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Home Builders Breakdown the Cost to Build a Home

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

The roof over your head is the biggest investment you will ever make, and certainly one of the most expensive. Award winning Nebraska home builders Murray Custom Homes knows that the cost of building a new home from start to finish runs the gamut, with most home buyers spending between $177,000 and $462,000. That is quite a range, but it gets even more dramatic.

Home builders breaking down the cost to build new custom homes
Home builders breaking down the cost to build new custom homes

On the low end, some do-it-yourselfers managed to build a home similar to a tiny house for as little as $23,000, although it is highly likely that the resulting structure was small and extremely basic. On the high end of the cost spectrum, some homeowners reported spending more than $1,800,000 on their dream home, a price tag most people would not be able to afford.

If you want to get a handle on what it will cost to build a home of your own, it is helpful to break down those costs by category. Building a home is not a single project - rather it is a series of interlocking and interrelated projects. From buying a suitable piece of land purchasing the materials to frame it out to hiring qualified professionals to do the plumbing and electrical work to furnishing the interior and completing the landscaping, there are plenty of things to consider. Here are how the costs break down.

Average Price of Land

At its heart, the price of real estate is deeply local, and nowhere is that more apparent than the cost of an acre of land. In some parts of the west and in rural areas, home builders can purchase land for as little as $3,000 an acre, making the initial land purchase a negligible part of the building process.

On the other end of the cost spectrum is larger cities, where a single acre of land can set home builders back more than $190,000. If you do not happen to live in one of these extremely high cost or extremely low cost parts of the country, the price of an average suburban lot will probably be closer to the national average of about $30,000.

What To Expect When Buying Materials

No matter what kind of home you plan to build, you will need quality lumber to protect the property from the elements and keep you safe when those summer thunderstorms and winter blizzards come along. Buying the best materials you can afford should be a given when building a home - after all, you will be living in the results of your project for many decades to come.

It is best to talk about the cost of building materials in terms of square footage, since the size of the home will obviously have a strong impact on your final price tag. Since the price, quality and local availability of certain building materials varies from place to place, it is a good idea to look at average costs and go from there. As your project moves forward, you can nail down more specific costs for your area, but averages for the country run between $3 and $12 per square foot. That means a basic cost between $6,000 and $24,000 for the framing materials you will need to get the walls up.

The Cost of Hiring a Professional

No matter how handy you are, chances are you do not possess all the skills needed to design and build a home from start to finish. You may be a great carpenter, but what about the electrical work, the plumbing, or driving the heavy equipment to dig the basement or lay the foundation?

At some point in the process, you will need to hire a professional, and that means taking a hard look at the costs involved. Again, it is best to look at the costs involved in hiring a professional in terms of square footage. While those costs also vary from location to location, the national average runs between $2 and $12 per square foot. That is a wide range to be sure, and part of that is due to the relative skills involved and ready availability and/or rarity of those skills. If you are building a high-end home in a high-cost area, the price of labor will probably be closer to the $12 per square foot estimate. If you live in a rural area where the cost of living is relatively low, you may end up closer to the $2 per square foot figure.

The Price of Permits

It is easy to overlook the cost of permitting when building a new home, but those costs are not insignificant. Depending on where you live, you can expect to spend between $400 and $1,500 on the building permits you will need to begin construction, have the work inspected and have the finished property approved for occupancy. The CAD design process and obtaining permits is usually done by an architect and/or a home builder.

Cost Considerations for the Interior

The outside of the home may be your most important consideration, but it is not the only one. Before you can move in and start enjoying your new home, you will need to outfit the interior and make sure everything is up to code.

You can expect to spend up to $100 an hour or even more for the work of an electrician or plumber, and you will need to hire both to have the home outfitted and certified for occupancy. The total cost will depend on the size of the home and where you live, but even a basic wiring job can easily take a few days to complete. The cost of plumbing can be just as variable, but you should expect to have a plumber in your new home for at least a day as the water lines are hooked up, the bathtub and toilet is hooked up and the rest of the work is completed.


As you can see, building your own home is no small endeavor, and it is important to be prepared. No matter what kind of home construction you have in mind, the first step is budgeting the cost to build your home and knowing what you are getting yourself into. Only then can you continue to the building phase and work on creating a home you will be proud of.

Still Have Questions?

Looking to build a home in Nebraska? Get more answers now by visiting us online or calling and asking to speak with a custom homes specialist.

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Murray Custom Homes

(402) 594-0410

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