How to calculate the cost to build a house

Written by brendan o'brien
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How to calculate the cost to build a house
Calculate the cost of building a house. (house construction image by Gale Distler from

Building your dream house can be an exciting process that involves turning your vision into reality. The process also requires an large amount of planning and budgeting since there are many different cost points and expenses that come along with building your own house. Remember to get all quotes for labour and materials in writing.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Write down the specifics of your dream house. This includes where it will be located, how big the lot will be, the number of square feet the house will be, the number of rooms and bathrooms, and any extra amenities such as a pool.

  2. 2

    Go shopping online for new houses that fit the criteria that you outlined. Try to find the exact match or matches in the area. Note the asking price for the house and subtract about 30 per cent of it. This will be a rough estimate of how much it will cost you if you general contract your own home. If you plan to hire a general contractor, subtract 10 per cent.

  3. 3

    Contract for architectural plans to be drafted and calculate the cost. This cost varies widely, depending on who you hire and where they are located.

  4. 4

    Add in the labour cost for the builder, plumber, electrician and landscaper. This process requires you to get bids from these contractors. Solid contractors will help you with choosing the correct building materials and finalising the plans. They typically are considered the most important cost to a home building project.

  5. 5

    Take into account the cost of materials. Shop around at different suppliers in your area. Add in the cost for the finishing touches such as fixtures, furniture and appliances.

  6. 6

    Add in the cost of the land that you plan to purchase and build your house on. Also, do not forget the cost of permits and inspections, along with the cost associated with connecting utilities, grading your lot and road construction.

  7. 7

    Find the sum of the amounts that you determined in Steps 3-6. That will be roughly the cost of building your own house.

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