Biggest Expenses When Building a House

You’ve likely imagined what your future home will look like. But without knowing how to start the process, it can be very overwhelming to some. Here you will learn the process in building your humble abode. 

Plans & Permits

If you are hiring an architect or draftsperson, they will help you with the intricacies of your home. You should note that if you are seeking a unique design, an architect might be your best choice. However, they tend to be on the pricier side because they have a higher level of required education and liability for the design. Architect pricing will range from a few thousand dollars to up to 10% of a total project cost. If you want to stay within a budget, a draftsperson can be of help. They have less liability and responsibility for the design but generally are significantly cheaper than using an architect.

After your plans are drawn up, it’s time for the permits. This is a tedious task, but legally required to be complete before construction starts. Permitting varies significantly from rural to urban areas and even geographically. Generally, permitting in urban areas is much more stringent and expensive. Permits can range from $3,000 to $120,000 or more depending upon location.

Excavation & Foundation

The part you’ve been waiting for! This is the step where you’ll break ground, or better known as excavating. In this process, heavy duty machinery is in use, and operators will make sure that your plot of land is optimal and level. If you bought underdeveloped land, then you will have to install a septic system and a well, whereas if you purchased developed land, you will prepare for utilities such as water and electric lines. Site prep work is very specific to a site. This can result in wide ranging cost variations. One site may have clay soils that require special work for the foundation. Another site may have drainage issues that will need to be mitigated. Costs to develop property to prepare for building can cost from 10 – 25% of the total construction budget.

After that’s complete, it’s time to pour the foundation of your home. If your home includes a basement, it will cost more money on materials because of how much more square footage there is to cover. With a basement included, you can expect to spend between $50,000-$80,000. 


The highest cost you’ll experience in the building budget for your home is when it’s time to frame. This is the skeleton of your home, and it takes a lot of lumber to build the bones. When purchasing high quality lumber, estimates can cost $25,000 for a modest size home to more than $80,000 and up for larger homes. That includes floors, walls and trusses— a series of triangular structures to support the roof. 

Interior & Exterior Finishes 

Arguably the second most expensive aspect in investing in the creation of your home is what you choose for your interior and exterior finishes. 

For your interiors, this includes: 

  • Cabinets
  • Doors
  • Countertops
  • Flooring
  • Drywall
  • Painting
  • Installation 
  • Appliances 
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Mirrors
  • Trims 

Exterior finishes are more important than interior finishes. It is easy to change a countertop or flooring in a future remodel. It is far more complicated to change siding, windows, insulation and HVAC. It is our advice to spend more on the best construction methods and products you can afford in the areas that are hardest to change in the future.  

With both of these in mind, you can expect to pay up to $115,000 for these finishes not including a fireplace, which would add another $ 3,000 – $25,000. 

Major System Installation

You don’t want to cut corners here! Investing in a reliable HVAC, electrical, and plumbing system is vital to having a well functioning house. This doesn’t fall into the category of interior finishes which include toilets, sinks, and lights. They are in a world of their own, and you can expect to pay from $45,000 – $75,000 on installation. 

Average Cost to Build in Oregon 

When figuring out the cost to build a home, you have to factor in the labor and materials. Keep in mind the square footage of your home as well. As a reference, a 2,000 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house will range from $350,000 for an entry level type home and increase from there depending upon the level of customization. This does not include site prep costs or land cost. 

Another cost to consider as well: 

Expense Type Amount
Off-site living accommodations  $8,600-$11,900

Stick around. We’ll dive into the estimated timeline for building a home. 

How Long Will it Take to Build? 

From start to finish, your home building process should be seamless. At New Era Homes, you can expect it will take close to a year in building your home. Here is the breakdown of what to expect: 

Project Planning | Permitting | Financing  1-3 months 
Foundation | Framing | Roofing | 

Rough Plumbing | Rough Electrical | Rough HVAC | Inspections | Insulation 

4-5 months 
SheetRock | Cabinets | Interior Trim | Flooring Finish Plumbing & HVAC | Finish Electrical Punch List | Final Inspection  6-9 months 
Completed Home 10 months 

Remember: Time frames are estimates, as each property varies. 

New Era Homes. A Home For You

Want to build your dream home in Central Oregon? Consider New Era Homes. We’ll be here for you every step of the way, perfecting every detail you desire.