What are the construction costs to build a house in Houston?

If you’re in the market for a new home, you’re likely well aware of how hard it can be to find a house that meets your needs. That’s because a house that’s already built was built for someone else. And when you’re searching for pre-built homes in a hot market, it can be even harder to find one that has everything you want and also meets your budget. 

Limited inventory, high listing prices, and specific must-haves are often the reasons people consider building a custom home instead of searching for a needle in a haystack. But while building a home may be the best option, it’s understandable that house construction costs can be a concern to many. 

Learning about what’s included in the cost of a build and how you can tweak your build to fit your needs and your budget can be helpful. Here’s the type of pricing you can expect in the Greater Houston area. 

Custom House Construction Costs

When people want to know the cost to build custom homes, they tend to focus on the cost per square foot. Yes, this makes up a huge chunk of what you pay to build a home, so it’s important to know this number. The average, estimated cost to build a home is around $250 – $300 per square foot. With those numbers, here’s what you can expect the projected construction costs to be for these common home sizes:

  • Estimated cost to build a 1,000-square foot home: $250,000 to $300,000
  • Estimated cost to build a 1,500-square foot home: $375,000 to $450,000
  • Estimated cost to build a 2,500-square foot home: $625,000 to $750,000
  • Estimated cost to build a 3,500-square-foot home: $875,000 to $1,050,000

Keep in mind, this is a general price range for the construction cost only. It’s a good place to start, but it’s not the final price you’ll pay. First and foremost, these numbers do not include the cost of the land you’ll need to purchase to build on your lot. You’ll need to include lot price in your budget, as well as consider several other factors that influence the true cost of building your dream home.

Factors That Affect The Cost To Build A Custom Home

These are the other things that contribute to the final bill other than the square footage and the land to build on. 


Prices will vary depending on where you build in the Houston area. For example, lot prices in West University are about $110+ per square foot, while Houston Heights prices are a bit lower at around $95 per square foot. On average, lots may cost between about $200,000 - $500,000.

Along with what area of Houston you buy in, you’ll also need to consider the location of the lot in terms of zoning. If the lot is located in a flood zone, it may be more expensive to build a home. The lot could be less expensive but elevating the structure above the flood zone adds more to the construction cost. 


The more features, rooms, amenities, and complex layouts a home has, the more expensive the build will be. That’s because a complicated build will take more time to complete. More time and intricacies mean you may be paying for more laborers or more hours. Think about it: which home will be more difficult and take longer to build – a basic, one-story, rectangular home with basic, square corners or a three-story home with dormers, angled walls, and a steep roof? While a custom home can certainly be built to your liking, it’s important to keep in mind that you may pay more the more multifaceted your preference is.

Level of Finish:

The level of finish refers to the type of materials you use to complete the look and feel of your home – think flooring, countertops, cabinets, windows, and fixtures. Obviously, the more luxurious or expensive the level of finish you choose, the more your cost to build will be. For example, hardwood flooring costs more than vinyl or linoleum, and granite countertops cost more than laminate.

Of course, the size of the home matters when it comes to the level of finish as well. Remember, more surface area means more material is needed to cover it. For example, 12-inch baseboards will cost more than six-inch boards. And, if you want certain accents – like crown molding – that will cost more, too.

Size and Components:

A major part of pricing is the cost per square foot, so it’s safe to say that the bigger the home, the more it will cost just from cost per square foot alone. But there’s another thing to consider when it comes to the size of the home – bigger homes often come with bigger amenities. For example, bigger homes may require bigger patios, multiple porches, and bigger garages. 

Again, more surface area will require more materials to cover it. That means a bigger build may require more flooring, bigger heating and cooling units, and additional ductwork and plumbing. Consider, too, the area covered. For example, a sprawling ranch will require a sprawling foundation, while a two-story home that provides the same square footage won’t require as large of a foundation or roof since you’re building up, not out.

If you tack on additional components or amenities like a pool, fencing, landscaping, hardscaping, or circular drive, you’ll also tack on extra costs to install these features.

Planning Services:

There’s a lot of work – and paperwork – that goes into planning your home. You’ll work with a number of professionals who provide their professional opinion and services to make sure your build is safe and meets your wants and needs. Such planning services you’ll pay for include architectural, engineering, interior design, and energy consulting. Each service is vital to a quality build and may cost thousands to tens of thousands per service. You’ll also need to pay for the permits and permitting fees that are required for your build, which can cost around $4,500 and go up from there. 

Exterior Elements:

When you build your dream home, you also have the chance to build your dream yard – an oasis, a place to run or relax, and your home’s source for great curb appeal. Depending on the lot you purchase, you may need to pay for sidewalks, walkways, and driveways, which adds cost. You’ll also want to get landscaping done, which can cost around $15,000, and you may want to consider fencing if you have a dog or young children. To keep your landscaping healthy, an irrigation system can be installed. To divert water away from your home’s foundation, you can also install a drainage system.

The Cost To Build Includes More Than Price Per Square Foot

Here’s a sample breakdown from one of our recent projects of all these different factors to show how the cost to build isn’t just about square footage. 

This pricing example is based on building a 3,500-square-foot and does not include things like complexity, finishes, or the lot purchase.

  • Construction cost: $875,000 ($250 per square foot)
  • Architectural services: $25,000
  • Engineering services: $7,500
  • Interior design: $5,500
  • Energy consulting: $3,500
  • Permits: $4,500
  • Landscaping: $15,000
  • Sidewalk and driveway: $10,000
  • Drainage: $3,500
  • Irrigation: $2,500

  • Total = $952,000

Calculating The Cost To Build Your House

Your price will be different than the one shown above. That’s because every build is different. So how do you calculate your own build?

You may be able to get a rough estimate on your house construction cost with an online “cost to build a house calculator.” However, you may need to already know your ideal home size and how much the materials will cost. These calculators are good for getting a very basic starting price, but will not give you a close estimate. That’s because they typically do not take into consideration the factors listed above, including the complexity of the build or the level of finish. 

To get the most accurate estimate of the cost to build a custom home, you’ll want to work with an experienced and trusted home builder, like Sabo Custom Builders. Discussing budget expectations and creating the right fixed prices and allowance budgets are steps that are baked into our building process.

Steps to Building a House

Along with cost, it’s important to know the process of building a home. Sabo Custom Builders is a full-service home builder that will walk with you through your entire home build, from start to finish. Here’s what to expect along the way. 

Step 1: Meet With Your Builder

Your initial meeting with us will include an in-depth, open conversation about your needs and wants, budget, and expected timeline from start to completion. You’ll learn more about Sabo Custom Builders and the benefits of working with us. This meeting will help us learn more about you, your commitment to the build, and the scope of the project. This information will help us make recommendations customized to you, your family, and your lifestyle.

It’s important to work with a builder you like and, more importantly, trust, so this meeting is an important first step in determining whether we’re the right fit for your custom home build.

Step 2: Plan Your Home Build

In this step, you’ll work with a team of professionals that includes architectural and interior designers, building consultants, and engineers to help you plan your design. Using historical data, recommendations from the design team, your input, and your target budget, we’ll create a custom plan that includes project specifications, pricing, and an allowance budget for finishes. 

Step 3: Build Your Home

After all the meetings, planning, and budgeting, this step will bring your vision to life. At this point, the permit will be issued and the construction of your home will begin. Project managers will perform daily job visits and you’ll be able to stay in constant communication through a unique client-portal system. Within the portal, you can send messages, review job logs, check out progress photos, upload documents and even make financial decisions. Once the build is complete, you’ll be able to have a final walkthrough and then move into your new home.

Custom Home Builders In Houston

It’s important to work with a custom home builder that knows the area, so they can give you recommendations and accurate pricing based on the location of your build. Because the Houston area is where we build, we’re well-versed in the local market, can offer local advice and top recommendations, and help you get to know the area. 

Working With Sabo Custom Builders

Sabo Custom Builders has been building dream homes into reality since 2009 and we work with top building professionals to make sure your home is safe, structurally sound, and a sight to behold. We’re proud to have developed great relationships with our clients, whether it was building a new home, garage apartment, or other custom living space. For more on what it’s like to work with us, check out some reviews from our past clients.

With a better understanding of house construction costs and a commitment to the project, you’ll be ready to live the life you love in a home that’s truly yours – and we’ll be ready to help. Contact us today to get started.

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Building a Quality Custom Home – What You Need to Know

- by Ed Sabo –

There are few things as personal as your home. Making the choice to build a custom home can be one of life’s most rewarding adventures. Without the right information, it can also be filled with unforeseen problems and delays. We want you to have the best possible experience in your home building process.

Building a Quality Custom Home - What You Need to Know, by Ed Sabo, is an essential resource. 

Over the years Ed has had numerous conversations and has been asked countless questions about the things you need to know before building a custom home. For Ed, it’s simple and straightforward because he's been a part of the residential homebuilding business since he was a kid. It’s what he knows best. But if you’ve never built a custom home or are considering building another one, then this book is for you. It provides the answers you need to make informed decisions.

This book guides you step-by-step through the “must-know” issues of building your dream home. Packed with wisdom and practical knowledge, Ed puts his years of experience to work for you by revealing the home-building secrets that could save you headaches, heartaches, and thousands of dollars.

Download the book here (for free):

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Book by Ed Sabo, Building a quality custom home - what you need to know
Building a Quality Custom Home - What You Need to Know
by Ed Sabo

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