Mother Earth News asked a simple question on a blog post last January; “Who has built their own debt free home?” They were looking for home owners to write about how they were able to accomplish this feat by answering the following questions.
- What tactics did you use to avoid a big mortgage? For example, did you build it slowly over a long period of time while living somewhere else, or did you build it largely by hand out of free, reclaimed or natural materials?
- What kind of home did you build?
- Can you estimate about how much the materials you used cost?
- How many square feet is your home?
- How much of the labor did you do yourself?
- Did you encounter any obstacles when working with building codes or inspectors?
- Would you do it again?
- Do you have any advice for others who want to do the same?
They started receiving responses immediately and after sorting through them, they picked 19 submissions and published an article on each one. Some might read the stories linked below and think to themselves; I can’t do that; I don’t have the money or resources they had. My suggestion is not to think like that; use the stories as a motivation; not a deterrent. As someone who has built their own debt free home, I guarantee you they all had the same thoughts at one point.
$2000 Solar Cabin
Lamar is well known and an inspiration for a lot of people in homesteading circles for his solar powered cabin build.
A Machine Shed Conversion
The Breitenbach family saved on purchasing a mortgage by converting a machine shed.
Community Helps Family Build A Home
The Burggraf family had the support of their community in achieving their dreams; we need more of this in the world.
Couple Renovates Home With Help From Their Family
Anne Denton’s daughter and family purchased a low income home and renovated it themselves with the support of other family members. This is a good option in a lot of areas.
Sweat Equity is The Key
Cheryl and Don Ficker used time and sweat equity to build their mortgage free home.
Hand Built Log Cabin In Africa
Roy Trembath built his debt-free home in South Africa and has used the experience to teach over 500 people to build their own home.
Simply By Saving, Man Is Able To Build Home
Eric Guldenstein incorporated energy-saving designs into his home so that his energy costs are under 50 dollars a month.
Senior Citizen Couple Build Their Dream In Alaska
Don’t think you have the energy to build your own home? The Smith’s are in their seventies and just finished their log cabin in Alaska.
A Mortgage Free Cabin
The Wagner’s built a little homestead over several summers and now are able to enjoy it with their family.
A Passive Solar Adobe Home Inspired BY MEN
The Kalmers’ used MEN’s Sun Cottage design as an inspiration for their home and were able to keep costs under $10 a square foot. I have always been a big fan of that design.
Couple Finds Paradise In Latin American Country
The Kemsleys’ live in one of the more beautiful locations; Costa Rica; where they are slowly building their home as money is available.
Older Mobile Home Provides A More Secure Financial Future
The Lacefields utilized a method that might be a viable option for a lot of people, purchasing an older mobile home and making it into the castle you deserve.
Reclaimed Materials Provide For The Most Inexpensive Shelter
The most inexpensive debt free home; it only cost $300 dollars to build.
Family Rids Themselves Of Million Dollar Debt For A Simpler Life
The Rigoni-Escobar family sold their million dollar home and bought a piece of property to build a geodesic dome with their three children.
Remodleing An Old Historic Building Was The Key
8 years, cash and credit cards helped this family turn an old grist mill into a second home.
Empty Nesters Build Their Dream Mountain Escape
Betsy and Larry Mehaffey put in a lot of long hours and spent $32,000 to build their 1000 square foot dream cabin on the mountain.
Couple Buys Fire Damaged House And Creates A Debt Free Home
The Pfister’s bought a bungalow that was fire damaged for $5000 and spent a year renovating it into their debt free home.
Not One Home, But Two
Don’t think you have what it takes to build a home? Bill Poupore built two debt-free homes, a log cabin and a straw bale abode; with only one leg!
Friends Pitch In And Help each Other
Paul Scheckel and a friend bought property in rural Vermont, sharing labor and resources to get their own separate homes.
Bonus! Our Own Debt Free Home
My wife and I relocated to Maine 17 years ago to get to a simpler way of life. MEN and Rob Roy were both huge inspirations and motivational for us to build our own debt free home.
Mother Earth News compiled thoughts and tips from the homeowners and published them in the following article;
Good luck with your future plans!