North Dakota is known for its wide expanses of open countryside and stunning outdoor scenery. Although it is the 19th largest state by area, North Dakota is the third least-populous state in the U.S. Many retirees, young families, and single adventure-seekers choose to build their new homes in North Dakota to take advantage of the many benefits of living in the Peace Garden State.
For many new homebuyers, purchasing their new dream home can be overwhelming at first. It is often a good idea to get familiar with the step-by-step guide to the homebuilding process before jumping head first into the time and energy investment. Once you have a better idea of the nuts and bolts of any homebuilding project, you can begin to build your budget.
The cost to build a house can vary by state, location, and design. It is important to talk with your builder as soon as possible to create a realistic plan and budget accordingly. Depending on your lot’s location, your new home may have additional requirements, such as permits and land use regulations. It’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time to make sure you are all set for construction to begin, and to prevent any delays in the process of building your home.
For new homebuyers in North Dakota, here is everything you need to know.
Encompassing a large portion of the Great Plains, North Dakota hosts a continental climate with cold, harsh winters and warm to hot summers. The northern region typically sees heavy snowfall, often up to ten inches more than the rest of the state. Homeowners should ensure that their home is well-insulated and well maintained. This will help protect your home and maintain the best efficiency during frigid icy winters.
In the way of natural disasters, North Dakota is prone to flooding, tornadoes, severe storms, winter storms, extreme heat and drought, and wildfires. Be sure to consult your design team and builder before breaking ground to ensure that your home is built with sufficient precaution to protect against improper rainwater drainage and leaks. Also, fire retardant materials may be helpful in areas at a greater risk of wildfires. Finally, when applying for your building permits, ask for any building restrictions or limitations based on the area’s climate trends and natural terrain.
According to data sourced by Forbes, the cost to build a new construction home in North Dakota is around $212,500. The actual cost will depend on size, design, and material expenses.
Here is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in North Dakota.
In North Dakota, an acre of land costs approximately $1,930 on average. The actual cost of the land will vary by location, resources, and size: Land close to major cities will likely cost more than rural areas, but purchase land farther away and you might face challenges securing access to power and utilities.
Permits and Paperwork
In North Dakota, residential building permits are issued at the local level. Most big cities handle permit processing within the local government, but smaller towns may require new homebuyers to secure their permits through the county government office. Either way, permits are necessary for building a new home, and failure to obtain the correct permits may lead to delays in construction and hefty fines.
The cost for permits can vary by home design, project size, individual city or county costs, and processing fees. It may take just a few days, or the process may last months to receive the proper permits. This does not include the cost for inspections in addition to the permits. It is critical to work alongside your builder to find out which permits are needed and how long they may take to obtain. General contractors tend to handle this part of the project, but it’s never a bad idea to stay informed on the necessary paperwork and deadlines.
In any lot, the first step is to prepare the land for construction. The cost to clear and level the terrain in North Dakota, plus any necessary excavation, is in line with the U.S. average cost to prepare land for new construction. Next, homeowners need to connect the site to electricity, water, and sewage systems. In pre-developed areas, this will be less challenging due to lines already being established. In rural areas, the remote location may pose a more difficult task as homeowners will need to find a company that will run a cable out to the lot.
Overall, the cost of a home foundation in North Dakota is similar to the typical U.S. cost. Naturally, basement foundations tend to be more expensive, especially for a finished basement. But if you need to excavate below the frost line, the cost difference may be in your favor to continue digging and build a basement for extra storage or living space.
In areas prone to flooding, crawlspace foundations are a better fit. Slab foundations should be considered with mild caution in areas of frequent ground freezing and thawing, which may cause the ground to shift. Shifts in the foundation can cause the slab to crack or split, leading to costly repairs.
Next to finishing features, the framing stage is often the most expensive. Depending on the market price for lumber, and the home’s size and design, the cost could vary significantly. However, the cost is typically in line with the U.S. average.
The cost of a new roof will vary significantly by size, design, and choice of materials. The standard asphalt shingle is typically the least expensive and easiest to install. In North Dakota, the cost of a new roof is slightly lower than the U.S. average at approximately $6,000-$7,000.
It is strongly recommended to hire a general contractor to oversee your new home project. General contractors know the process of homebuilding backward and forward. So while they manage your team of subcontractors, order materials, and ensure your quality checks are being met, you can relax and enjoy the process. General contractors usually charge between 15 and 20 percent of the construction cost, often called “cost plus.”
After the walls are up and the roof is completed, it’s time to get the house live-in ready. The first step is to hire a professional plumber to install rough-in plumbing. The cost of installing a complex water piping system throughout your home will vary by the home’s size, overall design, and number of sinks, toilets, showers, and other water fixtures in the home.
Next, homeowners need to hire a skilled electrician to install electrical wiring. The cost will again depend upon the layout of the home and the number of electrical sockets you plan to install in each room. Additionally, in North Dakota, it will be critical for homeowners to install a reliable HVAC system to ensure the home is kept comfortable inside through all seasons. The cost to install an HVAC in North Dakota is in line with the U.S. average costs.
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
After the walls are built and the roof is in place, it’s time to express yourself through the finishing touches. Custom cabinetry, flooring options, and landscaping choices come together to personalize your home. Crisp and subtle paint colors or vibrant and bold accents make your home unique to you. Make the most of the design process and take the time to create a space that feels like your own sanctuary.
Don’t forget to order appliances early so they arrive in time to be installed before moving in. Shop around for the best deals on new appliances that fit your floorplan and lifestyle.
Helpful Tips for Building In North Dakota
Finally, below are a few tips and tricks for building your dream North Dakota home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Most states and some local building authorities offer financial incentives to new and repeat homebuyers. Do a little research about where you plan to move to: you might be eligible for down payment assistance or closing cost incentives. This could save you thousands of dollars upfront and give you a little extra cash to use on desirable features for the home.
The average time to build a house in North Dakota is comparable to the U.S. average of 7-8 months from start to finish. However, the time of the year can have an impact on the timeline. The best time to build is in the spring after the ground has thawed and your lot is no longer in danger of potential winter storm damage or setbacks.
Build Your North Dakota Home
From picturesque mountain vistas to booming city job markets, North Dakota has everything you could want in a new community. Start your new life in the Great Plains today as you build your dream home in the Peace Garden 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.