Here is how you can build a $100K house for about $10,000 that will save you 90% in energy costs for the lifetime of the home.
$100,000 – Typical cost to build a 1,200 sq ft conventional house (by a building contractor)
– $60,000 – savings because 2/3 the cost of building a house is labor (owner-built = you do your own labor)
– $30,000 – savings by using the green home, frugal buy-and-barter method (this can be 1-100% of the cost of the building materials, depending on your buying habits and house design, but 10%-50% savings is common)
$10,000 – TOTAL COST*
*does not include land or infrastructure
OWNER-BUILDER TIP #1:
Build your house over time – When you take your time you can build the home a little bit at a time, which can usually be done in stages or phases, and as you can afford it out of pocket. This means you can construct a house without the need for a bank mortgage or other loan. You will save by not having rent or mortgage payments at all!
OWNER-BUILDER TIP #2:
Buy land that has the services you want – Buy land that already has sewer/electric/gas/cable/phone brought in to an old or existing house, or that is available at the street and you will save a lot of extra costs. Raw land in rural areas or too far away from services is more expensive to bring in utilities, or else a few thousand dollars for a septic tank, etc., will be added onto your initial costs. These expenses for the land and infrastructure are outside the cost of building the actual house.
OWNER-BUILDER TIP #3:
Live close to where you build – If you buy an old small house cheap you can live in it while you build your home on site. This saves transportation and time because your building site is right where you already live. If this is not possible, then try to keep it as close as possible. Land on the fringe (the edges of the city limits) are usually less expensive than in the city, yet you are still close to amenities ans resources. You will be needing to obtain a lot of used/salvaged items so stay as close to your resource area as possible, such as a Habitat for Humanity “ReStore”, yard/garage sales, demolition sites, home and estate sales, people who put in craigslist ads for free or used items, people you know, and so on.
OWNER-BUILDER TIP #4:
Build a core house – Build your house small at first, then add on bedrooms later. This concept is beyond a mere “tiny house” that is a popular trend; it is actually changed up in the design a little and called a “core house”, where you build the core of the home first. The core is the main essentials for living, which includes the living/sleeping area, a basic kitchen, and a bathroom. Bedrooms are merely extra space and more privacy, which can come later as you have time and money. The design is already built into the walls so adding on comes easy rather than starting from scratch and having to fix doorways after the fact. I teach this in my green home and passive solar house book set.
OWNER-BUILDER TIP #5:
Build a green home – When you build a green energy efficient home it means you care about the planet and are doing your part to mitigate climate change. You also can save on money for building supplies if you are into building with alternative construction materials. More details on green products and natural building methods and materials are covered on my webpage on green homes. The energy efficiency ratings are superb!
OWNER-BUILDER TIP #6:
Passive solar home design – Save even more energy (up to 90%) by not only building green, but also designing your house using passive solar house design features, which covers things like home orientation for solar gain, thermal mass and insulating the envelope for heat and cooling thermal energy storage, overhang configurations, and more. You can learn more by downloading the free ebook on how to make a passive solar house.