If you love small town charm, gorgeous outdoor scenery, and family-friendly amenities, then New Hampshire may be the perfect place for you to settle down and build your dream home. Excellent schools and a booming job market offer unparalleled opportunities for all, and the state’s proximity to Boston offers easy access to the big city. For many new homebuyers, The Granite State is a perfect blend of tranquil outdoor scenery and economic prosperity.
The process of building a new home in New Hampshire can be a bit tricky. The best place to begin when designing a new home is to become familiar with the step-by-step homebuilding process. In addition to the general highlights, there are several state-specific requirements that homeowners need to follow, such as filing important building permits and installing weatherization features. If you are planning to build a home in New Hampshire, here is everything you need to know.
New Hampshire is primarily known for its short, humid, warm summers and long, snowy, cold winters. A small stretch of the state borders Canada, while an even smaller coastline touches the Atlantic Ocean. New homebuyers should be conscientious of floods, hurricanes, and severe winter storms, which are prevalent throughout the state.
If your lot is in a flood zone, it’s best to take certain precautions to protect your home. A robust natural disaster insurance policy is beneficial and may be required. Be sure to check with your local municipality building division to learn more about requirements for weatherization.
In some areas, particularly along the coastline, hurricane preparation may be necessary. Protected windows, indoor shelter rooms, and storm cellars are a good investment. You will want to protect your new home from the elements by sealing all crevices so they are airtight and installing premium ductwork to ensure maximum efficiency of your heating system. Always check with your builder and local community for tips and recommendations for home weatherization.
According to data sourced by HomeAdvisor, the cost to build a new home in New Hampshire is approximately $307,400, which is higher than the national average. The actual cost will depend on the size, location, and design of the home, as well as any alterations made to the site.
Here is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in New Hampshire.
The average cost per acre of land in New Hampshire is $19,840. However, the actual price will vary by location and demand. Coastal lots are likely to be much higher and may require a hefty insurance premium. Areas outside the urbanized developments may be less expensive but may need a considerable amount of preparation prior to building, which elevates cost.
Permits and Paperwork
In New Hampshire, new construction requires specific building and zoning permits prior to breaking ground. Before you buy the lot, check with your local residential building department to verify that you are permitted to build on the site. It could be a major financial setback to purchase land only to find that it is improperly zoned for residential development.
There are ways to gain approval for building on some lots that are not zoned for residential construction, but the process can be tedious. In these cases, check with your trusted local builder for more information.
The building codes in New Hampshire vest local municipalities with the power to adopt “enforcement mechanisms” that allow them to approve or restrict construction in certain areas or lots. Your builder will be able to help you navigate the permit acquisition process, which includes the submission of completed building plans, blueprints, renderings, and copies of licenses from your certified contractor and potential subcontractors.
Every city or county will have a different process for application and approval, with varying degrees of difficulty. Some city governments have a self-service online platform for homeowners to upload their documents electronically, while others require an in-person trip to city hall to pick up an application. Usually, the approval process takes one to two weeks after everything is submitted but it could be longer.
Permits aren’t free, and some municipalities will find ways to nickel and dime new homebuyers for application fees, add-ons, and processing. Homeowners should budget between $1,200 and $2,000 for permit costs. It’s a good idea to request a more accurate estimate from the builder, based on the home size, design, and location.
For lots in pre-developed areas, site preparation is less of a big-ticket item in the homebuilding process. For many lots, however, a bit more TLC is required to make them construction ready.
First, the land must be prepared. This may require clearing excessive plant growth, leveling, or excavation. Your builder will be able to advise on what steps are necessary for your specific lot.
Next, the lot must be connected to utilities, such as electricity, water, and sewer. If you are in a city this process may be fairly straightforward, as you can more easily connect to the local grid. If the lot is in a rural area, you will need to do some research to learn which service utilities will drive a line out to your home site. The cost for site preparation in New Hampshire is similar to the U.S. average cost range.
Many homes in New Hampshire have a basement for added living or storage space. However, some regions of the state restrict residential construction of basements in areas prone to flooding. In these cases, a crawlspace foundation may be a more suitable option. Check with your local building department and your builder to discover which options are best suited for your lot.
Building the house frame is often the most expensive part of the homebuilding process. Once the foundation is set, the skeleton of the house is erected, and the home takes its three-dimensional shape. The expense of this stage depends on the cost of lumber and supplies but is usually within the range of $20,000 to $50,000.
The cost to buy and install a new roof usually depends on the materials. The standard reliable asphalt shingle will be the least expensive, while designer tiles and ceramic options are higher-end.
Unless you are a certified and licensed home builder, it is often a good idea to hire a general contractor to oversee the operations. While it may be tempting to manage your own building project, it is also typically more stressful than homeowners first imagine. When you hire a general contractor to supervise the team of subcontractors, order materials, and manage the timeline and budget, it takes a load of stress off your shoulders. In most states, it is customary for general contractors or builders to charge 15 to 20 percent of the total home cost, paid out in increments over the duration of the project.
After the home’s structure is upright and the roof is in place, it is time to add the major systems that make it functional. The home will need to be wired by a skilled and licensed electrician. The cost to install accessible electrical wiring will depend on the professional’s hourly rate, the number of outlets, and the complexity of the home design.
New homeowners will also need to install functional rough-in plumbing. This will require a certified plumber to ensure that everything is intact and set up appropriately to prevent flooding and other issues down the road. The cost is determined by the professional plumber’s rate and the number of fixtures that require water usage.
In the Northeastern region, it is especially critical that homeowners install a reliable HVAC system to maintain the efficiency of the home through all seasons. The cost to install an HVAC in New Hampshire is around $11,000, which is within the U.S. national average.
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
And finally, the most enjoyable part of building and customizing your new home is the personal touches that make it suitable for your lifestyle. Flooring options, wall colors, exterior siding, a backyard deck, wraparound porch, or outdoor fireplace… the place is now your canvas to customize with as many colors, flavors, and extra special additions that make it feel like home.
Homeowners will also need to order their appliances for delivery prior to the anticipated construction completion date. Sometimes these can be on backorder or there may be shipping delays. The average cost of appliances and add-ons for custom homes will typically vary based on the tier of choice
Helpful Tips for Building in New Hampshire
Below are a few tips and tricks for building your dream New Hampshire home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Many states, counties, and cities offer financial support for homeownership. Learn more about closing cost incentives and down payment assistance for new and existing homebuyers in New Hampshire to save money on upfront costs.
In New Hampshire, as well as throughout the Northeast, the average time to build a new construction home is longer than in other places in the U.S., ranging from approximately 9 to 13 months. However, this is highly dependent on weather, as snowy and icy conditions may cause delays.
Build Your New Hampshire Home
From gorgeous green hillscapes to quaint Northeastern towns, New Hampshire offers so much for everyone to enjoy. Find your peace in the tranquil scenery and fall in love with the bliss of owning your dream 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.