Pocatello New Home Construction

We have been helping home buyers get into new homes in Pocatello's Highland area for four generations. This guide is designed to answer the most common questions customers have about building or buying in our hillside subdivisions.


Financing a New Home

Can I afford a new home?

Buying or building a new home is a viable option for many people. To get an idea on price, browse Pocatello MLS for homes built in the last fives years in the Highland Area. You may even find a home that interests you.

Like most large purchases, a house has many upgradeable features that can quickly increase the overall price of the home. The best approach is to stay within a budget you set for yourself, ensuring you can comfortably afford your home.

What is generally included in the purchase price?

In addition to the lot and structure (house), the purchase price generally includes the following features:


  • Rough grading of the lot to properly facilitate drainage


  • Range/oven
  • Built-in microwave
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Garage door openers
What is generally NOT included in the purchase price?

The purchase price generally does NOT include the following features, which you may install yourself, hire out, or negotiate into the contract with your builder:


  • Landscaping (front and back)
  • Fencing
  • Retaining walls
  • Central air conditioning
  • Rain gutters


  • Refrigerator
  • Washer and dryer
  • Water softener
  • Blinds/windows coverings
  • Central Vacuum
  • Finished basement
How much do the excluded features cost?

Below is a general cost guide for the excluded features noted above. Please note that these dollar amounts are estimates and that actual costs may be higher depending on your circumstances.


  • Landscaping (sod):  $0.19–$0.24/square foot delivery
    $0.08–$0.14/square foot installation
    The average amount of area to grass is about 6,500 square feet.
  • Fencing:  $14–$17/linear foot, 6-foot cedar
    $22–$25/linear foot, vinyl
  • Retaining walls:  Price varies greatly depending on the size of the wall and the materials used
  • Central air conditioning:  $2,400–$2,800
  • Rain gutters (with four downspouts):  $1,000–$1,500
  • Automatic Sprinkler System:  $2,500–$3,500


  • Refrigerator (side by side with ice maker):  $1,200–$1,800
  • Washer and dryer:  $800–$1500
  • Water softener:  $500–$1000
  • Blinds/window coverings:  $90–$120/window (installed)
  • Central vacuum: $400/plumbing and $1500/tank and attachments
  • Finished basement:  $22–$26/square foot plus $4500–$6000/bathroom

Building a New Home

How long does it take?

It usually takes four to seven months to build a custom home depending on the following factors:

  • Size (square footage) of the home
  • Demands on the builder's time from other projects
  • Difficulty in scheduling subcontractors (i.e. plumbers, electricians, sheetrock hangers)
What materials are used?

It usually takes four to seven months to build a custom home depending on the following factors:


Your home is framed using 2x6-inch pine studs for exterior walls and 2x4-inch pine studs for interior walls. Main level studs are framed on 16-inch centers (spaced 16 inches apart). Along foundation walls in the basement, studs are framed on either 24-inch centers to accommodate for extra insulation or 16-inch centers for added wall strength.


PEX plumbing is installed in nearly all new homes today. PEX is a cross-linked Polyethylene product superior to copper in several aspects: less noisy, flexible for adapting to temperature, and smoother interior for resistance to scale buildup and corrosion. Since PEX plumbing lines do not converge like copper, they are often installed in a manifold system similar to a circuit breaker panel, giving you the convenience to turn water off or on to any sink, tub, or toilet in the house.


Your home is insulated to different levels of heat-flow resistance, defined by an R-value. A higher R-value means higher resistance to temperature change. Insulation is generally installed as follows:

  • Attic:  R-38–R-40 blow-in-blanket insulation
  • Main level exterior walls:  R-19 blow-in-blanket insulation
  • Basement exterior walls:  R-19 insulation rolls or "bats" for ease in pulling electrical wiring when the basement is finished
  • Main level floors and all interior walls:  No insulation usually, although some may choose to insulate for sound (ex. a theater room)


Most are homes are finished with vinyl or steel siding on the back and sides. The front is often a siding-and-brick or a synthetic-stucco-and-brick combination. Rock has become a popular alternative to brick in these combinations.

Requirements:  At minimum, a wainscot of brick or rock is required unless the entire front is finished in synthetic stucco. Vinyl and steel siding are the most accepted exteriors in this part of the country due to their affordability and energy benefits. Higher maintenance products such as masonite, hardboard, and wood are not allowed in our new subdivisions.

What systems are installed for heating and cooling?


Every new home built in the Highland area (and in most of the region) includes a gas-forced air furnace. The minimum efficiency rating is 80 percent, but most have a 93 percent or greater efficiency rating. All water heaters are also powered by natural gas.


Most homes are wired for ceiling fans in the great room and master bedroom. Central air conditioning is also available at an additional charge and is highly recommended for Pocatello's hot summer climate.

I live out of town. Can I still build?

Yes. Although staying closely involved is clearly easier when you live in town, you can manage the project remotely. Once the floor plan has been designed, the only decisions left to make are the colors, fixtures, finishes, and so on. Plan on making a trip to Pocatello for a couple of days. Although they are a busy two days, making those decisions keeps the builder on schedule. If traveling is not an option, the best approach is to make selections from major chains with Pocatello outlets like Home Depot and Lowe's, which will even ship products among their stores.

Customizing a New Home

What customizations can I make?

Below is a list of customizations you can make depending on the home's stage of construction.

  • House Plan:  Your own plan or one of our plans with your modifications.
  • Exterior Finish:  The siding, brick, stone, mortar color, and/or stucco.
  • Major Interior:  The carpet, tile, paint, appliances, countertops, cabinets, and light fixtures.
  • Minor Interior (optional):  The door handles and hinges, faucets, cabinet handles, placement of electrical boxes, and layout of closet built-in shelving.

Please keep the following guiding factors in mind when selecting customizations for your home:

Earnest Money

The more customizations you request, the more earnest money the builder will require from you up front. Earnest money is applied to the purchase price at closing, but it becomes non-refundable in the event you decide not to purchase the home because the builder is left to sell the home with customizations that were not his choice.


The builder has a budget for each home to cover the costs of appliances, carpet, tile, countertops, and so forth. At the time the purchase and sale agreement is drawn up (or prior to), you will be presented with the list of the budget allowances. If your customizations exceed the budget, you are responsible to pay the difference either up front or through the loan. If your customizations fall below the budget, the money acts as credit toward another customization or as a price reduction at closing.


To have the best chance of completing construction on time, all of your interior and exterior selections must be made ahead of their scheduled installations. For example, granite countertops can take up to six weeks to be delivered, so it is critical that they are ordered well before installation time.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to steel siding versus vinyl siding?

Both steel and vinyl siding provide a durable exterior for your home. Although vinyl siding has been known to warp with long intense exposure to the sun, the high-quality vinyl required in our subdivisions (minimum of 0.44 mm thickness) has proven much more resistant.

A major difference between steel and vinyl siding is the seaming. Steel siding is cut to custom lengths to achieve a seamless exterior. Vinyl, on the other hand, comes in pre-cut lengths. So, long stretches require one piece to be tucked under an adjoining piece to span the distance. Following is a summary of differences:

Steel Siding Vinyl Siding
  • Highly durable
  • If hit hard enough, will dent
  • Fire resistant
  • Highly durable
  • If hit hard enough, will shatter
  • Flammable
  • Seamless
  • Painted, may scratch
  • Seamed
  • Colored throughout
  • Up to 50 percent more than vinyl
  • Up to 50 percent less than steel
  • Inflexible, but withstands temperature changes
  • Can be damaged by hail, though very rare
  • Flexible, adapts to temperature changes
  • Can be noisy in windy conditions
  • Allowed in ALL subdivisions
  • Allowed in the newer Highland Village additions and parts of Highland Meadows
  • NOT allowed in Partridge Ridge or Sunbrook subdivisions
What are the advantages and disadvantages to ceramic tile versus cultured marble in showers?

Ceramic tile and cultured marble are both great choices for a shower that cost about the same. Cultured marble is a man-made product manufactured from crushed lime stone (or real marble dust) and a polyester resin. It is poured into a custom mold to fit the specific shower or countertop. Following is a summary of differences:

Ceramic Tile Cultured Marble
  • Highly durable
  • Softer, can scratch or stain
  • Classy custom look
  • Grouted
  • Attractive marble look
  • Seamless
  • About the same as cultured marble
  • About the same as ceramic tile
  • Grout harder to clean
  • Grout can flake over time
  • Easy to wipe down with a squeegee
What are the advantages and disadvantages to different countertop types?

The two main categories of countertops are laminate (Formica) and solid surface. The solid surface category includes acrylics (Corian®-type products), engineered stone (Silestone), granite, and tile. Following is a summary of differences:

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Resists staining
  • Fairly durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in endless patterns and colors
  • Available edgings include wood, Corian®, brass, and so on
  • Thin layer of plastic glued to particleboard or wood
  • Surface can scratch
  • Finish can dull
  • Finish can melt
  • Water can cause warping
  • Seamed
  • Usually requires replacement (not repairable)
Solid Surface
(Corian®, Hi-Macs)
  • Non-porous
  • Resists staining
  • Easy to clean
  • Handles abrasive cleaners (on unpolished finishes)
  • Easy to refinish
  • Scratches repairable
  • Seamless
  • Pattern consistent throughout
  • Available in polished or matte finish
  • Available in large variety of colors
  • Expensive
  • Surface can scratch
  • Finish can melt
Engineered Stone
  • Natural stone look (quartz/resin combination)
  • Non-porous
  • Highest durability
  • Resists scratching
  • Resists staining
  • Resists heat
  • Lowest maintenance
  • No resealing required
  • Pattern consistent throughout
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Very expensive
  • Seamed, but quite disguisable
  • Gorgeous natural stone
  • Highly durable
  • Resists scratching
  • Resists heat
  • Available in polished or matte finish
  • Available in a wide variety of colors and textures
  • Very expensive
  • Seal coats required periodically to prevent staining
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
  • Adaptable to virtually any shape or style
  • Highly durable
  • Resists scratching
  • Resists heat
  • Available in a huge variety of colors, designs, and sizes
  • More expensive than laminate (less than other solid surfaces)
  • Surface can chip
  • Grout hard to clean
  • Grout can flake
Which appliances run on gas and which run on electricity?

Electric-powered kitchen appliances are still the most common in Pocatello. The kitchen and laundry area both feature 220V outlets for an electric ranges/ovens and clothes dryers. As gas appliances grow in popularity, some builders are going to the added expense of running both electricity and gas to the kitchen and laundry area because adding gas lines after the home is built can be difficult and expensive.

Do covenants govern my subdivision?

Yes. To help retain the value of your home and to protect the attractive look and residential feel of the neighborhood, all houses must follow the guidelines set out in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for your subdivision. To obtain a copy of the CC&Rs, please locate your subdivision on our Subdivisions page, follow the link, and scroll down to the Protective Covenants section where a PDF version of the document is available. Following are some of the most commonly violated covenants:

  • Recreational vehicles (boats, RVs, trailers, ATVs) must be kept at least 25 feet behind front property line and screened from street view.
  • Site grading should be designed to protect homes from storm water run-off. If the natural grade of the lot is changed, the party who changed the grade will be responsible to retain altered dirt on their own property. Grading should provide protection to the neighbors of a downhill slope by channeling storm water to property lines and/or to the street.
  • The park strip must be grassed and have three Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata) trees evenly spaced across it, unless frontage is restricted such as in a cul-de-sac.
  • Landscaping shall be installed no later than the beginning of the first growing season after the completion of home construction.
  • Fencing shall be of wood, masonry, vinyl, or similar materials and maintained in an attractive manner.
  • Antennas for reception of television or radio shall not be maintained outdoors, except for satellite dishes measuring 18 inches or less in diameter.

Getting Started

How do I get started?

A good place to start is the Subdivisions section of this Web site where you can read about our developments, browse the lots and homes available, and even look over floor plans.

When you are ready for your new home, please call Billy Satterfield at (208) 221-3400 or (208) 234-4444. He can answer any questions you have and guide you through the rest of the process including pairing you with a top-notch builder.


The information contained in this guide is considered reliable, but it does not constitute a guarantee. Descriptions are the opinion of the author and should not be construed as the fact or opinion of a professional building contractor.