Mar 21, 2018

Custom Home Building – How Much Does It Cost?

When our Vancouver Island home builders work with our clients on a custom home build project, they often have many questions.

At Westmark, it’s our #1 priority to alleviate our client’s concerns however possible. So far, we have done our best to answer all of the above questions in previous blog posts. However, today, the question that we want to address is undoubtedly one of the most difficult to answer:

“How much does it cost to build a custom home?”

The short answer: it depends! However, we know that answer doesn’t help you in your decision-making and budgeting process.

The longer answer is that custom home building is exactly that – custom, and thereby inherently variable. As we are tailoring your build based on your unique needs and requirements, there are going be to many elements that will affect the final cost of your home. Below, we will outline some of the most common factors, as well as point out some costs that aren’t directly associated with the build itself, but you may not have yet considered in your budget.

Square Footage

This is probably the most obvious factor, but is still worth mentioning. The larger your house is, the more it’s going to cost, what with increased materials and labour. With Westmark, we find that the average custom built home costs $200-300 per square foot, with more luxury homes costing $400+ per square foot. Therefore, you could expect that an average 2,300 sq ft home would run you anywhere from $460,000 to $690,000.

Building Site

When purchasing land for your custom home, there are many things that come into play: whether it is rural or urban; proximity to both natural and man-made amenities; etc. However, the topography of the building site needs to be considered as well. With a flat, subdivided lot, you will likely not have to worry about much more than just its initial purchase price. However, with a rocky, uneven piece of land – like an oceanfront property, for example – there are extra expenses to consider. Some are less expensive, such as bringing in soil, but others can be rather costly, such as rock blasting.


As your custom home building plans become more complex, and more luxury finishes are chosen, you can find that your budget can start increasing exponentially. Hardwood flooring will be more expensive than carpet, and roof lines with multiple gables will cost more than that with a single gable. The chosen architectural style can affect costs as well – for example, West Coast modern homes often feature plenty of expensive glass, much more than that in a traditional home. Almost no one has an unlimited budget, and if you aren’t careful with your selections, $1000 here and $1000 there may soon have you shouldering thousands in unexpected costs.

Interior Designer

Here’s where hiring an interior designer can help you to manage and minimize unexpected costs when building of your custom home. An interior designer has a keen understanding of how features – such as paint colours, paint finishes, flooring materials, lighting, etc – all affect one another and can help bring them together in harmony. While there may be an increased cost upfront, an interior designer will likely save you money overall. They can help prioritize your choices to make the most visual impact while staying within your budget, and their expertise can eliminate mistakes and unnecessary changes that would cost you more money in the long run.

Bonus tip: don’t forget about items that aren’t part of the actual custom home build!

We’ve encountered cases where clients have built a house within their budget, but didn’t take into account outfitting the house. If you’re building your dream home, you want to make sure that you save money for all the “little” things that make a house a home, such as furniture, landscaping, blinds, appliances, and artwork.

We hope that this has helped you understand what goes into the cost of building a custom home. Have questions for our Vancouver Island home builders? Let us know!