It may feel like buying a home these days is totally out of reach, especially if you already own land and are looking at custom home builds. Luckily, if you’ve got the know-how and the time, you can put your own sweat equity into a home and potentially save a lot of money. The big caveat is always that you do need to know what you’re doing; if you know yourself to be someone who hasn’t done much work in the homebuilding sector, you may want a mentor in addition to some serious review of both video and book resources on these kinds of projects.
Here are three ways that people opt to build a house themselves, side-stepping the typical process of building or buying through a real estate agent.
Shell homes are essentially the in-between of home building. The contractor handles the foundation and frames up the house to your specs, but then you make all the choices and do all the work from there: you wire your own electrical, add in HVAC systems and plumbing, and install the drywall for the walls. Flooring, ceilings, and everything in between is all you! This can be a good in-between if you’ve done a lot of home renovation but never actually constructed a home from the ground up, since what you’re essentially given is the basic structure of the home and everything from there is like a home renovation project, albeit a huge one! You can save a lot of money on labor, however, if you have the skills and time to work from a shell home.
Home kits are amazing, delivering all the components you need to build your own home. Now, when we say “all,” be aware that each kit will vary a bit, and they may leave some items up to you to find, including materials to build a foundation and sometimes roofing materials as well. Either way, constructing your house yourself, or even with the help of skilled subcontractors for electrical and plumbing, can be far less expensive than having someone else construct the same house. Look into the manufacturer of the home kit, typically a builder, and make sure they have a reputation for choosing good materials and offering instructions that help you make the project a success.
Tiny Home Shells or Large Pre-Fabricated Shed
Finally, for those who are interested in a very small home, there are new options all the time for creating a tiny home. Some people build tiny home shells that are already on wheels, like a tow-behind RV trailer but with the ability to park and live long-term as well. Other people choose to simply buy the larger sizes of prefabricated sheds and then wire them for electric, simple plumbing, and design space-saving options inside like lofted beds. This can be a good option for people who know that a full-sized home’s electric, plumbing, and HVAC needs would exceed their skillsets, but who still want the freedom to design and implement their own home design.
No matter what you choose, putting your own sweat and effort into your home can be a great way to save some money, as long as you also put that effort into getting the expertise you need first! If realistically DIY isn’t your style, finding a great real estate agent is a good start for getting the home you want.