How Much Does It Cost to Build a House Yourself?
$8,000 - $820,000
$8,000 - $820,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated March 30, 2022Reviewed by Ezra Laniado, Expert Contributor.
Building a house yourself typically costs between $122,500 and $411,500, for an average of $256,000 (not including land). However, prices range drastically based on the project size and location, so it’s not uncommon for costs to be anywhere from $8,000 to $820,000 or more.
There are two main ways in which people build a house by themselves. The first is to act as an owner-builder or to be your own general contractor. This typically saves homeowners between 15% and 25% on the cost to build a house.
The second DIY homebuilding option is to do everything on your own. Just the materials for house building typically cost around $50 to $60 per square foot, but this usually doesn’t include the cost to rent special equipment.
On average, you can expect to pay from $60 and $110 per square foot to build a house by yourself. Costs could run as low as $40 per square foot and as high as $170 per square foot, depending on how much labor you take on yourself.
While the cost to build a house ranges from $100 to $200 per square foot, you could cut up to 60% of the costs by taking on all of the labor yourself.
The average home size typically runs between 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. The average cost to build a 2,000-square-foot home is $170,000, though costs usually range from $120,000 to $220,000. Depending on where you live, your costs might run upwards of $340,000.
Building a small or tiny home costs between $30,000 and $60,000, with an average size of 600 square feet or less. If your design is less than 400 square feet, you could easily pay as low as $8,000 to construct your small house. Smaller homes require fewer materials and also take less time to build.
Prefab or modular homes are built off-site and then shipped in forms to assemble on your property. The price for this type of home runs from $50,000 to $300,000 or more.
Because of their standardized construction, shipping containers typically come in two sizes: 8-by-8-by-20 and 8-by-8-by-40. Containers can be stacked or connected side-by-side to create larger living areas. The average cost to build a shipping container home is $30,000.
While the average DIY home build ranges from $122,500 and $411,500, there are many factors that weigh into your total cost. Keep in mind that the costs below are just for some of the main building components.
Most people building their own house have to hire outside help for at least some of the tasks at hand. It might seem like a total DIY house build is less expensive, but the reality is that most people rely on professionals for certain building components. Plumbing, foundation pouring, and electrical work are the most common examples.
One thing to note on land prep is that you’ll also need a building permit. While building permits cost $1,310 on average, prices may vary for an owner-builder permit. Check with your local government clerk for more information. It might also be worth contacting a general contractor near you for any insight.
These are just some of the rough foundation and framing costs you’ll need to take on. Other foundation and framing projects add an additional $1,400 to $50,000, depending on the house size and whether you DIY or hire a professional.
|Task||Hiring a Pro||DIY|
|Concrete slab costs||$11,200 – $22,400||$4,480 – $15,680|
|Cost to lay foundation||$4,160 – $13,500||$1,670 – $9,450|
|Wall framing cost (for a 80-sq.-ft. wall)||$990 – $2,900||$400 – $2,030|
|Major systems (plumbing, electric, HVAC)||$30,000 – $75,000||$5,750 – $52,500|
|Total average costs||$46,350 – $113,800||$12,300 – $79,660|
|Task||Hiring a Pro||DIY|
|Flooring installation costs||$10,000 – $35,000||$4,000 – $24,500|
|Cost to install doors||$5,000 – $20,000||$1,500 – $10,000|
|Window installation prices||$3,000 – $9,000||$1,200 – $6,300|
|Major systems (plumbing, electric, HVAC)||$30,000 – $75,000||$5,750 – $27,500|
|Total average costs||$48,000 – $139,000||$12,450 – $68,300|
On average, building your own house on your own land could cost anywhere from $125,500 to $561,300 or more with much of the costs depending on the price of the lot. In some places, a lot might only cost $3,000 whereas in others, it could cost up to $150,000 or more.
If you were able to buy a lot on the low end and build a cost-effective tiny home, you might only pay $11,000 for a very basic abode. On the higher end of the spectrum, building a property on an oceanfront property or on land with a spectacular view could easily run into the millions.
The material cost to build a house yourself is typically around $50 per square foot. For a 2,000-square-foot home, you could expect to pay about $100,000 for materials alone.
It might seem like building a house on your own is more affordable than hiring professional home builders. If you have a background in general contracting work, or even some specialized experience and can go the owner-builder route, you’ll likely save money. In a perfect DIY world where nothing goes awry, you could save tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The thing is that problems typically come up in the house building process, even for the most experienced teams. If you’re new to home building, mistakes will happen, and they will be costly, if not up front, then later on when amateur work requires professional repair. Not to mention, some states don’t allow people to build a home if they don’t have a general contractor license.
Your best bet is to take on what you feel comfortable with and work with professionals for what you don’t. You very well might still save money in the process. Talk to a construction manager near you to learn more about owner-builder projects and to get a quote.
It is possible to build your own house, though you will likely need a building permit and a good amount of experience to take this on. However, there are some states that only allow you to build a home if you have a general contractor’s license.
On average, hiring professionals to build a house from scratch costs $311,500, though most homeowners pay between $163,300 and $483,900. This price does not include the cost of land.
A self-built house or a house that you build yourself can run anywhere from $8,000 to $820,000 but most projects span from $122,500 and $411,290.
It is possible to build a house for $100,000 but it will depend on several factors, including square footage, materials, and finishes. You may be able to save extra costs if you purchase a prefab or modular house or shipping container home that streamlines the build time.