Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Home?

May 23, 2024

Deciding if building a home is cheaper than buying one involves a few key factors. We need to look at initial costs and what it means for your finances down the line. Building a home lets you personalize it and save on energy. But it’s costly. Then, there’s the example of a new $138,000 home in Oklahoma. It makes us think twice about the cost of achieving a dream home.

Key Takeaways

  • New homes typically appreciate four to six percent per year.
  • The design process of building a new home can take about five to nine months.
  • Budget between 1-10% of the home’s value for landscaping and exterior development.
  • Newer homes built to current housing codes are more energy efficient.
  • Maintenance costs for existing homes can accumulate quickly.
  • Owning a new home can defer maintenance costs for several years.
  • Market trends suggest it’s generally cheaper to purchase an existing home.

Initial Costs: Building vs. Buying

Deciding between building a new home or buying an existing one involves looking at initial costs. We need to think about many factors. These include the cost of land and the financing options available.

Land and Permits

Building or buying brings different starting costs, especially for land and permits. Buying land for a new house can be pricey, depending on where you want to live. Plus, getting all the permits needed costs more money and takes time. These expenses are key in deciding the overall cost of building a home.

Construction and Labor

After getting land and permits, building the house is the next big step. This includes paying for materials and workers. Costs can change if there are problems or if material prices go up. Building a house usually takes five to nine months, not including time for bidding and permits.

Financing Options

Getting a loan for a new build is different from buying an existing house. Loans for building have higher interest rates and shorter terms because they’re riskier. On the other hand, buying a house often means better loan conditions. This can make the buying process less stressful and possibly cheaper, especially if it’s a buyer’s market.

Looking at initial costs shows that building and buying each have their own money matters to think about. From the cost of land and permits to how much building a house costs and the details of loans, it’s important to understand these aspects. They help us make smarter choices.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Considering the upkeep of an older home against a new one involves many aspects. We need to think about initial costs, the condition of major items, and ongoing maintenance expenses. Let’s explore the challenges and benefits of both situations.

Older Home Maintenance Challenges

Older homes bring unique challenges. Their construction materials might age, leading to more repairs. For example, a furnace may last 20 years, with replacement costs at about $4,551. HVAC systems can have just a 15-year lifespan, with replacements over $7,000. Shingled roofs often last 25 years, beginning at $8,379 in cost.

This significantly affects home maintenance costs and adds to property upkeep.

home maintenance costs

Also, older homes’ mature landscaping can increase their value yet demand more care. Maintenance and replacement of these elements can be pricey. Furthermore, the wear and tear over years may necessitate remodels or renovations, increasing the upkeep load.

New Home Maintenance Benefits

New homes offer distinct advantages for maintenance. These include more durable modern materials and beneficial warranties. Consequently, this reduces maintenance costs and simplifies long-term care.

New constructions typically don’t need any major maintenance for up to 10 years since everything is freshly built. Another plus is the chance to customize your home. This avoids early renovations and lowers costs to adapt the home to your liking.

Though new homes may start without mature gardens, the opportunity to design them from scratch is exciting. It allows homeowners to shape outdoor areas according to their preferences. This flexibility is great for balancing the initial investment against maintenance costs.

Building your home

lets us personalize our living spaces, potentially saving on costs compared to older homes.

Customization and Personalization

Creating a new home is an exciting adventure. It lets us personalize every space, from ground up to the roof. This approach gives us unique home design choices. It makes sure every corner shows our style and likes.

Designing Your Dream Home

Designing our dream home opens up many options. We can choose custom kitchen designs and select perfect paint colors. This ensures our living space is just as we wish. Custom builders also help keep us within our budget. This way, our home design choices are affordable.

According to the US Census Bureau, building a contractor-built, single-family home in 2022 took over 10 months. This gives us plenty of time to add every detail we desire.

Renovating an Existing Home

Renovating an existing home has its perks and challenges. It lets us customize but within the existing structure’s limits. Costs can rise quickly, especially with unexpected repairs.

Yet, updating an existing home can boost its charm and fit our lifestyle. It’s important to know that land availability and the option to build new homes differ by location. This influences our choice between renovating or building anew.

Whether we start from scratch or update an existing place, making it ours is priceless. Financing options like construction loans help smooth the path by offering flexible financial solutions for our project needs.

Building Cost Comparison in Northern Utah

The cost of building a home in Northern Utah varies due to a few factors. These include the price of materials and labor in the area. Knowing these costs helps those looking to build a home here.

Regional Material and Labor Costs

In Northern Utah construction expenses, labor makes up 36% of the home building cost. For a home that’s 2,100-square feet, the outside build cost is about $150,900. You pay for big things like:

  • Foundation costs: Around $20,900, depending on the type of foundation.
  • Framing costs: On average $49,622, influenced by materials and the lumber market.
  • Sheathing: Usually $11,100, based on the materials used and how much is needed.
  • Roof system installation: Can be $10,000 to $20,000, varies with the roofing materials and house size.
  • Exterior window and door installations: From $12,000 to $20,000, averaging $14,615.
  • Siding installations: Between $10,000 and $17,000, averaging at $12,310 for builders in the U.S.
  • Concrete slab flatwork and driveways: Around $10.55 a square foot, totaling $4,000 for this size house.

The inside of such a house costs about $101,300 on average. This includes the electrical system, HVAC, insulation, plumbing, floors, and appliances. Just wiring the house costs around $11,917. Adding connections like sewer, gas, and water averages $2,700 to $6,000. This adds a lot to local building costs.

Examples of Local Projects

Let’s look at some real-world project examples in Northern Utah. Clyde & Co., a local builder, reports an average building cost of $538,000. This includes land and construction. It’s below the average home price of $635,000 in Northern Utah, showing a clear financial advantage. Landscaping costs, around $7,500 or 2.5% of a new home’s budget, add value by planting gardens and trees. This can also make homes more energy-efficient.

As the fourth most affordable state for building a home, Northern Utah stands out. States like Hawaii, California, and Colorado are more expensive. Building is often cheaper here than buying a home. The many cash buyers in Southern Utah highlight the real estate market’s special conditions. This is also shown through seller deals, loans, and discounts like the 2-1 buydown loan.

Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Home?

When we think about building a home compared to buying one, we need to look at a few important things. Building a new home can save money over time. New homes usually gain value faster than older homes, which depend more on their condition.

But building a home has upfront costs. You need land, which costs money, and you have to pay for permits, which can be up to $2,000. Building a home takes about five to nine months and might get delayed by six months because of permits. When you build, down payments are usually higher. Yet, you can decide how your home looks and feels.

Think about upkeep and how much energy the house uses. Old homes, especially those built before 2012, often need more energy. They also need more repairs and upgrades, which makes them cost more over time. New homes use less energy and don’t need as many repairs right away.

There’s also the yard to think about with new homes. You might spend 1-10% of the home’s value on your yard and outside area. Owners of older homes often have to fix up the outside, which costs extra.

The average new home cost $430,700 in March 2024, while existing homes were $393,500. But, the money you save by making your home just right, using less energy, and spending less on fixes can make building worth it. In places like Northern Utah, where property values keep going up, building a home can be a smart choice in the long run.


As we wrap up our final thoughts on home building, it’s key to look at the big picture. When thinking about building vs buying, know that building a home has its perks. You get a home that suits your taste, is more energy-efficient, and might have a higher resale value. Homes built after 2000 tend to be 21% more energy-efficient. This means big savings over time.

final thoughts on home building

But, there’s the up-front cost and hurdles to building. On average, building a home costs about $284,463. That’s cheaper compared to buying one for around $408,800. Places like Texas, with lower labor costs and lots of land, might tip the scales towards building. Still, consider the risks like delays and going over budget.

On the flip side, buying an existing home allows you to move in faster. It can also be less costly at the start. The average home price in Texas is about $315k. Plus, closing costs are 30% less than the national average. This makes buying an existing home appealing for quick and sometimes cheaper options.

Choosing to build or buy depends on what you value most. If you’re building, you get to decide on the design and materials. This can lead to better warranties and fewer maintenance costs. It makes for a better living space in the long run.

Think about every angle, including the market and where you live, to make the best choice. Whether you build a custom home or buy an existing one, each path has its benefits. Both can greatly improve how you live.

Reach Out to Clyde & Co. for Your Home Building Needs

If you’re thinking about building your dream home in Northern Utah, getting personalized help is key. Clyde & Co. offers expert construction advice to help you understand building costs. We help with everything from comparing material costs to exploring financing options, supporting you at every step.

Our team knows the local market inside out and is committed to excellent service. We’ll guide you smoothly from planning to the finished home. With Clyde & Co., you get help with permits, designs, and staying on budget. We take pride in making your dream home a reality without overstretching your finances.

Ready to start your home building journey? Reach out to Clyde & Co. For a detailed talk about your project, call us at (385) 214-6247. Our trusted experts will guide you through every part of the process. We ensure your home construction investment is worthwhile, leading to a beautiful, cost-efficient home.


Is it more cost-effective to build your own home?

Yes, building your home can save money, especially for custom designs. You must think about many things like buying land, getting permits, and the building costs. Energy-saving features and modern materials can also lower bills later.

What are the initial costs involved in building a home?

The first steps involve buying land, permits, and paying for construction. Costs change based on where you build and the project size.

How do construction and labor expenses compare to buying an existing home?

Building a home usually costs more upfront than buying an existing one. This is due to new materials and personal touches. But, you’ll likely save on future repairs and updates.

What financing options are available for building a home?

You can look into construction loans. They’re different and sometimes pricier than regular home loans. This is because building is riskier for lenders.

What are the maintenance challenges of older homes?

Older homes may need more repairs. Their materials are often less sturdy, leading to more upkeep and higher costs.

What are the maintenance benefits of new homes?

New homes use tough materials and may come with warranties. This cuts down on early repairs and keeps the house in good shape longer.

How does customization differ in new builds versus existing homes?

New homes let you pick everything, fitting your style perfectly. Renovating an old home means working with what’s already there. This can add to both costs and time.

What regional factors affect building costs in Northern Utah?

In Northern Utah, things like material prices, worker wages, and the economy can change building costs.

Can you provide examples of local building projects and their costs?

Clyde & Co. shows real costs for building in Northern Utah. Looking at their projects can help you estimate your own costs.

Is building your own home more affordable in the long run in Northern Utah?

Despite higher early costs, the perks like energy savings, more home value, and custom design make building a good deal over time.

How can I get personalized guidance on building my own home?

Reach out to Clyde & Co. at (385) 214-6247 for advice. Their team knows all about building homes and can guide you in making smart choices.

Need a Contractor?

We offer all things general contracting including remodels, new construction, construciton design, and more. Reach out now to get a free estimate.


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