Back to Blog

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

Sammamish Mortgage
Published:
July 29, 2019
Last updated:
October 12, 2021
Costs of Building Your Dream Home in Washington State
In This Article

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 2021 housing forecast for Washington shows that housing inventory is still very tight. 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. You will need to take the time to find the perfect lot and location, then you will need to work with an architect to begin 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.

Consider the cost to build a house in both time and money

Building your own house could cost more per square foot than purchasing an existing home in Washington state. Not only could you spend more money to build a new home, you will also spend a lot more time on the actual home construction. The time devoted to choosing every detail from cabinets to windows to exterior finishes and 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 per square foot?

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 is $485,125. 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 $173.

Keep in mind that Washington state’s cost of living is higher than the national average so you will most likely be paying more per square foot than this estimate. If you are planning on building in King, Pierce or Snohomish county you can expect the cost to build a house to be significantly higher than the national average.

View WA State Mortgage Rates Oct, 21, Thu, 2021

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.

Lot/Land

The lot or land you build on 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 builders and construction crews? Is there an existing dwelling on the property? The cost of demolishing a home can be significant.

Location

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.

Permits/fees

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.

Foundation

Next the foundation will be laid out and the framework will be built. The vision for your home is coming to life as site work proceeds. Soon the results of your home-building project will begin to be visible.

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.

Utilities

Utilities include the essentials such as plumbing and sewage, electric wiring, and potentially a gas hookup. Your builders will have accounted for all of these when putting in the foundation. As the interior walls went up, space will have been designated for pipe fittings and electrical outlets.

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, you’ll need to budget for any unexpected expenses.

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 and have been serving the entire state since 1992, 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.

Get an Instant Mortgage Rate Quote Today

Other Blogs You May Like
Buying a New Construction Home: 4 Questions to Ask Buying a New Construction Home: 4 Questions to Ask
September 24, 2021

The thought of buying a new construction home has likely crossed your mind dozens of times. The idea of having a home that you can call yours from the start and with no previous owners is like starting with a blank slate.

Read more
Buying Land to Build a New Home On? Don’t Forget These Important Considerations Buying Land to Build a New Home On? Don’t Forget These Important Considerations
September 24, 2021

When most people talk about real estate, they envision buying an already-built house on already-landscaped property. However, buying vacant land and building a new home is a great way to ensure that you get the home that you want in the location that you want.

Read more

Show 4 more posts
from this category

Begin your home loan process today! Our mortgage advisors are standing by. Request a free personalized rate quote. (425) 401-8787