Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on May 11, 2017 9:43:41 AM
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The cost of building a new house includes broad categories such as land, site development, and the materials and labor required to build the home itself. You can get to an overall budget based on the location, the conditions of the site, and the custom home plan you choose, but there are often other expenses that you might not expect, especially if this is your first time building a new house.

Although you can’t predict the future and every new home has unique circumstances, you can learn from the experience of those who have done it before.

1. Changing the Location or Orientation

If your vision changes between the time of the initial site evaluation and when the site is prepared, the costs might change as well. This is because the site development cost estimate is based on factors such as where you plan to put your home on the property and which direction it faces. If you change your mind, it could affect the length of the driveway, the type of land that must be excavated (soil or rock, for example), the number of trees that must be removed, and any other site conditions that were factored into the estimate. While it is often possible to change the position of your home, consider how it might affect the total cost before you make a decision.

2. Undesirable Soil Conditions

There are many different types of land and soil properties that can affect the cost of site development. Adair Home Purchasing Agent Gary Culp speaks from experience when he says, “For example, during excavation you might discover bedrock that may need to be hammered or blasted in order to dig deeper. On the other hand, you might also learn that the soil is too soft or that the water table is higher than you thought.” Although many of these types of conditions can be predicted during a site evaluation, there might be variations under the surface that you won’t know about until you dig. Even if some undesirable soil conditions don’t prevent you from building, they still might increase the cost. For example, softer soil will require wider foundation footings, which will increase the cost of materials.

3. Variations in Site Preparation

Another factor that can affect the cost of the foundation is site preparation. Architects and engineers draw the foundation based on the home design and assumptions about how the site will be excavated. If the excavator digs differently than expected, there might be costs associated with changing the foundation accordingly.

4. Delays Due to Weather

Inclement weather can slow down construction crews during certain phases of the building process. Extended periods of rain or snow can also cause delays, as more time is needed for materials to dry out before continuing to build. Although nobody can accurately forecast weather conditions for the duration of the time it takes to build a new home, you should build in some extra time for delays when creating the home-building timeline.  

5. Unexpected Site Restrictions

Before you even start the building process, it is important to thoroughly research the property and any potential limitations it might present. Factors such as site easements, wetland setbacks, and zoning requirements can throw a serious wrench in your plans if you discover them too late in the process.


Many of these unexpected expenses can be mitigated with thorough research, advance planning, and good communication among all parties. An Adair Homes construction superintendent will work closely with you at every step to help avoid these potential unexpected expenses when building a new house. You might have little or no experience building a custom home, but we have been doing it since 1969. We can’t predict the future, but we can use our decades of experience to help you avoid potential pitfalls that will increase your budget. Contact us today to learn more about our unique process for building a new house.

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