When building a house, there are a lot of costs to consider. Eventually, every step throughout the construction process comes at a cost. While the price of building a house can be cut down by sourcing cheap locations to build, this is not the only cost-cutting option. A kit home allows individuals to buy the land they want and build a kit home on top of it without breaking the budget. With kit homes, you can have your dream house on your dream piece of land and still have saved money.
Imagine being able to build your dream home with your own two hands. As romantic as it sounds, building a home takes a great deal of time, work, dedication and skill. But if you have what it takes to tackle this monumental – but rewarding task – you may be wondering if it’s even possible to do it yourself and how much it will cost to finish the job.
If you have always dreamed of taking time off from work or spending weekends building a dream cottage or other getaway that you and your family could enjoy, there are several small house options available. Most are fairly easy to build. It is important to check local zoning ordinances to make certain that the type of house you want to build is allowed. For example, some cities or counties require houses to be certain square footage and be attached permanently. They would therefore potentially not allow a “tiny” house on a piece of property to stand as a permanent residence. At MJS Construction Group, we offer a wide range of home builders Melbourne.
Easiest Small Houses to Build
An A-frame house is one of the easiest houses to build. The A-frame design alleviates the need to build a traditional roof since the walls come together to form the top of a triangle. A-frame houses are also aesthetically pleasing to the eye and work well in a wooded setting. Several companies offer kits for small- to medium-sized A-frame structures.
Tiny House Kits
There are a number of “tiny” house plans available for purchase through companies such as “TumbleWeed and Tiny Green Houses.” You can opt for a 117-square foot tiny house that you can build or have shipped to you already assembled. Tiny houses have become quite popular with people who don’t want to go into debt by taking out a mortgage for a large home as well as people who want to minimize their impact on their environment and save money on expenditures such as large utility bills. The interesting thing about most of these designs is that they are built on wheeled trailers so that they can be moved as needed.
Cabin and Cabin Kits
Cabin kits range from the very basic to much more elaborate designs. You can order a kit that contains almost all the parts necessary to build your cabin yourself. Alternatively, you can also purchase just the plans for a cabin and then have your lumber cut to order at a building supply company. In this case, you will have the responsibility of making sure you have all the parts and fittings that you need and that the construction is up to code.
Yurt kits provide an affordable alternative to more traditional homes and are sold by a number of companies. Yurts are dome-like structures made of a durable canvas material placed over prefab wooden support beams. Yurt kits come in a variety of sizes to suit individuals, couples as well as larger families. There are also a number of additional options you can include in your order. Besides, yurts are often modular, meaning that you can expand your living space by simply building another yurt next to it and connecting the two.
Contemporary Kit Homes
Kit homes, also called catalogue or mail-order homes, come shipped to your door in flat-packs with pre-cut (and often partially assembled) materials you can assemble yourself on your property. They first cropped up in North America in the first half of the 20th century, and they’re as popular as ever among folks seeking low-cost living on a small footprint—the structures start at truly tiny 60 square feet. Still, they can be as large as 1,000 square feet, with the majority falling somewhere near the middle. Kits make these dwellings especially DIY-friendly to build, usually including all instructions and materials (except for foundation materials and roof shingles), to boot. Big or small, contemporary or traditional, kit homes are an intriguing alternative for homebuyers today, so whether you have big dreams for a tiny house, office, or vacation retreat, click through for 14 of our favourite mail-order homes to find the one you love. Check out our range of Melbourne home builders for your dream house.
Stillwater Dwellings: sd-133
Contemporary design, premium materials, and sustainable building practices characterize modular kit homes from Stillwater Dwellings. They are fabricated with techniques that minimize construction waste, plus their insulation, tight seal, and high-efficiency space- and water-heating systems keep down energy consumption and costs. Indeed, the total cost of these prefab homes (which includes architect’s fees, structural engineering fees, foundation design, permit coordination, Stillwater components, builder costs, and interior finishes) cost 20 to 40 per cent less than custom, architect-designed, site-built homes.
This hybrid wood cabin and garden home is the perfect weekend getaway or home office. It houses four rooms within 174 square feet, including a foyer beyond the double doors and a study area with sleek floor-to-ceiling windows that let the sun stream in. Two can build the kit home within a day.
Deltec Homes: 360° Collection
The circular layout plans of Deltec’s 360° Collection of prefabricated kit homes result in distinctive, adaptable, and durable living structures. (Fun fact: The round design features no load-bearing walls, so the floor plan is completely custom.) These unique buildings are shipped in pieces, and their panelized construction system particularly suits first-time homeowner-builders.
This versatile wood bungalow with a built-in covered patio makes an ideal guest home, lake house, or primary home for minimalists. The loft offers 240 square feet for sleeping and otherwise relaxing, and the generous 540 square feet on the ground floor can be creatively configured any way you choose; fit in a living room, two bedrooms rooms, and a small kitchen and bathroom, or three large rooms—budget a week for two people to assemble it.
According to the company, 85 per cent of the homes purchased from Shelter-Kit are built by people who have no prior experience. Standard styles are available, but you can also customize your design with appealing options like porches and cathedral ceilings.
Allwood: Arlanda XL
The clean lines created by the vertical wood panelling, full-length windows and flat roof of this tiny kit studio lend it a contemporary look that’s right at home in urban settings. The light-filled 227-square-foot dwelling is a natural choice for a home office or workshop, but add in an optional wall and plumbing, and you can allocate 44 square feet as a bedroom or bathroom. Two people can build the kit in a single day.
Madison Loft Bungalow
Each Bungalow in a Box from Montsweag Brook Corporation is essentially a super-efficient kit for a weathertight structural shell that’s custom-designed with the homeowner in mind. Plus, the prefabricated components are so easy to assemble, that completion is possible within a matter of days rather than one to two weeks of conventional construction! Sizes and styles range from the 12-by-16-foot guest house (pictured) to the 32-by-36-foot barn event space.
Summerwood’s customizable kit homes are available either pre-cut to save money for handy do-it-yourselfers looking to start more or less from scratch or pre-assembled to save time during the quick and easy installation. Cabins come standard with lovely features like red cedar siding, and plenty of door and window options are available a la carte. Buyers can even visualize their creations at the Summerwood Custom Design Center.
Live in a hot climate? Retreat on balmy days under the extended roof of this shady wooden cabin, which also affords an ample patio for entertaining guests. The 113-square-foot interior can be used as a weekend home, home office, yoga studio—you name it! Buy the kit and enlist a crafty partner to build it in just one day.
EZ Log Structures: Florida
EZ Log Structures offers some of the best value in build-it-yourself kits for cabins and one- or two-story homes. The interlocking pieces are great for even novice DIYers. Once assembled, the smooth milled logs are ready for a coat of clear wood preservative followed by a penetrating sealer stain or paint in a colour of your choice.
Jamaica Cottage Shop: Vermont Cottage
If you want to take your tiny home on the road, consider this timber-frame cottage that sits atop hemlock wood skids, allowing you to build it on a trailer with wheels for mobility. Spanning 320 square feet, including a covered porch, a sizable ground floor, and a sleeping loft beneath a weather-resistant corrugated roof, it offers cozy comfort for portable living. Two can construct it within a week using the colour-coded materials that correspond to the instructions.
Q Haus Cliff
This ready-to-build modern residence boasts wall-to-wall windows that let in ample light and a series of rectangular arches that lend drama and privacy. At 774 square feet, the posh pad is outfitted with an open kitchen and dining room, up to three bedrooms and two baths, and a sauna that leads to a terrace. Whether you use it as a primary home or a weekend escape, the $115,000 kit home can be built by two people within a few days.
For a fun Old West feeling, this trailblazing tiny mail-order home takes its cue from the Conestoga wagon of the pioneers. Accessible by stairs, the 117-square-foot solid wood home with decorative wheels contains a cooking nook, living space for lounging or dining, and exterior flourishes such as window boxes, doors that double as windows, and an elegant arched roof.
Homes made from shipping containers are increasingly popular these days, and with good reason. With an average price of $3,000 to $5,000, they can be one of the most affordable housing options on the market, especially if you are able to do most of the finished work yourself.
Many cargo facilities keep a backstock of containers that they can no longer use, and there are several online resources for container purchases. You have the option to purchase refrigerated containers, which are insulated, or regular containers, which you’d need to insulate yourself. Containers can also be easily combined, going from the standard 8-by-40-foot container to a full-sized home, all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional build.
For DIY builders who want to purchase a container home, you’ll first want to make sure you have land and space for it prior to purchase and figure out the logistics of getting the container delivered to your property. While most states now allow container homes, double-check your state and county for any potential restrictions.
You can do the interior framing and finish work yourself, or hire subcontractors, which is still less expensive than building a house from the ground up. One way that container homes differ from traditional homes is that they tend to be very tight, with minimal ventilation, so plan to invest in a ventilation exchange system.
Affordable price tag aside, a big benefit of container homes is that they are a very “green” product and can help reduce your carbon footprint. “They are becoming increasingly disposable. More than 23 million containers are sitting in ports and yards around the world, and it’s less expensive for companies to purchase new ones as opposed to melting down or refurbishing the old ones.”
For buyers who don’t want to deal with issues such as putting in a foundation or framing, hiring a contractor to put up a shell can speed up the building process while still leaving you the opportunity to do the bulk of the work yourself. The contractor comes in and puts in the foundation, frames the house, and then leaves the rest to you.
Buyers who enlist a contractor to have a shell home built should keep in mind that all zoning regulations that contractors must adhere to still apply to buyers working on their own house. You will still be required to have a zoning inspector sign off on the work.
The cost for a shell home can vary widely by square footage and region, as well as by the number of subcontractors you might need to hire.
Building your own home can be a viable choice for those seeking an affordable way to own their own house. “While I’ve worked primarily with buyers who hire contractors for a home build, there are options for those seeking to do everything themselves.
Stewart suggests that if a buyer wants to purchase a shell home, they should consider going smaller. One option is to go through a company that delivers small shell homes.
If you decide to go with a shell home, you’ll need to own already the land you want to build on, and you’ll also need to make sure that the property you buy or lease allows this type of building. You’ll also need all the proper tools for doing the work yourself.
What’s the Cheapest Way to Build a House?
Everyone seems to have their own opinion on the cheapest way to build a home. Most of it comes down to planning; looking at each stage and finding the most economical option.
But you also have to consider the type of home. Stick-built homes may cost more and take more time to build than other options. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further! MJS Construction Group is here to help in your home builders.
Modular and mobile are generally cheaper, although modular homes can be close in price to a stick-built.
There’s also the option of buying a home kit. Kits include all of the materials you need to build the frame of the home. You’ll still need to hire someone to build the foundation and connect the utilities. But the companies that offer these kits include all of the “parts” you need to put your home together yourself. And lots of people build these homes all by themselves (just one person).
Can You Truly DIY Build a House?
It’s possible to truly DIY build a house, but it’s not recommended. You can buy plans and get the materials to build the frame and finish the home (or buy a kit).
But it’s still best to hire someone to lay the foundation, do the electrical work, and connect the plumbing. If you need a well and septic, you also want to hire a professional to take on this task.
The biggest issue is building the house to code. If the foundation and other essential components of the home are not up to code, you could be asked to take down the structure or pay someone to fix the problem. Working with electrical and plumbing on your own can also be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
So, if we’re talking about building just the house – not the foundation, septic, water, etc. – then yes, it’s possible to build a house on your own. Many people do it, and they save money doing it.
Just keep in mind that what you’re saving in money you’re spending on time. It will take a lot of time to build a home by yourself, but you’ll save on labour costs and have the satisfaction of knowing that you truly built your own home.