NORTH Idaho Real Estate Pro


How Much Does it Cost to Build a Home?" - Answers to that Question....

It is not unusual to have the question "How much does it cost to build a home" directed at me.   I wish there was a simple answer.   However, it is far from simple.

Let's start with the type Floor Plan/Style your home will have.   

2-Story with bonus over garage - Tim Jank and Associates - Custom Home Builders - IdahoDo you want:

Rancher (one-level home), Rancher with a Basement (one-level home with basement), Rancher with a daylight walk-out basement (1-or more basement walls are not in earth), Rancher with a Bonus room above the garage, Rancher with a bonus room above garage and a basement or daylight basement?

Do you want a 2-Story home ( a home with the square footage equally distributed on each of the 2-levels) a 2-story with a Basement, 2-story with a daylight walk-out, 2-story with a bonus room above garage, 2-story with bonus room above the garage and a basement?

Do you want a Multi-Level home, a tri-level, four-level home (homes where the Living room dining room, kitchen and a ½ bath are on the main level and then you go ½ flight of stairs to bedrooms and baths and down ½ flight of stairs under the upper level to a ½ submerged basement (your windows start at ground level and go up 2-1/2+ft.) with a family room additional bedrooms & baths?   A four level would take you down below the main level of the home to a fully submerged basement for additional space.

Tim Jank and Associates - Custom Home Builders - Rancher w/Bonus RmDo you want a Split-Entry home?  A split entry is where you enter the Entry of the home on the main-level and then have to go up or down a full flight of stairs to go to the living areas.  Upstairs are usually a Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, bath and bedroom(s).  Down stairs are usually a family room laundry room, bath and additional bedroom(s).  The down stairs is ½ submerged into the ground (windows start at ground level and go up about 2-1/2+ft).


There are even more styles than these, but I think you get the idea of the many different Floor Plan Styles.

Let's say you want to build a home that has a total of 2,000 sq. ft. and you want the Style/Floor Plan that will give you 2000 sq.ft. for the LEAST amount of money.

Two Story - Tim Jank and Associates - Custom Home BuildersHere are the home Styles/Floor Plans in the order of Least to Most expensive to build 2000 sq. ft.

1. Split-Entry

2. Multi- Level

3. Rancher with Basement

4. 2-Story

5.  Rancher

The least expensive 2000 sq. ft. Style/Floor Plan to build is the Split Entry. 

But, let's say you don't like the idea of having to go up and down flights of stairs to get into the house or to go between levels.  Then you would opt to pay a little more for your 2000 sq. ft. by going to the Multi-level with allows you to enter the home without having to use stairs.  Once you are inside the main-level of the home the flights of stairs to the different levels are shorter flights or ½ flights.

Rancher with Daylight Walk-out BasementNow you have decided that even ½ flights of stairs are more than you want to deal with getting to and from the living areas you use on a daily basis. That would take you up another price level to Rancher with a Basement (1000 sq. ft. on the main level and 1000 sq. ft. in the basement).  Most of your daily living needs would be on the main level.  Living room, dining room, kitchen, bath, your bedroom.   The basement would have your Family room, hobby room, guest room, bath room and possibly a laundry room unless you want it upstairs. (Add more money for a daylight walk-out basement).

So, you don't like basements, walk-out or otherwise.  Then you would go up another price level to the Two-Story home (I think we all know what that is)

After all that... you have now decided that you don't like stairs at all... nada... zip... Well, you have just found the most expensive way to get 2000 sq. ft.  It is called "The Rancher" or One-Level home.  All 2000 sq. ft.  are spread out on the same level.  No stairs. 


Once you have decided which floor-plan best suits your needs for that 2000 sq. ft. home, you have to decide what amenities or upgrades to the home are the most important to you.  I.e., Granite, stone, tile, kitchen, baths, fireplace(s), lighting, moldings, floorings, siding, roofing, flatwork (patios, pathways).

To give you an example:  A full kitchen appliance package could be done for $2500 or it can be done for $100,000.   A full lighting package could be done for $600 or $60,000. It all depends on your specific needs and wants. (these are generalized prices not exact).


The lot (Land) you choose to build on will dictate the type of floor plan you will be able to build.  The slope, steepness, levelness, shape, width, depth, etc... of the lot (Land) has much to do with what you can build.  Different types of lots have different ADDED costs to build.   Do you need retaining walls, a longer driveway, additional engineering costs, etc? 

**That great buy you got on your lot (land) may have had a lot to do with your unseen "ADDED COSTS" to build.**

Are you starting to see the "DIFFICULT to ANSWER" Part?

If I had to generalize, using a 2000 sq. ft. Rancher on LEVEL & STABLE lot with average size driveway and utilities to the property (The per sq. ft. costs are relative to our area in Kootenai County, IdahoYour local areas per sq. ft. costs may or will differ):

  1. An entry level (simple design, inexpensive grade materials, no bells or whistles!) 2000 sq. ft. one-level  "Rancher" with a 2-car garage could be built for as little as $75+/- per sq. ft.
  2. A moderately priced one-level 2000 sq.ft. "Rancher" with a bit of higher end amenities and building materials (siding, roof, stone, etc) and a bit higher kitchen, bath, flooring, counters and lighting allowance could be $100+/- per sq. ft.
  3. A very nice one-level 2000 sq. ft."Rancher"  with a 3-Car garage and really good blend of higher end building materials, amenities, and style could be $140+/- per sq. ft. (See 2nd Photo "Rancher w/Bonus Rm")
  4. If you are the type of person that has to "HAVE IT ALL" you could be looking upwards into the $200-$300 per sq. ft. range.

I have barely touched on the things that determine your "COSTS to BUILD." This has been a generalization.  Your specific needs and/or type of land you are building on will reduce or increase the "Costs to Build"

The State, City, Town, and or distances to where building materials are available will also make a difference in "Cost to Build."   Accessibility to your property can be another issue.

As building material costs change... so do the "Costs to Build."  Also, when a market is "Slow" additional savings can be made due to the reduced "Labor" costs.

So, as you can see, the "Cost to Build" is very relative!


If you are looking to have a custom home built here in the Kootenai County, Bonner County, Shoshone County, Benewah County areas, please give me a call.  We are more than happy to work with you on your "New Construction" needs and provide you with actual costs for your specific needs.  Contact: Tim Jank & Associates (Custom Builders) at: 208-661-2008

Please contact me with any of your Real Estate / Relocation / Referral needs:


Pam Jank, CRS, GRI, ABR, CNE, RRS, Realtor(c)Pam Jank, CRS, GRI, ABR, CNE, RRS, Realtor(c)
Your North Idaho Real Estate Pro - Your Free Local MLS Property Search Link
208-661-2282 or Toll Free 800-829-2555 ext. 1275
Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty
1924 Northwest Blvd, Coeur d'Alene ID 83814


Equal Opportunity HousingEqual Opportunity Housing

 Lake Coeur d'Alene

Comment balloon 13 commentsPam Jank • May 19 2009 05:13AM


Pam, thanks for simplifing the differences in construction costs for different syle of homes.  Now buyers know why they get so much more square footage in a Split Entry (Split Level), muli-level home than in a 1-level home at the same price.

Posted by Tim Jank (Jank & Associates) about 10 years ago

The cost per square foot varies widely from town to town.

Posted by Jeff Jensen (The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states) almost 5 years ago

Pam - thank you for clarifying the different types of style/floor plans. This info will come in hand for those looking to design and build their home.

The cost per square foot will also vary widely on the builder and material used.

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) almost 5 years ago

I get that too - no simple answer. And, all of those interior finishes and quality levels add to the bottom line. Informative post, Pam. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) almost 5 years ago

Pam - Thanks for the very good report about how much does it cost to build a home.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) almost 5 years ago

Yes Pam, building a new home sounds simple, but never easy to step right in and accomplish.  Especially, outside of a new home subdivision with a proven builder.  

Posted by Dan Hopper, Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale (Keller Williams Realty Downtown LLC) almost 5 years ago

Great post explaining the great variations in building cost and the many reasons for that.

Posted by Pete Xavier, Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide (Investments to Luxury) almost 5 years ago

Building a custom home requires talented people with the ability to take your vision and put it in design and then build it. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 5 years ago

This was a very well done article. How many questions were answered? In Real Estate industry is all starts with location. Thanks for the read.

Posted by Gordon Wood, 480.226.2842 (Canyon Ridge Realty LLC) almost 5 years ago

Now, we have a frame of reference at least.  I used to do almost exclusively, new construction back in the day.

Posted by Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. (Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Pam - Thank you for the great report on how much does it cost to build a home.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) almost 5 years ago

Thanks for the Great Information!  People think they want to build until they realize how much there is to consider.

Posted by Jim Cramer, A Preferred Professional (EXIT Preferred Realty - 2021 E Main Street, Waynesboro, PA 17268) almost 5 years ago

Just starting to work with new construction.  It is harder than you would think.

After you choose your plan and tweak it to fit your needs then Take into consideration colors, cabinets, flooring, brick, vinyl and the list goes on.

It certainly adds up quickly.

Posted by Rose Mary Justice, Synergy Realty Pros (Synergy Realty Pros) almost 5 years ago