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What Are The Costs Of Building Your Dream Home In Washington State?

What Are the Costs of Building Your Dream Home in Washington State?

Summary: In this blog post we cover the costs of building your home. You’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of building your own home versus purchasing an existing home, and some of the factors that play into determining the price of the building. When you’re not finding your dream home, building your perfect home can be a great solution.

Finding your dream home certainly has its challenges. The time that it takes to find that home that you have been thinking about, in the perfect location for you, while also fitting into your budget can quickly add up and feel daunting. The 2020 housing forecast for Washington shows that housing inventory is increasing from 2019, however not by much. Building your dream home could be a great solution for you because you’re in control of the location and involved in choosing the home’s specific traits which truly makes it yours. We’ve put together our thoughts on why building your new home could be the best option for you and what to think about while calculating the cost of construction. Read on for more details.

Advantages of building a home in Washington

Building your own home can be very exciting because you get to choose every detail and create your dream home from the ground up which makes it feel like your own from the get-go. You also get to choose the location which is a critical factor in choosing your primary residence, vacation home, or investment property. Once your new home is complete you can rest easy knowing that since everything in your home is new you most likely won’t have to replace anything any time soon unlike moving into an existing home, which could end up saving you some money.

Related: Best Investment Properties in Seattle, WA

Disadvantages of building a home in Washington

Like most situations, there are some downsides to building your own home. Building your own house could cost more than purchasing an existing home in Washington state. Not only could you spend more money on building a home you will also spend a lot more time on the construction of your new home. You will need to take the time to find the perfect lot and location, then you will need to work with an architect to beginning planning out the design and blueprints for your dream home. Before you get too far in the process you need to think about permitting with your local city/county. Unforeseen issues with Critical Area Designations or stormwater management can force you to change your plans.

Time spent during construction is no easy feat either. The time devoted to choosing every detail from cabinets to windows to landscaping quickly adds up and construction time can easily be a year depending on the size of your home. Compare this to purchasing an existing home where you could move in shortly after your home loan closes which could be between 30 and 45 days.

During the home building process, your new home will not be livable for a while so you will need to be able to cover the cost of your current home along with the home you will be building.

Planning and managing the construction process can be a stressful endeavor so be prepared.

What’s it going to cost?

A complete home construction project has a lot of variables. Starting with location, the cost of the land factors in the acreage, the area in Washington in which it is located, quality of land, etc. For instance, the cost of land in King County can be significantly higher than land near the Tri-Cities. If you are looking to build a vacation home, the cost of waterfront property could vary from land located in a forest area.

Next is the home itself. How big will the home be? How many stories? What kinds of details are on your wish-list and what quality of materials are you planning on using? All of these aspects and more will play a role in determining the cost to build your home.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average cost to build a house in 2017 was $428,000. Using that home price and basing it on a 2,800 square foot single family home we can estimate the average cost per square foot would come out to $153. Keep in mind that Washington state’s cost of living is higher than the national average so you will most likely be paying more than this estimate. If you are planning on building in King, Pierce or Snohomish county you can expect the cost of building to be significantly higher than the national average.

View Washington State Mortgage Rates Aug, 05, Wed, 2020

It’s all in the details

As you read previously there are many factors that play into the cost of constructing a home.  Here are some specifics to start thinking about before deciding to build your home.


This is probably the most significant purchase of the entire construction project. The size of the lot will help determine the size of home you can build. Whether the land already has the essential utilities such as gas, water, and electricity can make a huge difference in cost. Also take into consideration as to whether the land is ready for construction. For instance, will you need to build any retaining walls before you are able to lay a foundation? And is the property accessible to the builder’s and construction crews? Is there an existing dwelling on the property? The cost of demoing a home can be significant.


The location of the land that you purchase can play a significant role in your budget for building a home. Prices can vary around the state of Washington, for example, land near a more developed area such as Kirkland or Seattle with little inventory will cost more than land in a less developed area like Vancouver or Yakima.


Once you’ve decided on a place, you’ll work with an architect to begin laying out the design of your home. With this, you need to cover the cost of building permits and fees. After your design is approved by your local jurisdiction you will then begin working with a contractor where you will discuss your budget and timeline for construction. Plan on paying your architect and contractor hourly or with a lump sum. There are pros and cons to both payment methods so make sure you research architects and contractors and go with one that you feel the most comfortable with.


Next the foundation will be laid out and the framework will be built. The vision for your home is coming to live!

The exterior of the home

It’s on to building the shell of your home, this includes the roof, windows, walls, and doors. Building your home is an opportunity to go green such as installing solar energy panels or energy-efficient windows. We found some benefits to going green and you can read more about them on our blog.


Utilities include the essentials such as plumbing and sewage, electric wiring, and potentially a gas hookup.

Interior of the home

Think cabinets, flooring, kitchen and bathroom sinks and countertops, and lighting fixtures. The cost of interior details can vary dramatically depending on the quality of materials you are using and the look you’re going for.

That’s a wrap

Last but not least you’ll want to put aside a budget for clean-up of debris leftover from construction and start working on the landscape of the lot around your new home. And like any project budget for any unexpected expenses.

For more details about potential costs check out this infographic and additional information. Then take a look at our tips on saving money during construction.

Let’s get started

Ready to begin hammering out the plans for your new home? Contact us today and we’ll help you decide whether building a home or purchasing an existing one is best for you. Then we’ll walk you through each step of the home financing process and you will be on your way to your dream home.

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Looking to Apply For a Mortgage?

Do you have questions about mortgages? Are you considering applying for one soon? If so, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local mortgage company from Bellevue, Washington serving the entire state, as well as Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. Our experts are on standby ready to work with you to help you choose which one of our mortgage programs is best for you. Contact us today with any questions you have about mortgages.

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