Home Improvement: The Cost of Building a House


Many people desire to own a house. They watch for lands from the beginning, so they can buy one after gaining some financial strength. Building a home is not an easy decision as you have to put all your life savings at stake. Yet, having a permanent address is any day better than paying rentals through your nose. Early planning can prove beneficial in this pursuit. On average, the cost of building a home can be around USD $300,000 over and above the land price. The new builds (sustainable, intelligent, and luxurious homes to upcycled shipping containers) can demand USD $30,000 to a few million.

With this, the choice of location, lifestyle, and labor and material cost matter. Adding a layer of 15% funding to the budget is also crucial to cover sudden expenses during the building process. Here are some more insights on different factors to help you understand the overall scenario.

Pre-construction stage

Remember, your living expenses will be there during construction. It will be better to move to an affordable unit until yours is ready. The house can take up to two years or more to complete based on resources and connectivity to the site. Your first significant expense will begin with the plot purchase, though. Since various elements come into play, the price can vary due to the soil quality to front views. After land, you will have to take care of water supply and waste disposal. It is more pertinent for new constructions and waterfront locations. The inspection cost for this can be around USD $4,500. However, it can be less if those systems are available. 

There will be a demolition cost of USD $6,000 to USD $20,000 if you buy a plot with an unwanted house. Another thing is the fees of the house plans. Pre-designed architectural designs are accessible online for a smaller fee. The price will be higher if you opt for a custom blueprint. You would have to pay your draftsperson or architect. In general, architects charge anywhere from 8-12% of the total construction cost for a residential project.

Project management

You may have to hire a project manager from a construction management agency. Your architect can guide you. The person’s responsibility will involve overseeing laborers, material deliveries, building quality, documentation, etc. You would need to spend at least 5 to 15% of the total construction for this management work. It is necessary to have this person to save your time and avoid any mental hassle. With this, you will have to arrange for building permits, state and municipal fees, impact fees, etc. All these will precede the construction stage.

Exterior and interior material costs


Talking of the exteriors, you will have to consider the cost of excavation, foundation, framing, roofing, siding, driveway, and landscaping. The cost of breaking the ground can be anywhere from USD $1,400 to USD $3,200. This process is critical for building a solid foundation, an integral part of the home. It takes away a large sum from your budget, requiring a spend of USD $4,500 to USD $13,500. If you opt for a basement, the price can shoot up to USD $18,000 to USD $80,000 based on how you plan to use it.

Framing helps define the shape of the house, and its material cost can be the highest of all. In the US, lumber framing, including roof trusses, walls, and floors, costs about USD $33,000 on average. Metal stud options can be available from USD $20,000. If you go for shingle roofing, you may have to pay USD $5,500 to USD $11,500. However, the cost can again vary based on the choice of roof style. With roofing, you need exterior siding and weatherproof wrapping for the house’s health. Siding costs can start from USD $12 for each square foot. For siding, you can select natural stone, vinyl, etc. Similarly, a gravel driveway can be achievable within USD $1,500, and a paved driveway for USD $4,500.

Do you want to beautify the home surroundings? You can separate USD $2,000 for sod grass and other plantations. Still, the budget can increase or decrease based on your preferences. But curb appeal tends to be an essential part. Hence, pursuing this can be worthwhile at this stage if your finances allow it. You will not have to do it later.


Air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems can cost from USD $7,000 to USD $12,500. If you build a fireplace or woodstove, it will grow. You can select the expensive copper pipes for plumbing, which come for around USD $9,000 for a 1,500-square-foot house. You can reduce this by half by opting for cheaper materials like PVC, CPVC, and PEX. Labor cost is also there. Electrical wiring charges can be roughly USD $4 per square foot. The budget can be high or low based on the complexity of the work. Insulation cost can demand USD $4,000, and drywall installation USD $25,000 for a house.

There will be the cost of doors, windows, fixtures, appliances, furniture, and others. Each will come with a specific price tag depending on your choice of style and material. For example, you may have to spend about USD $5000 on plumbing fixtures, including showers, sinks, and toilets. New bathrooms can charge about USD $10,000. You may want to keep USD $3,750 in hand for new kitchen appliances, as the cost depends on your selection. For example, choosing a stainless steel sink bowl or an espresso machine can influence spending. Besides these, lighting systems can require a budget of USD $3,500 and furniture items from USD $20,000 to USD $80,000.

How many people will live in the house? If you have three or four people in the family, you can build a 2,000 square feet house. The building cost of such homes can be USD $150 for every square foot. The expenses can be higher or lower based on their luxuriousness and the type of financing you have. Nevertheless, plenty of things can impact your budgeting. These references are only for a rough idea so you can prepare well from the beginning. Since it is a tedious and exciting process at the same time, you will want to secure your investment by taking care of most of the risks beforehand.