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Well, how much should it cost depends on who it is..... Glenn how much is a new shovel?
John, I think you got it precisely right when you wrote about "expectations"----just what do we expect from our house? If we expect to impress our neighbors, friends and relatives we may need to pay for a McMansion or even more. If we expect the warm feeling of security from one we can pay for and still sleep soundly it will probably not impress many others. I have tried both methods and found the latter much more satisfying. That lesson is one I have tried hard to pass on to my sons-----try to always live beneath your means----it will help fill your life with tranquility.
I would say that once you figure out what you are going to build you go in stages. How much you will spend overall would depend on how much you can put in over the expected build time plus whatever you start out with. For starters you'll need to buy some land. From there the next thing would be figure out where your water power and septic are going to come from. If those things are a sure thing then you can wait and do them later if your area allows it. Next build your foundation. Save enough cash so you can fast track to the dried in stage before you start framing. From there you can take as much time as you need to finish the house.