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How much does it cost to build a house? We know and we included all the cost as well as free contractor quotes in our comprehensive guide.
Erecting a home is the ultimate American dream. Also, it’s an opportunity to meet all your design needs and usability requirements. A chance to put in the bells and whistles you have always longed for. However, building a house from scratch is more than a daunting task, more so when it comes to determining the amount, you will pay. The cost guide below will help you estimate the total amount but bear in mind that these are just estimates. The actual cost might be higher or lower going by the different conditions. However, before we get into the costs, let’s mull over some of the variables that will influence the final amount.
Before your project starts, you will need a design to give a clear picture of what your house should resemble. You, therefore, have to come up with a plan/draft otherwise known as a blueprint in the home design world. For a scheme, you can consider a draftsperson/designer who is more affordable or an architect who will be more expensive but has more training and certifications. A designer will charge you between $1,585 and $1,973, while an architect will charge upwards of $8,000. We advise working with an architect despite him/her costing a small fortune because: first, his/her designs don’t need to be signed off by any authority, and second because he works hand in hand with the construction company to ensure that the appropriate materials are used, and the design followed to the letter.
The amount incurred can increase or decrease owing to the conditions of the work site. Anything from groundwater, to stream crossings, to interfering utilities, to poor soil conditions will increase the cost of the project seeing as contractors will have to figure a way around the services or reinforcement to ensure the house is stable despite the unfavorable soil.
As for the location, you are often forced to construct a high-value property if you are in a high-value area unlike building a low-value property if your site is in a low-value area. Finally, the distance from the suppliers will impinge on the price seeing as you will incur more on transport if you are far from suppliers.
As a homeowner, it’s best you know that you will spend more on your home than the initial investment costs. There are operating costs, disposal costs, finance costs, and maintenance. Now, the primary decision you have to make when erecting your house is whether to incur more initially on better options vis a vis, saving money only to spend more on maintaining and operating your home.
Finally, you will have to consider the size of the house you want to erect. Indeed, you will sped more on more significant projects for the reason that you have to engage more labor, and the project will consume more materials. However, the odds are that the cost per foot is going to be lower for more extensive projects than for smaller houses.
Once you have a grasp of the various factors that will influence the total cost of your house let’s move on to the estimates. However, remember that erecting a home is an engaging task. Below, we have given the forecast of putting up a single-family house that is 2,470 square feet in size. We have covered in the best way we can everything from laying the foundation to erecting the roofing, insulation, as well as interior finishes.
For the total cost of erecting a home, most homeowners report spending between $147,000 and $420,000 depending on the various factors and preferences. Nonetheless, the national average is $284,000 though this is subject to the state. Also, the cost can be as high as $700,000 or as low as $17,000, so, don’t fret about the budget too much. Nevertheless, this price can be broken down into individual parts of the construction.
|House Construction Cost||2,470 Sq. Ft.||$142,000||$420,000||$284,000|
Constructing a home will go beyond erecting the house. First, you will have to pay for the building permits, clearing, impact fee, sewer and water inspection fees, etc.
During site preparation, the very first thing you ought to do is understand the tasks required. This often involves hiring a surveyor to compare the land and the house blueprint and thus determine what has to be accomplished before work can commence. On average, a land surveyor will set you back $500 but often falls between $200 and $800 depending on the size of your lot and geographical location.
The amount you incur on-site preparation will now depend on the findings of the surveyor. However, some basic tasks you can expect include clearing of vegetation and rocks. Expect to pay between $500 and $6,000 an acre depending on how lightly or heavily wooded your lot is. The cost of clearing one tree is $650 subject to the size, location condition, and diameter. However, fallen trees are much cheaper to remove and will set you back between $75 and $150. Consider yourself fortunate if all you have to deal with is brush removal as you will only pay between $20 and $200 an acre.
You should consider tree removal during site preparation to avoid complications in future.
After clearing next up is grading. Grading involves drainage control, and erosion prevention to curb future snags. The cost of grading falls between $0.50 and $2.28 for every square foot. Nevertheless, this is dependent on the grade level and your geographical location. Finally, anticipate a charge of $2,800 if you are looking to construct a basement.
There is more to site preparation than grading, clearing, and excavating. Most times, you will have to construct an access road to the site, you will also find yourself connecting the site to the power grid and other utilities to smoothen operations. You might even come across additional fees and permits. For instance, a land clearing permit which can set you back about $200.
|Land Surveyor||1 Acre||$200||$800||$500|
|Clearing Fallen Trees||1||$75||$150|
|Brush Removal||1 Acre||$20||$180|
|Grading||1 Sq. Ft.||$0.50||$2.28|
Foundation costs will depend on the type of foundation you are looking to set up. Some of the options are concrete slabs, basement, crawl space foundations, and pier and beam foundations. Nevertheless, most homeowners report spending between $3,900 and $11,900 on bases and the national average is $7,800. However, depending on the size, foundation costs can exceed $20,000 or be as little as $1,200.
As for individual costs, we will start with the most common foundation types, concrete slabs. These are available in two designs, monolithic, and stem wall slabs. If you are looking for a foundation that is affordable and fast to lay, then you should consider the monolithic slab which will set you back between $4,500 and $12,000, with a $4 cost per square foot. They are more affordable seeing as the concrete is dispensed at once to form the prime slab and footings. It’s a fast process and doesn’t need that much labor which lowers the cost. They are ideal for regions where there isn’t much change in soil conditions.
As for stem walls, these are more expensive and will set you back between $7,000 and $12,000 to lay with a $5 fee for every square foot. We would advise you erect stem wall slabs if you are in cold climates, or are looking for a more sturdy concrete foundation. A stem wall foundation is more expensive than a monolithic foundation since it needs more labor, excavation, and materials. It features the stem walls, footings which prolong into the soil, and concrete which is reinforced with rebar giving it the higher resistance.
These were more common in the years preceding the 60’s before concrete technology. They involve using piers and beams and on some occasions piles to support a structure. A pier is a short and broad concrete block held to the ground that is designed to carry the weight of the building. A beam, on the other hand, is a feature that runs under the construction to carry the weight. Could be made of wood or concrete. If the project is extensive or the soil is loose, you might be required to install piles which are driven deeper into the ground. Expect a price of $8,000 to $15,000 if you are considering a pier and beam foundation. The cost per square foot is $5.
Crawl space foundations are ideal for regions that experience heavy rainfall. They protect your house from damage owing to rain by elevating it. If you are considering a crawl space slab, budget between $8,000 and $21,000 with a fee of $7 per square foot. The only shortcoming of a crawl space foundation is that it harbors moisture, and stimulate mold growth. Therefore, you need to budget an extra $0.50 to $1.50 for vapor barriers or $70 to $1,300 for dehumidifiers.
Finally, we have the basement foundations which will set you back about $18 per square foot for an unfinished basement while a finished basement can cost anywhere between $30 and $100 per square foot. The total cost runs somewhere between $10,000 and $150,000. Despite them costing a small fortune, a basement is the most affordable way to add storage space. If you are living in a cold area, you should consider constructing an underground room. It will be more affordable for you as the contractor has to put the footings way below the frost line.
|Concrete Monolithic Slabs||1 Sq.Ft.||$4|
|Stem Walls||1 Sq.Ft.||$5|
|Pier and Beam Slabs||1 Sq.Ft.||$5|
|Crawl Space||1 Sq.Ft.||$7|
|Unfinished Basement Foundation||$18|
|Finished Basement Foundation||$30||$100|
After the foundation has set, next up is constructing the skeleton of your house. That is the frame. Framing is essential as it creates the support and shape of the structure and transfers the weight of the roof to the foundation. Also, it acts as a barrier against weather elements maintaining the integrity of your edifice. Therefore, ensure you have erected a frame that is robust enough.
Two factors will determine the amount you pay: one is the square footage, and the other is the complexity of the job. Often, contractors are referring to the complexity of the roofing you desire when they relate to the complexity of the task.
Steep roofs and vaulted roofs that are difficult to construct unlike standard rectangular roofs will cost you more. You might come across different services with some companies only offering necessary framing while others provide framing, shingles, house wrap, windows, and doors. Therefore, it’s best you have in mind what you are looking for before you invite bids.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the price might differ with the contractor. Some framers might charge a uniform fee for every square foot under the roof, while others might charge only framing the living space and doing the rest pro-bono. The final lot consists of builders who will charge a different fee for living space and covered porch or garage. Nonetheless, expect a labor fee between $2 and $12 per square foot which translates to about $3,500 to $36,000 for a single family home. The materials are unquestionably going to be more expensive than labor. You also have the option of steel or wood frames, though lumber is more popular with residential houses. Anticipate a fee of between $3 and $12 per square foot of steel or timber which translates to about $21,000 for a single-family home.
Though wood has been used for decades as the preferred framing material, the tides are changing, and steel is becoming the preferred material owing to the inherent issues associated with wood such as termites. First, if you are in areas that are disposed to severe climatic conditions such as tornados and hurricanes, consider steel framing as it can withstand the effects. Also, the long-term insurance costs for a steel-framed home are lower compared to wood. Also, steel doesn’t rot and isn’t combustible. Nonetheless, steel has a shortcoming in that it isn’t as energy efficient as lumber. It is more difficult to insulate, and you possibly will end up spending more on heating bills.
|Labor||1 Sq. Ft.||$2||$12|
|Materials||1 Sq. Ft.||$3||$12|
Exterior finishes include erecting the walls, siding, roofing, windows and doors, and painting.
A roof is quite fundamental that it is tantamount to having a shelter. It is also vital when it comes to keeping the weather elements at bay. Nationally, the average cost of erecting a new roof is $6,700 though most homeowners report spending between $5,100 and $9,800 on a new roof. However, depending on your financial might, you can put in a roof for as little as $1,200 or as much as $30,000. The price is subject to the materials you use, the roof size, and pitch with steeper roofs costing more as they consume more time and materials to cover and they are more dangerous to work on. The number of layers you are looking to put in will also influence the final amount as will the area code requirements and adornments, i.e., skylights, chimneys, etc. that have to be addressed during installation. However, the chief price determinant is your preferred material.
Asphalt Shingles – There is widespread use of this roofing material making it the most common probably because they are light, and are easy to install. If you are looking for a roofing material which you can DIY, we advise you put in asphalt shingles. They will set you back between $680 and $3,700 when you DIY against a professional fee of $1,700 to $8,400.
Wood Shake – If you are more concerned about the appeal than the functionality, we would advise putting in wood shake roofs. Natural wood will set you back between $6,800 and $20,000. However, be warned that despite the unrivaled aesthetics, these roofs are susceptible to fire, deteriorate fast, and attract pests. You can consider simulated wood shake for $12,600 to $18,900 for fire protection, and longer life.
Metal – If you intend to live in your house for an extended period, then consider installing metal shingles. These are long-lasting, and despite the high initial investment, you will save a lot on maintenance. Steel is the most affordable option and will set you back between $5,100 and $22,000. You can also install aluminum roofs for $11,900 to $24,200.
Tiles – Finally, we have tile roofing’s which are the best if you are looking to customize your wall. They are also easy to replace if damaged. Expect to pay between $7,600 and $21,000 for this though customization will increase the price.
Putting in walls will depend on the size of your house, and is the most significant determinant of the amount you will spend on exterior wall finish. Most homeowners report spending between $950 and $3,500 on walls, and the national average is $2,717. However, working on more extensive projects will be cheaper on a per square basis than on smaller projects.
As for the materials, drywall is the most common, and it will be another chief price determinant. You have to ensure you get enough material to cover the walls and the ceiling. Also, you will need job supplies such as special drywall screws, joint compound, and tape. Other than drywalls, you can also erect paneling which is interlocking vinyl or wood more so if you are looking for a material that is better looking and easy to clean. Panelling has a shortcoming in that they are more expensive and are challenging to paint.
Finally, if you are looking for a material that is sturdier, you can consider erecting concrete walls. However, be prepared to pay more, as this will set you back around $5,500. We would not advise constructing concrete barriers for the exterior, but they are ideal for retaining walls, or basement walls.
Seeing as we are discussing exterior finishes, the costs included here are for exterior doors and windows which tend to be more expensive than internal ones. Exterior doors are costlier to work with as they are more onerous for protection and incorporate perfect insulation and edges to warrant that no draft gets in. Like all installation, some factors will influence the amount you incur.
Existing space – If you had cut out a standard door size, and are looking to mount a standard door size, then you are in luck as the amount you pay is on the lower side. However, if your door is larger/smaller, you will have to retrofit the spaces which will increase your budget.
Door type – A standard door is one of the cheaper options. However, there are some door options that you might want to look at. From barn or pocket doors to bi-fold, to single or French doors. The possibilities are limitless. Don’t forget that most of these are more expensive than standard doors. Also, some might require additional wall construction.
In these cost guide though, we are considering steel doors, which are efficient as entry doors, or side doors. Expect a fee between $500 and $1,230 for one steel door.
As for the windows, the number one price determining factor is the number of windows you are looking to put in. For less than five windows, expect a charge of about $2,220, $4,900 for five to ten windows, and a fee of about $14,000 for more than windows. Of, course other factors such as complexity of installation, window type, dimensions, security features, and materials used will influence the total fee. When installing windows, warrant that they aren’t only functional, but are secure enough from intruders.
The last fee you ought to consider is painting the exterior walls. Most homeowners report spending between $3,000 and $4,500 on coating but this amount does not take into account the difficulties associated with painting various sidings. Expect a fee of around $2 per square foot if you are looking to coat a concrete siding. The amount is subject to walls exposure to the sun and general condition. Metal siding is the cheapest to coat and will set you back about $1.5 for every square foot. The amount might fluctuate owing to the status of the surface. As for stucco siding, expect a fee of $3 per square foot. Finally, we have wood finish which is the most expensive to paint at $3 for every square foot.
|DIY Asphalt Shingles||$680||$3,700|
|Professional Asphalt Shingles Installation||$1,700||$8,400|
|Natural Wood Shake||$6,800||$20,000|
|Simulated Wood Shake||$12,600||$18,900|
|Steel Metal Roofing||$5,100||$22,000|
|Doors and Windows|
|Less than five windows||$2,200||$5,900|
|5 to 10 Windows||$14,000|
|Concrete Siding||1 Sq. Ft.||$2|
|Metal Siding||1 Sq. Ft.||$1.5|
|Stucco Siding||1 Sq. Ft.||$3|
|Wood Finish||1 Sq. Ft.||$3|
Interior finishes happen to be the most expensive part of any house construction project, and an everyday mistake that most homeowners make is to underestimate the amount of money it will take to complete them. Most people though report spending around $85,000 though this amount can be run down to the various tasks that have to be accomplished. These include flooring, painting, insulation, lighting, cabinets and countertops, plumbing fixtures, interior doors, etc.
For a single-family home, most people report spending around $2,500 on insulation. However, there are different kinds of insulation for walls and attics. If you are looking to line your attic, anticipate a charge of between $1 and $1.50 for every square foot. However, you will have to pay an extra $40 to $50 if you are to insulate your venting units. Other than the attic, air sealing is required around the chimneys, and all access ways too. Expect a fee of about $1,200 if you are looking to DIY and $2,500 if you consider hiring a professional. Finally, we have the walls. Lining the walls is different from the attic, and it is recommended you use padding of an R5 value together with R15 cavity insulation. These will set back about $1.02 for every square foot.
Another factor to mull over is the energy audits or weatherization. Before insulation begins, engage your local utility company for an energy audit. It’s often free and will point out areas where energy is being lost together with recommendations on how to seal the loopholes.
|Attic Insulation||1 Sq. Ft.||$1||$1.50|
|Venting Unit Insulation||GENERAL||$40||$50|
|DIY Air Sealing||$1,200|
|Professional Air Sealing||$2,500|
|Wall Lining||1 Sq. Ft.||$1.02|
Most homeowners report spending about $456 to put in their lighting fixtures. However, the amount you pay can vary substantially dependent on the accessories you choose. The price of lighting fittings differ dramatically and can be as little as $100 for necessary accessories while more intricate options cost upwards of $1000. Therefore, the features you settle on will determine the amount you will spend. Nonetheless, the very first thing you ought to do is hire an electrician. An experienced technician will set you back between $70 and $90. Ensure he/she is well versed in local area lighting codes.
Other than a technician, some common lighting fixtures you can put in are:
Traditional ceiling mounted lights – Other than the cost of materials which varies dramatically; you will spend between $88 and $222 on labor. These are common in older homes and are lights mounted on a metal box that’s connected to a switch and the houses electrical wiring.
Wall mounted lights – They resemble ceiling lights, only that they are mounted on walls. Expect a charge between $90 and $230.
Track lights – If you are looking for targeted and personalized lighting, consider track lights. They are often used in museums and galleries and cost between $100 and $250.
Pendant Lights – As the name suggests, these lights hang like pendants on a neckpiece. They are ideal for a kitchen area where low light is required. Expect to pay between $95 and $150.
Fluorescent lights – If you are looking to light up a garage or any area where light is more important than style, you are better off putting in fluorescent bulbs. Anticipate a labor fee of around $100.
Remember that the above prices don’t account for the material costs. We choose to leave those out owing to the broad spectrum available.
|Ceiling Mounted Lights||1 Hr||$88||$222|
|Wall Mounted Lights||1 Hr||$90||$230|
|Track Lights||1 HR||$100||$250|
|Pendant Lights||1 HR||$95||$150|
|Fluorescent Lights||1 Hr||$100|
The average cost of flooring your house will be $2,850, but the typical range runs between $1,508, and $4,272. Again, the price boils down to the type of flooring you choose.
Wood Flooring – First up, we have wood flooring which happens to be the most expensive. Hardwood flooring is a premium product and will set you back about $8,000. You can choose between a solid wood floor, which is more expensive, or an engineered wood floor which features plywood underneath, and a thin layer of maple or oak on top. We would advise you purchase plywood, as it is more affordable and maintains the wood floor aesthetics. Engineered wood will set you back about $4240.
Laminate Flooring – If you are looking to imitate a natural stone floor, a lumber floor, or a tile floor but cannot match the price tag associated with the materials, then consider putting in laminate flooring. They are often cheaper than the stuff they imitate because they are low-cost to install. Expect a price tag of about $2,772. One advantage of laminate flooring is that they are durable and thus ideal for high traffic areas.
Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring – If you are on an extremely tight budget, then consider putting in vinyl or linoleum flooring. The materials are not only cheap but are also DIY friendly saving you the cost of having to hire a professional. Also, they can imitate the look of natural stone, wood or tile floors. Vinyl will set you back between $2.50 and $3.30 per square foot while linoleum costs between $3.30 and $4.20.
Carpeting – Owing to the many carpet varieties available, it is difficult to come up with an average installation cost. However, going with favorite purchases, expect a fee of about $2 per square foot and $3.50 with installation.
|Wood Flooring (Hardwood)||1 House||$8,000|
|Engineered Wood Flooring||1 House||$4,240|
|Vinyl Flooring||1 Sq. Ft.||$2.50||$3.30|
|Linoleum||1 Sq. Ft.||$3.30||$4.20|
|Laminate Flooring||1 House||$2,772|
|Carpeting||1 Sq. Ft.||$2||$3.50|
The amounts indicated above for the various interior finishes don’t even come close to the anticipated $85,000 price tag. However, factor in a $16,056 price tag for cabinets and countertops and these amount starts to seem realistic. Also, you will have to pay about $11,744 for drywall, and $12,409 to install interior doors, trims, and mirrors. Consequently, house appliances will set you back a reasonable $13,367. The fireplace will cost you around $1,393, and painting the interior about $9000. Therefore, if you are planning to erect a house, remember that the interior finishes might take up about 1/3rd of the budget.
|Cabinets & Countertops||$16,056|
|Interior Doors, Trims, & Mirrors||$12,409|
These include putting in HVAC systems, electricals, and house plumping. Anticipate a fee of about $43,500 for a comprehensive job. However, this cost can be broken down among the various tasks.
Like any other installation project, the materials will be a significant price determinant. As for HVAC systems, various varieties are available and are available at different prices.
First, we have the Amana brand which will set you back between $3,900 and $4,800. If you are on a tight budget, consider Coleman HVACs which are affordable at $1,900 and $3,900. Other brands include American Standard which goes for $3,800 to $4,900, Carrier HVAC for $3,400 to $4,600, or Bryant furnaces for $3,900 to $4,900. Taking into consideration other aspects such as transportation, job supplies, permits, and labor, expect a price tag of about $12,000.
Plumbing covers the cost of piping as well as installing sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, etc. For new construction, budget about $12,000 for plumbing. First, you will pay about $1,200 for piping. Remember, the size of your home will affect the plumbing required will the fixtures. The more fittings you have, i.e., toilets, sinks, etc. the more you will pay. In addition, the number of stories will influence how much you spend. Higher floors are difficult to pipe and as a result costlier. The average cost of installing a sink is $385, while a shower runs between $400 and $600. A toilet, on the other hand, will set you back about $358. Remember though, that these are just estimates. The amount you incur will depend on the appliances you purchase as some of these can run up to $6000, and the number you are looking to put in.
The final rough in that will affect the house cost is electricals. Most homeowners report spending about $10,400 for service panels, running wires, and outlets and switches. First, you will need a 200 amp service panel that will set you back about $800 and $3,000. You will also have to run wires at the cost of about $1,500 and $6,000. Finally, you will have to put in switches and outlets which will set you back about $100 to $150 for each outlet or switch. Other than the materials, you have to engage the services of a professional. Going by the level of experience, expect a price tag of about $65 to $85 an hour.
|Outlets and Switches||$100||$150|
The final finishes will set you back around $20,000. These steps include constructing a driveway, landscaping, erecting outdoor structures and clean up.
When constructing driveways remember that they need to be durable to handle the high traffic they receive. You can consult with a pro to make an informed decision. Other than the cost of engaging the services of a contractor, construction cost will be determined by the supplies you choose, the size of your driveway, length, and the terrain. However, most homeowners report spending between $2,218 and $5,800, with the national average being $3,900.
Concrete Driveways – These are the most common driveways seeing as they are incredibly durable lasting a minimum of 40 years, and are affordable. A concrete path will set you back about $3540. Nonetheless, they aren’t ideal for cold areas as they crack easily.
Asphalt – Also known as blacktop driveway, these are ideal if you are on a tight budget or reside in icy areas. They handle changes in temperatures pretty well, and you will therefore not have to spend a fortune on repairs. Nonetheless, they still require maintenance, i.e., resealing and resurfacing every 3 to 5 years. Asphalt driveways will serve you for 20 years which is quite okay for a cost of $3 to $4 per square foot.
Heated Driveways – Best for folks living in the northern parts of the nation that are prone to heavy snowfall. It will save you the one hour and energy it takes to shovel snow off your driveway and will only set you back about $4,130.
Gravel – If you are looking for a driveway that will serve you for at least 100 years and is still affordable to lay, then consider putting in a gravel driveway. It will set you back about $1,470 and is quite easy to replace. It compacts better than other entrances thus stable for cars and isn’t susceptible to damage such as cracking. It will need constant maintenance since it moves a lot.
Pavers – We would only advise pitting in pavers if the curb appeal is more important to you than functionality. Pavers are quite costly to install at a fee of between $5 and $20 per square foot because they have to be erected by hand.
|Asphalt||1 Sq. Ft.||$3||$4|
|Pavers||1 Sq. Ft.||$5||$20|
Most homeowners overlook lawns though it contributes towards increasing the value of your home just as much as the interior. That aside, most folks report spending between $151 for minor landscaping projects to $47,131 for more extensive undertakings. However, seeing as this is a new undertaking, anticipate a fee of about $3,000.
First, you will have to seed your lawn. It might come as a surprise, but seeding is an engaging process and will set you back about $1,300. If you aren’t patient enough to watch your grass grow, then consider sod, whose installation will set you back between $2,000 and $2,800. Sod are squares of grass, with roots still attached that are delivered and installed. Also, if you live in areas that don’t support outdoor growth, you will need some mulch. Mulching helps retain soil moisture while improving the soil. Expect a fee of about $2 and $10 per bag. Finally, if you think maintaining a lawn is too cumbersome consider turf installation. A turf is an artificial grass which needs little or no maintenance and costs about $4000.
Other final steps you should budget for include construction of outdoor structures which will set you back about $4,300 and clean-up which too costs a small fortune of about $2,300.
To your budget, add an extra 15% to 20% for emergencies. Also, the construction cost can exceed the budget, and you don’t want to get caught off guard.
By and large, constructing a home is an engaging activity. However, it can be a breeze with the right information and planning. Hope the article was helpful. If you have a question or a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment below.