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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House? Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own House?

The cost of building a house in 2023 can range from as low as $42,000 to as high as $900,000, with a national average of approximately $329,000, excluding land expenses, depending on factors like location, square footage, and customization.

by Kowsalya

Updated Dec 06, 2023

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House? Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own House?

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

The cost of building a house in 2023 can vary widely depending on several factors. On average, the national cost to build a house stands at around $329,000, excluding the cost of land. However, this figure can range from as low as $42,000 to as high as $900,000.

The price per square foot for building a new house averages $150, but it's essential to consider other costs such as land acquisition, permits, and various construction materials and labor expenses. The number of bedrooms and your location also play a significant role in determining the overall cost of building your dream home.

The expenses involved in constructing a house can be broken down into various categories, including land acquisition, foundation, framing, exterior and interior finishes, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and more. The state in which you plan to build your house also impacts the final cost, as labor and materials vary by region.

Financing options like construction loans can assist in funding the project. To save money during the home-building process, consider factors such as purchasing a developed lot, using stock home plans, and budgeting for unexpected expenses. Building a house offers flexibility and customization but requires careful financial planning.

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Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own House?

Yes, it can be cheaper to build your own house, depending on various factors. The costs of building a home include expenses such as labor, supplies, permits, architectural drawings, and inspections.

Customization is a significant advantage of building, allowing you to tailor the property to your exact needs. Material and labor shortages, which were heightened during the pandemic, seem to have eased, contributing to a decrease in the average price of new construction homes. However, the overall cost depends on factors like the cost of base materials, labor costs, and the finishes you choose.

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How to Get a Loan for Building a House?

Getting a loan for building a house involves several steps. Here's a detailed guide on how to secure financing for your construction project:

Understand Your Budget

Evaluate your financial situation to determine how much you can afford to spend on building your house. Consider factors like your income, existing debts, and other financial obligations.

Check Your Credit Score

A higher credit score increases your chances of qualifying for a loan and securing better terms. Check your credit score and take steps to improve it if needed.

Save for a Down Payment

Construction loans often require a substantial down payment. Save money for a down payment, typically around 20% of the total project cost.

Create a Detailed Plan

Develop a comprehensive plan for your construction project. Include details such as the scope of work, timeline, and estimated costs. This plan will be crucial when applying for a loan.

Choose a Qualified Builder

Lenders may require you to work with a licensed and experienced builder. Choose a builder with a good track record and the necessary credentials.

Research Lenders

Explore different lenders and loan options. Construction loans are specialized, so look for lenders experienced in this type of financing. Consider traditional banks, credit unions, and online lenders.

Apply for Pre-Approval

Submit a loan application to get pre-approved. Provide detailed information about your financial situation, the construction plan, and the builder. Pre-approval gives you an idea of how much you can borrow.

Secure the Construction Loan

Once your plans are in order and you have pre-approval, apply for the actual construction loan. The lender will review your application, the construction plan, and may conduct property appraisals.

Close the Loan

If approved, you'll close the loan, and the funds will be disbursed based on a predetermined schedule as the construction progresses.

Begin Construction

With the funds available, construction can commence. Keep the lender informed about the progress, as they may send inspectors to verify that the work aligns with the loan terms.

Convert to a Permanent Mortgage

Once construction is complete, the loan can be converted into a traditional mortgage. This often involves refinancing the construction loan into a mortgage with a fixed interest rate.

Start Repayment

Begin making regular payments on your mortgage according to the terms agreed upon. Your loan has now transitioned into a standard home loan.

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How Are Costs Split in Building a House? 

Building a house involves primarily two cost categories: construction materials and labor, which make up around 90% of the budget, with the remaining 10% covering miscellaneous items like site preparation, finishes, and optional add-ons.

Home Building Task Average Cost
Plot Price $3,000 - $150,000
Water and Sewer Inspections $8,400
House Plans $500 - $20,000
Construction Project Management Fees $3,000 - $52,000
Building Permits $1,200 - $2,000
Off-site Living Accommodations (1-2 years' rent) $20,500 - $41,000
Impact Fee or Local Charges $3,000
Excavation $1,400 - $5,400
Foundation $8,900
Framing $20,000 - $50,000
Exterior Siding $9 per square foot
Roofing $8,500
Exterior Windows and Doors $7,750
HVAC $5,000 - $34,000
Plumbing $1,500 - $17,500
Electrical $7,000 - $13,000
Insulation $3,000 - $10,000
Drywall $15,550
Painting $300 - $28,000
Trim and Interior Doors $11,000
Flooring $10,250
Cabinets and Countertops $11,800
Plumbing Fixtures $3,200
Lighting Fixtures $3,100
Appliances $3,550
Driveway $4,400
Landscaping $8,200
Cleanup $2,600
Contingencies or Other $45,000

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How Long Does It Take to Build a House?

The time it takes to build a house can vary based on several factors such as size, complexity, weather conditions, materials and labor availability, building codes, and permits. Typically, the process takes between six to eight months for custom homes in the United States. Larger and more complex houses may take longer due to additional planning, specialized labor, and intricate details.

Weather conditions, site preparation, foundation work, and the availability of materials and labor also play crucial roles in influencing the construction timeline. Delays and setbacks, including inclement weather and material shortages, can extend the completion time. It's essential for homeowners to plan for potential challenges to ensure a smoother construction process.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House - FAQ

1. Is the cost of building a house in 2023 a fixed amount?

No, the cost can vary widely depending on factors like location, size, and customization. 

2.  What factors contribute to the cost per square foot for building a new house?

The cost per square foot depends on factors such as the geographical location, type of materials used, and customization in the home design. On average, it's estimated to be about $150.

3. Is it cheaper to build a house or buy an existing one? 

Building a house can cost more than buying an existing one, with an average difference of around $34,000, according to industry data.

4. What are the steps to construct a tiny house? 

Building a tiny house involves selecting a design, purchasing land, setting a budget, arranging financing, gathering materials, and beginning construction.

5. How long does it take to build a custom home? 

Building a custom home can take between 6 to 8 months, depending on the complexity of the design and customization choices.

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