Maybe you’ve dreamed of owning your own dream home but can’t find one on the market that looks how you want it to, or one that matches your personality and taste. If this sounds familiar, then you’ve likely weighed the options of building or buying a home, and, and if you’re reading this, then you may have decided to build! Congratulations on starting this incredible journey — now that you’ve decided to build, the first step is done, and now the work begins. Below we will break down the estimated costs of what you may expect as you start the home building process. It is well worth noting that these are just estimates, and the cost of your home build entirely depends on how large your build will be and the kinds of features you will be adding to it! 

If you would like a more precise estimate of your home build, then contact our custom home builders in Fort Collins. Our team has been building custom homes in the Northern Colorado area for more than 40 years, so no one has the expertise, skills, and meticulous dedication to craftsmanship like we do. Give us a call today to learn more.

Buying Land – $60,000+

The very first step in building a custom home — after deciding that you want to build one — is buying the land you want to build on. Not only will you have to purchase a lot, but you’ll have to have it cleared. This can include, but is not limited to, tree removal, having the land leveled, and more. The cost of purchasing an empty lot will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the lot and its location. Land lots in Fort Collins can vary drastically depending on where you want to build and how much land you want, ranging anywhere from $65,000 to $500,000.

However, the amount of money you pay can also depend on the real estate agent you have. They are the experts that will help you hunt down and negotiate a deal on land for the perfect location to build your house. They will be able to tell you where to find the up-and-coming areas so you can plant roots in a spot that will make your home more valuable over time. 


Site Work – $16,000+

Once the land is bought and you have the contract in your hands, now you need to get it ready for a home. The land needs to be cleared and prepared for a home, which may include hooking the lot up to utilities if it isn’t already. The cost of this will depend on your proximity to utility hookups as well as the city or town that you reside in, largely due to the fact that every area has different average prices for these services, but you may expect it to cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, if you are not yet connected to city water or sewer systems, you’ll need to do that as well, which can cost between $1,500 to $16,000. 

Once that is done, you will need to acquire a building permit, which will cost somewhere around $4,000 in fees. Plus, you may also be charged an additional $2,000 for an impact fee, which pays for public services like roads, parks, and water treatment in your new community. In this site work section, it would be a good idea to leave at least a $2,000 buffer, if not more.


Floor Plans – $5,000 – $8,000

 You can purchase a complete floor plan online, which can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. You can also choose to hire an architect to professionally create a unique floor plan that best fits you and your interest, but they can be expensive. If you have ideas of certain elements you want in your home but aren’t quite sure how to put it all together, hiring an architect to create a blueprint for your home is probably going to work best. 

Hiring an architect can cost, on average, around $5,000, but you should expect to pay more if you have more complex designs in mind. 


Foundation – $8,000 – $25,000

Building the foundation of your home is when the fun begins because you get to actually break ground on your project! Excavation requires heavy-duty equipment and expert operations that ensure the land is level before laying the foundation of your home. The three most common types of foundations are concrete slab, crawl space, and basement foundations. Slab tends to be the cheapest option followed by crawl space and then basement. A slab is just a slab of concrete that your house rests on. A crawl space foundation lifts the home a few feet off the ground, leaving room to crawl underneath the house. Basement foundations add room to your home, so they are more expensive to build.

Excavation costs could increase if building the foundation is harder than originally foreseen, say, because a bunch of large rocks are hiding beneath your plot of land, but you can usually expect costs to be anywhere from $8,000 to $25,000. Keep in mind that the foundation sets up the rest of the project for success, so set aside a few thousand dollars just in case and plan on these being expensive. 


Framing $41,000 – $51,000

Think of framing as building the skeleton of your home. This is when your home actually starts to take shape, so plan on spending quite a bit of money on this step as well. Floors will be framed and then covered with plywood. Walls will be framed, raised, and then sheathed with plywood or oriented stand board. Building the skeleton takes a lot of lumber, which can bring the cost to $36,000 or more. Trusses, a fancy word for the series of triangular structures designed to support the roof will add another $4,000 to the framing budget. Once the bones of your project are up and standing, then you’ll have to pay for sheathing, which are flat layers of boards that are placed to cover and protect the frame and trusses. 

Exterior Finishes – $35,000

Exterior finishes usually require a lot of material, as it covers the perimeter of your house, supports the roof and structure of your house, and prevents outside weather from getting inside, ensuring that your house will stay warm, safe, and comfortable. Exterior finishes can include installing any opening in your house like doorways, windows, and the garage. Finishes on the roof, like having it sheathed — covering the roof in felt and nail-on shingles — will also be included in this category. In total, external elements will cost anywhere from $35,000 to $41,000.


Major Installations – $32,000

Your major installations are all of the elements that make your shelter an actual house, the plumbing, electricity, and HVAC. These all cost around the same to install, $11,000 each. You could trim the budget a bit if you wanted, but it would only make repair and regular maintenance cost more. It is also important to note that these features don’t include the actual fixtures, like the sinks, toilets, and lights, rather, they cover the cost of getting your home hooked up and prepared for those fixtures. Everything in total will cost around $32,000 – $40,000.


Interior Finishes $68,000 – $75,000

This is when your home starts to look put together, and when things start to get really expensive. This is where a lot of your time, money, and energy will go to, as the interior of your home is what you will be interacting with every day. Things like the kind of countertops you want to appliance fixtures will need to be considered here. A small breakdown of what you’ll be adding in this stage are things like cabinets and countertops; doors, trims, and mirrors; flooring; painting; insulation; appliances; plumbing fixtures; lighting; and more.

These final steps could be much larger than our estimate depending on the features you are adding, like a fireplace, for example. 


Finalizing Costs/Miscellaneous  – $25,000

The final step of the home building process includes any other additions you want to make to your property, like outdoor structures, landscaping, and a driveway. These projects may be completed in the middle of the home building process or at the very end. Once everything is finished, this should cost around $20,000.

In addition to landscaping or outdoor costs, you want to leave aside some money for miscellaneous costs, or costs that are to go to the overall construction cost. 


Final Thoughts

Anyone wanting to build a custom home in Northern Colorado should do their own research regarding the specific costs of everything covered here. Additionally, once you have your total budget, it is generally a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room with a bit of extra money in case things end up costing more than you originally anticipated. If you are serious about it and have enough money to build your own house, then the next step would be to figure out what kind of loan you need. 

Call Splittgerber to Get Started

If you are ready to get started on building your custom home, then speak with the design-build team at Splittgerber! We are more than happy to walk you through our costs and what you should expect when you start building your custom home. We are completely transparent in our operations and consider it a great privilege to work with clients in the Northern Colorado area to help them build the home of their dreams. Find out more by contacting us today.