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January 18, 2023

Crafting Your Dream Home

At Sustainable 9, we specialize in building custom homes every day, all year round, 365 days a year.

Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the process, equipping you with all the essential knowledge you need before embarking on your house-building journey. 

Crunching The Numbers

Building a custom home involves several factors that you may not be aware of, including the cost of materials, labor, land, architectural designs, and interior design fees. These factors' prices may vary based on the location, time of year, and market trends. It can be overwhelming to calculate the overall cost to build a house in 2024 without considering these variables.

But don't worry, our team has got you covered. We have done the hard work of providing a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay as you begin to build your dream home. Please note that these are approximate numbers and may vary considerably from project to project. However, it should give you a good starting point to plan your budget.

  • Land: 50k – 1m+
  • Site work and land preparation: 30k – 70k
  • Floorplan and design: 30k – 120k
  • Foundation work: 40k – 90k
  • Framing: 250k – 600k
  • Exterior finishes: 100k – 500k
  • Major systems (HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing): 90k – 200k
  • Interior finishes: 350k – 1m+

After calculating the costs, you may find that the price range for building a custom home falls between $900k to over $3.5 million. However, if you're aiming to build a larger custom-built home on an eccentric lot with luxurious designs and unique materials, keep in mind that the prices will vary due to raw materials, labor, and design fees. The materials used, such as lumber and copper, along with the products made from them, will significantly impact your overall budget.

Lumber Costs

Lumber prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic prices sat around $1,272 per thousand board feet.

Despite a brief decline at the start of the new year, lumber prices have dropped in the past few months, and as of April 2024, they stand at $499.00 per thousand board feet

The substantial rise in building material costs resulted in nationwide delays and cancellations of construction projects. Although the cost has dropped significantly, it is crucial to plan ahead financially and have realistic expectations about the timeline for building your home.

MN Home Building Costs vs. The National Average

If you're planning to build your dream home in Minnesota, it's important to understand how the cost of building in the state compares to the national average. Fortunately, Minnesota falls near the national average cost of construction.

While homeowners in some parts of the country spend an average of $100 - $200 per square foot to build, the cost is considerably higher in Minnesota due to the need to weatherproof homes against extreme temperature fluctuations. For a typical starter or mid-range move-up home in Minnesota, the cost ranges from $275 to $350 per square foot (not including the land). However, for a luxury or custom-built home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $450 to $700 or more per square foot. 

Pros + Cons of Building From Scratch

Before deciding whether to build a new house or buy an existing one, it's important to consider the cost difference. While each option has its own set of pros and cons, the cost of building a new home can often be competitive with the cost of buying an existing home with similar square footage or even remodeling a home of a similar size.

It's also worth noting that building a new home can provide several benefits such as customization, energy efficiency, and modern amenities. On the other hand, buying an existing home can offer the advantages of an established neighborhood and a quicker move-in process. Ultimately, the decision between building or buying will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and specific needs.

Not to mention that in 2021, the real estate market saw a surge in demand across all price points, but in 2022, the market faced skyrocketing interest rates, both resulting in higher prices. The increased cost of construction materials such as lumber has also impacted the cost of building a new home, buying a new house or purchasing an existing one. Despite these challenges, building a new home can still be a smart long-term investment. 

Buying A Home vs. Building From Scratch

If you're considering building a new house, it's important to weigh your options and keep in mind that buying an existing home is also a viable option. While both have their pros and cons, the cost difference between the two can be negligible.

In fact, building a new home can often be just as cost-effective as buying a preexisting home with similar square footage or remodeling a home of a similar size. This is especially true considering the rising costs of construction materials, such as lumber, and the increased demand in the real estate market. Moreover, the current interest rates, which are hovering close to 7%, add to the challenge of finding affordable housing.

Ultimately, whether you're building a home, buying a new house, or purchasing an existing one, you can expect to fall within the same general ballpark in terms of cost. So, it's important to weigh your options carefully and make a decision that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences.

Buying a pre-existing home has its pros and cons, and one of the biggest downsides is the inability to customize it to fit your unique style and needs. However, finding a home that closely matches what you're looking for is still possible. Here are some other things to keep in mind:


Move-in Ready: no waiting for contractors or construction.

Cheaper rates on appliances and fixtures:  you won't be buying new, so everything may seem more affordable.

Building equity: even though you didn't build the house, you're still building equity and investing in a long-term asset.

Credit improvement buying a home is a great way to improve your credit score and build credit for future projects, such as building your own home.


Maintenance and repairs: older homes often require maintenance and repairs, which can be costly.

Limited customization: you won't be able to customize a pre-existing home to your specific needs and preferences, but you can undertake renovations to modify the space.

Necessary updates: major elements such as the roof, bathroom, or flooring can be costly, so it's important to understand the condition of the home before purchasing it.

Energy efficiency: older homes may not be as energy-efficient as newer builds due to outdated materials and building practices, leading to higher monthly utility bills.

Get Started

With 20 years of experience building modern custom homes, Sustainable 9 Design+Build emphasize energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness by utilizing our in-house team. Our homes are third-party certified, meeting multiple sustainability certifications, including from the Energy Star, EPA Indoor airPLUS, DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, and more.

Work with our dedicated team to build your high-performing home that is architecturally distinct, design-forward, and custom-crafted. Ready to build? Get started

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