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The hidden construction costs of building a custom home

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Let’s face it – homeownership is one of the greatest things in the world. There’s really nothing that beats having a place to call your own. But realistically speaking, not everyone can afford to purchase their own home in today’s market. More and more people are actually thinking about building a custom home. While it definitely takes more effort, in the long run, it turns out to be far less costly than buying a premade home. That’s why you may want to think about building one of your own, if you’re thinking about homeownership. However, as with most such projects – there are many costs people don’t think about. And we’ll tell you about them right here!

Soil test and contour survey

So, you’ve decided that building a custom home is the right idea for you. That’s great, because there are many benefits to having your own custom home. First and foremost, you get the ability to model your home exactly to your needed specifications. And sure, even when you’re buying a home that’s already built, you can tailor it to your preferences. But realistically speaking, constructing it yourself is just way better in terms of freedom of choice. However, as we’ve mentioned above – there are quite a few costs you need to think of. That means you’ll have to learn more about moving costs, but also the expenses that come from the construction itself.

For example – while you might design the home, chances are you won’t build it with your bare hands. You need to hire a construction company or a team of builders. But as you’ll soon see, once you start browsing for such companies – you’ll first need to get a quote from them. And before that happens, they’ll likely have to perform soil and contour tests. Unfortunately, these are not free. They can cost you from $1,000 to $2,000. Plus, depending on the type of your soil, you may have to pay extra costs – if you’re building on rocky soil, for example. And that’s not even saying anything about attempting to build on a slope.

Site expenses

As we said above, building a custom home is great, but you have to be prepared for a constant influx of costs. And that’s why you should make a construction budget with an allowance for sizable operating costs. After you’re done with the soil and contour tests, for example, you’ll start dealing with building site costs. Unfortunately, giving you an estimate on these is pretty tough, because your onsite costs can vary quite a lot.

There are a lot of factors that go into this, not in the least the results of your soil and contour tests. Really, there’s no telling how much you could pay in this regard – anything from $10,000 to $60,000. And we’re not just talking about the expenses of building on a slope. People who want to construct their own homes should also think about the costs of connecting utilities, such as sewage, electricity, gas, water, etc.


When you start building a custom home, remember one crucial thing – you have to take care of everything yourself. People who have never constructed a home before often don’t think about all of the minor details that go into such a project. But once you get into it, you’ll see just what kind of dedication and financial sturdiness it takes for you to construct a house from the ground up.

To give an example – flooring is something many people don’t think about. After all, you have to consider what you’ll walk around the house on. Remember to include flooring in the building quotes you get from contractors. As for specific suggestions, it’s all really a matter of style and preferences. In some spaces, tiles are a good idea, while floorboards or carpeting might suit you better elsewhere. But choose your materials carefully, as you’ll be spending at least $10,000 on them.


Once you get your first building quotes from contractors, you’ll realize one crucial thing – many of these might not include some elements of your home’s exterior. Indeed, most quotes actually only include the dwelling you’ll be living in itself, without the additional elements. That means, for example, that you’ll have to construct your driveway separately and pay for it additionally. Here though, the amount of expenses you’ll be incurring depends entirely on your personal tastes.

You can probably get a driveway done cheaply, or you can get an extremely expensive one done for much more money. If you want to save up for a good driveway though, think about not doing one right at the start. You could cheaply make a DIY driveway yourself for the time being, and then save up for a good concrete one.

Plan changes

Once you get into the process of building a custom home, you need to realize something – having a good plan right from the get-go is important. Why? Because when we talk about the hidden costs of constructing a home yourself, the biggest one is definitely change. If you make any changes to your construction plan, you’ll be dealing with all kinds of additional costs. There might be legal costs to change your contract, as well as costs pertaining to penalty clauses if such exist. Plus, that also means extra material costs.

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