Nebraska boasts prosperous education opportunities, stunning vistas, and a low cost of living. The state’s remarkable employment opportunities include five Fortune 500 companies, and the friendliest folks for neighbors make the Cornhusker State a wonderful place to settle down and build a home.
If you’re ready for a new home in Nebraska, you’ll need to be familiar with your finances, know the overall homebuilding process, and have an idea of state-specific steps.
This all may be overwhelming at first, but it’s rewarding in the end when you walk into your beautiful new home built specifically to fit your needs and preferences. Here is a guide to everything you need to know before building your dream home in Nebraska.
Due to its position in the block of Midwestern states, Nebraska experiences extremes of all four seasons. Summers are reliably hot while winters tend to be harshly cold. The eastern side of the state is slightly more humid than the western region. Spring and fall are often the best times of year for outdoor activities, including new home construction.
Nebraska is in America’s Tornado Alley and receives on average 45 twisters per year. Spring and summer thunderstorms can quickly become volatile and deadly, so it is important to take necessary measures such as the incorporation of a storm shelter within your home. Storm windows and robust weatherproof roofing and siding are important for the protection of your home and the safety of those living in it.
Winter storms, a more severe instance of the typical snowy winter forecast, can also be deadly. Flooding may occur during the rainy season in some areas of the state. Be sure to check with your local builder for recommendations to repel water if your lot is situated on a floodplain or close to unpredictable rivers or lakes.
Many regions of rural Nebraska are covered in sand dunes or expansive plains. These dry regions may be prone to extreme heat, drought, dust storms, and wildfires. The use of fire-retardant materials in the siding and roof may be a worthwhile investment to protect your home in the case of extreme heat waves and potential fires.
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to build a new construction home in Nebraska is around $210,900. On average, the cost per square foot to build a new home is between $90 and $135, which is lower than the U.S. average of $100 to $200. Actual costs depend on the size, design, and location of your new home.
Here is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in Nebraska.
In 2020, an acre of land in Nebraska averaged $2,725 according to the 2020 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report. Land values may increase or decrease depending on the site’s location, composition, and desirability. You can buy land on your own but it may be helpful to involve a builder or surveyor so you know how much site prep will be necessary (more on that below).
Permits and Paperwork
Nebraska requires any new residential construction to be properly zoned and permitted. New home buyers (or their general contractors) must work with the local city or county government to file zoning and building permit applications. Some areas of Nebraska require additional permits for electrical wiring, plumbing, and other critical system installations for the structure of your new home. Check with your builder and the local municipality to avoid any penalties or fees for failure to obtain proper permits prior to construction.
In the case of lots that have significant work to be done to prepare for construction, site preparation may be a sizable part of the budget. Any clearing, leveling, and excavation on the site will likely cost similar to the U.S. average expense for site preparation.
Developed lots may cost more upfront in urban and suburban areas, but undeveloped rural lots may be more expensive to prepare. The cost to connect your lot to utilities may end up costing quite a bit more, depending on your proximity to the water, sewer, and electricity connections. For a lot not connected to utilities, expect to spend between $3,300 and $40,000.
It’s common for Nebraskans to include a basement in their house plans. Basements are a solid investment in Nebraska as a safe shelter for inclement storms and severe weather. They also provide a cooler area of the house for food storage during the heat of summer. Some homeowners may choose to finish their basement to make the most of the additional living space as a guest room or additional bedroom. An unfinished basement is typically between $10,000 and $30,000, while costs increase quickly depending on what features are included in a finished basement, such as separate thermostats and plumbing.
When building a new house, the framing stage is often the most expensive. In Nebraska, the cost to frame a new construction home is typically between $20,000 and $50,000, in line with the U.S. average. Ultimately this depends on the size, design, and selected materials for the new home.
The roof is critical to providing safety and security in your new custom home. A standard asphalt shingle roof is typically less expensive and is the preferred material for new construction. Depending on the specifics, including access to main roads for material transport, the cost to build a new roof in Nebraska may range between $3,000 and $18,000.
The management of a new home construction project is a huge undertaking. Because of the time, energy, and expertise required, it is typically recommended that new homebuyers hire a general contractor to oversee the construction project. General contractors will work alongside the buyer to ensure that all milestones are being met on time and on budget. They will also manage subcontractors and typically handle any permit processes with the city or county. General contractors usually charge between 15 and 20 percent of the total project cost, paid in installments as the project progresses.
Once the home is three-dimensional and has gained its new shape, the major systems need to be installed. Rough-in plumbing, electrical wiring, and the installation of your home’s HVAC are critical to getting the house up and running efficiently.
The cost to install plumbing and wiring will depend upon the size of your home, and the number of fixtures for running water and wall outlets respectively. Collectively, installing HVAC, plumbing, and wiring in a Nebraska home falls within the U.S. average ($30,000 to $75,000).
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
Once the major structural elements are finished, the fun part begins! Homeowners can choose the aesthetic elements that will make their new home feel like their own. Custom cabinetry, flooring options, paint colors, bathroom fixtures, and lighting options are up to your personal style choice. Just remember, it’s important to prioritize your list and stay within your budget. It’s easy to get carried away at this stage with the limitless options.
Don’t forget to choose your new appliances, such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer, and water heater. Additionally, be sure to budget for any outdoor amenities, such as a pool, deck, or driveway.
Helpful Tips for Building In Nebraska
Excited to get started? Here are a few tips and tricks for building your dream Nebraska home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Most states and some regional city and county governments offer financial incentives to new homebuyers. Familiarize yourself with Nebraska closing costs, then check out incentives and down payment assistance offered by your local municipal building department to save big on your new home investment.
In Nebraska, a new construction home can typically be built in 6-7 months. This is dependent upon the design, access to materials, and stable climate conditions.
Build Your Nebraska Home
Whether you’re a city lover who prefers the grand attractions found in Lincoln, or an outdoor enthusiast who delights in the peaceful countryside scenery in one of Nebraska’s lovely small towns, you’ll find no place like this Midwestern gem. It’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your custom-built Nebraska 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.