Missouri is known for its gorgeous natural views, year-round festivals, and fabulously low cost of living. The Gateway Arch holds historical significance as the Gateway to the West, while also showcasing fun family events on the Arch Grounds and throughout Saint Louis. Kansas City is another popular spot for families and new homebuyers to settle down and find employment in a fast-growing economy.
In terms of respite and leisure time, there is no place like Missouri. For restful ventures, the Lake of the Ozarks is a popular vacation destination for Missourians. For sports fans, the Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues hold nationally-ranked positions in their leagues. Excellent wineries dot the countryside, while the cities boast the establishment and headquarters of Anheuser-Busch Brewery and multiple Fortune 500 companies. For work and play, Missouri has it all.
Anyone planning to buy a home in Missouri will first need to decide if they are going to buy a new construction or pre-existing home. If buying new, homebuyers have the option to build on their lot. In building a custom home, new homebuyers have the option to shape their construction to fit their individual needs and have it personalized to their style.
The custom home building project seems daunting at first, but with a little research and consultation with your builder, it will become less ambiguous and more fun! Prospective homebuyers can start by reviewing the step-by-step homebuilding process for guidelines on the costs and timeline for building their dream house from scratch.
From there, homebuyers can create a budget based on the general cost to build a house and determine if it will be financially manageable. Choosing a reliable builder at this stage is also helpful, so they can consult on location-specific costs and important factors that may affect your construction timeline. To help with this research, here are some state-specific tips and tricks for anyone looking to build a new construction home in Missouri.
Missourians get the opportunity to experience all four seasons. Summers are hot, sunny, and muggy, while winters are usually chilly and snowy. Fall and spring tend to be the most beautiful and enjoyable seasons in Missouri, as the leaves change and nature shows off its brilliant colors.
Midwestern states like Missouri are also prone to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Occasional winter storms are also possible, and there is a significant flooding risk throughout the state, especially in areas near the Missouri River. Additionally, Southeast Missouri may be susceptible to earthquakes, as a major fault runs across the area.
New homeowners should be aware of these safety hazards and take certain precautions when planning their home design. Depending on the site’s location, homeowners may be required to purchase adequate insurance to protect against natural disasters. Local ordinances and building codes may require specific accommodations in areas prone to flooding or severe storms.
Some Missourians build a storm cellar or panic room to shelter in during a tornado. It’s a good idea to examine your home plans to make sure there is one or more rooms that do not have windows. Staying away from windows is imperative during a weather emergency. Areas prone to flooding may prohibit new home construction or restrict certain types of foundations that are more likely to be damaged in stormy conditions.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to build a new home in Missouri is $226,760. This is just below the nationwide average of $280,522. The total cost of the new home project depends on the location, design, size, and cost of materials and labor. For example, the cost to build a new home in Saint Louis is typically between $115 and $160 per square foot, which is in line with the U.S. average of $100 to $200 per square foot.
Here is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in Missouri.
The price of land in Missouri, as is the case across the U.S., has been creeping up steadily over the last several years. According to Missouri Ruralist, the cost of good, non-irrigated Missouri cropland was valued at $6,326 per acre in 2021. The cost of land fluctuates by location and proximity to urban districts and other in-progress developments. Lots in metro areas such as Saint Louis can vary from $15,000 to $320,000 and up.
Permits and Paperwork
In Missouri, building permits are required before the construction phase can begin. Permits may also be required for substantial renovations, electrical installation, plumbing, sewer, or septic installation. For new construction, building permits are issued by local municipalities. Each city or county has a different process and cost for permit applications, so be sure to contact your local residential development office for the specific permit-issuing requirements.
Unless the lot you purchased is construction-ready, it will likely need some preparations before construction begins. And even if the lot was deemed “construction-ready” at the time of sale, it is still a good idea to have the home inspected by an engineer before laying the foundation.
Site preparation generally includes any adjustments to the land, such as excavation or clearing, as well as connecting the lot to sources of electricity, water, and sewage lines. The Missouri Public Service Commission regulates most utilities in Missouri, including electricity, water, natural gas, and sewer systems. New homeowners can check out the MPSC website for up-to-date listings of coverage areas for investor-owned utilities. This is a good starting point for new buyers to find services for their area. Utility companies often differ in their rates for connection, but will typically be in line with the U.S. average costs for new homebuyers.
Most new homes in Missouri will be supported by a basement, crawlspace, or slab foundation. Especially in snowy areas with a deeper frost line, basements are more likely to be the foundation of choice. The cost to build an unfinished basement is often comparable to the alternative in freezing areas where building codes require a deeper excavation. A finished basement may cost a bit more but could pay off in the long run if, in the future, you lease the space to generate revenue.
On top of the foundation, the framing gives the new home a structure and three-dimensional quality. Framing is also typically the most expensive phase of the new home build. Depending on the size, design, and location, the cost can vary, but is often comparable to the U.S. national average.
The cost of a new roof in Missouri is slightly lower than the U.S. average but will depend upon the structure and materials used. New Missouri homebuyers are advised to budget between $5,000 and $10,000 for a roof.
It is recommended that new homebuyers hire a general contractor or builder to oversee the planning and building process. The tasks of planning, managing, hiring, supervising, and finalizing can be overwhelming for anyone who works full time.
General contractors usually charge a percentage of the final project cost, usually around 10-20 percent. This is often referred to as “cost-plus.” When you hire a builder, the contractor will manage your team of subcontractors, handle any permits, and ensure local regulations are followed. And the person will keep your project on track so it is completed on time and within budget.
After the walls and structure are built, the next step is to get the home up and running. Homeowners must hire an electrician to wire the home, and a plumber to finish the rough-in plumbing and prepare for HVAC installation. The overall cost of electrical wiring and plumbing installation will depend on many factors, including the number and placement of electrical sockets, sinks, toilets, showers, and the materials used.
Due to its Midwest location, Missouri experiences the best and worst of every season. That means that reliable heating and cooling are a MUST in this state. The costs of HVAC or furnace installation in Missouri are comparable to the national average expense for these major systems.
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
Once the house is structurally complete, finishing features can be added to give it a little style and a lot of life! This is the stage where homebuyers can choose flooring options, wall colors, fireplace additions, custom countertops, and stunning accents.
Don’t forget the outside features, such as a swimming pool for summer lounging or a backyard deck. A garage will add extra expense, as will a driveway and fencing. Keep this in mind from the beginning to budget appropriately. Appliance options such as your fridge, dishwasher, and hot water heater are also factored into the budget at this stage.
Helpful Tips for Building in Missouri
Here are a few tips and tricks for building your best Missouri home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Most states offer financial incentives for both new and repeat homebuyers. Contact your state or local government office that oversees residential planning to learn what down payment and closing cost assistance are available.
In Missouri, the timeline to complete a new home construction project may be slightly shorter than the U.S. average. New homebuyers can expect their home construction to be completed within five and seven months.
Build Your Missouri Home
From gorgeous city parks to peaceful countryside moments, Missouri offers the best of every world. It’s never too late to start living the life of your dreams in the delightful Midwest. Your dream custom home is waiting to be built in the Show Me State.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.