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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Home from Scratch?

Building a home from scratch is no easy task. It requires a lot of planning and a determined attitude to build a home that’s functional and beautiful.

There are many construction companies, like Modern Valley Construction, that’ll work with you every step of the way.

image - How Much Does It Cost to Build a Home from Scratch
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Home from Scratch

Their services usually include selecting a lot, designing the floor plan, choosing materials and finishes, picking appliances and fixtures, ordering landscaping services, arranging financing options for purchase or construction loans, and managing subcontractors for construction.

However, there’s one major thing to consider, of course: the costs.

The Costs That Go into Building a House

Many steps go into building a house from scratch. There are costs associated with the various tasks that go into it.

These costs, however, are, by no means, exact. The following information will give you an idea though:

  • The Cost of Land

Depending on where you want your house built, the cost of land will vary greatly. For example, in some states like Iowa, farming lands are given away as long as the required minimum housing construction is met.

On the other hand, lands in California cost significantly more, except for those located in its high desert area. These spots offer a 2.5-acre plot of land for just USD$5,000.

Ultimately, wherever you decide to build your dream home, there are things you need to know when buying land.

  • Foundation

If you’re building a home from scratch, then your house needs a foundation. The price range is from USD$7-33/ft-sq, and this would depend on whether the foundation is concrete slab, pier, beam, crawl space, or basement.

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  • Framing Materials

These materials include everything from the lumber for the framing to nails and screws. For lumber, costs can vary from USD$3-$6 for every square foot or USD$350 to $500 for every 1000 feet. Meanwhile, a steel frame would usually cost double.

If you’re caught between deciding which is better between wood and steel, there are a few things to consider.

For one, steel frames will last longer, are more durable, and will work better against termites. However, wood frames are cheaper and offer more flexibility.

  • Roofing

Whether you decide to build your own roof or hire roofing experts (more advisable), you need to know that there are many different types of materials for your dream home.

  There’s the choice of whether to go with tar, asphalt shingles, or metal. The price for these materials will vary, depending on how many squares you need.

Metal roofs are usually more expensive than asphalt shingle roofs. Still, they offer better protection against windstorms as well as hail damage.

Aluminum and steel metal roofs are generally within the range of USD$3-$6 per foot, while copper roofs are the priciest ranging from USD$14-$22 per foot.

Tar roofs are less expensive and priced within the range of the cheapest metal roofs. They can also last up to 25 years, but they’re not durable enough against windstorms or hail damage. They also don’t have the same fire-resistant properties as metal.

Asphalt shingles offer a relatively low cost at around USD$1-$2 per square foot, with an average lifespan of about 20 years if installed correctly.

The drawback is that if they’re not installed right, you’ll need to replace your shingles in as little as a couple of years.

  • Windows

Without the labor cost, window frames cost around USD$150-$750 per piece, depending on the material. Therefore, if you’re looking for custom windows, expect the cost to range higher.

There are many window frames to choose from. Some materials are more durable than others and easier to work with.

Some of the most popular materials are vinyl, wood, aluminum, or fiberglass window frames.

Given that your home will be one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make, it’s essential to get all these costs upfront. Hence, you know what to expect if anything goes wrong with it.

  • Other Materials

The average costs for roofing, exterior paint, or stucco are going to be roughly the same. The price to pay will depend on your needs, the quality, and the type of material chosen.

So, whether you want an A-frame or conventional two-story house will affect the size and cost of materials needed.

You can also estimate building expenses by multiplying square footage times the average price per square foot.

The price of landscaping and installing a fence around your home needs to be included, too.

Installing vinyl fencing can typically run between USD$800-1200, depending on how long it needs to span or whether posts are to be dug and set.

  • Contractor Expenses

Contractors’ expenses should also be accounted for. Contractors may charge anywhere from 10-20% of the total project cost.

This is the general range. Thus, the best way to figure out your ideal budget before you start looking at contractors is to get a detailed estimate from an architect or engineer about how much the project would cost without any markup.

It’s also possible that the amount of money you spend on a contractor will depend mainly upon the size and complexity of your project.

For example, it generally costs around USD$50 – $100 per hour for contractors who have experience building new homes from scratch.

You also need to consider helper expenses. They cost lower than contractors, but they could add to the pile of your expenses too.

Therefore, if you have a few friends who could help out with some heavy lifting, this cost can be eliminated altogether.

  • Construction Permits and Inspections

Permits are necessary for any construction project and come with a fee. The type of permits required will depend on the size, location, or use associated with your home.

However, the consistent thing is they all have to be paid for as part of building your house from scratch.

  • Complexity And Design of the Project

Construction can be expensive, depending on the region and terrain of your property as well.

If you’re building on a mountainous area or near water, for example, it will cost more because there are drainage issues, and labor costs will vary as well.

Also, the design of your house will cost more than boards and nails, so factor in these fees when you’re budgeting.

Depending on your preference, you may want to hire an architect, a general contractor, or both.

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  • Financing Options

If you’re thinking of taking a loan to finance your new construction project, know the interest rate and how much down payment you’ll need to shell out.

Mortgage rates can vary from around three to seven percent, depending on where in the country you live.

Remember that traditional loans or seller financing will affect the cost of your home as well. Therefore, you have to factor in the interest rates and fees as part of building your dream home from scratch.


As you can see, there’s not just one answer here. Many factors will determine how much it costs to build a house from scratch.

But, by being proactive with planning and budgeting ahead of time, you’ll have a better sense of what needs to be done and how much it will cost.

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