In 2017 Hunker published a brief list of suggestions for creating Shelterforce began in 1975 as a “how-to” publication for tenant activists. Over the years our focus expanded and we began to examine a wider range of place-based community-building issues. But we’ve always kept the goal of empowering people to make real change in their communities. We have a quarterly print magazine and a weekly newsletter. Shelterforce is the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization. Dedicated from the beginning to everyone working to empower and support low-income communities, Shelterforce provides a venue for conversations that need to be had—on topics from community planning More, How to Build a House Under 50K. Hunker is an extensive website whose mission is to help “first-timers improve their homes—with inspiring tours, practical solutions, and design advice for real people.” It is a beautifully illustrated guide to DIY projects and inexpensive purchases to build or improve your home. The advice from this article is typical.
Persons in the building industry may tell you that you can’t build a house for under 50k in the United States. Note however, that in one study scientists determined that bees can’t fly. Sometimes conventional wisdom and even informed opinion is wrong. As of this writing, proponents of the growing “tiny house” movement in this country are building houses for $50,000 and even less. — Hunker
Build a House for Less Than 50K
Not only are people building houses for less than $50,000, but they are also building them for less than $15,000. Though not everyone can live in 150-300 square feet, some can. More comfortable is 400 to 500 square feet, the average for tiny houses.
Investigate the building codes in a variety of locations. Can you work around them? Some don’t apply to structures on wheels. Others don’t apply to an “accessory building” on a lot behind another house. What happens if you build a boathouse in the middle of a field of wildflowers?
Can you choose a location that does not have serious weather or earthquake risks? For good reason, the building codes in these locations will be more complex and more strictly enforced.
Financing and Construction
Construction will take more time than you estimate. It’s important to develop housebuilding skills before you begin building. Does a community college near you offer inexpensive courses in carpentry, cabinetry, plumbing, and electricity? Use The Tiny Life is a website of practical tools for simple living. There are extensive blogs on Tiny Houses, Minimalism, and Homesteading. Tiny Life sells a small number of books on planning and buying a Tiny House, journaling, and a Clear the Clutter course. The posts are very helpful technical reviews of appliances, sheets that make changing a loft bed easier, floor plans with photographs of the finished tiny house. For example, how to select a cooking surface—how do they work, how fitting are they in different environments, how easy to use and store, and energy use. A lovely well-designed More and small house workshops to learn from others who have built tiny houses.
Be inventive about finding used materials. Used plumbing fixtures can cost 90 percent less than new.