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The Average Cost to Build a House in Georgia

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If you want your dream home, one way to ensure it’s exactly what you want is to build it instead of buying one already built to someone else’s specifications. So how much does it cost to build a house in Georgia? Well, it depends. The average cost to build a house in Georgia is between $300,000 and $500,000, and can range more widely from $200,000 on the low end to $750,000 on the high end.

The average cost for a 2,000 square foot house in Georgia is $350,000 to buy and $400,000 to build from the ground up, According to Fixr. So, is it worth the extra $50,000 for your dream house and can you make it a little cheaper? It depends and absolutely, if your dream home customizations allow for a bit of budgeting.

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To make your dream home budgeting process a little easier, we’ve done the research and consulted the experts so you can realistically price each building phase.

Cost to build a home in Georgia, step by step

When you’re looking to build a home, there are a lot of things you need to budget for, both time and money-wise.

Building Phase  Average cost nationwide
Foundation $9,046
Framing $14,000 – $32,000
Roof $5,000 – $9,500
Siding $10,750
Appliances $10,875
HVAC System $7,000
Plumbing System $4,080
Electrical System $1,436
Building Permits $1,420
Finishes and Fixtures $42,000 – $175,000

Buying a plot of land ($3,960 per acre)

In order to build a house, you need somewhere to put it! So step one is buying the plot of land to build your dream home. If you are buying a tract home or spec home from a builder, the cost of the land will be factored into the total cost of the build and you will likely be able to choose your lot from a limited number of options.

Georgia is a very land-diverse state with everything ranging from waterfront to inner city to mountains. Consider what your ideal neighborhood looks like to determine where in Georgia you’re looking to buy and how much land you’ll need for the home you want.

The best way to get a sense of what land in your desired area will cost is to google “land for sale” and your city or county name. You can also check land-specific portals like landsearch.com or landwatch.com and zoom in on your desired area. This will give you a good idea of both what’s available and what the land will cost. This is also where an expert buyer’s agent will come in handy — your agent will be able to use their network and the MLS to find listings that match your criteria for the home you are looking to build.

According to the USDA, U.S. cropland values averaged $5,050 per acre in 2022 and the average value per acre of land in Georgia is $3,960, well below the national average, which is good news for your budget.

Foundation ($5.60 – $7.50 per square foot)

Once you have your land secured, it’s time to lay the foundation. What you need to budget for your foundation will depend on the size of your home.

In Georgia, the average concrete foundation cost is $5.60 per square foot for a 4” reinforced slab on grade and $7.50 per square foot for 6” reinforced slab on grade.

Waterproofing and French drain installation are additional costs and average $27.02 per square foot and $19.41 per linear foot (for exterior drain) respectively.

Considering foundation repair in Georgia averages $200 per hour plus materials cost, it’s better to have it done right at the beginning.

Framing ($4,028 – $4,780)

As with everything else on the list, framing costs will depend on where you are building your house and how big your house is. Framing a 1500 square foot house will be a lot cheaper than framing a 3000 square foot house. Here are some estimates from Manta:

  • In Atlanta, the average cost for framing in 2023 is $4,610, with an overall range from $922 and $8,928.
  • In Savannah, the average cost for framing in 2023 is $4,780, with an overall range from $956 and $8,605.
  • In Bainbridge, the average cost for framing in 2023 is $5,110, with an overall range from $1,022 and $9,119.
  • In Albany, the average cost for framing in 2023 is $4,028, with an overall range from $805 and $7,252.

Remember that these numbers do not include material costs, building fees, sales taxes, permits, or any applicable general contractor fees, all of which vary by city, county, and the materials used.

Roof ($8,837)

Your roof cost will also depend on materials and size, as well as roof pitch, with metal roofing costing more than shingles.

There are many different roofing materials you can choose from, and the price varies for each. Your options include everything from TPO or PVC membrane for flat roofing, to 30- or 50-year shingles, to slate, and to concrete tiles. Your architect should be able to advise you on what will work best for your house design.

Unlike a replacement roof, installing a new roof requires additional materials such as vents, flashing for around skylights, and chimneys and underlayment. So definitely ask your roofer for a comprehensive quote.

Siding ($2 – $10 per square foot)

Siding protects the exterior walls and provides additional insulation, potentially lowering your heating and cooling bills. Here are some estimates from Homeyou:

  • Vinyl siding is the most commonly selected siding material nowadays as it’s low maintenance and affordable at $2-$7 per square foot, including installation.
  • Wood siding is more environmentally friendly but requires more maintenance to protect it from bugs and mold. It’s also a little more expensive at $3-$10 per square foot, including installation.
  • Metal siding is another option and is more popular in areas with harsh weather conditions and costs $2-$8 per square foot including installation, depending on whether you choose aluminum or steel.

Appliances ($10,875)

Appliances can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars so it’s better to set a budget for appliances, list out what you need, and then shop around for deals on the items you need. According to HomeAdvisor, appliances for new home builds will cost you anywhere between $10,875 and $24,400 depending on the quality and brands you choose.

A refrigerator, a washer and dryer, oven, and a dishwasher are the big expenses and ones you probably won’t take with you from where you’re living now.

Key Systems

Plumbing installation average costs range from $2,280 to $5,120 as rough-in plumbing pipe installation for new construction averages $4.50 per square foot.

Electrical wiring installation costs average $2 to $4 per square foot. Each electrical circuit installation is $100 to $150 with most areas requiring two or three outlets or switches to stay up to code.

HVAC costs will also depend on what you’re installing. A new AC unit and ductwork installation will average $6,000 to $12,000. A typical heat pump will cost $3,800 to $8,200. Heat pump tax credits are available to help homeowners cover some of the cost of heat pump purchase and installation up until 2032 (up to 30% of the costs, up to $2000).

Permitting (Variable)

Depending on where your land is located, you may need any of the following permits to build your house:

  • Building permit ($1,200 to $2,000)
  • Plumbing permit ($50 to $500)
  • Electrical permit ($10 to $500)
  • HVAC permit ($250 to $400)
  • Grading permit ($100 to $1,000)

For permit fees specific to your city or county, look to the government website for a building permit fee schedule. These permits will usually have a base permit price with additional costs per square foot of your project and separate permits for key systems. Your contractor will typically be the one responsible for applying for and pulling all permits for your build.

Finishes and fixtures ($42,000 – $175,000)

What you spend on finishes and fixtures is up to your budget and your tastes. Taking a bathroom as an example, you can easily spend as little as $1,500 or as much as $15,000 in Atlanta depending on your preferences.

Flooring installation costs $12.50 per square foot on average in Georgia, with cheaper vinyl flooring costing just $3 per square foot and high-end hardwood flooring being as much as $22 per square foot.

Installing an exterior door averages at around $1,147 in Georgia for both materials and installation, with labor costing anywhere from $75 to over $1200 per exterior door, and materials ranging from $50 for a screen door to over $6,000 for a telescoping door, sliding glass door, or folding glass door.

Installing an interior door is usually a bit cheaper, averaging between $360 and $1,155, depending on the type of door. Labor usually costs between $100 and $300 per door. Most interior doors will cost $50 and $500 per door, although wood french doors usually start at $600 and can cost as much as $4,500 per door.

Installing windows can cost anywhere from $2,982 all the way up to $9,815 per window, with the average window installation costing $6,398 in Georgia. The type of window, number of windows, and amount of labor required to install the window all factor into the overall cost.

If you’re buying a piece of land to build your own, it might have sewer at the street. In which case all you’re doing is tapping into that sewer. If there’s no sewer available, where you are, you just wouldn’t want to buy some land and come to find out later that you couldn’t put a septic tank on the land.
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    John Durham
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Additional costs of building a custom home in Georgia

Hiring an architect (9.49% of construction costs)

You should budget 9.49% of your construction costs for your residential architect in Georgia. If your home-building budget is $150,000, that’s $14,235. If you’re planning to spend $350,000, that would be $33,215.

Land survey ($450 – $630)

Land surveying is generally quoted on a per-square-foot basis — ranging from $.50 to $.70 per square foot — with increases for vegetation density (a forest makes access and GPS difficult), terrain (rocky and hilly land being harder to survey than flat land), and poor quality of available title information. Some surveyors will have a project minimum quote.

All that being said, the national average for residential land surveys is $450 to $630.

Percolation (Perc) Test ($750 – $1,850)

John Durham, a real estate agent in the Henry County, Georgia area with over 20 years of experience, recommends always getting a perc test done when building a home outside of a residential neighborhood, even when it isn’t required by the municipality, and shares “If you’re buying a piece of land to build your own, it might have sewer at the street. In which case all you’re doing is tapping into that sewer. If there’s no sewer available, where you are, you just wouldn’t want to buy some land and come to find out later that you couldn’t put a septic tank on the land.”

Perc tests usually cost between $750 and $1,850.

Excavation and grading ($1,400 – $5,300) & ($200-$6,000 per acre)

Excavation costs are generally in the $50 to $200 per cubic yard range with the average individual project ranging from $1,400 to $5,300.

Grading is a separate cost. Land clearing quotes range from $200 per acre all the way up to $6,000 per acre. Once it’s cleared out, leveling the land will cost $0.47 to $2.28 per square foot. Doing both will cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 per acre of land, which is 43,564 square feet.

Cheaper options for building a home in Georgia

If you need to save a bit of money, there are some more affordable options that have gained in popularity in Georgia, you can also opt for a smaller home or DIY-ing some of the building work.

Tiny homes ($60,000 – $90,000)

If you don’t need a lot of space, a tiny home may be a good option for you. You can save on an architect by using a standardized tiny home plan. Plus, since most of the construction costs vary by size, by default a tiny home will be much cheaper than your standard single-family home.

A 400 square foot tiny house will cost about $60,000 to build and a 600 square foot tiny home will run around $90,000.

These can also be a great option for building a starter home (typically a home under 1,400 square feet), especially since new starter home construction in Georgia has declined between 32% and 39% since 1980.

Modular homes ($150,000 – $420,000)

A modular home is another option for a more affordable house, and it’s one you can expand in future because each section is constructed in sections or modules and then assembled on top of a poured foundation.

A 1,500 square foot modular house without a garage — finished and delivered — costs just $150,000. Or you could spend as much as $420,000 on a luxury 2,000-square-foot fully customized modular home with a 2 car garage.

Prefabricated homes ($130 – $315 per square foot)

A DIY prefabricated home might be on your radar if your budget is really tight or if you want to focus on acquiring the land rather than your dream house right now. These homes range from $130 to $315 per square foot, depending on what features and customizations you want.

There are lots of different styles and customizations you can choose from, most of which will take you towards the higher end of the square foot cost. For example, choosing an energy efficient home will cost a bit more, as will adding a loft or porches.

Barndominiums ($62 – $136 per square foot)

The newest trendy house style is the barndominium, a barn-style house generally made from steel, wood, or metal. They’re large, rectangular, and very customizable.

Depending on your customization choices, building a barndominium from the ground up will cost somewhere between $62 and $136 per square foot.

Whatever you decide to build, Durham always recommends if you have a bigger budget that “instead of building your dream house on one acre, maye build it on five acres. You’ve got privacy and generally for resale, that’s fantastic. People love to be out on land.”

Header Image Source: (Tyler Edic / Unsplash)