able to change the property design to your taste. Also, you won’t be restricted to a particular neighborhood or location.
  2. Broader Market Appeal: Ultimately, your house is an asset, and when it’s time to sell, the latest structure could give you a competitive benefit.
  3. Move-In Ready: When everything in your home is new, you don’t have to bother about any major maintenance (at least at the beginning).

Cons of Buying a House

  1. Contractor Challenges: Miscommunication, delays, and other subcontractor issues can occur while building a house. To know their work method and timeline, examine a couple of builders and be ready for speed bumps.
  2. More Time: While you’ll save time scouring online listings and attending open houses, you’ll need to wait a little longer for your new home to be completely ready before moving in.
  3. More Decisions: A blank canvas implies you can modify your home, but it also suggests you’ll have to make many decisions. However, focusing on every bit of the erection process can be difficult if you’re occupied with family and work.

Should I Buy or Build a House; Which Is Economical?

According to U.S. Census Bureau information, the average sales price of an existing home was $357,300 as of February 2022. That’s an increment of 15% since February 2021, which addresses the high demand for houses making the housing market dried up regularly.

Of course, to equally liken the price of an existing home to building your own home, you’d need to consider the cost of the renovations required to make those homes comfortable, with the higher maintenance costs of existing homes.

So, if you’d ask us, we’d say building your own house may be relatively more economical in the long run than buying an already existing one.

How Much to Build a House?

Now to the main section of this article. The costs of constructing a home may vary as it includes multiple factors, including but not limited to labor, permits, materials, architectural drawings and square footage, inspections, etc.

Generally, how much it takes to build a house mainly depends on your budget. However, according to a recent report by HomeAdvisor, the average cost to build a house can range from a least $117,050 to as high as $451,362, with the general average at $283,984. Nonetheless, you must understand that prices differ depending on where your house is located.

Construction Cost Breakdown

Building your own home means you get what you want precisely and the particular way you want it. For example, maybe the window size is paramount to you, or you want to locate the kitchen where it gets the morning sun.

All these unique specifications are what you tend to enjoy if you build your house rather than buying an existing one. However, your interior finishes and exterior finishes will have a significant influence on your budget when building your dream home.

Here is the breakdown of what you can expect to spend when building your house:

  1. Land: Varies by Location and Lot/Plot Size

It’s not new that the cost of land can intensely differ depending on where you reside in the U.S. So, it’s a topmost consideration when asking yourself; how much to build a house? Apart from where the land is situated, the plot’s size is another influential factor.

  1. Foundation: $9,260 based on square footage

The cost of installing a foundation is $9,260 on average. While a simple one may cost relatively lower, if you want to make a basement (to furnish later possibly), costs may rise depending on the supply, reinforcement with rebar, and further excavation.

  1. Framing: $20,000 to $50,000 based on square footage

Building your house into your favorite shape when it comes to home construction is a process known as framing. It costs about $20,000 to $50,000. Since framing often requires wood, remember that costs of timber have been rising recently, so there’s a tendency that could make this aspect of the home building price increase.

  1. Roof: $14,000 based on square footage and quality

On average, a new rooftop usually costs $14,000 to install; however, this may increase if you have a larger roof or want an alternative beyond the traditional asphalt, they come in 30 year and up to 50 year. Considering adding solar plates to your new roof? Budget approximately $20,000 after tax credits.

  1. Appliances: $3,000 to $15,000

Your new house will require new appliances, such as a dishwasher, refrigerator, and washer/dryer. If it’s your first time getting big appliances, it’s advisable to confirm their cost ranges so you can include these items in your estimations.

  1. Key Systems: $17,000 to $72,000 depending on quality and efficiency

New heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) generally vary from $5,000 to $10,000. For electricity, the cost of wiring a new home is $2 to $4 per square foot on average.

Plumbing is another big thing. New building plumbing costs can vary from $8,000 to $12,000. Again, your home’s overall square footage for each system will be vital in determining your total costs.

  1. Finishes and Fixtures: $42,000 to $175,000 based on quality

Are you thinking of granite countertops for your kitchen? This high-end option will cost $40 to $100 per square foot at a premium. Considering hardwood flooring will also cost you about $7.80 per square foot.

Keep this attractiveness in mind when you are budgeting, particularly if you are considering the resale value.

  1. Building Permits and Regulation: $93,870 this is subject to range in every municipality/city/state

2021 research by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that the construction price is becoming more costly because of sheer red tape; the association discovered that the cost of clearing regulatory barriers covered 23.8% of the final acquisition price of a new single-family home.

About 10% is credited to building the site with this price; the rest is ascribed to construction regulations. Each addition to the building can require its license with associated fees, and, as you can see, it rapidly adds up to how much it costs to build a house.

  1. Other Features: Differs Depending on Choices

Maybe you’re concerned about customizing your home. For example, a 10-by-10 deck costs approximately $2,200 on average. Willing to have a pool? That’ll cost about $35,000 on average. Need help with landscaping? Depending on the amount of landscaping work your building needs. Generally, this amount can vary from $1,000 to $40,000 or even more.

These features also have extra maintenance costs that need to be considered, so keep them in mind!

How to Finance a New Construction Home

While potential homebuyers can apply for a mortgage loan to fund the acquisition of an existing home, potential home builders don’t have the same opportunity as they usually can’t use a traditional mortgage to finance the building of a home.

You can get a home construction loan if you don’t have the capital to finance your home-building project. This is the most common way of funding your dream home. OTC construction loans are available for conventional, FHA, and VA borrowers with CrossCountry Mortgage.

What Is a Construction Loan?

Simply put, construction loans are short-term loans used to finance a new home’s construction. Once the construction process is done, you can obtain a home construction loan that changes to a traditional mortgage loan after the construction has been completed.

Also, you can get a construction-to-permanent loan that covers the construction costs and permanent mortgage to pay the construction loan once the project is done, this is referred to as the OTC (One Time Close).

Nevertheless, various other loans are available when building a home, from the ground-up building to fully refashioning the whole house. So, there’s usually a loan out there suitable for you, whether you’re beginning from scratch with a land loan or the overall home construction process.

How Do Construction Loans Work?

The borrower applies for a construction loan by submitting financial plans and project timeframes. If approved, the mortgagor starts earnings concurrently with each project stage, typically just refunding interest throughout the construction process. An inspector or appraiser appraises the building during construction to approve more funds.

Once construction ends, the borrower typically modifies or refinances the construction loan into a permanent loan and starts both principal and interest payments that may include the taxes and insurance monthly.

Construction loans often have variable rates that fluctuate up and down with the key rate. As a result, construction loan rates are usually more than traditional mortgage loan rates.

Depending on the construction loan type, you might be able to change the construction loan to a traditional loan once the house is completed. This is called a Construction-to-Permanent loan or OTC (One Time Close).

What Is Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Builder’s risk insurance is a unique insurance policy that protects houses during renovation or construction. Parties listed on the policy are insured against damages or losses like lightning, storms, hail, fire, high winds, explosions, vandalism, contamination, and collision.

Builder’s risk insurance, also known as contractor’s all-risk insurance, isn’t a standard policy so the protection can vary significantly. For example, some policies will range from documents, data construction materials, and temporary structures. Also, policies can guard against injury claims from non-employees and the amount used for replacing or fixing damaged equipment.

Construction Loan Requirements

There are numerous things to consider when applying for construction loans, like a builder’s cooperation, securing approvals from your localities, and the building timeline with detailed blueprints and a reasonable budget.

Since construction loans carry many risks, mortgagors must meet additional conditions to qualify for this loan. These criteria are:

  1. Good Credit: The absence of collateral makes construction loans risky, so mortgagors must have a minimum credit score of 680, with some lenders or mortgagees demanding as high as 720. Therefore, examine your credit score and make any essential alterations before applying for this loan.
  2. Adequate Income to Cover Payments: You must show sufficient income to refund the construction loan, the following mortgage loan, typical living expenses, and any personal debt you may have. Your mortgagee will demand financial statements to validate your assets and income.
  3. A Low Debt-To-Income Ratio: A low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is essential when seeking a construction loan because lenders verify whether you have the revenue to cover previous debts and the loan. Therefore, your DTI has to be under 45% to boost your approval chances.
  4. A Considerable Down Payment: For this high-risk loan, lenders need a 20% down payment, although a more significant down payment boosts your chances of being approved. The higher the down payment on a construction loan, the higher your chances of being approved by a mortgagee.
  5. Project and Construction Budget Approval: Lenders want as much detail as possible for a construction loan. To increase your chances for approval, add information such as the property deeds, detailed designs and blueprints of the house, reasonable budgets, construction contracts, and a potential draw or draft schedule with clear milestones.
  6. Builder or General Contractor Approval: In addition to the necessities above, enhance your approval chances by showing your architect and contractors are competent, certified, and insured. Provide certificates and resumes copies, as well as their jobs and responsibilities.

Final Thoughts on How Much to Build Your House

How much to build a house depends broadly on various factors, such as the home size, location, the kinds of supplies used, and whether you do some of the work yourself. However, the effort is worth it, knowing you’ve built your dream home and you and your family can enjoy it for ages to come.