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Estimating Costs

Leading Online Home Cost Calculators

How much will this house plan cost to build is one of the most important questions you will have. In addition to StartBuild, a company that utilizes a state-of-the-art estimate and an up-to-date list of current pricing for materials and labor, we offer a useful guide called the Cost to Build Report. This document determines the total and particular expenses associated with constructing your unique house layout in your precise area.

Customer-selected materials are a crucial aspect that has a substantial impact on construction expenses. Options such as granite countertops, tile roofs, high-end windows, and exotic hardwood flooring can significantly increase the cost per square foot of a home’s construction, sometimes by more than 100 percent. StartBuild’s Cost-to-Build Estimator enables you to determine how much these modifications will cost in advance, well before breaking ground, rendering cost overruns obsolete.

Once $29.95 has been paid, StartBuild will send you an email containing your login credentials, granting you access to your personalized Cost to Build estimate. This report can be seen and downloaded for 30 days.


The hard truth that most sites don’t tell you is that you won’t actually know the final cost to build your home until it’s already built. Determining your cost to build is a process that narrows down the cost range with each subsequent step.

Step 1: Online Calculators

Others make you pay for them – check out our free construction cost estimator below.

Step 2: Historical Data

Look at homes recently built and sold in your area 12 months using a website like Zillow. Plug the historical sales data into the following formula:

(Final Sales Price – Land Sales Price) / Total Square Feet = Cost/SF

Step 3: Ballpark Cost per Square Foot

Contact local builders and send them a link to the house plan that you want to get a ballpark cost/SF for. has developed this free online calculator to assist you in developing a building cost summary. At Cost To Build we want your project to be a success and a big part of that success is designing a home that fits in your budget. The Cost to Build Calculator is an easy and fun tool that you can use to see the cost to build your dream home.




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Home Building Guide

How quickly can I receive a House plans Cost-to-Build Report?

Numerous house plans include reports that are immediately downloadable upon purchase. Others are emailed within two to three business days of order placement.

Where are the data on home construction costs utilized in these reports originate?

The building cost data utilized in House plans Cost-to-Build Reports is derived from real-world market data submitted by industry specialists, with data now produced for more than 430 geographic and economic markets across the United States and Canada. Listed below is more information regarding the calculated building costs:

The calculated costs include all materials, labor, and equipment required to construct the home in accordance with national building codes, as well as any adjustments known to be necessary for seismic, wind, frost, and snow-load conditions. Costs for permission fees, general contractor overhead and profit, and any sales tax applicable to your region are also included.

The costs reflect the home’s construction on a reasonably flat or gently sloping land. Lots with a gradient more than 15 degrees will incur additional fees.

Certain assumptions are made regarding the quality and amount of various building materials that are typical for the selected plan’s type, style, and size. Custom modifications or additions may not be represented in this value if they deviate from the norm for this type of construction.

The actual construction of the home may increase or decrease these costs, which are dependent on the finishes and amenities mentioned in the selected floor plan. We recommend a 10-15% contingency budget be included to account for these eventualities.

Our statistics are not based on national averages, nor are our reports “canned.” Each quote is customized based on the selected house layout, building quality, and postal code.

What components comprise a Cost-to-Build Report?

Our reports contain extremely detailed information on building supplies, labor, and overhead expenses, which includes the things listed below. It is essential to realize that the construction quality you choose can have a major impact on the final report. Check the assumptions we’ve made for the quality level you’ve selected before generating your report.


Concrete utilized for footings, foundation walls, basement floor slab (if required), garage floor slab, and any necessary concrete columns for post/pier foundation types.

Includes furnace, central air conditioning unit, and all metal ductwork required to distribute hot and cold air to the entire residence. The number of furnaces and air conditioning units in a residence is governed by its square footage.

Rough Framing:

The wood framing used to construct the home’s structure. All walls, floor joists, and roof trusses are included. It also covers any plywood used on the tops of roof trusses and floor joists, as well as the exterior of the walls. Also includes any wall and ceiling insulation.

Includes any material used to cover a home’s floors. Also included are any subflooring materials and carpet pads required. A conventional ratio of 80% carpet and 20% vinyl tile, unless the plan specifies a different flooring material, such as stone or hardwood.

Exterior Finish:

The substance that is applied to the exterior of the home’s exterior walls. This may include brick, stone, stucco, or siding in any combination.

The electrical appliances that are normally supplied by the builder when a home is constructed. Typically, this contains a stove, a dishwasher, and a garbage disposal. If additional appliances like refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, and garbage compactors are selected in the system, they will also be included. (They are typically not chosen.)


Home windows, including specialty, accent, and transom windows, as well as mirrors typically used in bathrooms. Horizontal sliding windows can be made of aluminum or high-grade wood, depending on the size and quality of the residence. Currently, the system does not include windows with high energy efficiency or insulation in its calculations.

Interior Finish:

Any material that covers the wooden structure of the walls and ceilings and completes the interior of a home. This includes all sheetrock, finished wallboard, and paint. Cabinets for the kitchen and bathroom are also included in this section. A paint finish is selected for each and every wall and ceiling.

The material laid atop the plywood sheathing and above the roof trusses. This often consists of asphalt shingles, but may also include metal panels, copper, and gravel-style roofs.


All residential electrical options This covers all outlets and lighting fixtures, as well as the primary connections from the available power source to the home.


This comprises all rough plumbing built prior to any finish, plumbing fittings for the bathroom, kitchen, and utility rooms, a normal house water heater, and the main water and sewer line hookup.

Depending on the size and quality of the home, these special features are selected by default. These consist of the following: Included in this category are water softeners, central vacuum systems, fire and/or burglar alarm systems, intercom systems, programmable lighting, home management systems, fire sprinkler systems, solar panels, swimming pools, hot tubs, and home theater systems.

What components are excluded from a Cost-to-Build Report?

Not included in Houseplans Cost-to-Build Reports are:

Any type of website design

Destruction of existing buildings

Purchase the entire lot

Arrangement of the lot

Flatwork (like driveways) (like driveways)

detached garages and other buildings


Alterations/alterations to the house plan

What falls under “Other Fees and Taxes?”
This anticipated cost breakdown also includes Overhead and Profit (shown below):

Permit costs are added to the total estimate of Cost-to-Build to cover the building permits that local governments normally assess for residential development. A $500 flat fee is added by default. Permit fees may be cheaper or greater, depending on the evaluation of your local government.

Costs related with local home design compliance and structural engineering are covered by extra fees. For this, we add 3 percent to the final estimate. Depending on the particular issue, these costs may be smaller or higher.

What does “Overhead and Profit” include?

Expenses incurred by a builder or general contractor for the operation of their business, but not linked to a specific project, are known as overhead. We add 10% to cover the contractor’s overhead expenses. Costs associated with overhead might vary dramatically amongst contractors. General and administrative expenses, office rent, utilities, office supplies, salaries for office workers, depreciation on office equipment, licenses, and advertising are examples of overhead costs.

Profit is formally defined as the difference between selling price and cost. Typically, profit is added to the cost of a construction-related project to allow the home builder executing the work to reinvest and expand the business. We tack on 10% for contractor profit. Profitability might vary greatly amongst contractors. 


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