Oklahoma boasts miles and miles of gorgeous rolling hills, friendly neighbors, and a fabulously low cost of living. The state capital, Oklahoma City, is known for big city attractions without sacrificing the Southern small-town charm. It’s no wonder why new home buyers decide to settle down in the Sooner State to start a career, raise a family, or even retire in the gorgeous countryside.
From frontier plains to bright cityscapes, Oklahoma offers a variety of settings for new residents to build the home of their dreams. Building a new home may be overwhelming at first, but with a little research and guidance, the process can be smooth sailing.
Generally, most new construction homes will follow the same step-by-step outline. Homebuyers can begin by taking the time to get acquainted with the steps of the homebuilding process. Next, homebuyers should create a realistic and manageable budget for their new construction. The development of a robust budget plan is critical to a successful homebuilding project. Your builder will also be able to assist with this critical step once you have determined the amount that you are willing to spend.
The cost to build a house will depend heavily upon the location, materials, and size. However, there are some requirements for new construction that will vary by state, including permits, accommodations for climate concerns, and local labor or material market expenses. For homeowners looking to build their dream home in Oklahoma, here are a few items to keep in mind while planning your new construction project.
Oklahoma is characterized by a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot with temperatures often soaring past 90 degrees, particularly in the western part of the state. While slightly cooler, the eastern region tends to experience increased humidity, which also contributes to the uncomfortable summer weather. Winters temperatures can dip below freezing, but not for terribly long cold spells. The western panhandle experiences a longer, colder winter than the southeastern region, but frozen soil is generally not an issue in the state.
While the average climate tends to be manageable in Oklahoma, the state is subject to other climate concerns such as extreme thunderstorms, flooding, tornadoes, droughts, and wildfires. Thunderstorms and flash flooding are major concerns, particularly in urban and suburban areas during the spring and autumn months.
Homeowners should take preventative measures for the potential damage from running water, such as crawlspace foundations, proper irrigation, and drainage systems if their home is in an area prone to flooding. Flood insurance coverage is also required in some areas but is generally a good investment.
Tornadoes are a threat to many midwestern and southern states. Homeowners can install a storm shelter in their home if it is in a region that is historically prone to tornado formation. If you’re considering this option, in-home storm shelters may cost between $3,000 and $30,000 on average. There are many customizable options that include an underground shelter, an above-ground safe room secured by bolts into the foundational concrete, or a space retrofitted in the garage floor. The addition of a storm shelter will typically add value to your home should you choose to resell in the future.
Extreme heat, low humidity, and dry vegetation caused by drought make dangerous conditions for a wildfire. Oklahoma residents in areas prone to drought should take every precaution to prevent the spread of wildfires, such as refraining from the use of a burn pile or even building an outdoor campfire. Homeowners should stay in communication with local authorities to assess wildfire risk and invest in the recommended insurance plan in the case of any natural disaster.
The cost to build a new construction home in the U.S. is typically between $100 and $200 per square foot. Fortunately for new buyers, the cost to build new construction in Oklahoma is on the lower end of this average. Most new home buyers in Oklahoma can expect to pay between $100 and $120 per square foot for new construction. For a 2,000-sq. ft. home, buyers can estimate between $200,000 and $240,000.
The lowest estimate for building a home in Oklahoma is about $80 per square foot for a value home. In these homes, costs are cut drastically by using cheaper materials and labor, resulting in the possibility that the home may need more repairs down the road. On the other hand, homes constructed with higher-end materials and expensive add-ons can reach $130 or more per square foot.
It’s important to note that this estimate does not include the price of land. Homeowners who do not already have a lot to build on will need to budget approximately $5 to $50 more per square foot to buy acreage before building.
Below is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in Oklahoma.
The price of farmland, similar to home values, has increased in Oklahoma over recent years. According to AcreTrader, the cost of one acre of land in Oklahoma in 2020 was $1,690. Approximately 78 percent of Oklahoma’s total acreage is classified as farmland, while the remaining urban and suburban areas will vary in cost by location and nearby attractions.
Permits and Paperwork
In Oklahoma, all new residential construction and any remodeling of existing construction that will change the structure of the home requires a permit. Typically, the permits are issued by local authorities such as county or city governments, and the cost differs by location, home size, and type of construction. The general contractor must file all necessary paperwork on time and include all requested documentation, such as blueprints, building plans, and any plans for utility connection. For more information on Oklahoma residential building permit application processes in your area, contact your local municipality.
Especially for farmland construction, site preparation represents a large chunk of the budget. In the case of Oklahoma new home construction, it is recommended to budget at least $5,000 for site preparation. This will include any clearing of land, excavation costs, soil testing, and any other preparation needed to make the plot of land suitable for building a safe and reliable structure.
When choosing a lot to purchase, buyers should consider the amount of preparation that will be required before building and consult any experts as needed. For oddly-shaped lots or lots that need extra TLC, the cost to buy the land may be cheap in comparison to the cost of alterations. Some lots will require site preparation of $50,000 to $70,000.
Establishing water, sewer, and electrical connections is also a requirement of site preparation. For Oklahoma lots within city boundaries, the cost of connecting to the city district is similar to the national average, which ranges between $3,300 and $40,000 for all three services.
For lots in rural areas, the option to utilize the city’s infrastructure may not exist. In these cases, landowners should first connect their lot to electricity by contacting the nearest power company to establish a line to their property.
Establishing a water connection is the next step. In rural areas, landowners may need to drill a well for water. The cost of the well will depend upon the required depth to find safe water. The local community should be able to provide more information on a reliable well company and the average cost, but it’s a good idea to budget at least $6,500 for a well.
If the lot does not have access to a city or rural district sewage system, then a septic system will be necessary. Because the clay soil throughout central Oklahoma doesn’t allow for much percolation, modern aerobic septic systems are a popular option. The wastewater is filtered onsite in an underground tank. These systems typically cost between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the tank, location, installation, and inspection costs.
Depending on the location of the lot, your new home may have one of the three main foundation types. Basements are typically less common in Oklahoma due to the higher cost of installation for little extra space. Because the ground is at a lower risk of freezing through the winter months, homes often require less excavation than the north and northeast regions of the U.S., offering less incentive to pay extra for a full basement.
Slab foundations are typically the most cost-effective option, but crawlspace foundations are a sensible choice in areas that are prone to flash floods. The cost to build a foundation in Oklahoma is in line with the U.S. average cost to build a new home.
After the foundation is completely set up, it’s time for framing. This is the stage where your blueprints are brought to three-dimensional form and the structure of the home takes full shape. The overall cost of building the structure of the home depends on the design, location, and materials. In Oklahoma, the cost of framing a house is in line with the U.S. average cost of new home construction.
In Oklahoma, it is most common for new construction homes to have asphalt shingle roofs that are reliable throughout every season. The cost of materials tends to be approximately $5 to $6 per square foot, plus labor and equipment for installation. Oklahoma homebuyers can expect to spend between $6,000 and $8,000 total for an average roof, although the cost may increase if they choose a higher-end type of shingle or tile.
It is recommended in any new home project that the buyer hire a general contractor to oversee the construction process and manage the team of subcontractors. This takes a significant burden of time and energy off the homeowner and supplies professional expertise. General contractors typically charge between 15-20 percent of the total project cost (often referred to as “cost-plus”).
General contractors have a wealth of knowledge of the area and experience building homes that will meet their client’s needs. They will be able to advise the homeowner on types of insurance to purchase, various structural requirements, and keep on track with building inspections and permits. They will also work closely with your design team, should you decide to hire an architect or space planner.
After the house has been fully constructed, the major systems must be installed to bring the house to life. Plumbing installation, electrical system wiring, and HVAC setup will make your new home live-in ready. Rough-in plumbing costs in Oklahoma are within range of the U.S. average of $7,000 to $15,000. The final cost depends on the desired number of sinks, toilets, showers, and the chosen tier of material finishes and features.
The cost to install electrical outlets, internal wiring, and safely connect the home to power typically costs between $20,000 and $30,000. General contractors normally hire a skilled electrician for this task, which may cost between $35 to $100 or more per hour in Oklahoma.
Depending on the climate, HVAC may be necessary to keep the temperature regulated inside the house. In Oklahoma, the installation of an HVAC system typically costs between $2,800 and $14,500. The installation of an HVAC can vary widely depending on the home size, the climate, and the labor cost.
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
Don’t forget: Once all the structural components are out of the way, you will want to budget for the features that will make your house feel like home! Appliance installation and finishing features make up a large chunk of the overall cost and include any interior paint, modern cabinetry, custom flooring, stylish decor, kitchen backsplash, luxury bathroom finishes, and every other final touch that makes your home unique to your style. Additionally, it’s a good idea to budget between $3,500 and $15,000 for new appliances to be delivered and installed at this stage.
Finally, keep in mind any outdoor features that you might want to be completed with your home. This may be a concrete driveway, fencing, a swimming pool, an outdoor deck, or a wrap-around porch. Just be sure to exercise your judgment carefully as you plan out the expenses for these finishing features to avoid going over budget.
Helpful Tips for Building in Oklahoma
Finally, below are a few tips and tricks for building your dream Oklahoma home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Most states have some form of closing cost incentives to promote homeownership and make the purchase of a home more affordable for new buyers. It is recommended that first-time and repeat homebuyers do a little research to discover what types of down payment assistance and financial incentives are available in Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, you can expect that a new home design and construction will take approximately 6 to 9 months to complete. This is in line with the U.S. average timeline for building a new construction home.
Build Your Oklahoma Home
With a booming economy, growing business sector, and plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, Oklahoma has it all. Your new dream house nestled in the rolling plains and centered under the wide-open skies is ready to welcome you home.
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.