Building My Own Home

I'm seriously considering building my own home, but I'm having trouble getting basic information about the cost and the amount of time it will take.

I have a lot in mind, which is somewhat unusual in that it's about an acre, but the building envelope is at the top of a hill and somewhat uneven. The house would be built at the crest of the hill with views on all sides, which is why it's worth the trouble.

The house itself will be between 4500 and 5000 square feet, with four bedrooms, a home office, and a pool.

I have a friend who is a general contractor and has offered to help if I want to take on that task myself (another friend's wife served as the general on their new home, and she handled it well despite having no experience at all).

I want to use top quality materials throughout.

Any idea what the approximate cost per square foot would be? What steps I'd take to get started (e.g., contacting a local architect or designer/builder)? Or, how long it would take to complete from start to finish?

I don't expect anything but the most general answers; I'm just trying to get a sense of what I'm in for. Jeff


I would say that a 4,500 plus square foot house is a pretty ambitious undertaking for a first time builder, but you wouldn't be the first to try it! I would definitely consider working with an experienced builder, perhaps in a collaborative way where you would be closely involved with the project.

An experienced builder in your local area would be your best resource for how to start the project and coming up with a ballpark cost. Without knowing your location, I can't begin to make suggestions, although there are definitely lots of resources available on Carl's website.

Good luck with your project,
David Moore, AIA

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Carl Heldmann