What is the secret of low cost home building? It’s largely the same secret any creative poor person knows. If you want something really badly, and you simply do not have any money, then you make what you want. You make your plan work with what you have, and what you can buy for cheap. Almost everyone who claims to have built a home for $10 per square foot was truly in need, and would have spent more if they had it. Necessity and desire drive the force of affordable home building.
Secrets of Low Cost Home Building One
The first secret is that if you have very little money, at least some creative abilities and a huge desire to own your own home, then you will simply make it happen.
The second secret is that hard work, skill, research and creativity are ample substitutes for large sums of money, if you learn how to use them.
The third secret is that persistence pays, whether you are dealing with a picky building permit office, or hammering away at building your house for the 100th 16 hour workday.
The forth secret is that there are a million and one ways to do almost any task. Some may work better than others, and some may not work at all, but not one of them is the one and only “right” way. However there is always someone to tell you that the established way is the right way… the real fourth secret is that those people are wrong!
The fifth secret is that there are hundreds if not thousands of different materials and techniques which have been used to build homes over the centuries. Research them, update them and present them in a structurally sound way.
The sixth secret is “Strategic Flexibility.” Knowing when to compromise and when to stand firm on your dreams is a matter of picking your battles. If you can’t get a permit for your plan, even after many tries, then find a creative way to change it to meet the rules, without compromising the key elements.
The seventh secret is “Never give up.” It’s that simple. Just keep on trying. Keep planning and re-planning, and most of all keep learning and perfecting your plan.
The eighth secret is “Know your limits.” Chances are you’ll have to get help in building your home at some point. You will absolutely have to have a licensed electrician to do your wiring. You may also need to hire other experts, and you will probably need to order an existing floor plan to show your building inspector. There are many home plans that are versatile enough for use with an assortment of alternative materials.
The ninth secret is “Persistence in the face of resistance.” The building inspectors, the building department of your city and various zoning department authorities may make it difficult for you. These people are paid to make sure homes are safe and that’s a good thing, but in many areas they are merely enforcing an antiquated building code, which has not kept up with modern materials or standards for energy efficiency. You may find help in the government’s LEED program. Research the LEED guidelines, especially those which deal with alternative or natural materials. LEED guidelines are much more flexible than most local building codes, but LEED is the new government standard. After researching thoroughly, try your building permit office again armed with the new information.
The tenth secret is “Adapt when necessary but don’t give up.” Ask and keep on asking, clarify the rules, find your loopholes, research to find an inexpensive method that complies with the rules, and then go back and throw your revised plan out there for the building permit office. Keep bugging them, and keep adapting your plan, and eventually they will go for it. Mostly because you won’t give up, and leave them alone otherwise. In the meantime you are developing a better and better plan and saving more and more money.
The eleventh secret is “Don’t give in to peer-pressure.” Snooty friends and neighbors will say ‘humph,’ and look down their noses as you slave away, at least in the beginning, but in the end, they will all be impressed, if you don’t let them stop you. Even if they aren’t, who cares? You will have a great house for an insanely low price.
The twelfth secret is that you can do anything you set your mind to. You can overcome financial obstacles, learn new skills, and discover ways to accomplish whatever you need to accomplish, as long as you follow the rules above and keep trying.
It won’t be easy. These are not twelve easy steps to building a home. There is no iron clad method to build a cheap home, although you will find quite a few great and inexpensive ideas on this site, and in our 98 page free book. The point is not to define what sort of home you should build it is to help you think outside the box long enough to come up with a plan of your own, which you will like much better than a plan someone else handed you. Search the web for ideas, but in the end it’s your plan. Low cost home building is about creativity, persistence and using your own labor when possible.