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Everything You Need to Know About Building a House in Washington State

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Considering building a house in Washington state? Congratulations! There’s so much to do here—from the bustling energy of its cities to the serene beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastline. This variety allows you to select a location that perfectly aligns with your desired lifestyle, whether you’re drawn to the vibrancy of urban living or the tranquility of nature.

Additionally, building a home in Washington state helps you secure a spot in a high-demand housing market: 49,000 homes were built in the area from 2022 to 2023, and it hasn’t been enough to keep up with demand.

“Building your own home in Washington is about crafting a personal living space amidst some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. From the vibrant cities to the breath-taking scenery, each home built here is a testament to the diverse lifestyles and natural beauty this state offers,” said Alexa Simpson, VP of Marketing & Customer Care at JayMarc Homes.

In this blog, we’ll cover the steps you need to take to build the home you’ve been envisioning, with a step-by-step breakdown, and how you can find the ideal home builder to work with.

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Step One: Budgeting

When building a home in Washington in 2024, here are a few things to keep in mind for your bottom line.

Lumber is now more affordable, compared to the intense costs of 2021, at $400 per thousand board feet. Prices may rise as demand increases. Factor this into your budget.
Roofing costs vary. A simple shingle roof costs about $10,000. Complex flat roofs can cost up to $100,000. Choose simpler designs to save money.
New WA Energy & Electric Code changes will add $30,000-$60,000 to your building costs, depending on size. This is on top of the $40,000 added by the 2021 code. Include these in your budget planning.
Land costs significantly affect what you can expect to spend, and the location of your lot can greatly influence its price. Ensure you have financing approval before making land offers.

Closing costs are another important consideration, generally amounting to 1% to 3% of the home’s purchase price. These costs cover escrow, document fees, and insurance.

Permits and fees are mandatory for building in Washington. You should plan for these costs and work closely with a contractor once they’re approved. Make sure to check with your builder for what permits you’ll need.

What to Keep an Eye Out for in Your Budget for Your New Home—at a Glance


Budget Category

Details

Land acquisition

Cost varies based on location, size, and environment.

Design and architecture

Fees for professional services and design plans.

Construction costs

Includes labor, materials, and contractor fees.

Permits and fees

Required for legal compliance and building approvals.

Utilities and services

Connection to electricity, water, sewage, etc.

 

Step Two: Choose Your Home Builder

The second step in building a home in Washington is choosing the right builder. A home builder can offer valuable expertise and efficiency, making them crucial in the home construction process.

What to Look for in a Home Builder

  1. Experience and expertise: Seek a builder with a proven track record. Your builder should show expertise in different aspects of homebuilding, including architecture, land feasibility studies, permitting, budgeting, interior design, and project management.
  2. Personalized service: Choose a builder who values customer relationships and offers personalized services, like access to a dedicated point of contact.
  3. Transparency and open communication: Opt for a builder who maintains transparent and honest relationships, keeping you informed throughout the building process.
  4. Quality of craftsmanship: Ensure the builder is committed to high-quality finishes, conducts quality check walkthroughs, and employs top-quality talent.
  5. Comprehensive services: Look for a full-service builder who manages all aspects of home construction, from land acquisition to project management and interior design.
  6. Customer care and warranty: Consider builders who offer extensive customer care and builder-backed warranty programs, treating clients as valued members of their community.
  7. Educational resources: Choose a builder who educates clients about the home building process. Think along the lines of webinars and direct guidance.
  8. Commitment to community: Select a builder dedicated to community service and who values long-term relationships within the community.
  9. Customization options: Ensure your potential builder offers opportunities for personalization, helping you add your unique touches to make your home truly yours.
  10. Financial guidance: Choose a builder who can assist with financial aspects, such as mortgage preapprovals and understanding construction financing.

Financial preparation is also key. Before proceeding, you need to get a construction mortgage pre-approval. This pre-approval not only only demonstrates your financial status but also establishes your credibility in the eyes of builders and suppliers. This step also ensures you have a clear understanding of your budget and financial limits.

Step Three: Choosing a Lot

The third step is purchasing a lot. When choosing a lot, be aware of environmental restrictions, such as proximity to wetlands, which could impact building permissions and designs.

Utilize county maps to understand any building limitations specific to your desired area. Additionally, assess practical aspects like the need for tree removal, proximity to roads for easy access, and availability of water services.

In custom home building, you have the freedom to choose every detail, tailoring each aspect to your preferences. This allows for a high degree of personalization in both the home’s design and its integration with the lot.

However, your land will determine several aspects of your final build. It’s crucial to be aware of any limitations a piece of land may present to your preferred design.

Learn more about the ins and outs of building a home with our blog:

Things You Need to Be Aware of When Choosing a Lot

When choosing a lot to build a home on, it’s important to consider several key factors:

  1. Lot size and usage: Make sure the lot is large enough not only for the house but also for any outdoor activities you plan to enjoy. Think about future structures you might want to add, like a garage, garden, or patio and be sure the land is zoned for those structures.
  2. Wastewater and septic: In Washington, these systems are regulated by the State Department of Health. The rules for lot size are designed to protect groundwater, so ensure your lot meets these requirements if you plan to install a septic system.
  3. Property layout considerations: Plan your property layout within the required setbacks. This includes the placement of your house, driveway, and sewage system. It’s essential to evaluate the property thoroughly to ensure all these elements can be accommodated without issues.

Taking these factors into account will help ensure that your chosen lot is suitable for your new home, both in terms of legal compliance and personal enjoyment.

Step Four: Prepare and Build

The process begins with lot preparation. This stage is all about readying the land for construction, which may involve tree removal and leveling the ground to establish a solid foundation. Once the lot is fully prepared, the construction phase can commence.

Next comes framing. During this phase, the rough frame of the house is constructed and reinforcement is placed, giving shape to the home’s basic structure. This is followed by the installation of plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and house wrap.

The installation of essential systems is the subsequent step. This includes putting in place the plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. The home then undergoes a frame inspection. Following the approved frame inspection, the house receives insulation and drywall.

Interior and exterior finishing then takes the stage. This phase is about adding the fine details, such as interior trim, flooring, countertops, and completing the exterior grading. These elements bring the house closer to being a livable, functional space.

Finally, the last phase includes adding the final touches. This involves the installation of mechanical trims, hardware, lighting fixtures, and a comprehensive final check. This check ensures that everything in the home is up to standard and perfect before the closing process begins.

Take the Stress Out of Building a Home in Washington State With JayMarc Homes

With our team’s combined 750 years of homebuilding experience and nearly 13 years in the business, we bring unparalleled expertise to every project. With us, you’re not just building a house—you’re crafting a legacy.

Rely on a team that builds 20-25 luxury homes per year, each meeting our standard of quality and service.

Contact us today to start your journey.