Factors to Consider in Building a Custom Home

There are a lot of factors that go into the final cost of building a home, in general. In Colorado, extra factors must be considered, including the topography of the land, the soil, and the area – building in a ski area town will greatly increase the final cost. A home builder or real estate agent can usually help give you a better idea of a general cost of building a custom home on your lot.

In general, a few questions to consider when looking at final costs include:

  • Are there utilities on the property? If not, can the lot get utilities to it?
  • How will the home get access to water – a dug well or town water?
  • What will the square footage of the home be?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms must the home have?
  • Are other buildings needed on the property – garages, sheds, boathouses, guest houses, etc?
  • What type of material are you wanting to use?
  • What type of appliances, fixtures, hardware, and other selections are you wanting to install in the home?
  • What architect do you want to hire to design your home?

Smart Construction Tips for Homeowners


Researching the Cost of a Colorado Mountain Home

Visiting websites like Zillow or Trulia can typically give you a good idea on what home costs are in the area you’re looking to build. If you already own the lot, you’ll have a little bit of upfront savings in the final cost of the home build; in this case, we’d recommend getting in touch with a local general contractor or real estate agent to get a general idea on costs.

National Building Cost Data

Craftsman Book Company puts out an annual manual called the National Building Cost Manual. This manual gives a national look on what to expect for cost per square foot on building a home. For 2018, custom homes are coming in at $235+ per square foot. Semi-custom homes are coming in at $170+ per square foot. These are both national averages, and not Grand County averages, however. For Winter Park, in 2018, the median price per square foot for homes is $364; whereas the Grand County median price per square foot for semi-custom homes is $273 per square foot. The median home value in Winter Park is $379,800, and the median home value in Grand County is $303,100. Around the Winter Park Ski Area and on Grand Lake, we’re seeing homes sell for $700,000+.


Know that there are hundreds – if not thousands – of factors to consider when trying to figure out the cost of building a home in Colorado, but doing a little research can help you get a general ballpark idea of what final costs to expect. We’d also invite you to give our team a call at (970) 726-9225 or email us at buildit@mwbswp.com to discuss how a semi-custom or custom home could fit into your budget.

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  1. Are the estimates you’ve provided inclusive of the cost to buy the land, square footage of the garage, and/or cost of excavation/foundation?

    • The cost would not include the cost to buy land, but typically includes garage and cost of excavation and foundation. If the land is slopped at a steep angle, the cost per square foot would definitely be higher.

  2. What are the plans of a semi custom home that is $170 per SQ foot? My situation is looking for a home in the mountains but may consider building. We like the Evergreen, Apex and Conifer area. Our price range is $400 to $500k including land. We don’t have a lot so it would be easier to find something suitable to build. We’re not planning to buy anything till next Spring. I’m just looking into options besides purchasing an existing home. Thanks

    • You would work with an architect to get plans for a home. Although, we have worked with homeowners that use plans from other homes we’ve built, which saves them the cost of getting custom plans. It looks like as of today, the estimated cost per square foot in the Evergreen area is closer to $350/sq ft, which is quite a bit higher than the $170 mentioned. We have seen a trend towards tiny homes over the past few years – even television shows based specifically on tiny life living. A tiny home may be a good option to help save.

  3. Great article! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site.
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  4. We are looking into building in Clear Creek for just a two person house. Our budget is $450k. That includes land, excavation, septic, etc. What does the square footage cost breakdown to in CC?

    • The average cost per square foot today is about $278 according to realtor.com. Start with finding the property and make sure to ask questions about soil, water, and slope. Those three factors will attribute to cost as well and the real estate agent you work with to get land should be able to give you a rough estimate on those.

  5. Approximately how much would it cost to build a 2400 sqft custom home in an already owned Crystal Park community lot in Manitou Springs , CO?

    • Hello Gina, thanks for visiting our website and leaving a comment. According to realtor.com (https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Manitou-Springs_CO/overview) the median cost per square foot today in Manitou Springs is $241. That would make a 2,400 sqft home around $578,400. I’d suggest contacting a local builder in that area to have them look at the land and give you a better idea of what you could expect in price because slope and terrain could +/- that price.

  6. Hi! I’m hoping to build a mountain home on a flat lot in Nederland, CO. How $difficult would it be to dig a well for water and bring in electricity? What do you guys charge per square foot if I use one of your existing architecture plans? Thanks much!

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