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If you are thinking about building your own house, it isn’t impossible! But if you’re thinking it’s going to look like all of the magical things you see on Pinterest, think again. Here, we discuss the realities of being owner-builders and the ONE BIG THING to keep in mind if you want to build your own house.
Since my husband and I are both teachers, our homestead building project has largely revolved around our school schedules. Luckily for us, Mark teaches on the collegiate level and therefore gets three more weeks off than I do! Lucky duck. So while I’m here at school still, he’s gotten to spend all day out on the property getting some work done. Here’s where we’re at right now:
We have our piers set and the wood forms that outline where the slab will be poured. AND we have a giant pile of gravel from two dump truck loads that, because of the pier placement, couldn’t be dumped into the middle. SO, we’re moving everything ourselves. Since Mark had the whole day off, he spent all his time today digging plumbing trenches and busting up rocks!
The goal is to have the plumbing trenches dug in, fill the trenches with gravel, put the pipes in and make sure everything has a good seal, then spread the rest of the gravel so that we have a six-inch bed of gravel for our slab. We’ll also be taking time to mark out the locations for the supply lines, plus meeting with the building and plumbing inspectors about the exact specifications of the radiant heat plan we’d like to use.
The process to get to this point has been time-consuming and arduous to say the least. And that is one of the biggest things that we reaffirm every time we have to meet with the building inspector about some aspect of the house, or have to line up materials, or run into some kind of snag. So the ONE BIG THING you need to know if you want to take this journey is:
BEING AN OWNER-BUILDER TAKES A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT.
This is not like hiring a homebuilding company and building a stock home in a cookie-cutter subdivision and simply waiting a few months while you pick out your color schemes and cabinetry. Every aspect of this home was painstakingly designed by us and vetted by numerous professionals in a wide variety of building fields. We had to go find those people and ask the right questions. We had several years in the research and planning of this project already, so the amount of time we have to take on this project doesn’t seem like a huge burden in context.
I find it interesting when I bring the project up to friends, coworkers, family, and others who try to relate but don’t really have a frame of reference (at least not most of the time) because almost everyone or someone they know has built the conventional way — by hiring it out and paying a premium for the convenience.
“I thought you’d be moved in by now!”
We are fortunate that we can handle the time it takes to do this, and that we have an awesome place to live while we do it. Not everyone can afford the financial burden of having two homes. Not everyone can handle the upheaval of doing something like living in a tiny house or travel trailer like others can. This is something that is super important to evaluate for yourself if you are thinking about taking the radical step to build your own home with your own hands.
What would it take for you to be able to actually pursue your biggest dreams?
One of the things I hope we can share with all of you is what is truly possible if you believe hard enough in your project and in your future. If building your own home with your own hands and doing it debt-free is something you really want to do, you will figure out a way to do it. We brainstormed lots of different living arrangements before taking the leap to list our house and buy land. Sometimes, I still can’t believe this is actually a thing that we are doing and that I get to tell the internet about it!
Have questions about how YOU can become an owner-builder? Questions about how WE’RE doing it? Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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Thanks for reading!