Estimating the cost to build a house


I'm in the early stages of planning out building a home. I'd like to build in about 5 years. I have property lined up and a sales flyer of the house that I would like to have built, but do not have blueprints at this time.

How do I go about getting cost estimates (within $100,000) of the cost to build the house that I'd like to have? I need to know how much more I'll need to save for the building project, or if I can get started soon. Since I don't have blueprints, I think it is difficult to talk to a builder with just a sales flyer.

Jun 9, 15 12:23 pm

When you talk to your architect, they will estimate costs for you.

Jun 9, 15 12:26 pm  · 

Builders can often provide a broad estimate based on the "sales flyer" you have. 

Obviously, the level of finish you require can have a dramatic impact on cost as does the quality of builder you ask.  This is likely the simplest way to budget your project cost at 5 years out and without paying for any services.

I think you said in your other post, that it will be located in another state.  Do you have a relationship with anyone in that location who would be willing to do some preliminary costs?  If not that complicates things.

Jun 9, 15 12:58 pm  · 

The original budget for a house my office is designing was +/- 6 million; after distributing a working CD set to several contractors, it turned out that the low bidder was at $10 million. we are not reducing the scope by a lot (the client has the money) but we are in the process of VE'ing the house... What I would do is partner up with a G.C. and use his experience to value engineer your home. You will pay for his services upfront, but will ultimately save a ton of money by knowing exactly what you are doing down the road. 

Jun 9, 15 1:17 pm  · 

not to mention - there can be a lot of swing in prices in 5 years. including the value of your stock portfolio. 

Jun 9, 15 6:01 pm  · 


if you're asking with a mind to researching financing, most banks will want a contractor's estimate to certify the building scope. Plan on working with someone: house designer or architect to develop schematic plans and then have a GC do an early estimate for you.

if you're just trying to set the bar for total project scope, try using $250/sf as a baseline for construction cost and figure that it just goes up from there based on individual goals. [I don't know if you are going spartan or super glam; this is a basic number]

professional & jurisdictional fees are outside of that number

(please note I am not local to MT)

(also, $/sf estimates are wildly inaccurate since most homes are one-offs; it just sets a bar for expectations)

Jun 9, 15 7:43 pm  · 

you might try playing with this...


but better to call local kalispell pros

Jun 9, 15 7:52 pm  · 
On the fence

You want to have people spend their time now to get a price to build a home, five years from now, and be within $100,000 plus/minus?


Good luck.

Jul 7, 15 9:34 am  · 

look at faucets, how much are they? how many?

Jul 7, 15 9:49 am  · 

The builder should be able to give you a good estimate on a sales flyer providing you have a lot. The characteristics the lot  including water, natural gas, electricity, sewage, road access, drainage,lot slope, sun orientation, number of trees, ect. will be huge factors.  

Jul 7, 15 2:43 pm  · 

agreed with Volunteer and JeromeS - it'll be best to hire an architect as we're supposed to watch out for you, but... contact some local builders (if you can find a nice range from high end to spec builders, you'll get a good idea on range of costs per s/f), and see if they'll discuss with you about expectations and general costs per s/f for similar homes/lots, cost increases the last few years, level of finishes.  While market forces can be hugely variable, you should be able to get a decent idea of what the range might be (expect to pay the higher end, and it at least can give you the option to cut back on finishes if needed).

Jul 7, 15 6:53 pm  · 

This is a very subjective questions and as others have mentioned, the costs can vary greatly depending on the size and level of finish you require. 

To give you a guide, the current average cost to build a project house in Australia ranges from $870 - $1,220 per m2. This can increase to $3,450 for a prestige level of finish and increase again for high end luxury.

Your best approach will be to get some plans you like and upload them to a takeoff and estimating service like to get an breakdown of expected costs.

Hope this helped

Aug 12, 17 9:35 am  · 
You're pretty much wasting your time doing this now and no one will be interested in giving you a free estimate for half a decade in the future.

Research similarly sized and situated new homes in the same general area on Zillow Trulia etc and you'll get a ballpark figure of current prices. Zillow has loads of data dating years back for nearly any scenario and locality you might be interested in. You can easily model that data to adjust for expected future inflation by dumping it into excel.

Start there unless you plan to pay someone to do this estimate for you, which will be obsolete five years out anyway.
Aug 12, 17 6:11 pm  · 

Probably similar tools on US websites as well. Just factor in five years inflation but that would be a complete guess the way the world is at the moment ...

Aug 15, 17 5:31 am  · 

Have you seen the prices for drywall lately??? A hurricane happens and the prices go up. 

Sep 29, 17 8:08 am  · 

People who build with drywall smh, apparently they never heard of the story of the three little piggies and the big bad wolf.

Oct 25, 17 7:10 am  · 

I can do the floor plans for you. I’m not cheap though. Contact me if your interested 

Sep 20, 18 7:28 am  · 

i assume recent editions

Mar 4, 19 3:07 pm  · 
On the fence

Give me the million dollars and I will make sure that you get a house within $100,000 of that.  No problem.

Mar 4, 19 3:52 pm  · 

$100-200/sf is laughable right now, basically NFW

Sep 19, 21 1:15 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

high-end in San Francisco is $400/sq.ft.... according to that spam wanker. I think it's missing a 0, or they meant sq.inch.

Sep 19, 21 1:58 pm  · 

A drywall contractor from Alabama with a finger on the pulse of coastal urban construction costs ...

Sep 19, 21 5:37 pm  · 

I had to wrack my brain a bit to understand how/why this thread got necro'd and NS hasn't even responded with snark yet.  Then I realized everyone is interested in seeing if the OP actually finished his house (6 years later).

Sep 20, 21 1:54 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Nah, it was necro’d by a spam bot 2 days ago. Bot was nuked.

Sep 20, 21 3:47 pm  · 
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