How to Build A House | If a 16 Year Old Can, So Can You!

how to build a house

When I was in high school, I learned how to build a house. Seriously… I worked for my dads construction company and worked every summer for the business. Here’s the thing. If I could learn how to build a house when I was 16, and actually do it, you can too!

The process to build a house is a may sound super hard but, if you do it right, it doesn’t have to be. You can build a house to live in or a “spec” house to sell in the future for a profit.

There are a some big parts how to build a house and each of those big parts need to be broken down in more detail.

Here are the major steps how to build a house:

  • Find the plot of land to build the house on
  • Hire an architect to design the house to your specifications
  • Pull permits from the city where the house is being built
  • Lay the foundation
  • Frame the walls, roof, etc.
  • Install the roof and exterior siding
  • Install Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing, and other items
  • Finish work on the inside like drywall, paint, fixtures, etc.
  • Finish work on the oustside like fixtures, landscaping, etc.
  • Final inspection from the city

Now, the key to building a house is to hire “sub-contractors” not contractors. The reason why is that you will save so much money if you are the contractor and hire out the work. And, that is all the contractor does, is hire out sub-contractors to do the specific work and just oversee the process.

Like I said, there will be MANY items in the middle there but you can see that it is a fairly straight-forward process to how to build a house.

However, this big and exciting project comes with a great deal of responsibility, challenges, and financials. You need to meticulously plan every single phase and aspect of the construction process. You will have to handle budget and legalities, obtain relevant permits, and much more.

In this article, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide of the building process and offer valuable insight into constructing a home by yourself.

Cost of building a house yourself vs. hiring a contractor

As a homeowner, you want to create an admirable house without exceeding your budget or compromising on strict quality controls.

The ideal way to make a decision is by calculating the average costs of construction with and without a contractor. It is important to note that general contractors tend to charge 15–20% of the total cost of construction.

If your total budget is $200,000, you will have to pay around $30,000–50,000 for the contractor’s services.

The average cost of constructing one square foot is around $150, and if your house is over 2,800 square feet, your costs are likely to exceed $400,000.

However, it is important to note that these costs vary from one state, county, or city to another. The kind of materials you use, the total space, the permits, and a wide range of other costs have to be accounted for.

Make calculations for every single expense, and focus your research on exploring a variety of rates and packages for each service and material you need.

Budgeting is the most important step to make sure your venture is a success.

When to buy land to build a house

The first step is to find the location and chose the land for the construction of your dream house.

Your budget has a significant impact on this decision, and you need to choose land that is a valuable investment.

It should be centrally located or surrounded by community centers, access routes, commuting facilities, schools, and other amenities.

MLS listings, real estate agents, and market research can help you find the ideal location.

Once you have found the perfect land, you will have to apply for a construction loan or seek other financial assistance, so it is advisable to begin your search in a timely manner.

Be sure to get the property surveyed and locate the footprint of the house.

This will help you establish the property lines and ensure that you are not encroaching on the city’s or neighbor’s land.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a house?

The costs of buying a house or building your dream house vary based on your requirements, decisions, location, and many other factors.

Often, states that support home construction with loans and programs tend to have lower costs to encourage home construction.

Other states offer affordable loans and property taxes that make home buying more flexible.

However, when it comes to examining the costs of buying an existing property and constructing your own house, you need to take into account the forces of depreciation.

Wear and tear tend to create the need for repair and renovations, but a newly constructed property has a longer life and lower maintenance expenses.

How to build a house step-by-step

Land preparation

You begin the process of house construction with land preparation, which involves the removal of all debris and cleaning up the site.

All the existing structures or buildings will be razed to the ground, and the unwanted trees and bushes will be cleared away.

Grading and leveling the land is another crucial step before starting the construction.

Foundation construction

The foundation of the house needs to be strong to support the entire structure and lay down the aesthetic appeal of the interior.

The construction crew will set up wooden frames to create the foundation alongside digging up trenches and holes.

The footings are installed, and if the house will have a basement, a hole will be dug up to pour in the footing and create the foundation walls.

Later on in the process, the foundation will house plumbing drains, electrical wiring, and more.


Framing involves the construction of the skeleton of the house—the roof system, walls, floor, and more.

You will need plywood sheathing or even oriented strand board to fortify the roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors.

Doors and windows will have to be framed, and the sheathing will be protected by a house wrap to eliminate the risk of water infiltration. This is essential to protect the house from rotting or mold.


Roofing is one of the most important steps, and it requires close attention because damaged roofs are one of the most prevalent structural defects.

It is important to not rely solely on your expertise, even though there are ways to stick up the roof frame yourself with rafters and ceiling joists. Hiring a sub-contractor who specializes in roofing will ensure quality.

You can decide whether you want to create an attic space with a high-pitched roof.

A more traditional roof will require less complex engineering.  Once the roofing shell has been created, you can lay down the roof trusses or whatever structure you have in mind.

Rough Plumbing

Plumbing involves the installation of all the water fixtures and the ductwork to install the plumbing rough-ins, pipes, and larger fixtures that are located within finished walls.

You will also have to install the bathtubs, showers, kitchen plumbing systems, taps, and more.

Plumbing is an aspect that requires close attention. You need to hire experienced technicians who can ensure that all the plumbing fixtures and pipes are accurately located and well-protected.

It is important to ensure all plumbing systems are securely anchored to prevent water damage to the house.

Rough Heating and AC (HVAC)

Once the plumbers and electricians have done their job and the shell of the house has been created, it’s time to call in the experts to perform the ductwork for the HVAC system.

By this time, the vent pines have been installed, and the walls, floors, and ceilings have to be insulated to ensure the HVAC is working efficiently.

Many homeowners make the terrible mistake of performing the electrical wiring before the installing of the HVAC ducts and pipes, but electrical wiring makes the jobs of plumbers and HVAC technicians quite challenging.

It is much easier to perform the wiring after the HVAC ductwork.

Rough Electrical

This involves the electrical wiring and setting up all the electrical fixtures that are required in the house.

It is an ongoing process that takes place in bits and pieces to ensure that the electric wiring is embedded within the structure and does not interfere with other crucial processes, such as plumbing, HVAC, and more.

Interior Finishing

Interior finishing and designing is the most exciting part of the home construction process. It allows you to design and construct your desired living space.

You will have to decide the amount of storage space, wardrobe space, kitchen cabinets, and other fixtures you need around the house.

Every single room has to be meticulously planned to offer storage, functionality, and utility alongside a charming ambiance. You need to pick out the flooring you want.

The kitchen island and fixtures need to be designed, and most importantly, you have to perform the drywall and choose paint colors.

Exterior Finishing

Exterior finishing will seal the curb appeal and outdoor beauty of your living space.

You can explore a wide range of options, but it largely involves painting the exterior walls, siding, and carving out the walkways, patios, driveways, and outdoor entertainment space.

It also involves trimming and the construction of a garage door.

Decorating & Landscaping

Decorating and landscaping are the final steps of sealing the overall architectural beauty of your house. It involves sorting out the furniture, embellishments, artwork, chandeliers, lighting fixtures, and other decorations.

The mirrors have to installed, shower doors need to be erected, and the garden needs to be beautified with rows of flowers, plants, shrubs, and more.

Once decorating and landscaping is completed, an official of the building code authorities will visit and inspect the site.

In case of any structural defects or cosmetic shortcomings, the owner will have to make improvements in order to obtain an occupancy certificate.

How to Build A House Completion

Once you have all of these items taken care of, you will have a house.

The major thing to do is rely on your sub-contractors to get the job done right. Also, be learning as much as you can about the building process. Talk with the inspectors, architects, professionals to make sure you are following the plans and getting the house build right.

Remember, if I can do it at 16 years old, you can too!


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