Houses You Can Build Yourself


Living in an incredibly expensive city has limited my options for purchasing property. I can either increase my income by, say, $100,000 annually, or I can begin thinking outside the box, almost literally speaking. The more I investigate alternatives to buying cookie-cutter houses that are out of my price range, the more I realize the possibilities are almost endless, from building a home from scratch to purchasing prefabricated kit homes that don't necessarily need a stationary foundation. (See also: Twelve Ways to Become Rent or Mortgage Free)

Prefab: A More Traditional Approach

As soon as reality set in and I realized that buying an existing home in my neighborhood was completely out of my price range, I started looking at buying land and building my own little house plan. I'm not a very handy person, so I began searching for companies that will do most of the work for me, which lead me on the path to prefabricated kit home designers.

Prefab kit homes range in style, price, and quality. Some companies will arrive at your build site with a mostly completed house, where others will ship you the materials partially assembled with directions on how to put it together. The best way to compare companies is to decide what style of home best fits your family and your budget.

Rocio Romero: A Prefabricated Modern Dream

On my quest to find the perfect prefab kit home that would cost a little less than buying an existing home in my neighborhood, I came across the Rocio Romero LV kit home. Their homes are very modern in design and may not appeal to all home owners, but for anyone that appreciates their sleek beauty, the cost of $120 per foot is affordable compared to homes of similar design.

Cottage in a Day: Quick and Quaint

Cottage in a Day's cottages literally show up to your build site mostly completed, depending on size and utility connections, and can be ready to go in a day. Their plans range from small and inexpensive to larger, yet still modestly priced.

Eco-Cottages: Beautiful Modular Homes

Some of the most beautiful renderings of modular homes I've come across, Eco-Cottages are energy efficient and affordable. They aren't very large, but their flexible construction allows for various build locations.

Quik Build: Container Living

Ever wondered what eventually happens to those large shipping containers you see attached to trains? One company is reusing them as housing. Quik Build recycles these containers into three-bedroom, two-bath houses. For under $200,000 you can have your very own Quik Build container home in 10 weeks, just be sure to have your foundation laid ahead of time.

You might have noticed from my list that I've spent some time researching pre-fabricated homes! I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit obsessed. However, a very important step in building your own home, even for a prefab configuration, is land preparation. A few of the companies I've mentioned discuss the details on their websites as well as the potential costs, which can sometimes be more than the actual house.

Get Your Hands Dirty: A More Eccentric Approach

If I were handier with a hammer or had the time to spend a summer stomping straw into an adobe-like mixture, I might be willing to take a more eccentric approach to building my own home. I'll admit that I truly admire those that opt for this alternative.

Phoenix Commotion: One's Man Trash Is Another's Treasure

Phoenix Commotion is a company that helps people build their own homes using recycled materials. Based out of Texas, this company encourages owner participation in the building of some of the most uniquely designed homes I've ever seen.

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Why be tied down to just one location? Purchase a Tumbleweed Tiny House plan. The homes are designed for maximum efficiency and can be built on most trailers. Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. offers build-it-yourself workshops frequently.

Living in the Shire: A Woodland Home

When Lord of the Rings debuted in theaters years ago, the Hobbit homes reminded me of a fairy-tale setting. Apparently, with enough time, hard work, and some land, you can build your own woodland home similar to Frodo's. One beautiful example is Simon Saville's woodland home.

Whether your budget is large or small, or your taste ranges from traditional and conservative to wacky and eclectic, the possibilities for building your own home are only limited by your imagination.

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Guest's picture

I'm not much for "green" or "eco-friendly," and I'll admit the environment isn't a major factor in my purchasing decisions, but I think those container homes/buildings look absolutely amazing. I wouldn't mind owning one.

As for the Tumbleweed tiny homes...yeah right! :P

Little House's picture

I've been fascinated with all sorts of home designs for a while now, but those container homes are quite amazing.

Tumbleweed Tiny Homes aren't for everyone, but they are adorable, and a great alternative for some people.

Kentin Waits's picture

Great article -- there's not nearly enough content or discussion about prefab going on in this country. Thanks for posting!

Guest's picture

Container homes if not overly heavily insulated are like living in a tuna can in a 103 temperature. Most of them are built in warm mild low humidity areas like southern California. They are not for really cold or extremely hot areas like up north or the south.

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