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By : Brian Carlin

How Much Does Site Development Cost in North Texas?

Site development in North Texas can cost $20,000 to $65,000. The cost varies depending on the lot you choose and your preferences.

Do you want those trees on the lot? Are you particular about where you place your home on the lot? Do you want to build on or off a slope?

Below are some common land development costs for a custom home in Texas:


What Factors into Land Development Costs for a New Home?

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There are many factors to consider when developing land in Texas for a custom home. Below, we'll explain each category of site development so you know which apply to your land and how much you'll need to have budgeted for this step in the home building process.


Remember as you learn about each one that every category may not apply to your particular piece of land. Residential land development in Texas varies, and if your lot is already developed, you won't need a well and septeic system, water softeners or site clearing. Furthermore, if your lot is on a large acreage, you probably won't need fencing or much landscaping.

Your custom home builder will be able to best assess what's needed to develop your land and how much site development is going to cost, but hopefully this list gives you a better idea of what each item could be and why your builder might be recommending it.



Site Clearing & Tree Removal

Site clearing and tree removal can cost $1,200 to $6,000. This land development cost will vary based on the size of your lot and the number of trees and brush you need to clear.

Tree clearing is important because you don’t want to leave trees too close to the house or their roots may start to grow beneath or into the foundation, causing you to have foundation problems in the future.



Pad Site Grading & Fill

The purpose of pad site grading and fill in the home building process is to make sure your home’s slab will be placed on a solid, compact area that will not shift or allow water to enter your home.

Pad site grading and fill usually costs $4,500 to $12,000 depending on the amount of work needed on your particular lot, but it can cost more on steeply sloping lots.



Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are not usually needed unless you are building your home on a slope, in which case you will want retaining walls for added support so your house will not move downhill as the hill erodes over time.

The cost of retaining walls for a new house varies by how much wall is needed but can cost $10,000 - $25,000 on the jobs we see.




Well & Septic System

If your home does not have water hookups - most homes within or closer to the city will not - you’ll want to budget $10,000 to $20,000 to install a well. You definitely need to check the well depths in your area, and get a quote from a local provider. In the DFW area, 250-350 foot wells are not uncommon. 


Septic or Aerobic systems typically run between $7500 - 11,000, depending on soil type and location. There are also permit and soils percolation test fees that come to approximately $800. 




Concrete Drive & Approach

We typically see budgets for concrete drives and approaches of $6,000 - 12,000 depending on the size. 

If you have a basic rectangular lot with standard curb and gutter, then you likely will not need to worry about a culvert drive. However, if there is a bar ditch on your lot that will make it difficult to access, a culvert (drainage pipe) under your driveway may be required so it makes access to the lot easier and can more easily divert water from building up on your driveway.

A culvert itself can cost about $1,000 or more depending on the size needed. Some culvert driveways, when it’s all said and done, can cost up to $6,000 depending on the complexity of the project.

If you think you’ll need a culvert drive for your lot, talk to your builder about projected costs.




Utility Hookups & Service Lateral Line

The costs to hook up utilities and run lines to your home varies greatly by municipality and service provider. Once you reach out to your city about the utility hookups and service lateral line, you will secure a quote for the specific work on your home site, and you can include that in your overall site development budget allotment.




Water Softener & Filtration

If you have hard water at your home - usually from installing a well and septic system - you’ll want to install a water softener and filtration system to soften the water for your pipes and clean the water for your consumption.

Water softener and filtration typically cost $2,000 to $3,500 depending on the system you want.




Gutters & Soil Drains

When building a new home, you want to make sure that you are diverting any water that comes away from the home so it will not affect the soil and foundation. Occasionally this means installing gutters and soil drains to divert the water away. It can also help divert the water away from building up in your yard.

The price will vary depending on the size of your lot and the type of drainage system you choose to install.




Propane Tank & Lateral Line

Residential propane tanks can cost $2,500 to $4,000 to install on your property. These tanks can be used for heating your home, cooking, water, fireplaces, etc.





Fencing land for a new home usually costs $1,500 to $10,000. The cost varies based on the price of lumber, type of fencing you’re using, and the size of the yard you’re looking to fence in. This part usually comes in at the end of the home building process once the home is complete.




Landscaping, Sod & Irrigation

This is another step that often comes in at the end of the homebuilding process and we typically see costs of $10,000 to $15,000 on the projects we landscape. The price for landscaping, sod and irrigation varies based on what you’re wanting for your lawn and how big the area is that you’re landscaping.




Temporary Gravel Drive

Gravel driveways usually cost between $1,500 and 4,000 depending on how thick you want the drive to be and how much space is needed for it.

When Does Site Development Happen?

Site development happens at the very beginning of the home building process, after securing your lot and financing for the home. Before your builder can begin building your house, you will need to pay for site development. This falls into the pre-construction face of the home building process and is something your builder will help with.

How Can I Make Sure the Land I Buy Has Minimal Site Development Requirements?

Choosing where to build your home is an important first step of the home building process and one that is often done with or without your builder’s help. To help you make the best decision for your home site, consider some of these city laws and conditions that may affect site development.

  • Lot restrictions

  • Lot dimensions

  • Lot grade

  • Utilities

  • Soil conditions

  • Siting the home

  • Surveys and plats

  • Deed restrictions

  • Grading and drainage

  • Sun orientation

Learn more about each consideration here.

What If the Land I Bought Is Going to be Too Expensive to Develop?

While we always recommend getting the advice of a trusted builder before you purchase your lot, if you already purchased your lot and found out it’s going to be too expensive to develop, you have a couple of options.

  1. Look to resell the lot to another buyer who would be willing to invest more into the property.

  2. Talk to your builder about how you can save money on site development.

  3. Discuss floor plan options with your builder. It’s possible a different floor plan may be more suited for the lot you purchased that will require less development costs.



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