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

gated residential house in Houston, Texas

Owning a house comes with many rewards. It can be a sanctuary for you and your family. It can also be 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 delve deeper and learn all that’s 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. And as the state’s economy grows, it continues to attract more people who want to call this area home. 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. That way, you can turn the vision you have into a reality.

building a house
Image Credit: paulbr75, Pixabay

Land Availability

Before you can start building a house, you must first do your research and find some 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 means you will have to pay more.

Most people opt to get a finished plot as opposed to raw land. Finished plot means, you have amenities within reach of your new place. In terms of 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. Keep in mind 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 important 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 cost of land in the metro Houston are 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’s going to cost to build the property. Luckily, it’s quite cheaper to build a house in Texas than in many other parts.

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

With these factors in mind, you can now calculate the average price of building. Roughly, it would cost between $91 and $134 per square footage to construct an average house in this state. The price goes higher 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 note 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 that 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 note the price of roofing that also depends on the type you choose. You can pay anything from $4,500 to $30,000 or even more.

Apart from the materials, you also need to include labor charges.

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 don’t just dive into the construction right away. You need some permits to start building house. This is a mandatory process that can cost up to $2,000. But keep in mind the cost can vary depending on local regulations in the area.

Local authorities in Texas have certain 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 to never 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 important. Not only does it guarantee your safety, but of those around you. When you have permits, it means the building must follow set codes and standards in Texas.

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 owners occupation
  • Total valuation of the build

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

Can You Be Your Own Contractor?

Now that you have the land, the 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 quite possible to be your own contractor, but there are certain 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 its demands.

In Texas, a contractor not only needs to register a business entity, but you 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 your own build, you need the general contractor license. In that case, you need to visit your local authorities. In Texas, this is the only place you can get the license and become a contractor.

The local authorities will require some evidence of construction experience or education proving your qualification. Also, you need to get a bond for this to be successful. The amount you have to pay for the bond varies from one local authority to the next. In hindsight, you might end up paying 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 proceed to get the general contractor license.

Now, this does not have to be the case. You can do away with this whole procedure of being your own contactor and simply hire an already certified contractor.

man building a house
Image Credit: Josh Olalde, Unsplash

How Long Does It Take to Build a House in Texas

Whether you opt to hire a contactor or tackle the project yourself, it will take some time to complete the work. An average home would take around 6 months, assuming you have the budget and everything else in place. But, this timeline can vary depending on the different 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 have to be content with another person’s design and layout. As for building, you actually get to customize everything yourself. This gives you a chance to turn your vision of a perfect home into a reality. But you have to be patient until the house is ready.

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Conclusion

Thanks to an abundance of land, affordable building materials, and friendly local authorities, it’s quite possible and easy to build your own house in Texas.

All you have to do is find a plot of land to buy. After that, you can come up with a building blue print and get some building permits. Also, have a budget in mind of how much it’s going to cost you. In this article are all the requirements and considerations to make this 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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