Home Construction Tips

How do you calculate building a house?

The cost of building or remodelling a home can be difficult to determine ahead of time accurately. Changes in material costs, labour rates, and even weather conditions can each play a large and complicated role in the final cost of a project. How efficiently you communicate your wants and needs to the people who will design and build your home can also play a part in the overall cost.

If you are in the early stages of design and planning, the most you can get is a rough estimate—but this can still be a valuable number to have so that you don’t waste time designing a home that doesn’t match your budget.

Once you have your final construction documents and are working with a builder or remodeler, estimating can get more precise. A good contractor will offer a detailed estimate before you commit to the project, and they will give you cost updates during the various stages of the construction process.

Most building projects you tackle yourself will show net savings in total costs due to the labour you put into the project. Cut out the contractors, and you’ll experience instant savings. But there are still the costs of materials involved, and before beginning a project, it helps to know just what the project costs will likely be. To get an accurate estimate, you’ll need to be familiar with every detail of the project, having it all planned out before taking the first step in building. The greater the details and the more planning you do, the more accurate your estimate will be, giving you a good idea of the true costs of the project.

The most basic or preliminary step we can say to construct a new house is to get the cost estimate for house construction. Of course, there are various costs involved if you are building a new house. Also, it is very important to identify where you will be spending your money and how much money you must possess before starting construction of the house. This blog post will help you in figuring out the costs involved in house construction. Moreover, you will also find the best tools to get a preliminary cost estimate of your construction project, just by inputting some basic information about your dream house.

Many people looking to build a home often wonder exactly how much it will add up to, and how much new home construction costs per square foot – but this is not an easy question to answer. There are many factors and steps to consider when estimating new home construction costs.

So, let’s break down the process piece by piece, so you have a framework for better estimating your new home construction costs. At HP Constructions, we have the best home constructions selection to make your house a dream come true.

How to Estimate the Cost of a New Build Home

How Do You Calculate Building A House 1 1

Determine Your Floor Plans

Start by selecting a floor plan for your new home that’s been completed by or adjusted by a local general contractor or architect, or search online or through books to find the plan of your dreams. Many builders will have a breadth of floor plans to choose from. These floor plans will determine the size, style, quality and feature you desire in your new home and will be the baseline for your project from here on out.

Get an idea of your new home’s layout by viewing our featured floor plans.

Next, you should find the right local builder. The builder you choose should be one who routinely constructs new homes that are comparable in size, style, quality and features to the new home you’re hoping to build. Finding a suitable builder for your project is important in maintaining a proper execution, timeline and budget for your build. They should be able to tell you their cost per square foot to build a house that is similar to yours, and at the same time, they should be able to give you an approximate idea of what your home might cost to build. It is always a good idea on your end to ask what exactly the new home construction cost includes.

Looking for the best home constructions? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has the ultimate list of home designs for you to choose from.

Determine How Customer Plans Can Affect the Cost

A complete custom home build requires the most participation, but you can work directly with an architect to build exactly the type of home you want. This option requires a lot more decision-making on the buyer’s end, but you can determine your priorities and customize all materials, products and styles.

Understand the entire size, design and floor plan. You may be starting from scratch here, and each of your choices will impact the overall price. It is very helpful to have an architect or designer who understands the costs associated with the items that you are suggesting for your home so that you can fall within a ballpark range of your anticipated budget.

Learn How Pre-Designed Options Can Save You Money

With a pre-designed home, and maybe already in progress, many decisions and selections have already been made. There are certain “specs” that will have been assumed when designing and putting a price on the house and in many cases, you can choose from a range of lower or higher cost items (depending on your priorities) from the builder’s selections. 

Depending on how far along the home is, you may have the option to select:

Flooring, lighting fixtures, appliances, exterior siding options, granite, quartz, and laminate countertops, wood cabinets, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, doors, trim, paint colours, etc.

Find the Right Builder

The builder you choose should be one who routinely constructs new homes that are comparable in size, style, quality and features to the new home you’re hoping to build. Finding a suitable builder for your project is important in maintaining a proper execution, timeline and budget for your build. They should be able to tell you their cost per square foot to build a house that is similar to yours, and at the same time, they should be able to give you an approximate idea of what your home might cost to build. It is always a good idea on your end to ask what exactly the new home construction cost includes (i.e. are they including the land, the site work and landscaping or other items beyond the “stick and bricks”). Check out our extensive range of home designs at Hitch Constructions.

Get an Idea of What Your New Home Construction Costs Per Square Foot

Arriving at an exact figure for new home costs per square foot might not be realistic, but getting a ballpark idea should be possible. To do this, take the total cost of your project, as outlined by your builder, and divide this by the total number of square feet in your project.

For example, if your new home is to be 2,000 square feet and your builder estimated that it would cost $350,000 to build, then your cost per square foot is 300,000 divided by 2,000, or $175.

According to Zillow, the median home value in Rockingham County is $375,424. Rockingham County home values have gone up 4.3%, and the median list price per square foot in Rockingham County is $224. The median price of homes currently listed in Rockingham County is $424,900, while the median price of homes that sold is $367,900.  

It’s important to note, however, that these figures do not differentiate between new construction and buying an existing home. It is safe to assume that new construction is likely to skew a bit higher, but will also include more energy-efficient and modern materials and processes.

You can also compare your desired build to other newly constructed homes (again, those similar in size, style, quality and features) in your area, then take the price of the home – minus the land it is on – and divide this by the amount of square footage in the home you wish to build. By doing this exercise with a few homes, you can also determine whether the estimate for your new home that your builder has provided is competitive and reasonable.

The average household size has decreased by 23% from 3.4 people in 1989 to 2.62 people in 2018.

Know What Style, Quality and Features Refer to in Relation to Estimating Your New Construction Cost

The final price of your new home won’t be determined just by size. Style, quality and features must not be overlooked when determining new home constructions costs.


Style refers to the architecture of the new home. Homes that are more square or rectangular cost less per square foot to build. The same is true for a two-story versus a one-story home with the same footprint because a one-story home will require the same size roof and foundation, without the additional square footage to support those underlying costs. As well, homes that boast a deeper design (greater than 32 feet) might also require a roof with specially designed trusses. Essentially, the more angles and corners you add, the more labour, materials and cost you will incur.


Quality choices apply to the actual materials used for building. This can include a myriad of possible selections. For example, flooring, paint, insulation, shingles, cabinetry and built-ins, appliances, doors and windows. The higher quality you choose for each of these items, the more costs your new home will incur. It always helps to check out your options with your builder before making a decision, preferably in an interactive design centre.

Special Features

Features refer to design considerations, such as vaulted ceilings, roof pitches, curved staircases, etc. Each of these additions to a build can increase the price tag on your new home and elevate the estimated square footage costs.

Leave Room in Your Budget to Accommodate Any Additional Construction Costs

When estimating the cost to build a new house, don’t forget to factor in some common expenses that can be overlooked in the excitement of a new home build. These include:

Site Preparation

If you have to clear a lot of trees, haul in the dirt, grade or remove large rocks, expenses will increase.

Permit Fees

Local building codes, zoning laws and restrictions mean permits need to be obtained for work related to sewers, electricity, occupancy, etc. Depending on the area, these permits can add up.

Understand How Time of Year Can Affect Costs

When your build is scheduled can contribute to the cost of construction. When labour is in demand during times of low unemployment and economic growth, costs are typically higher as expenses to employ the many subcontractors and many other trades involved in building your home will be higher (due to simple supply and demand).

There may be more labour availability during the winter, but the cost to heat the space during the colder months while your contractors and vendors are on-site needs to be factored in.

Be Proactive to Avoid Cost Overruns

Above all, it is crucial to prepare for cost overruns when determining a new home construction cost. If you can actively remember that the finished cost of a home is often more than the original bid price, due to factors encountered along the way, you can work to avoid this outcome. For some, it can be too easy to get carried away and fall in love with higher-end flooring materials, vaulted ceilings, elaborate landscaping and so on. But every time this happens, the price of your new home build increases. When something is chosen that is outside the contract this is called a “change order”, and if you are working with an experienced builder, they should be able to quantify these upcharges for you so you can make an informed decision.

Start by working with your new home builder to create as detailed a construction contract as possible. The more detail this contract reveals, the more accurate your estimated new home cost will be, and the more likely you are to stay within your budget.

Some key components to identify in your contract should include:

  • Realistic allowances
  • How you define heated or unheated spaces
  • How a garage or basement might be included/handled in the contract (finished or unfinished)
  • If the land is included in the square footage costs
  • Liability insurance costs
  • Utility connection costs
  • Septic system costs
  • Driveway costs
  • Sidewalk costs
  • Landscaping costs
  • Subcontractor costs
  • Green materials costs
  • Inflation for a delayed build

An outright budget

If the cost per square meter on a floor area basis isn’t exactly something that you’re comfortable with, an alternative would be to give your budget outright to the architect and the construction engineer so that they can tailor-fit a plan and a house design that would suit your budget and your specifications. You might want to give your architect and construction engineer detailed specifications on how you want your house to look like, which include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the number of floor levels, the type of finish, the desired size, and the design type.

Based on your desired specifications, your architect and construction engineer should be able to give you an idea of your ideal home suits your budget. If not, you could probably meet halfway and ask for alternative options in terms of materials and design type.

It is advisable to indicate a budget range you are willing to invest so the contractor will be able to advise what can fit within your budget. Otherwise, you may discover that when the cost estimates are presented, the budget you have in mind does not match or you may not be able to afford the investment required based on your desired design and specifications.

Be nice to bank assessors.

And if you’re availing of a house construction loan through a bank or Pag-IBIG, bear in mind that these financial and lending institutions require the complete house plans and bill of materials first before granting you the loan. Banks usually approve 70 per cent of the value of the house construction cost estimate, according to CM Builders. So, when an assessor from a bank visits your house construction site to calculate the value of your land and the construction cost, make sure that your construction engineer and architect are there at the site when the assessor drops by.

You get what you pay for

While it’s perfectly understandable that you would want to save on house construction costs as much as you could, you need to weigh your priority between quality and cost carefully and strike a balance between the two. A well-built quality house would cost you more. If you want something cheap, then you’ll get what you pay for. Remember that over the long term, a house that is built cheaply would cost you a lot more on repairs and its yearly maintenance. You’ll end up spending more on repairing leaks and defects than you would have had you chosen high quality over a cheaper alternative. That includes choosing reputable architects and construction engineers rather than merely hiring someone who has no expertise in constructing a house. You need to factor in warranty and prompt after-sales service. Make sure they are legally liable for any defects on the structure of your house.

Make sure to get the best value for your money when you’re building your house. After all, it’s a lifetime investment.

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