How Much Does it Cost to Build Your Own House? [2021]

Building a house yourself is a complex project. There are different tangents of discussion here. People tend to have different preferences or foals while building a house. Some people want to build houses for a living. Some just make houses to resell in the market.

All these factors make the whole house building process heterogeneous to a great extent. This is evident to us if we look at the different houses around us. Although they have a certain similarity, they are very different from one another. It is impossible to determine the actual cost of building a house.

how much does it cost to build your own house
How Much Does it Cost to Build Your Own House

There are certain average numbers that give us a brief idea of the project costs. These numbers in no way can give a hundred percent accurate cost estimation. They will only inform you about the possibilities.

In this article, we will go through the different aspects of building a house. We will try to create an all-inclusive cost solution for you. This will help you understand the costs of your building project from different dimensions.

How Much Does it Cost to Build Your Own House in 2021?

Home advisor conducted research on the data of its member. The data was later reviewed by Cati O’Keefe. They found that the national average cost of building your own house in the United States is $287,466 for this year. The typical range of house building costs is $124,053 – $450,878.

The cost of building a house will depend on several factors. The state or city where you will build, the size of your house, the materials you use, the duration of building work, etc. will also play a role in determining your final cost.

House Building Cost Summary

An overview of the costs of constructing a house is provided in the following table.

Per Square Foot Cost$100-$200
Land Cost$1,558-$196,410 per acre
Foundation Cost$30,000
Painting Costs$650-$300
Interior Cost$50,000-$200,000
Contractor Cost$20,000-$50,000
Average House Building Cost$124,053-$450,878

Per Square Foot House Building Cost

The per square foot building cost ranges from $100 to $200. So, the average cost will be around $150. The actual cost of building a house can be way more than the average. Some cities or places are really expensive to build houses in.

For example, building a house in New York can cost up to $400 per square foot. The bigger house you build, the more the building cost will be. Here is a list of the lowest, average and highest cost of building a house according to size in 2021,

Square feetLowest CostHighest CostAverage Cost

Location of Your House: Average Price Details

The location of your building project will determine the cost to a great extent. Building cost in Austin, Texas will certainly be different from New York. So, while budgeting for your project, consider the location first. Try to find out the costs of new construction in the particular area.

Here is a complete list of average house building cost in United States for 2021:

StateAverage Cost
New York$600,000
North Carolina$385,000
South Carolina$350,000

List of House Construction Average Cost in Famous Cities: (2021)

CityAverage Cost Range
Las Vegas$275,000-$400,000
Los Angeles/Laguna$150,000-$575,000
New York City$175,000-$550,000
Portland, OR$150,000-$500,000
San Antonio$225,000-$475,000
San Diego$200,000-$600,000
San Francisco$200,000-$600,000
San Jose$350,000-$750,000
Washington D.C.$200,000-$575,000

What are the stages of building a house?

There are six major stages of building a house.

  • Preparing the plans and getting the permits.
  • Site preparation and other works i.e., masonry.
  • Framing.
  • Installing major systems and utility lines.
  • Flooring, insulation, and other drywall jobs.
  • Landscaping, Interior and Exterior finishes are the last stages of building a house.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Oregon?

Major cost factors to build your own house

Building a house is a complex process. You will have to complete many processes step by step. In every step, you will incur a different amount of cost. Now, we will shed light on some major factors that influence the cost of construction.

We will elaborate and dissect the total cost into many small sections. This way, you will get a more precise idea about the building project. Let’s move on to the cost breakdown.

Material Cost

Materials are the biggest cost in building a house. Also, the type and quality of material you choose will determine the actual cost of your house. Using expensive building materials will increase the cost. The transportation of materials also increases the overall cost.

Materials take 30%-50% of your whole construction budget. Some materials used in home building,

  • Lumber: The total cost range is $25,000 to $65,000.
  • Concrete: Concrete can range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the amount of concrete used.
  • Drywall: Drywall cost is $10 a sheet.
  • Flooring: The flooring cost can go to up to $5 per square foot. More luxurious material choices will increase the cost even more.
  • Siding: Siding cost is not more than $15 for regular sidings. Using stones for the siding can drive up the cost to $30 per square foot.
  • Insulation: Around $1 per square foot.
  • Roofing: Roofing costs can total $1,000-3,000.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Oklahoma?

Labor Cost

Labor is a cost factor that varies more often. The labor rates are different in different locations of the country. Also, every construction need different laborers with a very different skillset i.e., plumbers, builders, electricians, etc.

So, managing cost of labor is a hectic job. If not managed properly, the labor cost can run-up to an unreasonable point. The more laborers are working on a project, the higher the labor cost will be. Also, more workers can bring down the construction time significantly.

Custom home builders should give it special attention. Labor costs are usually 30%-60% of the whole project cost. Here is a list of the labor costs associated with building your house,

  • Plumber: The plumber charges $45-$200 based on the level of work difficulty location and other factors.
  • Electrician: Electricians charge $50-$100 depending on the work difficulty, workload, and the geographic location of the construction.
  • Framer: Framer rates are $4-$10 per square foot in most places.
  • Construction Manager: A construction manager will charge 5% to 15% of your whole project. Construction managers charge more for smaller projects and less for bigger projects.
  • Roofer: Roofer average cost is around $5,000 to $10,000 in total.
  • Concrete Contractor: $4,000 to $30,000 in total for concrete contractor.

Related: How Much Does it Cost Per Square Foot to Build a House in Hawaii?

Site preparation

A construction site should be ready for construction. This requires several jobs. All these jobs come with their own expenditure. Depending on the existing conditions of the site, the cost can go up or down. For example, a site with an existing structure will cost more to prepare.

Because the existing structure has to be demolished and the rubbles will need cleaning. On average, site preparation can take around 10% of your construction budget. Here are some costs associated with site preparation,

  • Demolition of existing structure: Demolition of smaller structures can cost around $3,000. For bigger structures, the cost can run up to $30,000.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning rubbles and pieces will cost around $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Clearing: Clearing costs range from $1,500 to $5,000 on average.
  • Excavation: Excavation costs are not more than $5,500 on average.
  • Land Surveyor: The land surveyor will prepare the boundaries for your construction. A land surveyor charges fees of $400 to $700 depending on the work.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in North Carolina?

Finished and Unfinished Sites

The sites connected to sewage and other utility lines are called finished sites. The ones that are not connected are referred to as unfinished sites. Plots that are in remote areas are usually unfinished. In this case, you need to incur the finishing costs. The total finished & unfinished costs include,

  • Connecting sewage lines: Connecting sewage pipes cost $1,300-$5,000. The distance to the sewage drives the cost.
  • Connecting electricity lines: The cost of connecting electricity lines can go up to $30,000. The nearer the grids, the lesser the connection cost will be. Of course, using solar systems have different costs.
  • Connecting water lines: Connecting to water lines costs $1,000 to $5,000 on average.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Install an Electric Meter?

Interior and Exterior Finishing Costs

Interior and exterior costs depend on your choice. Some people tend to go overboard with the interior and exterior finishes. Interior designing is a costly factor. Expensive choices for exterior elements will also drive the cost a great deal.

Interior Cost: $50,000-$200,000

There is a wide range of interior designing materials. You can always find a material that is costlier than the other. Some people want their houses to be well designed. Some want a simple selection. So, you have an option. Average interior cost can be from $50,000 to $200,000 for this year (2021).

It all comes down to the budget. People with bigger budgets tend to spend more on the interior. Here is a listing of the interior costs,

  • Cabinet Installation: Cabinet price will be separate from the installation. The cost of installing a basic one starts from $2,000. It can go up with your choices.
  • Doors: Doors can be of different types. The number of doors will also determine the cost. This can cost $5,000-$20,000.
  • Lighting: Fancy lighting costs more. Cost can start from $2,000 and run up to $12,000.
  • Wall designs: Wall designs, wallpapers will cost around $1,000-$3,000.
  • Fireplace: Fireplace installation cost is $1,000-10,000.
  • Countertops: Countertops are relatively less expensive. They cost around $2,000-$4,000.

Exterior Cost

The exterior is a very important aspect. It will determine how your house looks from the outside. Some people spend a lot more than others. The element of budget limit is also present here. Exterior costs can include,

  • Windows: Again, depending on your preferences, costs can be very different. Windows costs can start from $2,000 and go up to as much as $10,000.
  • Roofing: Roofing costs are around $5,000 to $10,000.

Painting Costs: $650-$300

Painting brings out your house to life. People tend to choose their favorite colors. Some aspects of house building may not always be as the preferences of the owner. But paint will always be something that the owner chooses personally.

The average cost of painting a house is $650-$300. Let us break down the cost further,

  • Interior paint: Interior painting costs $2-$6 per square foot on average.
  • Exterior paint: Exterior paint costs $0.5-$3.5 per square foot on average. Painting on wood and vinyl will cost $1 or $2 less than bricks and stucco.
  • Material: The materials needed will determine costs to a great extent. Designer paints cost $1,000 or more. A gallon of color may cost around $15-$30. There is a variety of choice
  • Labor: Labor rates for painting are around $25-$75 an hour. The rate can change depending on geographic location, work quality, duration, workload, etc.

Major Systems Cost: For Modern House

The major system installation cost is an important one. There are several systems that should be in place for the house. Major systems take 10% to 15% of your whole budget. The total cost range can be from $30,000 to $75,000. Here are some major system costs,

  • Plumbing: plumbing costs range from $1,500 to $20,000.
  • HVAC cost: The average cost of HVAC is $15,000-$30,000.
  • Solar panel: Solar panel installation is optional. Some people do it and some don’t. If the cost of installing an electrical line is too much, people go for solar panels. They cost $18,000 to $35,000 on average.
  • Electrical wiring: Using high-quality wiring is necessary. This increases the power safety of your house and protects you against any unfortunate incidents. Wiring costs $20,000 to $30,000.

Foundations Cost: $30,000

The real work with your house starts when the foundation is laid. After lumbers and concrete are put in, you can start building up. The excavation cost for giving the foundations depends on the ground. The ground can be different in different places. 

So, the ground quality will determine the excavation and foundation cost to a great extent. The average cost of laying the foundation is $30,000. This cost can be more if you choose to have a basement.

The type, size, and finishing of the basement can cost you differently. Although you can easily look at another $30,000 for a finished basement.

Region Cost

The region of your building project can also help in determining the costs of your house. Here is a list of building costs in the four regions of The United States,

The Northwest Region$161.53
The West Region$139.48
The South Region$100.01
The Midwest Region$106.79

Special Requirements for Home Improvement

There can be some special requirements while building a house. They can result in additional cost. Here is the list of their costs,

  • Swimming Pools: The swimming pool will cost $35,000-$67,000.
  • Heated Floors: Heated floors cost can be from $6 to $20 per square foot.
  • Basement: An unfinished basement will cost $10,000-$30,000. Finishing and completing a basement will cost more depending on your choice of finish.
  • Outdoor Deck: An outdoor deck costs $4,0000-$12,000 on average.
  • Office: If you need an office, you will have to spend some extra money on it. The cost can be around $5,000.

Other Related House Building Costs

  • Engineer Cost: $100-$150 per hour on average.
  • Draftsperson: A draftsperson will charge around $50-$130 per hour depending on the scale of work.
  • Interior designer: Interior design is a costly job. They will charge $50-$200. This cost can easily go up according to preferences. 
  • Landscape architect cost: The total cost will be around $1,000-$5,000.

Architect Costs & General Contractor Cost

Some costs are incurred before the construction. Starting from the architect cost, it can also include general contractor costs. So, we should take them into account.

Architect Costs

The cost of an architect can be 5% to 20% of the whole project. It depends on the scale of your project. An architect charges more if he is more experienced. Hiring, less experienced professionals will cost less. Here is an average estimation of architect cost.

Percentage of the project cost5%-20%
Fee for drawing plans/floor plans$2,000 to 20,000
Fee for full service on the project$15,000 to $80,000 or more.
Rate per hour$100 to $250
Concept design cost in percentage5%-8%
Custom house design cost in percentage8%-15%
Remodeling cost in percentage10%-20%
Per square foot cost on average$2 to $5

General Contractor Cost: $20,000-$50,000

You need a general contractor for building a house. In most places, it is illegal to not hire a general contractor. You need a contractor for a variety of reasons. Starting from managing to getting a permit. So, know the law of your locale and see if you need one or not.

A general contractor will charge 10% to 20% of the whole construction cost. You can manage some aspects of your work without custom home builders. This will save a good amount of money for you. For building a whole house, a general contractor fee can range from $20,000-$50,000.

Furnishing Cost

A house becomes liveable after you are done with the furnishing. Furnishing gives a lively environment to the house. If you are building a new house, this is a possible cost that you might have to incur. So, here is a breakdown of the furnishing cost of a house,

Living Room

The living room needs the most furnishing. People visit a house and only see the living room and the toilet. So, maintaining class quality in these two is a major priority. Here are the costs of furnishing your living room,

  • Sofa: Sofas for the living room will cost around $900-$1300.
  • Tables: Tables have a wide range. Depending on your preferences, It can cost you $350-$900 ( for coffee table, end table combined) 
  • Rugs:  Rugs will cost $200-$2,000 depending on the choice of rug.
  • Curtains: Curtains can be $300 on average for a set.
  • Artworks: No limits exist here. You can buy the artwork with a dollar or with a million.


The bedroom is your most personal space. You should do anything that gives you peace or comfort. Here is a rough estimate of furnishing your bedroom.

  • Bedroom Set: Average cost of a complete bedroom set is $600-$1,200.
  • Lamp: A lamp can cost from $50 to $500.
  • Rocking Chair: Rocking chairs cost around $200-$1,000.
  • TV: Get any TV you want!!!!

How much does a tiny house cost? ($30,000-$60,000)

The tiny house movement was initiated to combat the growing homelessness in The United States. These tiny houses are also known as THOW( Tiny House On Wheels). Yes!! That’s what I thought! They do have wheels and can be shifted from one place to another.

A tiny house can cost $30,000 to $60,000 to build. Sometimes, you can also do it for $10,000. That is the whole point. This is a type of house that you build for yourself with as much as you can afford.     

A tiny house is very small. They give you some financial benefit. This is why people are shifting towards these houses. It’s a whole lot better than living in your car!!

How much does it cost to buy land?

You need land to build your house. You can get land in The bedroom is your most personal space. You should do anything that gives you peace or comfort. Here is a rough estimate of furnishing your bedroom.the urban areas and also get land in a remote area. There is an advantage to buying land in urban areas. They do cost significantly more, but you get properly finished plots that are ready for building.

There are 1.9 billion acres of buildable land in the 48 states of The United States. The average cost of land is $12,000 per acre. However, this number is completely dependent upon location. In the more developed area, the prices are high. You can see it in the range of prices.

The lowest price of land is $1,558 per acre, in Wyoming. The highest price of land is $196,410 per acre, in New Jersey. Lands in developed areas will always cost more. For example, Land in California costs $39,092 per acre on average. But if you want to buy land in Silicon Valley, it will cost you around $5 million per acre.

If you want to find more information about land prices, visit here.

Real Estate Agent Cost: 6%-10% Of the Price

A real estate agent helps you to find your land for a good sales price. You will surely need a real estate agent to find land. They can provide you information about the available land on the market. Try finding an agent with whom you have any kind of personal relation.

He/She can be a mutual friend or a distant relative. This way you can get a better deal. On average, a real estate agent will charge you 6% to 10% of the actual sales price.

About Building Permits: $18 Fees

You will need a building permit for building your house. The contractor is the one who applies for the building permit. Building permit costs you $18 in fees. This fee can also be around $500. The bigger the scale of work, the bigger the fee will be.

There will also be some inspection fees for your construction project. Fees can be a few thousand dollars. It depends on the city regulations. 

How to Get a Land Permit Before House Construction?

The first thing you should do is obtain a land permit. There is a permit process that must be followed to get one,

  • Write an application for a permit that addresses the relevant authority in the right manner.
  • As part of the preparation for obtaining any permits, you will need to complete your project plan, which needs to be submitted to the city. In case the project is large, consider hiring an architect and getting professional drawings.
  • The application should be submitted to the city office through an appointment.
  • Start your project once you have the permit.
  • Now, you will be subject to regular inspections to make sure you are following the plan by the authorities.
  • Once you’ve completed the project and gotten final city approval, you’re good to go.

In some cases, the process can be different depending on the boundaries of the specific area. It is extremely important that you do your research and completes the process. You can find any city website of The United States HERE.

Important Note: Visit your city website and apply for permits. Most cities have online permit services. If your city doesn’t have online services, you have to go to the city office and apply in person. To learn more about building permit applications step-by-step, Watch THIS.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Colorado?

Now I’m answering the most common questions that people asked about (House Building): FAQs

Is it cheaper to buy or build a house?

It is cheaper to buy a house. Houses are complex structures. Many preparations go into building a house. You have to do some primary expenditures while building a house. This increases the cost of building a house. Wherein, the price range in available houses in the market is affordable.

Can I get a construction loan for building my house?

Yes, you can get a construction loan for building your house. But you need to have a good credit rating and proper paperwork for your land.

What credit score will I need to take a construction loan?

You will need to have a credit rating of 680 or higher to get a construction loan. The down payment will be 20% to 30%. The average interest rate for construction loans is 4.5%.

Can I build my own house?

Yes, you certainly can. The legal environment in some places demands contractors. But you can build your own house. This is a hectic job. You should not do it if you don’t have the time or patience.

How long does it take to build a house?

The average time to build a house is six or seven months. But engaging more labor and resources can reduce the construction time greatly. This will cost extra money. Building houses faster will cost you more than usual. You should only do it in an emergency. Because hasty work doesn’t always be of good quality.

What size of land do you need to build your house?

A custom homeowner should have at least half an acre of land to start building his/her house. This is a convenient size. You can do it in smaller-sized lands also.

I hope you will be able to reduce the costs of building your own house with the help of this valuable guide. Check back regularly for more information on house building, home design, home improvement, and other topics.

Here you can find related house building articles for reading:

How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Missouri?
How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Idaho?

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