SSS #214: How Much Does It Cost To Build a House?


A bunch of people texted me this week about Intuit shutting down Mint (personal finance tracker).

If you are affected by the change and looking for a new app to track your money, I highly recommend Copilot.

I've been using it for the past 3 years and love it.

disclaimer: the app costs ~$100/year.


Livin' La Vida Luna y Luca

A Sun, His Son, & Their Moon
A Sun, His Son, & Their Moon

How Much Does It Cost To Build a House?


They say, "Build your first house for an enemy, your second house for a friend, and your third house for yourself."

Although it's a little grim, I have to agree.

While I have no ill will towards the lovely couple that bought my very first new construction project, I definitely have room for improvement in my development process - mainly from a cost perspective.

The quality of our work is AAA+.

Building a house from scratch is no joke. Stating the obvious: it took way more time (double) and way more money (also double) than I originally thought it would.

We bought the property in December of 2021 and just closed the sale in November of 2023.

I originally thought it would take ~$500K to put this home together.... Boy oh boy was I wrong. Blew right past that number.

Starting Line

Drone Shot
Drone Shot

It costs $100K just to get to the starting line.

  • Architect - $8.5K
  • Engineer - $8.5K
  • Permits - $16K
  • Demo Existing Structure - $16K
  • Site Work (Excavation, Leveling, Etc.) - $20K
  • Dirt Removal - $15K
  • Soft (Legal, Lender, Title, etc.) -$15K



Let's talk about structure:

  • Foundation (Superior Walls ) - $26K
  • Lumber - $60K
  • Framing - $35K
  • Poured Concrete - $20K
  • Masonry - $20K
  • Windows - $35K
  • Stairs - $6K
  • Exterior Doors - $10K

Total about $155K

Venous System:

Living + Kitchen
Living + Kitchen

Now let's talk about Rough MEP's (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing). This is just the venting, wiring, and plumbing.

  • HVAC - $30K
  • Electrical - $30K
  • Plumbing - $30K
  • Insulation - $10K

A Cool Hundo

Gimme Some Skin

Family + Dining
Family + Dining

Let's wrap everything up:

  • Drywall - $12K
  • Drywall Install $12K
  • Hardwood Floors & Tile Throughout - $30K
  • Hardwood Floor & Tile Install - $23K
  • Roof & Siding - $40K
  • Roof & Siding Install - $30K

Another $150K

Hair & Makeup


Now let's go through the bells and whistles:

  • Cabinetry Throughout - $35k
  • Countertops Throughout - $20K
  • Hardware & Accessories Throughout - $5K
  • Lighting Throughout - $10K
  • Plumbing Fixtures Throughout - $20K
  • Glass Throughout - $4K
  • Paint (Material) - $7.5K
  • Paint (Labor) - $25K
  • Trim (Material & Labor ) - $25K
  • Appliances - $10K

Another $160K

But Wait, There's More!

  • Asbestos Abatement
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Rent-A-Cop (road closures)
  • Design Fees
  • Project Management
  • Drywell (Storm Water Solutions)
  • Equipment Rental
  • Safety Fencing
  • Tree Removal
  • Landscaping
  • Irrigation System
  • 360 Surround Sound & Security Cameras
  • Dumpsters and Trash Removal

Easily another $100K altogether.

Grand Total:

This brings us to a grand total of roughly $750K in materials in labor, alone.


Then there are the time-related costs of holding the property:

  • Interest- $170K ☠️☠️☠️
  • Property Taxes - $25K
  • Utilities - $5K

Before you know it, a million dollars out the door.

This house is 2,830 square feet between the 1st and 2nd floors. Closer to 4,500sf if you include the basement and finished attic.

$1M / 4500sf = $222/sf of finished space.

Those are rookie numbers. Should have come in at MOST $200/sf. The best in the business are putting homes together for $175/ft right now.

Next Time

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I've found myself in a position to do this again.

However, I'm determined to get it done for less!

I don't think it will be difficult to save on the time-related costs. I'm confident we can cut that number in half. That's ~$100K in savings right there.

This project took almost two years to complete - the next one will be 1 year close to close.

As far as labor and materials go - I'm aiming to save another $100K there as well.

I think I can save $5K each on Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, Mason, Painter & the Trimmer.

I also think I can save at least $25K on materials throughout if I source them myself instead of having a designer do it for me.

There's definitely room to save $20K between Windows, Doors, and Lumber. I'll have to make sure my Architect doesn't over-engineer the house.

My goal is to get the next similarly sized house done for $750K all in.

Let's see how that goes. 😬