Can I really make my own house?

As a builder people often asked me, "Can I really make my own house by myself?" The answer in most cases was,"yes." Now this is more popular than ever. With the recent downturn in the housing and financial markets so many people are discouraged about owning a home. The thought of delaying the dreams of building a home can be discouraging.


Do-it-yourself home construction seems like an impossible task for most. If you're thinking about building your own home, I strongly encourage you to spend some time on this web site. It will help you understand how each aspect of the building process is done.

house design
I built my 2,000 sq. ft. home doing all my own labor.
My Cost: $60,000 Appraised Value: $140,000
(That was in 1997, now my home is worth $180,000)
Make my own house helps you reach these goals:

  • Bigger, better home
  • Lower monthly payments
  • Faster mortgage payoff
  • Higher starting equity
  • Valuable real estate
This free information site, make-my-own-house.com, will familiarize you with the hands-on details of new home construction. It will help you plan a house that's good for your finances.

But first, let's talk about why people are building homes themselves.

hopeLife has a way of throwing us around and making us feel as if we can't succeed no matter how hard we try. The current housing and financial markets are a disaster. Uncertainty is at an all time high.

We are afraid to look to the future because it seems bleak. Our dreams of owning a home have been put on the back burner. Everyone seems to be putting all plans on hold until we see how the economy will turn out.

Nobody really wants to admit it, but we could be in this holding pattern for a very long time. I know the feeling of desperation that many of us are living with.

Sooner or later, I believe people will realize that they need to make a new game plan to succeed. I truly believe that our economy has changed permanently and it won't ever go back to the way it was with easy credit and escalated home valuations.

This is why so many future homeowners are deciding to build homes without the help of contractors.

What is the cost of contracted labor?

home costsConsider the chart at the left. This is for a 1500-2000 square foot home. Price of materials is the same, but once you figure in the cost of contracted labor, the final price of the home is very different.

The cost of labor for a home of this size will be at least $80,000. If a homeowner can do his or her own labor, either partially or fully, that estimate will be greatly reduced. It could be the difference between a $60,000 mortgage or a $140,000 mortgage.

After 30 years at 10% interest here's the final amount paid
mortgage interest

If you had to finance every penny for your home, the cost of contracted labor makes a big difference over a 30 year mortgage.

Monthly mortgage payment

mortgage paymentsThe monthly mortgage payment is so much higher for a home built by a contractor as you can see.


Years of payments until payoff

build a house

Now suppose that the homeowner that built his or her own home without the help of a contractor paid as much each month as a home that was built entirely by a contractor. The mortgage would be paid off in about 9 years, whereas the contractor-built home would take 30 years to pay off.


calculate mortgage



So it all boils down to how much home one can afford. The monthly payments determine how you will live your life for the next 10 to 30 years. That's something to think about.

Knowledge of home construction can save homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

After you have a thorough knowledge of the construction process, you will be better equipped to make the decision to do all the contractor work yourself or to hire it out.

Most areas will let homeowners do their own labor as long as they file an owner-builder affidavit with the county. That's what makes it possible to build your own house.

I receive a lot of emails from people who want to either build their own home or do their own home repairs, but are afraid to do the work. I think this fear is natural. Once you learn how to do your own home construction and repairs, you'll be much more confident.

The biggest reason people have for not building their own homes is that they simply don't know how. It's not really about money or time for the most part. It's about knowledge.

Contractors would have everyone believe that home construction needs to be left up to the professionals. I don't buy that. I think every person should build at least one home in his or her lifetime. The emotional benefits of completing such a task are long-lasting.

There is a huge need in our modern economic situation for us to learn how to do our own labor. People are really struggling and sometimes it becomes impossible for them to keep up with their costly home mortgage payments.

The more home construction labor we do ourselves the less our monthly payments will be. This has been really helpful to me and many others in these difficult times of economic uncertainty.

Hired labor makes up almost two-thirds the cost of a new home. If you finance a contractor-built home and finance it for 30 years, then about 20 of those years will be paying for labor. That can be changed with a little knowledge.

This website has a lot of information on such subjects like how to install vinyl siding and how to do residential electrical home wiring.

There are many basics on floors, walls, roofs, heating, drywall, stairs, cabinets, finish work, and electrical.

The thing that makes all this possible is the equity you create by doing your own labor or general contracting. You can use that equity to make your life better by using a construction home loan to start a business, get an education, or just sit back and enjoy low payments.

It was an easy decision to build my own house simply because of the amount of money I knew I could save. My experience had very little to do with my choice to build. It just seemed like the right thing to do.



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I just wanted to say that I love your website. My husband and I followed your instructions on building our own home. Most of the work we did ourselves, but not all. We saved $90,000 in labor costs and now have a beautiful home that we own.

--Sue and Les Carrigan, Draper, Utah






Dear Larry,

I built my own home doing all my own labor. My house costs me around $70,000 for materials. It took me 8 months to build and is about 2,000 square feet. I didn't think I could do it, but your house web site encouraged me. I used all the info you had.

Thank you,

Benny Luis Lopez,

Gainsville, Florida






I can't thank you enough for your free information web site about home building. I was looking for Electrical wiring diagrams when I found your site. It was very helpful.

Steve Lundquist,

Little Rock, Arkansas





Larry

My wife and I lost our home to foreclosure but we kept a plot of land to start over. We are halfway through the construction of our house. Your website gave us hope to start over and build a house with low payments. We are in our late 60's but we find it rewarding to put so much effort into a project that will reward us for years to come.

Name respectfully withheld