If you’re planning on building a home in Wichita or Lawrence, you’ll be pleased to know that Kansas is among the 10 states with the lowest cost to build a house. The cost to build a house in Kansas is estimated at $160,726, putting hourly labor costs at $16.29.
However, the actual price you’ll pay to build a house in Kansas depends on numerous factors. Location plays a big role, with land and labor costs usually higher in more urban areas. The size, design, and materials you choose will also impact the price.
Custom vs. Production Homes
The price for a new home in Kansas also depends on whether you’re building a custom home or what’s called a “production” home. Production homes are built on land a builder owns and are usually part of a planned community or a neighborhood.
When you build a custom home, on the other hand, you need to pay for the land, an architect or design/build firm, and the construction costs separately. With a production home, you usually pay one price and the builder finances everything else. Custom homes are typically more expensive than production homes.
In this article, we’re talking about how to build a production home in Kansas.
Step-by-Step Process to Build a House in Kansas
To build a house in Kansas, you’ll need to take the following steps:
Budgeting for Your New Home
While it may seem as if your first step should be to look at model homes and decide what you like, it’s best to start with something a little duller: a financial plan. Before you can sign a contract to build a home in Kansas, you need to know how much you can afford to spend.
Your personal calculation of your comfort level with a housing payment and your other financial goals is the beginning of your journey. Your housing payment includes your mortgage principal and interest, taxes, insurance, and, more than likely, homeowners association dues. Most lenders prefer that you keep your housing costs to 28 percent or less of gross monthly income.
Besides calculating your monthly budget, review your assets to see how much cash you want to invest upfront in a new home. In addition to a down payment, you’ll need to pay for closing costs and moving expenses. You should also make sure you have an emergency fund even after the purchase. You may want to talk to a real estate agent if you’re selling a home to generate more money for your new one.
Next, consult a lender who can review your finances and credit and recommend possible loan options. You should ask for a fully documented loan approval. If you want to change lenders later, you can always do that. The preapproval can give you an idea of your price range and prove to a builder that you can finance your new home.
You can also ask your lender if there are any special loan offers or assistance that can help you build your Kansas home.
The price per square foot to build a house in Kansas averages $90 to $200, which would be $225,000 to $500,000 for a 2,500 square foot house. In general, 50 percent of the cost to build a home in Kansas is tied to the materials, and labor costs are 30 to 40 percent.
Your costs will vary depending on the builder, location, size and style of the home, and construction materials. Often, a production home builder can save some money by buying items such as lumber, insulation, and appliances in bulk.
Your homeowners association dues will be part of the cost of ownership to factor into your budget, but they will depend on the amenities, services, and number of homes in your new community. You can ask for an estimate of the dues when you visit individual communities.
Homeowner’s insurance in Kansas averages at $3,931 for a $300,000 home, which is 71 percent above the national average of $2,305. while property taxes are lower than in many other states.
The average property tax rate is 1.53 percent in Kansas, compared to the 1.07 percent national average, but because median home values are lower, the typical property tax bill is $2,235 compared to $2,578 nationally.
Choose Your Builder and Community
After you’ve gotten the financial planning out of the way, the fun part of the step-by-step process to build a home in Kansas begins with looking for a community and a builder.
You can start searching online, narrowing your choices by location and price range. Community websites have a plethora of information about plans and each neighborhood. If there’s more than one builder, you may want to visit each builder’s website to check out floor plans, virtual tours, renderings, 3D models, and photos. You can find reviews of builders at TrustBuilder.
After you shorten your list, you can visit model homes and communities to talk to sales professionals and residents about their homes and the neighborhood to find a good fit for your wish list.
Line Up Your Financing
Once you’ve chosen your builder and community, you’ll sign a contract and make a deposit. Your builder may want you to apply for a mortgage with a lender on their preferred list or an in-house lender. You may be offered an incentive, such as paid closing costs or an upgrade to your home for working with the preferred lender and title company. You can also compare loan terms by checking with another lender to be sure you’re comfortable with the original loan offered.
When you close the loan, you’ll pay the rest of the down payment and some or all closing costs, which are usually 2 to 5 percent of the sales price. If you choose unusual or expensive upgrades, the builder may ask you to pay cash for those items while the home is under construction.
Choose Your Lot, Floor Plan, and Upgrades
In addition to choosing your community and the builder, you’ll need to select the floor plan and where you want your home to be built. Some lots have an extra cost, so be prepared to fit that into your budget. In addition, some builders only allow certain models to be built on specific lots. This could be to make the appearance of the community more aesthetically pleasing or because of the configuration of the floor plan and lot.
When you choose a lot, check on plans for the area to see if they will impact your view, your access to amenities, or the roads around your new house.
Ask about possible upgrades and choices so you understand what is included in the base price and what may cost extra. The onsite sales professionals and interior designers can help you make informed choices that fit your budget.
Permitting and Inspections
Kansas doesn’t have a mandatory statewide building code, but your builder will need to meet any codes and rules set by local jurisdictions. When you build a production home, the builder takes care of all the requirements, such as permitting, inspections, and insurance. You can also hire an additional home inspector if you want, but it’s best to coordinate with your builder about when it’s the least disruptive time to have an inspection.
Tornadoes, blizzards, and extreme temperatures are common in Kansas. Talk to your builder about the best materials and design choices to make your home more resilient to harsh weather events.
Building a home in Kansas takes about seven months, but anything from material shortages, delays in permits or inspections, labor shortages, and even the weather can affect how long it will take to build your Kansas home. Your builder and your lender are important sources of information during the construction. Stay in touch with them so you’re ready to move when your new home is finished.
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.