What Is the Cost Per Square Foot for a Custom Home in the Puget Sound Area?

Custom homes can vary greatly in price per square foot no matter their size. Here's a look at how a range of home features impact cost.

June 22, 2021

One of the joys of buying a custom home is truly making it your own—you get to choose nearly every feature, from the size to the layout to the countertops. Because every custom home is different, budgeting is different too. Products in production homes are purchased in bulk, netting a similar price per square foot up and down the block. But custom homes can vary greatly in price per square foot no matter their size or number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

So what can you expect the cost per square foot to be for a custom home? Estes Builders’ typical range in Kitsap, Clallam, and Jefferson counties west of the Puget Sound is $300 to $450 per square foot.

While that range might seem daunting, consider that existing homes in Seattle currently have an average price per square foot of $451, according to Homes.com. In many neighborhoods, you’re spending the same per square foot for a smaller home that will need to be remodeled immediately after move-in–easily adding $60K-$150K to the total cost and STILL not having it fully done.

With a custom home, the house is not only brand new and move-in ready, it’s designed for you and by you. You can get a lot for your money when you’re starting fresh. Here’s a look at some of the features you might see across a per-square-foot range of $300-$450:



The kitchen is where much of your design budget will go and offers a lot of flexibility. You might be surprised to know, a kitchen for a $300-per-square-foot custom home might feature Cambria quartz countertops, semi-custom European-style frameless cabinetry, and mid-range (LG and Bosch) appliances including wall oven, microwave, dishwasher, and induction cooktop. As you upgrade appliances (think a Wolf range with GE Cafe convection wall ovens) and increase natural lighting with the addition of transom windows, your costs might reach $400 per square foot. In a $450-per-square-foot home, you’re moving into a larger kitchen with features for the savvy cook and frequent entertainer, including a built-in Thermador refrigerator and stand alone freezer, lots of countertop prep space, an enlarged kitchen island with a prep sink and wine refrigerator, extensive built-in cabinetry in multiple locations, and granite countertops.

Master Bathroom

Like the kitchen, the master bathroom is another likely splurge spot. The lower end of the range still provides for a beautiful, modern bath with quartz countertops, tile backsplash, modern lighted mirrors, and a pebble stone and ceramic-tiled shower with flush entry. At the $400-per-square-foot range, you might find extras like radiant floor heating and a stand-alone built-in jetted tub. At $450 per square foot, spa-like features become an option, including an oversized shower with steam and freestanding tub with floor-mounted plumbing, wall-mounted towel warmers, and a bidet.

Interior Finishes

When building a custom home from the ground up, there’s a lot you can do with interior finishes without breaking the bank. A $300-per-square-foot home may feature vaulted ceilings in the main living area with pre-finished hardwood floors, painted mid-size trim and vinyl windows, crown molding, and masonry accents for a Pacific Northwest feel. With a bit more investment, at the $400-per-square-foot level you might add custom built-ins for the living room, mud room, and office storage, as well as upgrade your windows to fiberglass composite with custom colors. At $450 per square foot, you add an expansive window wall to take in the views—or a sliding window wall; you also could add details such as exposed beams, custom ceiling details like a coffered tray with lighting, multiple paint colors throughout, a wine storage room, and potentially an indoor pool.


Exterior Finishes

Curb appeal is everything, and you can get it with smart choices at nearly every price point. Still, the more you spend, the more extras you can afford. At $300 per square foot, you can include a sought-after three-car garage, perhaps enlarging one bay and adding power to use as a workshop. At $400 per square foot, you can blend multiple types of siding to add dimension and stunning design; other popular upgrades include a metal roof and tongue-and-groove cedar soffits. A $450-per-square-foot home can expect budget allowance for extras, perhaps a garage for your RV, a full outdoor kitchen, multiple decks with cable railing, and custom concrete pillars or planters.

Whether your cost per square foot budget is $300 or $600, Estes Builders can help you build the home of your dreams. Our design team specializes in creating homes that meet your needs and incorporate your wishes while guiding you and providing options to help you stay within your budget. And with our Fixed Price Guarantee, you’ll have peace of mind knowing what you’re getting up front without worry that your price will increase over the course of your build.


Contact us today for a free Custom Home Investment Study and let us help you discover the possibilities for your own dream home.