Building a house is time-intensive and can be expensive, but in order to have a perfectly customized house for you and your family, it’s worth it. Building an accurate budget is an important first step—and the last thing you want is to be blindsided by extra costs after you’ve already started building. Read on to learn about the common costs that should be included in your overall budget and plan to build your house:
Before You Start: Preparing to Build
- Get the right permits. Local laws vary greatly, so not everyone will need permits to build, but make sure to do your research ahead of time and know if you need to acquire any permits, which one(s) you’ll need, and how much they will cost. It’s a step that’s easy to forget when thinking about building a home, but a vital one, and could end up costing you a lot more time and money if you don’t take care of it in time.
- Hiring an architect. One of the first steps you should take when you’re beginning the journey of building a house is to hire an architect first to get a plan that’s perfect for you and your family. We suggest that you ask around for recommendations from friends and family, and get pricing from at least a few reputable architects, so you’ll both be able to find the right architect for your project and have a better idea of how much a plan from an architect should cost.
- Hiring a contractor or building company. You’ll need to find someone to oversee the construction process early on as well. SInce you’ll be working with the contractor often throughout the long process of building your house, it’s especially important to find one that you work and communicate well with. Like finding an architect, it’s a best practice to get at least a few bids from contractors once you have your plan done, but keep in mind that you may have to put down a deposit for bids or specifications from builders.
For experts (and expenses) like architects and contractors, you may be tempted to go with the most affordable option. While pricing should be a factor in your decision, keep in mind that the least expensive may not be the one who works best with you. Building your dream house is important—make sure you find the right people to be a part of the process.
- Lot preparation. Before you can start building your house, you have to make sure your lot is ready for construction. This process may include clearing trees, grading, and more, and costs will differ based on the needs of each specific lot.
The Building Process: Labor & Construction
- Labor. Of course one of the big costs of building a house is the cost of the labor to construct it. However, this includes a lot of different people and specialties—it’s not only the cost of building the structure of the house and putting in drywall, but also installing windows, installing electricity and other utilities, plumbing, carpet, flooring, and more.
- Materials. Remember that you don’t just have to pay for the construction and installation of your new home; you also need to factor in the costs of the materials. You’ll need to make a lot of decisions before and throughout the building process regarding material quality and price—from your new home’s structure to flooring, countertops, cabinetry, and more.
- Landscaping. With a new house, landscaping isn’t an optional luxury—it’s usually necessary after a brand-new house is built on an empty lot just to clean up and make sure your lawn and the rest of your lot looks normal. You don’t need to plant a new garden right away, but you’ll likely still have some landscaping costs at the end of the homebuilding process, and it’s important to keep that in mind from the beginning.
- Utility costs. Don’t forget about all the essentials—electricity, plumbing, heating, and cooling. Make sure to factor in the cost of the utilities themselves as well as installation costs. These costs will likely vary from location to location.