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Can I Build My Own House in Texas? Costs & Considerations

gated residential house in Houston, Texas

Owning a house comes with many rewards. It can be a sanctuary for you and your family and an investment that earns equity. For some people, there’s a choice between buying a house and building their own. But is it possible to build your own house, for example, in Texas? The answer is yes—you can build your own house in Texas.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper and discuss everything involved in building your house in Texas. That way, you can have a clearer image of what needs to be done to make this vision a reality.

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Why Opt to Build Own House in Texas?

Recently, there has been a surge of people moving to Texas, which has a stable economy and plenty of land. As the state’s economy grows, it continues to attract more people. With that, there’s been an increase in housing demands.

As much as there are buyers who want to buy a read-for-occupancy (RFO) house, others are working towards building their own houses. If you are among those that would rather build than buy a house, the good news is that Texas is a good place to do it yourself.

building a house
Image Credit: paulbr75, Pixabay

Land Availability

Before building a house, you must research locations you’re interested in and find land. Think about the location and how it suits your needs. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of land, and the state has few land purchasing regulations.

As you search for the ideal place, a major consideration is your budget. How much money do you have to spend on a plot of land? The cost of buying land in Texas varies depending on location. Of course, to get a plot in prime areas, you will have to pay more.

Most people get a finished plot as opposed to raw land. A finished plot means you have amenities within reach of your new place. Regarding finished lot prices, places in and around Austin can cost between $69,500 to $1.5 million, while Dallas is $18,900 to $900,000. Remember that prices can change, so always find out the current cost of purchasing land in a specific area.

On the other hand, rural land rates average $3,725 per acre—a considerable savings. However, it’s essential to know that 70% of rural land in Texas is part of a conservation and watershed, so there are limitations on what you can do on the land (to preserve the water table). Comparatively, in Q1 2021, the average land cost in the metro Houston area was about $21,000 per acre.

How Much Will It Cost To Build A House In Texas?

Now that you have the perfect plot of land for your house, it’s time to plan the building process. This involves figuring out how much it will cost to build the property. Luckily, building a house in Texas is cheaper than in other states.

Nevertheless, a few factors will dictate the overall cost as seen below.

With these factors in mind, you can calculate the average price of building a home. Roughly, constructing an average house in this state would cost between $91 and $134 per square footage. The price increases as you add more custom designs to your building plans. Remember, the cost is not inclusive of the land purchase.

To put this into perspective, you will need $235,000 on the low, $447,500 on average, and $660,000 and above as the highest cost. About 50% of this budget goes to the purchase of materials.

You have to account for the price of crucial materials like wood, flooring, concrete, siding, and roofing. Currently, you can buy wood in Texas for $30.98 per ton. The materials you need to make concrete can cost between $1,000 and $10,000.

Flooring will depend on the type of floor you choose. Prices can range from $1 to $10 per square foot. Siding costs also vary from $2 to $15 per square foot. Next, you have to consider the price of roofing, which also depends on the type you choose. You can pay anything from $4,500 to $30,000 or more. Apart from the materials, you also need to include the labor costs.

Below different labor costs to budget for:
  • Contractor: $3,150 to $55,000 for the duration of the job
  • Electrician: $50 to $100/hour
  • Plumber: $45 to $200/hour
  • HVAC technician: $500 to $2,500/hour
  • Roofer: $19.58 to $300/hour
  • Framer: $7 to $16/square foot
  • Paver: $5 to $10/square foot
  • Landscaper: $50 to $100 per hour
housebuilding construction site
Image Credit: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

Do You Need a Permit to Build a House in Texas?

Once you have acquired your piece of land, you can’t just dive into the construction immediately. You need permits to start building a house. It is a mandatory process that can cost up to $2,000. But keep in mind the cost can vary depending on local regulations.

Local authorities in Texas have specific requirements before you can be granted building permits. These include a blueprint of the building (some will accept a drawing from a certified architect). The permits you obtain, as long as you start the project in 6 months, can last for the duration of the build.

A word of caution is never to skip building permits. If you ignore this process and push on with the project, you can incur hefty fines. Plus, not working with permits automatically disqualifies you from getting home insurance. Some local authorities can go as far as demolishing the house.

While the permit application process might seem long and tedious, it’s crucial. Not only does it guarantee your safety, but it also protects those around you.

To get the building permit, you must submit the following details:
  • Plot location and address
  • Name and contact details of the plot owner
  • Name and contact details for contractor, architect, structural engineer, and any other authority figure involved in the build
  • Use of the property
  • Occupation of property owner
  • Description of the owner’s occupation
  • Total valuation of the build

These are the main requirements, but specific areas can have more. Check with the local authorities to see which requirements they need from you before they can issue building permits.

Can You Be Your Own Contractor?

Now that you have the land, blueprint, and permits for your house, next is deciding who will build it. You can choose to hire a construction company or do it yourself. It’s entirely possible to be your own contractor, but there are specific requirements that you must meet.

First, you need to register a small business and get an operating license. This involves more paperwork and fees payable to the local authorities. On top of that, you also need to get your contractor license, which also has demands.

In Texas, a contractor not only needs to register a business entity, but they also require a contractor license. There are different types of contractor licenses, including the Local/Municipal authority issuance of:

  • General Contractor
  • Right-of-way Contractor
  • Specialty Contractor
  • Roofing Contractor
  • Home Improvement Contractor

When you want to be in charge of construction, you need a general contractor license. In that case, you need to visit your local authorities. In Texas, the local government offices are the only places to get a license and become a contractor.

The local authorities will require evidence of construction experience or education proving your qualification. Also, you need to get a bond for it to be successful. The amount you must pay for the bond varies from one local authority to the next. In hindsight, you might pay between $5,000 and $25,000.

You have to part with a premium equal to a fraction of the total amount of the bond. That’s the only way to get bonded and the general contractor license. However, you can do away with this whole procedure of being your own contractor and simply hire a certified contractor.

man building a house
Image Credit: Josh Olalde, Unsplash

How Long Does It Take to Build a House in Texas

Whether you hire a contractor or tackle the project yourself, it will take time to complete the work. An average home takes around 6 months, assuming you have the budget and everything else in place. However, this timeline can vary depending on the customization you need in the space.

Should I Buy Or Build a New House in Texas?

Whether to buy or build a house depends on what you like. RFO homes make it easy for you to move in and start living, but you must be content with another person’s design and layout. When you’re the contractor, you get to customize everything yourself. This allows you to turn your vision of a perfect home into a reality, but you must be patient until the house is ready.

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Thanks to abundant land, affordable building materials, and friendly local authorities, it’s possible to build your own house in Texas. All you have to do is find a plot of land to buy. After that, you can create a building blueprint and get building permits. Also, have a budget in mind of how much it will cost you. We hope this article has provided all the requirements and considerations to make your vision come alive.

You might also be interested in: Are LED Headlights Legal In Texas? What Colors Are Legal?

Featured Image Credit: ArtisticOperations, Pixabay


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