New Mexico is a state full of rich cuisine, vibrant festivals, and unique architecture due to its grand influences from Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo cultures and history. The fabulous blend of traditional and contemporary styles is one of many reasons that new homeowners are moving to the Land of Enchantment.
Many young families, singles, and retirees choose to build their custom homes in New Mexico. Taking time to understand the step-by-step homebuilding process will benefit new homebuyers as they embark on this exciting new adventure.
Additionally, homebuyers should familiarize themselves with the cost to build a house and solidify a realistic budget as early as possible. Your builder can help at this stage by providing fair estimates according to prices for labor and materials in your area.
As you become acquainted with the general timeline and average costs to build a home, be aware that the process and cost will vary by state. Building permits, climate considerations, and the average costs to build a new home will depend on its location. For new homebuyers, here is a list of everything you need to know about building a custom home in New Mexico.
The climate in New Mexico is typically pleasant year-round. The northern and eastern regions have alpine climates in the cooler mountainous areas. Summers tend to be hot with relatively low humidity, and nights are often cool and comfortable throughout the year. In the way of natural disasters, New Mexico is at a higher risk for wildfires, drought, extreme heat, and flooding, along with harsh summer and winter storms.
Wildfires are frequent throughout the state. Homeowners can take action to prevent wildfires by incorporating fire-resistant building materials into the home design, routinely cleaning out gutters, picking up dry leaves and shrubbery from their lawns, and maintaining a healthy and well-trimmed yard around the home’s perimeter.
Flooding is also frequent in certain areas of the state. If your new home is in a zone that is prone to heavy flooding, be prepared to make accommodations in your home’s design. Basements are not advisable in areas subject to flooding, but crawlspaces and adequate irrigation may be ideal.
To protect your home during severe storms, make sure that your HVAC is running as efficiently as possible. Seal all crevices tightly and install weatherstripping to prevent air or water escaping through tiny cracks. In areas at a higher risk for frequent storms, the installation of storm windows may be a solid investment as well.
The cost to build a new construction home in New Mexico is typically between $290,000 and $320,000. The size, location, and design of the new home will impact the overall cost to build. For example, the cost to build a new home in Albuquerque is between $110 to $240 per square foot, which is slightly higher than the U.S. average. However, a home outside the major city areas will typically cost less.
Here is a step-by-step guide for building your new house in New Mexico.
Luckily for new homebuyers, New Mexico happens to be one of the cheapest places to buy land. According to Zippia, the average cost of land in New Mexico is $1,931 per acre. The actual cost will depend on the location of the lot and its proximity to the nearest city and resources.
Permits and Paperwork
In New Mexico, building permits are issued by the local city or county governments. Homeowners should submit applications early to receive the necessary permits to begin construction. Applications require full design plans, blueprints, construction timelines, licensed contractor information, and possibly other documentation. Permits have fees that may vary based on your city or county. Failure to obtain legal building permits may result in hefty fines and delays to your construction project, so it is critical to request them as soon as possible.
The cost to prepare land for construction is often a hefty portion of the total cost to build a house. Any clearing of foliage, leveling of land, or possible excavation will add up. Before purchasing land, it’s often a good idea to hire a construction expert or land surveyor to assess your land needs.
Before construction can begin, the lot must also have access to electricity, water, and sewer lines. If located within or nearby a city, lots may easily be connected to established public or private power or water suppliers. If your lot is in a rural area, you may need to do some research to learn which companies will extend service to your area. The cost to connect utilities to your home site in New Mexico is similar to the U.S. average cost.
Monolithic slabs and crawlspace foundations are most common in New Mexico. Basements are much less common due to their high cost. Considering the relatively low cost of land, it’s often less expensive and a greater value to expand the size of your New Mexico home horizontally rather than vertically. The cost to build a foundation in New Mexico is comparable to the U.S. average.
When building a home, the house frame is often the most expensive part of the process. The skeleton of the home gives it a full shape that brings your blueprints to life. The cost to erect the structure of the home depends on the price of lumber, size, and design. In New Mexico, the cost of framing a home is in line with the U.S. average.
Depending on the type and quality of the shingle, the cost to build a roof can vary widely. In New Mexico, the cost to build a new roof is usually between $3,900 and $23,000.
In New Mexico, it is possible to apply for a contractor’s license to manage your own new home construction project. However, it’s usually recommended that new homebuyers hire a general contractor to oversee their home project and manage all subcontractors. This will take a load of the burden off your shoulders and allow you to savor every moment as you bring your dream home to life.
Home contractors usually charge between 15 and 20 percent of the overall home cost paid at specified intervals. They will handle the hiring of your subcontractors and ensure that your project is completed both on time and within budget.
After the home is standing, the walls are erected, and the roof is finished, the next step is to add wiring. You will need to hire a licensed electrician to install outlets and bring power to the home. The cost to wire a new construction home in New Mexico is similar to the U.S. national average and will depend on the size of the home and the number of outlets.
Next, homeowners will need to hire a professional plumber to install rough-in plumbing throughout the home. The overall cost of hiring a plumber in New Mexico is comparable to the U.S. average cost, but actual costs will depend on the number of faucets, toilets, sinks, showers, and other fixtures.
Finally, homeowners should plan to install an HVAC to control the temperatures and maintain efficiency. In New Mexico, homeowners can expect the cost to vary widely, based on the size of the home and the system model. Homeowners in New Mexico typically pay between $7,000 and $18,000 for a new HVAC system installation.
Finishing Features and Appliance Installation
After the walls are standing and the home has the bare minimum necessities of water, heat, and electricity, it’s time to express your style in the design features. Choose interior and exterior elements that fit your unique personality and lifestyle. Flooring options, wall colors, countertop elements, and custom cabinetry fill the inside of your home with a charming pizazz, while a stained deck and landscaping artistry add sparkle to your yard space.
It’s important to stay grounded and stick to your budget during this phase to avoid going over budget and adding time to your project. Don’t forget to budget for necessary appliances such as your refrigerator, laundry machines, and water heater. The cost of finishing features and appliances in New Mexico is within the average national costs.
Helpful Tips for Building in New Mexico
Finally, below are a few tips and tricks for building your dream New Mexico home.
Closing Cost Incentives
Most states and some local municipalities offer financial incentives for both new and repeat homebuyers. Check with your local building department to learn if you could qualify for closing cost incentives and down payment assistance.
Homebuyers in New Mexico can expect the home building process to take approximately seven to nine months, which is in line with the U.S. average timeline to build a home.
Build Your New Mexico Home
The home-building process can be arduous, but certainly will be rewarding in the end. Pick and choose the custom features that speak to your personality and lifestyle, then the rest will simply fall into place.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.