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 August 3, 2022Reviewed by Ezra Laniado, Expert Contributor.
Building a house yourself typically costs between $156,000 and $364,000, for an average of $250,000 for a 2,600-square-foot home, 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 $15,000 to $850,000 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% of 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.
2022 Notice: Material Prices Are Surging
Demand for building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.
If you do all the labor yourself, you’ll save about 50% off the total price of your home compared to purchasing the same home built by a professional. Even if you subcontract the work out, acting as the general contractor, you’ll still save anywhere from 15% to 25% of the price. But it’s not just about savings; you’ll also reap the benefits of:
A modern design, which generally sells for more and more quickly than older homes
Higher energy-efficient construction and appliances
Better building techniques
The ability to design to your exact needs and specifications
On average, you can expect to pay from $60 and $140 per square foot to build a house by yourself. Costs could run as low as $50 per square foot and as high as $200 per square foot, depending on how much labor you take on yourself.
|Home Size in Square Feet||Average Cost Range to Build|
|800||$48,000 – $112,000|
|1,000||$60,000 – $140,000|
|1,500||$90,000 – $210,000|
|2,000||$120,000 – $280,000|
|2,500||$150,000 – $350,000|
|3,000||$180,000 – $420,000|
|3,500||$210,000 – $490,000|
|4,000||$240,000 – $560,000|
While the cost to build a house ranges from $100 to $300 per square foot, you could cut up to 60% of the costs by taking on all of the labor yourself.
The average size of a new home build runs from 2,200 to 3,000 square feet, shrinking slightly in the last five years. The average cost to build a 2,500-square-foot home is $240,000, though costs usually range from $150,000 to $350,000. Depending on where you live, your costs might run upwards of $500,000.
Building a small or tiny home costs between $35,000 and $75,000, with an average size of 600 square feet or less. Hiring a professional contractor to build a tiny home costs at least twice as much, or up to $200,000 If your design is less than 400 square feet, you could easily pay as low as $18,000 to construct your small house. Smaller homes require fewer materials and also take less time to build.
|Type of Home||Cost Range|
|Tiny Home||$35,000 – $75,000 total|
|Modular & Prefab Kits||$20,000 – $300,000 total|
|Shipping Container||$15,000 – $55,000 per container|
Manufacturers build prefab or modular homes off-site and then ship them in forms to assemble on your property. The price for this type of home runs from $20,000 to $300,000 or more.
You’ll spend $15,000 to $55,000 per container for a shipping container home. Homes built using multiple containers cost $100,000 to $250,000. Because of their standardized construction, shipping containers typically come in two sizes: 8-by-8-by-20-feet and 8-by-8-by-40-feet. Containers can be stacked or connected side-by-side to create larger living areas.
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.
While the average DIY home build ranges from $150,000 and $500,000, many factors weigh into your total cost. Keep in mind that the costs below are just for some of the main building components.
One thing to note on land prep is that you’ll also need a building permit. While building permits cost $1,360 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 $1,500 to $50,000, depending on the house size and whether you DIY or hire a professional.
|Task||Hiring a Pro||DIY|
|Concrete slab costs||$3,600 – $7,200||$2,000 – $3,500|
|Foundation installation costs||$4,200 – $13,500||$2,000 – $8,000|
|Wall framing cost (for an 80-sq.-ft. wall)||$1,000 – $3,000||$400 – $2,000|
|Major systems (plumbing, electric, HVAC) cost||$35,000 – $90,000||$17,000 – $60,000|
|Total average costs||$43,800 – $113,700||$21,400 – $73,500|
Interior finishes include things like flooring, cabinets, countertops, and windows.
On average, building your own house on your own land could cost anywhere from $120,000 to $550,000 or more, with much of the costs depending on the price of the lot. In some places, a lot might only cost $15,000, but usually comes undeveloped at that price. Developed lots cost $65,000 to $300,000 or more.
On undeveloped land, you’ll spend $10,000 to $40,000 to install utilities, based on proximity. You’ll need to install basic utilities and sewer or septic systems, including:
Sewer main installation costs: $500–$2,300, but you might pay upwards of $10,000 in rural areas without easy access.
Septic system installation costs: $3,500–$10,500
New power line: $5,000–$10,000
New water main costs: $250 per linear foot
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 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.
Building your own home requires a series of steps you’ll need to follow. Some are better off subcontracted out as speciality services, such as installing electric, plumbing, and HVAC. We don’t recommend DIYing these projects.
Plan: You’ll want to plan out your entire build before you buy any materials. Even if you do the entire build yourself, it’s best to hire a local architect or engineer to produce detailed plans.
Get permits: You’ll need to submit your plans to get a permit.
Buy land: You’ll need a place to put your new home.
Excavate and pour the foundation: You’ll need to level the land and dig to put footings and a slab or foundation in.
Frame the home: Next comes the house frame, including the frame for the roof.
Sheath the walls: Install sheathing and a weather wrap on the wall.
Install the roof: Put the roof on after the wall or simultaneously if you subcontract the roof.
Then, in no particular order, install:
Doors and windows
Install the floors, walls, and ceilings You’ll want to sheath the floors earlier, but this is the time to lay finished flooring.
Do all the finishing work: This includes installing the bathroom, kitchen cabinets, trim, counters, and interior doors.
Finally, landscape the exterior
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, 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 $280,000, though most homeowners pay between $110,000 and $450,000. This price does not include the cost of land.
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.
You can use a construction loan to build your own home. Lenders incrementally disperse funds as the project progresses, then convert them to a mortgage once the building wraps up. Lenders don’t use traditional mortgages when building a home.
For the construction alone, you’ll spend an average of seven months building a house. Add one to four months for an architect or structural engineer to draw up the plans.