There’s so much to love about Rhode Island. Gorgeous landscapes, top-rated education opportunities, and a variety of world-class cuisines make this tiny gem a remarkable place to live. Though the cost may be slightly higher than other areas of the country, the state offers peaceful relaxation and timeless traditions.
The idea of buying your dream home in Rhode Island might feel overwhelming and confusing at first. Luckily, the step-by-step guide to the homebuilding process walks through the details so you can gain a better sense of the general process. From there, homeowners can take it a step further to begin creating a budget for their new home project. Building a budget and sticking to it is critical for new homebuyers so that their new home is completed on time without breaking the bank.
The cost to build a house varies by state, location, and design. In many states, costs such as permit fees, land preparation, and materials can vary quite a bit. It’s important to become familiar with the regulations, processes, and costs to build a home in your desired state before beginning your project. For homebuyers in Rhode Island, here’s everything you need to know.
The climate in Rhode Island is pleasant year-round (given the right preparation and wardrobe) with mild summers and relatively cold and snowy winters. Summer high temperatures are typically in the low 80s while winter highs are in the 30s. The entire state experiences consistent precipitation, as well as all four seasons.
The state is also prone to thunderstorms, snowstorms, floods, and hurricanes. Homeowners should prepare their homes against these potential natural disasters by installing storm windows and anti-flood irrigation systems. Extra insulation is a good idea to strengthen your home against the dangers of frozen pipes and helps maintain the efficiency of your HVAC system. Ensure that every seal is carefully caulked to give your home the best chance of retaining the heat against the harsh winter chill. Homeowners should also plan to perform regular maintenance checks on the home to fill in any cracks in the siding or roof as soon as they appear.
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to build a home in Rhode Island is around $338,180, which is above average for the U.S. Actual costs will vary by location, size, and design.
Here is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in Rhode Island.
As is the case with most Northeastern states (with the exclusion of New York), the cost of land in Rhode Island is significantly higher than the rest of the country. According to Zippia, an acre of land in Rhode Island costs approximately $133,730, which is the second-highest rate in the country.
Permits and Paperwork
In Rhode Island, homeowners must file the appropriate permit applications with their city or municipality before beginning construction. Projects in progress without the stamp of approval from a building inspector can incur some incredible fees and potential construction delays. Most often your general contractor will handle this step for you, but it’s a good idea to be knowledgeable on the necessary paperwork.
Permit fees for construction are not uniform and are often based on the size, design, and overall cost of the project. Additionally, any inspection review by a city official will cost extra.
Before laying your new home’s foundation, it is critical to prepare your lot. This includes excavation and leveling, as well as clearing vegetation to make the area suitable for your new home. In some cases, homeowners may need to hire an engineer to test the soil to ensure its components are a good fit for their construction plans. The cost to prepare a site in Rhode Island is similar to the U.S. average cost, averaging around $2,000.
Next, homeowners need to connect the lot to services, including water, sewer, and electricity. In developed lots, it’s a pretty simple process to connect your lot to existing city systems. In rural areas, the process may be a bit more difficult as homeowners may need to install a septic system or water well, as well as find an electricity provider to drive a cable out to the lot.
In the case of most Rhode Island homes, a basement is utilized as the foundation. This is due to the frost line being deeper in the region than in other areas of the U.S., making the cost of a few more inches of excavation a better deal in the long term. A finished basement can provide a bonus bedroom, living area, or separate apartment for rental income. If you aren’t ready to invest in the added cost to finish the basement, an unfinished basement is perfect for storage space and can be finished after you’ve moved in.
Besides the finishing features, the frame of a house is often the most expensive phase of the project. It is a critical step to give the home its three-dimensional form and structural integrity. Depending on the cost of materials and labor, framing can cost a large chunk of change. The average cost of framing a custom home in Rhode Island is a little less than $6,000, which is in line with the U.S. average.
After the walls are built, it’s time to cap it off with a roof to protect your new home. The cost to build a roof depends heavily on the materials you choose. For example, standard asphalt shingles will typically be the most common to come by and the cheapest material, while ceramic or slate shingles will be heavier and cost quite a bit more. The cost to build a roof in Rhode Island is typically between $5,000 and $15,000, slightly higher than the U.S. average.
It is usually recommended that new homebuyers hire a general contractor or builder to oversee their new home construction project. A general contractor will manage your team of subcontractors, oversee daily operations, and obtain permits through the city government as required, among many other tasks. A local contractor is often knowledgeable on area regulations, climate needs, and recommended service providers. You can utilize their expertise in many ways. Most general contractors charge between 10 and 20 percent of the total project costs, paid during phases of the project.
After the home is built, it’s time to get plugged into the major systems that bring the home to life. Homeowners must hire a licensed electrician to completely wire the home. The cost to install electricity depends on the number of sockets in each room, number of light fixtures, and overall size and design of the home. In Rhode Island, this is $1,700 on average.
Homeowners must also hire a licensed plumber to install rough-in plumbing. The cost depends upon the number of showers, sinks, toilets, water heaters, and other faucets in the home, but expect to pay at least $12,000.
Additionally, it is critical in Rhode Island that homebuyers install some form of heating and cooling system. An HVAC installation in Rhode Island is between $4,500 and $15,000.
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
In the end, the biggest thrill you’ve been waiting for is the opportunity for customization that comes with choosing the details and finishes. Cabinetry design, flooring options, tile backsplash, and lighting all come together to create your perfect sanctuary. Just remember to stick to your budget and if you can’t incorporate all the features that you want right now, there will be opportunities to renovate in the future.
Also, it’s a good idea to order your appliances ahead of the deadline so they arrive at your house before move-in. Keep in mind, finishing features also include exterior aspects such as landscaping, an outdoor deck, and a pool. Just find what makes you happy and go for it!
Helpful Tips for Building in Rhode Island
Finally, below are a few tips and tricks for building your dream Rhode Island home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Many states and some local municipalities offer financial incentives for new and repeat homebuyers. Reach out to your local building department to find out if you may be eligible to save some dough through closing cost incentives or down payment assistance.
In Rhode Island, new homebuyers can expect the homebuilding process to take between three to six months from start to finish. Building in the winter months may take slightly longer depending on the weather and freezing temperatures, which often delay construction.
Build your Rhode Island Home
From beautiful beaches to peaceful sunrises over rolling hills, the spectacular views of Rhode Island are simply unmatched. The opportunity to begin a new life in your perfect custom-built home awaits you in The Ocean 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.