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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Building a Custom Home

Building a Custom Home Cost

How Much Does Building a Custom Home Cost?

low costLow: As low as $100 per square footaverage costAverage: $200-$400 per square foot
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Having a house built to specifications means you get exactly the features you've always dreamed of owning, such as inlaid hardwood or tile floors, custom cabinetry, granite or marble countertops, an oversized Jacuzzi tub, an indoor lap pool or more. However, a custom home also requires your active participation and decision-making during each phase of the project, plus patience and money.

Typical costs:

  • Residential construction costs vary considerably nationwide, but as a general rule custom-built homes are about twice as much as production homes in the same area, plus the price of the lot or acreage. (The price of land is almost never included in cost estimates for custom homes.) On average, a custom-built home with top-of-the-line materials is $200-$400 or more a square foot, or $700,000-$1.4 million for a 3,500 square foot house. However, building a modest custom home in a low-cost area might drop costs as low as $100 a square foot, or $350,000 for 3,500 square feet. These price ranges usually include standard site preparation (foundation, utilities, etc.) but do not include the cost of the land, design plans, or loan fees (which can run $1,500-$7,000 or more).
  • A great deal depends on location plus the complexity of the project and the quality of the materials chosen. It's possible to custom-build an 800-square-foot dome house for $1 million or a 12,000-square-foot rural ranch house for $400,000. However, the $400,000 custom-built house is the exception rather than the rule. Typically, a landowner choosing to build a custom-designed home wants high-quality features which nudge the total costs toward $1 million.
  • Architects charge anywhere from 2-15 percent of the total construction costs to custom-design a home; one advantage is that their services should include overseeing the building process to be sure everything is done properly.
  • Thousands of custom home plans are available for $500-$2,000 or more, depending on style and complexity. But before building it's wise to pay an architect $50-$150 an hour to review the plans to be sure they fit your site and meet local building codes.
  • Check with the local planning department. Building permits vary widely by region but can add several thousand or tens of thousands of dollars to the building costs.
Related articles: Home Addition, Architect

What should be included:
  • From buying the land to moving into the finished product, having a home custom-built is an extremely complex process. The Arizona Home Builders Network lists factors that can influence a custom home's cost per square foot;[1] describes the various phases of the home building process, from research and pre-construction work to interior and exterior finishes and landscaping; and the National Association of Home Builders[2] explains what a custom builder does compared to a production home builder.
  • Financing and cash flow can be an important issue. Typically architects and builders require a deposit with additional payments scheduled as each phase of the project is completed.
Additional costs:
  • An itemized bid sheet listing everything from site preparation to debris removal is $15 from HomeAdditionsPlus[3] .
  • The DVD-ROM "Your Custom Home"[4] lists for $19.99 and includes design guides, a cost estimator, a home construction encyclopedia, and the ability to order from more than 6,200 home plans.
  • Making changes to the design or materials used after construction has begun adds to the total cost; the exact amount will depend on the nature and scope of the changes.
Shopping for building a custom home:
  • Read as much as possible about the custom home-building process; books are available through your local library, at bookstores or through Amazon[5] . Talk to other people who had their home custom-built, asking about any problems they encountered.
  • Contractor referrals are available through your local home building association[6] .
  • Get several estimates, making clear what is (and isn't) included in each quote. View other projects designed or built by the architect or contractor, and talk to people who have used their services to see how smooth the process was. Before hiring a designer or builder, ask about their training and the length and type of their experience. Be sure the contractor is properly bonded, insured and licensed in your state[7] . Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[8] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Custom Home in Central Florida (Sanford)
Amount: $564,429.00 total
Posted by: Custom Home in Sanford, FL.Posted: June 19th, 2019 12:06PM
Square Feet: 3546
$159 living square feet by a custom home builder and a total of 5339 square feet.
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MY Custom HOME
Amount: $3,500,000.00 total
Posted by: Drake W in lake cormorant ms, MS.Posted: June 4th, 2019 12:06PM
Square Feet: 20,000
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Custom Home
Amount: $400,000.00 total
Posted by: Justine Woods in Temple, TX.Posted: January 31st, 2019 09:01PM
Square Feet: 5000
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Custom home
Amount: $319,000.00 total
Posted by: Stljay in Hillsboro, MO.Posted: September 8th, 2018 07:09PM
Square Feet: 2030
2030 sqft ranch, high end finishes, fixtures, custom flooring, $31000 in hardwood flooring, custom cabinets, granite and marble, No carpet in the house. 9 ft ceilings on main floor, vaulted in family/grAte room, 9 ft tall basement. Brick exterior. This is with myself doing the hvac, landscaping,finish grading, and putting down sod. Bids from general contractors for this home ranged from $285000 to $365000. In the end do your own research on exactly what you want in your area. I never use the lowest estimates or highest. Pick the person or company you trust, after looking at at least 3 of their prior homes and talking to a few prior customers. Our contractor gives us all the receipts and tells us exactly what he will make on the home.
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Amount: $0.00 total
Posted by: JONATHAN ANDREWS in LANCASTER, CA.Posted: November 14th, 2017 04:11AM
Square Feet: 12,000 TO 16,000+
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Features expected in $165 schedule home in phx AZ
Amount: $450,000.00 total
Posted by: ron hastings in Gilbert, AZ.Posted: October 1st, 2016 12:10PM
Square Feet: 2,600
Just trying to get a idea of whatfeaturesone would expect to get. Such as wall height, closet type, energy efficiency leval, photovoltaic system installed solar water install, grade of windows and foors. LOT NOT INCLUDED HOME ONLY
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Per sq ft Daytona Beach custom build Moore's
Amount: $240,000.00 total
Posted by: melea b moore in Daytona beach, NY.Posted: July 1st, 2016 09:07AM
Square Feet: 1734
Estimated 138 per sq ft at KB Homes. Energy efficient homes
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new home
Amount: $450,000.00 total
Posted by: Glenn MCleod in loganville, GA.Posted: June 7th, 2016 06:06PM
Square Feet: 4300 plus basement
plans already drawn
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Custom Home Pricing
Amount: $525,000.00 total
Posted by: Stranded1 in Orlando/Central Florida, FL.Posted: April 25th, 2016 08:04AM
Square Feet: 3,500
Don't be under-educated by thinking you can build a custom home for $75.00 pr. sq. ft. Pricing varies greatly by region so always speak with a builder or designer in your area up front. Actual costs in the Orlando Area currently can run between $150.00 pr. sq. ft. to in excess of $400.00 depending on your finishes and all pricing is based on total area not just a/c or heated area. The $150.00 range will get you into your home with a mid finish level throughout the home but realistically the $200.00 top $225.00 range is where you want to be at. This usually gives you nice custom finishes everywhere that really counts. (i.e. kitchens and bathrooms).
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House build
Amount: $200,000.00 total
Posted by: Edward Diuga in Goodyear, AZ.Posted: October 13th, 2015 12:10PM
Square Feet: 2500
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Amount: $450,000.00 total
Posted by: Hitesh Shah in Powell, TN.Posted: February 6th, 2015 04:02PM
Square Feet: 6000
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Jacksonville, Florida cost per square foot 2015
Amount: $425,000.00 total
Posted by: Kevin Davis in JACKSONVILLE, FL.Posted: January 15th, 2015 07:01PM
Square Feet: 5500 heated/cool
Can a modest custom home be build for this amount?
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custom home
Amount: $215,000.00 total
Posted by: adela Rodriguez in desoto, TX.Posted: July 3rd, 2014 10:07AM
Square Feet: 3000
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