Did you know that many people end up spending three times the purchase price of their home on mortgage repayments? For some individuals, committing to decades of debt in order to own their own home either isn’t an option, or the idea just doesn’t sit well with them. But what can you do if you want to become a homeowner, but not owe the bank a fortune for years to come? You roll up your sleeves and you do it yourself, of course! Here are some inspiring stories of folks who decided to do just that.
Rough it a little while you use each paycheck to build your home
After unexpectedly losing his job, Lynn Underwood of Arizona and his wife Cyndi made a bold decision – finding a way to live without having to pay a mortgage, and building their own home themselves, paycheck to paycheck. Despite having two children aged 7 and 10 at the time, the possibility of a better future for the whole family kept them determined to pursue their dream.
They lived in a friend’s mobile home for a time while they shopped around for a suitable piece of land, researched their options, and picked the brains of friends and family for advice and ideas. They packed up their furniture in a cargo container, and got to work drawing up rough plans.
Once they’d selected a suitable acre-sized site, they bought a travel trailer and got a building permit so they could get power connected and install a septic tank. They knew they would quickly outgrow the trailer home, so started building in a logical order – starting with a porch where they could keep the washing machine, then excavating the basement, and getting the whole family involved in laying the foundation.
Step by step and month by month, they used the money they would have been spending on mortgage repayments to buy supplies, doing what they could themselves and hiring in extra labor when they needed help. Even the kids pitched in wherever they could, learning some valuable lessons and skills along the way! They kept their eyes peeled for bargains, and received a lot of help from friendly neighbors who were intrigued by the project. Within just a few short years, they had the perfect home for their needs, designed around their unique requirements – and with no mortgage to speak of. A few years of roughing it a little is a small price to pay for financial freedom.
Think you don’t have the necessary skills? Ask 13-year old Luke Thill.
Unless you’re born into an extremely wealthy family, few 13-year-olds can call themselves property owners – but Luke Thill of Dubuque, Iowa, not only owns his own home, but built it himself too. Granted, it’s pretty small – your quintessential tiny house – but Luke considers it a starter home that he can live in once he leaves school. Amazingly, he managed to complete the build with just $1,500, which he saved up himself by mowing lawns, clearing out garages, and raising some of the funds online. He exchanged his services for help with some of the trickier aspects like wiring and laying carpet, watching and learning along the way.
Inspired? Tips for building your own home:
While building your own home certainly comes with many advantages, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s stressful, will take up a huge amount of your time, and that there are bound to be mistakes along the way – especially if you have little or no experience in the construction industry. For most people, it’s about finding a middle ground between doing what you can yourself, and knowing when it’s better to hand a job over to a contractor. This is especially true if your build is relatively complex, or if there are potential safety concerns. If you’ve got large trusses, beams or any other heavy materials that need to be moved around site for example, it’s better to get a professional in who can advise you on where to find forklifts for sale in your area, as well as a qualified operator! Always try to partner with contractors who don’t mind explaining what they’re doing as they go along, so you can pick up skills that will serve you later on.
Self-builds take time, patience, and hard work – but then after all, few things really worth it in life come easily! If you’ve got the guts and determination to take it on, getting involved in the construction of your own home can be massively rewarding!