One of the most common questions that people have when getting ready to construct a completely new house is, “How much does it cost to build a house?”

It’s an understandable question — building a new home seems like it would be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, and most people are invested in getting the lowest price for their home. However, a quick online search will reveal that there isn’t really a simple answer to this question. 

For most people, learning how to budget for building a home is an important part of the process. After all, if you are trying to save money when building a home, then you’ll likely have to start figuring out the questions that you need to ask yourself early on. The thing is, the price of a new construction home can fluctuate pretty significantly as a result of a few different factors — and if you want to get the best deal, you need to know what these are!

Factor #1 — Your Builder

Choosing the right home builder is one of the most important steps of constructing your dream home. As you are interviewing professionals, there are a few questions to ask your builder that you should keep in mind to make sure that you are working with the right people.  Not only can asking these questions help you save money during the process, they will ensure that you get an end product that is perfect for you and yours!

For the sake of determining what your home will cost, always be sure to ask your builder about their pricing guidelines. It might be a bit awkward to discuss specific prices at first, but doing so up-front will lead to increased clarity and trust down the line. 

The most important part of learning the pricing guidelines is having a clear understanding of what you can expect to pay for the construction. The last thing that you want to happen is to have extra expenses blindside you! Some builders will just want to give you an overall estimate — but if you want to have as much information as possible about the pricing, it’s a good idea to ask them about more specific details. At this time, you can also ask about the cost of different upgrades to your home. 

Factor #2 — Your Materials

Unsurprisingly, the materials you use to build your home can have a huge impact on the price. Installing granite countertops throughout the home will increase the cost over a stock option, for example. 

When talking with your builder about the cost of the home, check to see how much it would cost to upgrade the base materials to higher-quality or rarer options. Most home builders will be able to customize almost any aspect of your home, so it’s just a matter of deciding how much you are willing to pay for premium fixtures.

This doesn’t just apply for your interior, either. Work with your builder and agent to create a list of materials and fittings — including a complete price breakdown — so you can get your dream home without being stunned by surprise charges down the line!

Factor #3 — Your Location

You probably won’t be too surprised to hear that location can play a huge factor in your new home’s price. Building a home in one of Washington DC’s hottest neighborhoods, for instance, is going to cost you more than an area where the market isn’t as competitive. 

This factors in at both a macro- and micro- level, too. The DC/Maryland/Virginia area is, on average, more expensive than less metropolitan regions, but there is still a lot of variety within the overarching market. Make sure to speak with your builder and real estate agent to find the perfect neighborhood that matches your budget.

Factor #4 — Your Land

As exciting as it is to plan all the details of your dream home, you can’t forget about finding the right plot of land. This is another aspect of the process that can depend greatly on your location, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about it as early as possible. 

No matter where you want to build your home — but especially if you are interested in living in Alexandria VA or another competitive market — you’ll want to get your land for the lowest price possible. In this sense, purchasing land is very similar to finding and winning a completely finished home. 

Most people who are looking for a home (and therefore, looking for land) are not prepared for the stresses of the process. This is why so many people make common mistakes when building or buying a new construction home; they simply don’t know how to get the right property faster, cheaper, and with minimal stress. 

This is why it’s so important to work with a high-quality agent. When you have a knowledgeable real estate agent, they will be able to do the heavy lifting of finding the right plot for your new construction home. Then, once you have discovered the perfect stretch of land, your agent will be able to help you win the land for the best possible price!

Factor #5 — Your Lender

One of the most important, and most overlooked, price modifiers on a new construction home has to do with your lending options. There are a ton of different lending options for those who are looking to buy and sell at the same time (popular loans include bridge loans and HELOCs) and even more loans for people who are building a customized home. 

The thing is, home construction loans can be complicated, confusing, and stress-inducing. It can be hard to know where to even start looking for the right lender — and that doesn’t even include the struggle of getting approved and understanding the loan terms!

Luckily, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Your real estate agent will be able to help you figure out which lender is the right fit for you and make an introduction. Then, once you’ve met with the loan officer and talked terms, the agent can help answer any questions that you have and put your mind at ease about the loan. Not only will this help reduce the stress of building your home, but it will give you a lot of clarity about how much you will be paying for your home, and on what schedule. 


As with many things in real estate, the most important tool that you can have in your belt is knowledge. That’s why, at the Keri Shull Team, we are dedicated to helping teach you how to build a home — so you can get your customized dream home faster, cheaper, and with absolutely zero stress!

In fact, we have new construction experts standing by to help you learn more — so contact the Keri Shull Team today! Just click here to schedule a time to speak with us about how we can help you build your dream home!