Frugal ways to build/buy a home? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-02-2012, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm pretty much trying to bounce ideas off of people here.


I am still a year away from being able to move out of my parent's home into my own home but I'd like to start getting ideas for the future. At first I was planning on picking up and moving to a house in the next town over becasue I like the location better. My church is there and that is where I go to the library and some other community events. However, my parents have four acres and have offered to let me build on their land. The main downside is the location. It isn't terrible, mind you. It takes me about half an hour to get from my house to any location in the town I go to most often. It takes about a half hour to get from my house to the highway to go to the bigger cities, which are about an hour away. It is a two hour drive to my children's father's house, which I have to drive to two to three times a month. Yesterday I sat down and made a list of my priorities of what I wanted out of life. They are:


1. Time with my children.

2. Space for outside playing

3. vacation/travel/experiences

4. Quiet neighborhood

5. Access to community events

6. Fulfilling Career (I'm in nursing school and graduate in December, I guess this more means access to good place to work. There are plenty of hospitals in the area and I'm thinking about going into home health, anyway. I put this one lower becasue I don't have to worry about it much. This doesn't change based on location, except shave some time off driving depending on my location.)

7. Home I can freely decorate/paint/renovate/etc.

8. Garden


The biggest thing I need to worry about outside of keeping a frugal budget and getting a good job is affordable housing. The options I see right now are:


1. Buying in the neighboring town

2. Building on my parent's land


To move to then next town, the cheapest thing I found are foreclosures which are about $60K. They probably would not be in good condition and would require a lot of repairs and I assume I would need to obtain new appliances. I might be in a more favorable location, but will have a drastically smaller yard. I also am close to my parents and am planning on having my mother help out with childcare so it actually makes more sense to stay here. She even has already said that even if I move to the back she will respect it as my house and won't pop over uninvited all the time. The main disadvantages with staying here are easy access to events and noise. The noise comes from the road, which isn't too bad and will  be reduced from building farther back off the road, and the gas wells; which isn't a constant but is a nuisance when they are working on them. I'm sure there would still be some noise living in the suburbs so I'm not sure this is really an issue. The rest of my requirements are more than fulfilled by building here.


What would be the cheapest/ most frugal way to obtain housing in my situation? Should I go ahead and move to cut down on my drive time, which might actually increase if I have to drive my kids to my mother's for childcare? What are frugal ways for building on my parent's land? Should I invest in building a house right away or buy an adequate mobile home I can pay off quickly and save for my "dream home?" I've never done anything but rent before, and want to go into as little debt as possible. Thank you for any help you can offer me.

One Mom, Three Kids. Life is Great.

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#2 of 10 Old 01-02-2012, 11:02 AM
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If you've never built before and are just starting out, you should probably look at some other in between living situation for both credit and experience reasons. You sound busy and maybe to unsettled at this point to handle building, new career, and family with so many variables out there. 


If your mom is going to babysit, then probably living near her is a good option and the land is a plus and being near family is huge and shouldn't be discounted as a huge factor. I live way out in the sticks 120 mi round trip to town and shopping. There is a post office, bar, church, convenience type store, and a firehall in my town and that's about it--population 250--and no other population centers more than that within 30+ miles. I love it, but everyone might not.


As a nurse you may be able to work a few 12 hr shifts and not have to drive to town every day. There are several in my town who work in the city as nurses. They stay for two nights in town in nurse 'sorority type houses' where one person owns and rents a bed basically. They work their 3 12 hr shifts in a row and stay the two nights in between. Would be hard to be away from kiddos, but might be great to have 4 days with them every week too!

~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

Livin' in the sticks with my chicks chicken3.gif and lovin' it!

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#3 of 10 Old 01-03-2012, 09:20 AM
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Another option might be to add on to or remodel your parents' house to make more space for you--like an in-law apartment, but somewhat larger.  Or a detached garage with an apartment above.  It seems like you just want a little space that is all your own.  If you're going to be caring for your parents as they age, it would be better to be closer.  You're doing well to be thinking ahead about affordable housing.  


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#4 of 10 Old 01-05-2012, 03:31 PM
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It might also be worthwhile to consider installing a pre-fab onto your parent's property (like a mobile home, only... not mobile, hehe). 


One thing to consider will be how you will get utilities to your dwelling. Electricity, gas, and plumbing will be much easier to arrange the closer you are to the already-installed hub (i.e., your parent's house). In that case, an addon to the existing dwelling would be easier and cheaper. The cost of installing those basics can be quite prohibitive, depending on circumstances.

Just a homegrown heretic hopelessly in love with her amazing DH, 2.5 year old Eli, and now expecting a new arrival April 2015.
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#5 of 10 Old 01-09-2012, 11:11 AM
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Have you considered alternative housing options like a dome (which can be done yourself pretty easily) or straw? Long term we will be building a geodesic dome but will start off with just building a large dome green house for an aquaponic garden but if push comes to shove we can live in the darn thing or build a yurt. Just an idea:)

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#6 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 01:30 AM
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If I have the choice to live in a new house built to my needs or a fix-upper, I'd choose the new one for sure.  Although you didn't mention how much it would cost to build your house.  If we're talking about 150k to build but 60k to buy, then I might change my mind. :)


*I can't believe how affordable houses in your area is.  Over here you need 600K to buy a pretty basic house.

Mom to 2 beautiful autistic boys (13 & 12)
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#7 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies!  Adding onto my parents house in not a feasible option. I love my family but we have very different parenting and nutrition ideas. Both my mom and I want our own space where we aren't tripping over each other and aren't having to deal with our differences on a daily basis. We also have way different decorating styles so building on to their house kills my "space to decorate" want.


60K is for an older home that has been foreclosed and doesn't have any appliances. I don't mind older. In fact I LOVE older homes. I've always wanted to get a cute little 40's-50's home and renovate it. I think they are just so stinkin' adorable. I'm pretty handy so I could most of it myself. I just did a quick search and a 1954 house in good condition is $76K. That is my plus, right there. I like the "less desirable" homes.


Talking to my mom again a few nights ago and it doesn't sound like she really wants to watch my kids full time. She's willing to help out to get me started but would rather fill-in when needed. I also know the school system is better in the town I'd rather live in. She didn't seem to mind the idea of picking them up from school and watching them once they all were in school, though. By then I hope to be in home health and can pretty much set my hours so it may be a non-issue.


Thanks for bouncing ideas off me!

One Mom, Three Kids. Life is Great.

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#8 of 10 Old 01-22-2012, 12:50 AM
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Hmm the first two things I think of are is it even legal to build on their land (zoning) and is their land paid off and will they write you up paperwork for it?



If it's not legal you can be forced to tear it down, and if they dont own it 100% they could lose it. Also things happen and people change and sometimes families have a "falling out"... and you wont have any legal rights when its not your land.

Resistance is futile Matey
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#9 of 10 Old 01-23-2012, 11:51 AM
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Last edited by sunnybear; 04-14-2016 at 11:31 AM.
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#10 of 10 Old 01-24-2012, 06:25 AM
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Aaaaaah!  Those Tumbleweed houses are so awesome!  Putting it in my "someday" file!

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." Buddha

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