Seattle Custom Home Builder Explains How to Build Your Own House

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at 3:05pm UTC

Can I Build My Own House? Seattle Custom Home Builder Explains

Mercer Island, United States - July 10, 2024 / JayMarc Custom Home Builder Seattle /

Custom Homes Seattle

Can I Build My Own House? Seattle Custom Home Builder Explains

Embarking on the journey of building your home brings a host of questions, the most popular being: “Can you build your own house?” This question is especially pertinent for those considering laying down roots in Washington, a state that offers diverse landscapes and lifestyles.

“For those who own land or are in the process of selecting the perfect lot in Washington, several key considerations come into play before the first shovel hits the ground,” said Rob de Clerk, Preconstruction Project Manager at JayMarc Homes.

As we go deeper into the nuances of building your own house, in this blog post we’ll guide you through each essential step—making sure that your home building adventure is as fulfilling and successful as the vision that inspires it.


The short answer? Yes, you can, but using a home builder can help make the process much easier and less stressful! Before you get started, you should confirm your state or city rules. Working with a home builder can also help you navigate the complexities of construction.

What About in Washington State?

Yes, you can. Again, though, we highly recommend you use a home builder. Before you start thinking about construction, however, you need to make sure you have land in your desired area. You also need to keep tabs on the permits you’re going to need. (We will discuss these below.)

Fees for permits are going to vary depending on where you decide to build and the overall value of your home. It’s always a good idea to check the website of your local county.


What You Should Consider Before You Start Building

Home construction is a significant decision that involves factors beyond just finances. Here’s what you need to consider.

Local Regulations

First, visit the building department responsible for your area to grasp the specific requirements and regulations you must follow. Zoning laws play a significant role here, as they determine what type of building you can construct in a given area.

These regulations cover various aspects, including the placement of utility lines, building setbacks, and the size and height of your structure. Knowing these details upfront can save you from costly mistakes and redesigns.

Land Survey

Your land survey not only helps in defining your property boundaries but also provides critical information about where you can place your home and any other structures you plan to build. This survey can reveal the potential for dividing your land in the future, ensuring your project aligns with long-term goals.

Lot Size

The size of your lot affects more than just the footprint of your home. It influences your ability to engage in outdoor activities and add future structures. Washington State has specific regulations regarding lot sizes, especially concerning wastewater and septic systems, to protect groundwater. 

State Building Code

Washington’s building code establishes the minimum standards for construction, including safety, energy use, and ventilation. Familiarity with these codes is vital to ensure your home meets all legal requirements. Choosing a builder experienced with both state and local codes can prevent delays and additional costs related to permitting issues.

Tip: As of March 15, 2024, Washington’s State legislature implemented the 2021 building codes—this includes standards for the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) area. 


Building a home typically requires a construction loan, which has higher interest rates compared to traditional mortgages. You’ll likely need to make a down payment of 20%-25% of the construction costs. In contrast, buying an existing home might offer more flexibility with down payments.

Cost per Square Foot

At first glance, building a new home might seem pricier. However, when you break it down by square foot, new construction can actually offer more space for your money. A newly constructed home could be around $250-$350 per square foot. However, that cost is just for materials and labor, you’ll need to factor in land acquisition and permit costs above that.


This can affect your work and family life. The time and energy needed to oversee the construction of your home are significant factors to consider. (Plus, working with a reputable home builder can ensure project timelines are kept in check.)


New homes generally require less maintenance early on and tend to be more energy-efficient, which can save you money in the long run. 

If you decide to build a house on your own, you won’t have access to a new home warranty. (You’ll also be on the hook for any building defects.) This is also where working with a reputable builder can help. Builders provide new home warranties to help protect what’s considered permanent parts of the home, like plumbing and electrical work.

Start Your Journey to Your Home in Washington

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Yes, you do. You’ll need a permit for when you make any changes to an existing building or when you undertake any new construction, such as a new home.

In Washington State, specifically, you don’t need a permit to build the following

  • One-story detached accessory buildings
  • Fences lower than 6 feet
  • Papering, painting, and similar work

Styles of Homes You Can Build

From traditional single-family homes to modern tiny houses, you have many options to choose from when it comes to choosing the style of home you love most. Here’s an overview of the various types of homes you can build, each offering unique features, advantages, and considerations.

Cape Cod

Originating in the 1700s in Massachusetts, Cape Cod homes are known for their wood siding, shingles, and a central door flanked by windows. They offer a cozy, traditional aesthetic.


These homes are characterized by their symmetrical structure and central staircase, reflecting various cultural influences. They typically have a formal appearance and offer ample space across two or more stories.


Contemporary homes in the Pacific Northwest often feature northwest contemporary, modern farmhouse, craftsman, and transitional design styles. These styles are known for their clean lines, natural textures, and the use of neutral colors.


Craftsman homes emphasize hand-crafted details, exposed beams, and large porch columns. They are ideal for those who appreciate artisanal craftsmanship and cozy living spaces.


Modern farmhouses draw inspiration from traditional rural architecture, featuring rustic elements, tall ceilings, and spacious porches. They are perfect for those looking for a home with country charm and modern conveniences.


Ranch-style homes, popularized in the 1950s, are known for their single-story layout, open living spaces, and large backyards. They cater to those desiring a more laid-back and accessible living environment.


Evolving from ranch-style homes, split-level houses offer segmented living spaces separated by short flights of stairs. They provide a unique layout that can accommodate various living arrangements and preferences.


Transitional homes blend traditional charm with modern elegance, offering a balance between the comfort of classic design and the sleekness of contemporary style. This approach marries the best of both worlds, integrating pieces from different eras to forge a unified, sophisticated look.

How You Can Finance Building Your Own Home

Understanding the various options available can help you make informed decisions that align with your financial situation and home building goals. Here’s an overview of the primary financing methods for constructing a home.

Personal Loan

Personal loans can fund specific segments of your construction project, like landscaping or interior finishes. Although not suitable for financing the entire build, they can complement other funding sources for smaller tasks, providing a flexible solution for targeted needs.

Home Construction Loan

These loans are tailored for home construction projects, offering two distinct types:

  • Construction-only loan: Focused solely on construction costs, this loan requires full repayment upon project completion. Homeowners can settle this loan through cash or by securing a mortgage. 
  • Construction-to-permanent loan: This loan is a two-in-one option that covers both the land purchase and construction costs. After the construction phase, it transitions into a standard mortgage.

Home Equity Loan

For those who already own property, leveraging your home’s equity can be a strategic way to finance a new construction. This option involves borrowing against the equity of your current home, offering a potential route to cover part or all of the new home’s construction costs.

What to Look for in a Partner to Help You Build Your Home

When you’re ready to create your home, choosing the right home builder is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your project. Having the opportunity to rely on an experienced home builder to help guide your project is just one of the benefits. 

  1. Full-service capabilities: Opt for a builder that offers comprehensive services from start to finish. Your home builder should provide everything you need, including land acquisition, design, permitting, and construction. This all-in-one approach ensures a seamless, stress-free experience.
  2. Open communication and accessibility: Your home builder should be easy to reach and willing to keep you informed throughout the process. You should have access to a single point of contact, like a project manager, who can provide insights into your project when needed.
  3. Expertise and experience: Look for a builder with a proven track record of success. JayMarc Homes, for example, brings together a team with 750 years of combined experience—making sure that your home is built with unmatched skill and knowledge.
  4. Customization and quality: A top home builder should offer the flexibility to customize your home to your liking while adhering to the highest quality standards. You should be able to personalize your home at various stages of the building process.
  5. Post-completion support: After you move in, the relationship with your builder should continue. Your builder should be completely committed to your satisfaction, offering a comprehensive warranty and a customer care team to support you long after construction is complete.

Resources for Your New Home Build in Washington

Have additional questions that haven’t been answered here? Here are a few more resources you can check.

  • Washington State Building Code Council: This is the home for all of your questions pertaining to requirements for building, mechanical, fire, plumbing and energy codes. 
  • Electrical Permits, Fees & Inspections: This is where you should go if you have questions about permits, inspection, and the fees associated with any of these.
  • Mortgage Assistance, Education, and Resources: Interested in learning more about your financing options and what would be the right choice for you? This is your resource.

Ready to Turn Your Home Ideas Into Reality? Contact Custom Home Builders in Seattle

JayMarc Homes is here to guide you every step of the way. From selecting the perfect lot to designing a home that perfectly matches your lifestyle, our team of experts is committed to making your home building journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible. 

With our comprehensive services, including land acquisition, design, permitting, and construction, we ensure a stress-free experience tailored to your unique needs. 

Don’t wait to start living in a home you truly love. 

Contact JayMarc Homes today to learn more about how we can bring your vision to life. Love where you live, with JayMarc Homes.

Contact Information:

JayMarc Custom Home Builder Seattle

7525 SE 24th St #520
Mercer Island, WA WA 98040
United States

Jay Marc
(425) 226-9100

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