What Does it Cost to Have Just the House Shell Built

"Hello Carl,

My husband and I are looking to build as soon as possible. We are trying to put together a plan, to make sure we don't go over our head.

We already own a little over an acre and 1/2, and the house is a 3,351 sq ft colonial. We were wondering how we should estimate just for the house alone.

We want the shell, roof, siding, foundation, windows, outside doors done, and then my husband will do all the plumbing, electrical, HVAC rough-ins, and insulation. We would then need it to be sheet rocked and taped.

The rest we want to do ourselves, from the painting, to interior doors, to the cabinets and floors. Would we save a lot doing it this way, and how much should it cost for just the house as I described.

Thank you so much,


Hi Alicia,
Yes, you should be able to save money.

How much you save will depend on how much you pay to have the shell built and how well you can shop for labor and materials for the rest of the house.

Read my page on BYOH called Shell Builders that will answer most of your questions. There is also a video to watch on shell builders on that page.

What you need to do 1st is estimate the total cost using the “cost to build calculator” on my Getting Started page. It’s # 5 on the list and is easy and fun to use.

I would select the cheapest “class category” (#6) on the calculator, as you are only trying to come up with a basic house cost.

Using the calculator results, you can “cherry pick” those items you plan to do, add them up, and that will give you a “ballpark” idea of how much you might save.

You won’t have an accurate estimate until you start getting actual bids in your city and state. Good luck,
Carl Heldmann