8 Unexpected Cost To Building A New House

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been documenting my journey to building a new house.  In last week’s article I talked about how I saved nearly $20,000 in building my house and the week before that I also covered is building a house is worth it.

Both of these articles talked about all the things I learned along the way but today’s article is all about the unexpected cost of building a new house that I didn’t consider.

When it comes down to it your not going to think of every cost that will go into your house.  A lot of times many of the costs I didn’t consider came up as we were building our house, but my contractor was very good at helping spot these costs up front so I could budget for them.

However, I didn’t budget for all of these things just for the pure fact that I felt I could pay for them outright with cash instead of sticking them into a loan.  Finally, I feel this article may come in very handy for someone who is planning to build a house and avoid some of the mistakes that I made.

Personally,  I wish someone had given me this list before I had started, it would have made the planning process go a lot smoother.

#1 Blinds

The first thing I thought that I will defiantly need for my new house is blinds.  The reason I missed this little detail was because of all the houses that I had owned, blinds were already installed, however when you build a new house you will have to install your own in most cases. On top of that, I also noticed I needed some curtain blinds for my back patio door.

In all, I will need at least 11 sets of blinds to cover the house, and depending on the type of blinds you get some of them can get fairly expensive.  In my case, I will probably go with something more in the middle of the road that isn’t too pricey and still looks good.

#2 Electric Fixtures

Once our house was framed I had to do a walk-through with my electrician to see if I wanted to add any extra outlets, switches, or lights.

At first, I thought I wouldn’t need any extra but when we started digging into things I realized I would need more.  It’s funny when you see your house plans on paper and you think everything looks good but then once the house is standing you start to notice a few things that you would like to add.

Below is a list of a few things we added extra.

  • Can Light for the Porch.  With my house plan, there were only going to be lights located by the front door.  However a wrap-around porch is no good if you can’t sit on it in the evenings, so we added 6 can lights with a switch to turn them on and off.  
  • Lights In the Closet.  Another thing we noticed was that there were no lights in the closets which can make it really hard to see in them sometimes.  So all the closets got a light and a switch.
  • Extra Outlets.  Finally, we added extra outlets for my workbench in the garage and on our plant ledge which was located in the foyer.

In all, we ended up spending an extra $1100 on lights, switches, and outlets. Ouch!

#3 Drive Way and Sidewalks

The next cost I didn’t budget for was the driveway and the sidewalks.  I didn’t include these in my budget for a couple of reasons.  First off, before you do any cementing it’s important that you let the ground settle first.

If the ground still has to settle it could cause cracks and as a result, I would rather wait.

The other reason I didn’t include it in my house plans was that I know a few people who can help do it, which could save me a lot of money in labor and all I would have to pay for is the concrete.

In the end, I don’t plan to pour the concrete till the fall to give the ground enough time to settle, and also save up a few extra bucks in the meantime. If you do this, it could cause the concrete to crack and sink, and you may look at calling an expert Concrete Repair Milwaukee company, such as JBS Construction, or a company near you, to fix these issues.

#4 Grass

Another cost to consider is grass.  If you’ve planted grass before it can be expensive. On top of that grass needs a lot of water to grow properly. This means you don’t want to be planting it in the dead of summer, otherwise, you could be spending a lot of money to water it.  This is why I don’t plan to plant my lawn till the fall.

This will also give me time to break up the bigger chunks of dirt and pick up any gravel that might be in the yard as well.  Finally, just like the driveway, it will need some time to settle.

#5  Shrubs And Trees

Along with the grass are shrubs and trees.  If you’re like me I like a lot of shade, especially in the summer.  Not only does it make it cooler for you outside but it also helps to keep your house cool as well.  On top of that, I plan to add a few shrubs around the front of the house.

The great part about this process is that I have a father in law that is very skilled at planting shrubs.  My plan is to go with smaller shrubs such as boxwoods, hostas, and small spruces since they are easier to maintain.

#6 Ceiling Fans

Another thing we didn’t consider was ceiling fans.  Even though the house will have central air ceiling fans help out a lot in the summertime to push air around the house.  However, what we overlooked was the fact that we had to buy the ceiling fans separately which end up running us an extra $500.

On the bright side of things, our electrician installed them all for us at no extra cost which was nice.

#7 Appliances

Seventh on our list of costs we didn’t consider was buying new appliances.

One thing that hurt us a little was the fact that I had to sell most of the appliances in my previous house just to get someone to buy them.  This meant we needed a new fridge, stove, and a deep freezer.  On top of that, we were also adding a dishwasher and an overhead microwave.

In the end, it probably cost me around $3700 but as I mentioned in my previous article I watched out for all the deals and saved quite a bit on all of these appliances.

#8 Mailbox

Finally, the last thing I didn’t consider was a mailbox.  Again this isn’t a major purchase but when you start adding up all these little costs that I mentioned you start to realize it’s a lot more money than you planned.

This is why it’s so important to plan now.  In fact, if you’re still in the process of planning to build, now is the best time to start considering some of these extra costs.

Is there any extra cost for building a house you can think of?  Share your thoughts, comments, and ideas below.


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  1. Great post Chris! I’m guessing this is going to be a bigger house than the one you are currently at? So the next unexpected cost will be filling up all the extra bare space with new furniture 🙂

  2. Hi Brian, yeah my first house was around 1500 sq ft, my new house will be around 2150 sq ft. Luckily I won’t have to buy any new furniture for the house but I plan to replace some over time. Thanks for stopping by Brian.

  3. That’s a good point Pauline. My house is scheduled to be done by mid February, however my sisters house took nearly 6 months to get done and as a result she had to pay 3 more months of rent.

  4. Great points Chris, many people forget these 8 expenditures, I mean you can get along without blinds, but I believe a driveway is a must. These can add significant cost to your final bill. Worst of all, just when you thought you were close to completion and have shelled out so much to build the house, you have these surprising costs. Best to figure these into your initial budget. Great post!

  5. I thought about adding these cost into the mortgage but I don’t have to add the driveway for at least a year according to the lot papers, so this will give me a few months to save a few bucks and add it in later and avoid tacking one more expense to my mortgage. On top of that I think I’m budgeted way over what I’m paying so I will also have so extra cash at the end. Thanks for the comment Jim I really appreciate it.

  6. That’s a good point I did have some extra back fill for my garage since I expanded it to a 2 and a half car garage. The top soil was all included in the price, however we didn’t do any termite treatment below the foundation. We don’t typically have that issue in my area. Thanks for the comment.

  7. It all adds up that’s for sure. We didn’t have our house built for us but I will tell you that we needed to get all new window coverings for every window. Needless to say we have alot of windows in our home. I was shocked , jaw dropped at the prices of blinds. We opted for a middle of the road blind that is good but we may sell and I sure as heck am not putting literally thousands into a home we don’t know we aren’t going to live in forever.

  8. I agree Mr. CBB blinds can be awfully expensive depending on what you get. I know my brother got some really nice ones for his house an spend more than a $1000 for them. I think I’m just going to go to Walmart and get something half way decent but nothing to much. I also would have to agree on not sticking to much into your house if you plan to sell. I know things like a new coat of paint or the window coverings you bought can make the house look great but a lot of times they don’t increase the value of the house as much as you would like.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. We built a house 9 years ago, and ran into all of those expenses. Rugs were a big thing we didn’t have. We went from one bathroom to three, so we had to get several more. We also had to get a better lawn mower, as our yard size was much bigger. I think it was well worth it, but there are lots of things you should plan for if you are building.

  10. I didn’t even think about rugs, but that’s pretty minor. As far as the lawn goes it won’t be much bigger than my previous yard so my current lawn mower will work just fine. It’s amazing all the little things you don’t think about.

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