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How to Estimate New Home Construction Costs

by Nathan Zachary
home construction costs

Many individuals considering building a house ask how much it will cost in total, as well as how much new home residential construction estimating costs per square foot – but this is not a simple issue to answer. When evaluating new house building expenses, there are several aspects and actions to consider.

So, let’s break down the process step by step so you have a foundation for better predicting the expenses of your new house development.

Plan Your Floor Plans

Begin by choosing a floor plan for your new home that has been completed or modified by a local general contractor or architect, or look online or in books for the plan of your dreams. Many home builders will provide a variety of floor layouts to pick from.

The next step is to locate the best local builder. The builder you select should consistently develop new houses equivalent in size, design, quality, and features to the new home you want to build. Finding an appropriate builder for your project is critical to ensuring correct execution, scheduling, and budget for your build. 

They should be able to tell you how much it costs per square foot to build a house comparable to yours, as well as give you an estimate of how much it will cost to build your home. It is usually a good idea on your end to inquire about the specifics of the new house construction cost.

Determine the Impact of Customer Plans on Cost

The greatest involvement is required for a total custom house development, however, you may work directly with an architect to build exactly the sort of home you desire. This alternative necessitates far more decision-making on the buyer’s part, but you may set your priorities and tailor all materials, products, and designs.

Recognize the overall size, design, and floor plan. You may be starting from scratch here, and each of your decisions will have an influence on the final pricing. It is quite beneficial to have an architect or designer that understands the expenses involved with the products you are proposing for your home so that you can stay within a reasonable budget range.

Discover How Pre-Designed Options Can Help You Save Money

Many decisions and options have already been made with a pre-designed home, which may or may not be under construction. Certain “specs” will have been anticipated while building and pricing the house, and in many situations, you can choose from a range of lesser or higher-priced things from the builder’s options (based on your priorities).

Depending on the stage of construction, you may be able to choose from the following alternatives: flooring, lighting fixtures, appliances, exterior siding options, granite, quartz, and laminate countertops, wood cabinets, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, doors, trim, paint colors, and so on.

Locate the Best Builder

The builder you select should consistently develop new houses equivalent in size, design, quality, and features to the new home you want to build. Finding an appropriate builder for your project is critical to ensuring correct execution, scheduling, and budget for your build. 

They should be able to tell you how much it costs per square foot to build a house comparable to yours, as well as give you an estimate of how much it will cost to build your home. It’s usually a good idea to inquire what exactly the new house building cost entails.

Estimate Your New Home Construction Costs Per Square Foot

Finding a precise figure for new house expenses per square foot may be impossible, but finding a general amount should be doable. To do so, divide the overall cost of your project, as specified by your builder, by the total number of square feet in your project.

For example, if your new home will be 2,000 square feet in size and your builder estimates it will cost $350,000 to construct, your cost per square foot will be $300,000 divided by 2,000, or $175.

The median house value in Rockingham County, according to Zillow, is $375,424. Rockingham County property prices have increased by 4.3%, with a median list price per square foot of $224. 

However, it is crucial to remember that these estimates do not discriminate between new construction and purchasing an existing home, and it is reasonable to expect that new building will skew somewhat higher, but will also feature more energy-efficient and contemporary materials and procedures.

You may also compare your intended construction to comparable newly constructed homes in your neighborhood, then divide the price of the homeless land it is on – by the amount of square footage of the home you want to build. By doing this technique on a few properties, you may also verify whether the construction estimate offered by the builder for your new home is accurate.

According to the New Hampshire Housing Authority March 2020 Housing Market Report, the average square footage of new houses developed for sale in the Northeast Region has climbed 76% during the last 45 years. From 3.4 persons in 1989 to 2.62 people in 2018, the average household size has reduced by 23%.

Know What Style, Quality, and Features Mean When Estimating Your New Construction Cost

The final cost of your new house will not be dictated just by its size. When calculating new house building expenses, style, quality, and features must not be disregarded.


The architecture of the new home is referred to as its style. Building more square or rectangular homes costs less per square foot. The same is true for a two-story home with the same footprint vs a one-story structure with the same footprint because a one-story home will require the same size roof and foundation, but without the additional square footage to support those underlying expenditures.

Additionally, homes with a deeper design may necessitate a roof with specifically constructed trusses. Basically, the more angles and corners you create, the more work, materials, and money you’ll have to spend.


Quality materials are employed in the construction process. This might involve a plethora of options. Flooring, paint, insulation, roofing, and cabinets are a few examples.

Features Exclusive to Vaulted ceilings, roof slopes, curving stairs, and other design elements are examples of features. Each of these modifications to a property might raise the price and increase the anticipated square footage expenditures.

Make room in your budget for any additional construction costs.

When estimating the cost of constructing a new home, keep in mind several frequent expenditures that might be ignored in the excitement of constructing a new home. These are some examples:

Preparation of the Site

Expenses will rise if you have to clear a lot of trees, carry in dirt, grade, or remove huge boulders.

Fees for Permits

Local building rules, zoning laws, and limitations need permits for construction including sewage, electricity, occupancy, and so on. These permissions might add costly depending on where you live.

Understand How the Season Affects Costs

The timing of your development might affect the cost of construction. When labor is in great demand during periods of low unemployment and economic growth, costs often rise because the expenses to hire the numerous subcontractors and other crafts involved in building your home rise.

Although there may be more labor available throughout the winter, the expense of heating the facility during the cooler months while your contractors and vendors are on-site must be considered.

Avoid Cost Overruns by Being Proactive

Above all, while calculating the cost of a new home, it is critical to account for cost overruns. You may attempt to avoid this outcome if you actively recall that the completed cost of a property is frequently more than the original bid price owing to circumstances encountered along the road. 

For others, it might be all too easy to get enamored with higher-end flooring materials, vaulted ceilings, intricate landscaping, and so on. However, each time this occurs, the cost of your new property rises. When anything outside the contract is chosen, this is referred to as a “change order,” and if you are working with an experienced builder, they should be able to accommodate you.

Begin by collaborating with your new home builder to draught the most precise building contract possible. The more information revealed by this contract, the more accurate your anticipated new house cost will be, and the more likely you will be to remain inside your budget.

Some crucial components to include in your contract are:

  • Allowances that are realistic
  • How heated or unheated areas are defined
  • How the contract may include/handle a garage or basement (finished or unfinished)
  • If the cost of land is included in the square footage expenses
  • The cost of liability insurance
  • Fees for utility connections
  • Septic system prices
  • Costs of a driveway
  • Sidewalk expenses
  • Costs of landscaping
  • Subcontractor fees
  • Green materials are more expensive.
  • Inflation for a delayed construction

Costs of New Home Construction

Finally, it is a good idea to allocate 10% more for unforeseen expenditures, but the appropriate new home builder should be able to assist you to keep to your budget. You may also work backward to stay within your budget. This is determining your budget and then designing a house to be built in an area you can afford with the style, quality, and features that will meet your budget.

What are some examples of common high-priced products, and how do they contribute to greater costs?

Labor expenses vary greatly depending on factors such as unemployment rates, time of year, and construction cycle demand. Because of supply and demand, you will pay more for labor in a thriving economy with a low unemployment rate.

Permit fees:

Fees for building and occupancy permits are regulated by each municipality or town. If you need a deviation from a town ordinance, you must include it in the expenses as well as any legal counsel or engineering drawings that you may require.

Site preparation:

If you’re working from a site you bought yourself, you may come upon unstable soils or ledges that require blasting. It is difficult to tell for certain until you are on the ground. The requirement for a drilled well and septic system vs municipal water and sewer will also be considered.

The floor layout of your home will influence the contour of your foundation. A basic foundation will be less expensive than one with several jogs and irregularly shaped bump outs.


The intricacy of your plan, like the foundation, will affect framing costs. The cost will rise if you have several roof lines and crossings of space. These details may offer a lot of complexity and visual intrigue, but if you’re working with a restricted budget, you might choose to invest your money elsewhere. Exterior finishes (like siding) include the material and style (composite or wood, board, batten, cedar shingles, etc.) as well as specific architectural elements like a cupola or a front entry porch.

Major systems include:

Heating, electricity, and plumbing estimation are examples of important systems. The cost will be influenced by alternatives like as geothermal or solar, as well as water purification systems, radiant heat, and forced hot or cold air, among other things. Some options will cost more upfront but will save money on energy over time.

Interior finishing:

These are the particular nuances that you will be living with every day. Such things include flooring, crown moldings and trim packages, hardware, counter surfaces, and cabinets. It’s a good idea to go to a design center so you can touch and feel the differences in the materials and pick which is more essential to you. You may have your heart set on quartz only to discover that a marble product is quite comparable and simple to obtain, or vice versa.

Last but not least, The way your furniture and light your room will be factored in the overall appearance of your house. If you require a wine cellar to keep your wine collection or art lighting to highlight exceptional works, they must be factored into the cost.


While it may seem natural that a larger home would cost more, size does not always equal to “price per square foot.”

The number of stories:

When you have two stories, the price per square foot normally drops since you have more square footage to assign to the underlying expenses of systems and foundations. Because you have considerably more area to cover the expense of the same footprint, a single-story ranch will frequently cost more per square foot than a two-story colonial with the same foundation.


As previously said, the more complicated the shape of the house, the more probable your prices for foundation, frame, and trim detail will grow.

Roof design:

Shingle rooks are still popular, but more and more purchasers are opting for metal to reduce snow buildup, regulate temperatures, and as a style choice.


There are several sorts of luxury appliances that might raise the price of a property. These can include high-end brands like Wolf or Fisher & Paykel, as well as supplementary equipment like a convection oven or wine refrigerator. 

If your money is restricted, consider where you are prepared to splurge based on your lifestyle. If you care about the environment, energy-efficient appliances should be a factor in your decision-making.

Design aspects that stand out: In terms of your personal desire for luxury or convenience, the sky is the limit. Need an extra-powerful woodshop, a sauna/steam room, or a heated driveway so you don’t have to shovel in the winter?

Step-by-Step New Home Construction

Here’s a comprehensive new house construction checklist:

  • Make a budget.
  • Purchase Real Estate (if not buying a combined house and land package)
  • Select a Construction Method: Custom, Semi-Custom, Collaborative, or Spec House are all options.
  • Create Plans or Designs
  • Obtain Permits and Conduct Inspections
  • Get Construction Insurance
  • Begin building.
  • Certificate of Occupancy and Final Inspection
  • Total Landscaping

Begin by collaborating with your new home builder to draught the most precise building contract possible. The more information this contact provides, the more accurate your projected new house cost will be, and you will be more likely to remain inside your budget.

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