how much does it cost to build a house

If you're interested in making your dream house a reality, the first thing you need to know is how much does it cost to build a house. There are a lot more separate costs to building than with buying, but if you do your homework, you'll find that it's possible to build a house at a price similar to buying an old one.

The first cost you'll encounter is land. You'll need somewhere to build the house, after all. The price of land varies widely. The most important factor in cost is location. If you want to live close to or in a city, land will be much more expensive, running into tens of thousands of dollars per acre; it can even be more in highly populated areas. If you're looking for somewhere more remote, the price will drop. It could be as low as one thousand dollars per acre, but it's more likely you'll see prices in the five to ten thousand dollars per acre range. The price can also depend on if the land is ready for building or not. Developers can run electricity, water and gas hookups to the land and charge extra. Land that's been graded and has a large flat area suitable for building also costs more. These costs aren't frivolous; you'll need hookups and grading eventually. Research prices for your area to see if you're better off contracting those jobs out or if it would be better to simply buy a parcel of land that's been prepared already.

If you're lucky enough to find premade house plans that you like, you'll spend significantly less money. You can find bargain house plans online for less than a thousand dollars, though more designer and brand name plans will end up in the one-to-five thousand dollar range. Working with an architect will give you a custom home, but remember that designing a home from scratch takes hours of labor. You'll have a lot of meetings, and those will cost you: The general rule of thumb is that an architect will cost you 15 percent of the final cost. You can save money for smaller projects or by working with less-established architects. If you buy a premade plan, it's a good idea to hire an architect for one short session to go over your plans and make sure they're sound. They can also help you find a good contractor.

You're finally ready to move to your house construction. Find a contractor who works in the same size and type of house you want. The contractor markup will be about one-eighth of your final budget, but they will be in charge of coordinating all of the work. Major factors in price include how many corners your house has and how large it is. Remember that costs are made up of materials, labor and equipment, so if you can settle for lower quality materials, you can save money.

If you want a more accurate estimate of how much it will cost to build a house in a specific area, try this trick: Find new construction in your area. Take the price and subtract the cost of land. Then divide that number by the number of square feet. You'll end up with a fairly accurate estimate of cost per square feet. Do this for a few houses and take the average. This can help you find out how many square feet you can afford. Remember that special features will cost more. The last thing you need to do when you're trying to find out how much does it cost to build a house is to budget for overrun. Always assume that the project will go over budget by 10 percent. Your contractor may have a different margin that he works with, but this number is high enough to insulate you from any nasty surprises.

Building a house is exciting, but you'll have to make sure to balance your budget. Take your time to find a good plan and a good contractor, and you'll discover that building is well worth the cost!