Potential New Home Build

3 Replies

Hello BP, 

I'm looking at getting a piece of land under contract and I'm working on figuring out what it will cost to get utilities and etc to where the house (SFR) will be built.

I have costs for water and gas (if i even decide to use gas) and am waiting for returned calls from the power company. I'm assuming it wont be to costly to have overhead power ran from existing poles across the street down to the new house.

The owner/seller tells me there was a house there at one time, decades ago, and it already had gas and water (the gas and water company both told me other wise) but the land was essentially an empty field in 2007 (google street view), and is now completley grown over with 10-15ft tall spruce trees, so you cant really see anything at all.

Couple of questions for you guys..

What are some typical $/sqft build costs (the property is in Isle of Wight County, Virginia) I know costs can vary greaty across the country. Just looking for rough ideas.

If there is or was a septic system at one point would that need to be removed or filled in or anything like that since I will be tapping into city water?

Any other considerations or precautions i should be taking? This is my first crack at development/new construction.


For electric, you'll want to ensure that local code doesn't require new lines to be run underground.  Depending on the length of the run, whether a new transformer is needed and other stuff, it could be cheap or could be expensive.

As for water and gas, are the current lines big enough?  If they were run years ago, they may not still be to code.  Especially if sprinklers are needed, in which case you'll probably need a larger water line.

Do streets need to be cut up?  That can get expensive, especially when the city/county has to provide traffic routing, etc.  

Are there hook-up fees?  In some places, this can run 5-figures.

Unfortunately, there are no stock answers...you'll have to investigate each utility separately with the county and with the utility company (and maybe with an engineer).

I've built a couple of projects in Portsmouth, VA Beach, and the eastern shore. Multi-family residential construction square foot costs were $75-95.

J. Scott was spot on.  After the downturn end economy, several of those jurisdictions restructured their permitting and inspections process, significantly increasing fees, subbing out inspections, and last minute imposition of right-of-way improvements ( roadway improvements, etc.). So some lengthy conversations with the local Authorities is a great idea.  Local contractors should also be familiar with the new norms as well.

Re: existing utilities. You could try calling miss utility for your property, that would give you an idea of what services are in the area. I think it's 811 in VA

Thanks for the input @J Scott & @Kevin Mizell

I actually have the property under contract now, but here is what I have gathered.

Water and sewer tap 11k, $30-$60 per ft for the gas company to run gas down to the property (if its not already on site). I'm thinking I would go heat pump and run everything electric to avoid the potential gas costs, and also because the power company can give me underground service at no charge.

I'm looking at putting a singe family detached on it at about 1100 sqft. I would definitely need to be at the lower end of that $/sqft range for the project to work. Unless I could partner with a builder and not have to use hard money.

Also about 1/4 acre of the land would need to be cleared and graded, I had one guy quote me 15k to do this. Seemed like a bit much to me, i plan on getting other quotes for this part as well. Maybe even renting something and clearing it myself. What are your thoughts on the cost of clearing and grading?

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