Build a house cheaply: my unusual way and 15 tips

Building a house cheaply - My unusual way

My whole story, how it came to be that we planned our house ourselves and my change to a part-time job, resulted in the huge opportunity to build a "cheap" house to build for my family.

Everything I have learned about inexpensive house building, I summarize to the 15 most important tips Together.

Because here I show you how to do it right, without having to do without living comfort.

I am sure in the future Sustainability, as well as Strategies and concepts for cost reduction Will play the main role in building the house…

Because building a house has become a very expensive pleasure not only since the current material price explosion. But the costs have already increased by over 40% within the last 10 years.

And I tell you, What 3 things you absolutely must not do, if you don’t want to be doomed to failure from the start.

Sounds interesting? Very beautiful.

Growing up in a tinkering family

It all started in my childhood. I have several relatives who belong to the genus of "do-it-yourselfers".

One of them is my father.

Freely "Can’t – there’s no such thing" everything possible was built and repaired at our home by ourselves.

Spontaneously, I can think of wooden children’s toys, a go-kart with a gasoline engine, a balcony railing, various pieces of furniture and a greenhouse with an irrigation system. Time almost never played a role, the important thing was always that in the end it was much cheaper was as if you had bought it ready.

My father has thus saved an enormous amount of money in his life.
On the other hand, he probably spent all his free time in his workshop.

So it happened that I also built my first wooden house by myself at the age of 9, of course with help from my father.

And this is what it looked like.

self-built children's playhouse made of wood

By the way, the handsome guy on the right side in the picture is me.

The playhouse was the beginning of my do-it-yourself career. More projects of my own followed:

  • A rad Lego landscape in the attic (at 11 years old)
  • Self-made furniture for my youth room (at the age of 14)
  • An old Puch moped was restored (at 16 years)
  • And an old VW bus became a camper van (with 20 years)

With all my tinkering projects I have a few basic things about home improvement learned:

At this point I would like to mention that I did not learn a trade, but did a technical training as an engineer.

A cheap apartment is needed

When I grew up and wanted to have my own empire to live in, I first came into contact with the fact that housing is damn expensive.

No matter whether one buys, builds or rents.

I did not want to accept that. I did not want to see work for it all my life Should be, just to be able to afford to live somehow.

Eventually I got the idea to build an apartment in my parents’ house, which was way too big anyway.

In principle, the 3-room apartment was already prepared. I "only" had to move my father’s woodworking shop and my mother’s painting and sewing room to another location. I did everything myself, from chiseling the pipe slots to tiling the bathroom and building the kitchen.

If there had been good blogs and Youtube instructions back then, I could have saved myself some mistakes..

The result was certainly not perfect, but it could be seen quite.

I also learned 3 important lessons on how to save money when building out:

  1. Think carefully about how to do something beforehand (smart planning)
  2. Doing it yourself helps save money
  3. A good price-performance ratio is the be-all and end-all or "Who buys cheap, usually buys twice!"

And there was one more insight for me to build:

Build inexpensively with own contribution

I do not like the dirty work of solid construction!

It should not remain with the apartment. At some point, I wanted a house for my own family…

The brilliant idea: unconventional building materials

It’s been a while, but I remember it like it was only yesterday:

A normal evening on the couch. On television ran Galileo.

And there it was, the moment when something fascinated me and has not let go until today.

There came a contribution over a family, which built a timber house with a carpenter’s workshop and insulated the complete walls and the roof with straw bales themselves. Afterwards only a loam plaster followed.

Here is the link to the broadcast (if you are interested): Galileo – House of straw

After the show, a thousand questions popped into my head:

Wood and straw as building material … And that works? Ne, or?

Is it possible to build a full-fledged house with such simple means?

Straw as a building material for the construction of an inexpensive house

From then on, I soaked up all the information that books and Google had to offer. And I visited some houses in straw bale construction to convince myself that it actually works.

But why did the straw bale construction excite me so much?

First grows the material on our fields and is actually waste. It is therefore absolutely sustainable and has a top U-value (insulation value).

Secondly hardly find a comparably ingenious room climate as that from a combination of straw, loam and wood.

Third the insulation material can be bought cheaply and is ideally suited for do-it-yourselfers.

But with the straw building idea alone it should not remain..

Why we planned our house ourselves

Plan west view of our favorable house

I did now know that it would be a good idea to build a wooden house with straw bale insulation. And I knew that I could save money building a house with it.

But I had no idea how much effort it would really be to build such a house.

There was an idea. Everything else wasn’t even that important at that point…

The years went by. The desire for a house of our own remained, but moved back into the background again.

Nevertheless, I continued to watch the real estate market. When a small, suitable property appeared after approximately 2 years of market observation in one of our two desire municipalities, my wife and I immediately struck.

Since we were now owners of building land, we started to study the development plan for interest and thought about what kind of house we would like to have.

Since I still had the straw building idea in my head, I looked for a planner who specialized in straw houses.

The offered price for the planning was so high, that everyone would have to pay for it Cost advantage of the straw bale construction would have disappeared into thin air.

Again, I didn’t want to accept it that way and started reading books and websites about planning a house. In addition, I looked into the construction of wooden houses.

My goal was, at the most favorable without having to sacrifice comfort.

We paid attention to the following savings measures during the planning from the beginning:

  • no basement
  • Simple building structure (no bay windows and dormers)
  • practical and simple floor plan
  • Carport instead of garage

In addition, I have been working with the Basics of low budget planning and let it flow into our house planning.

And we have visited many prefabricated houses and made many drafts of possible floor plans.

Until finally at some point the preliminary design of our house was created.

With the building we were still in no hurry. We wanted to save money even more.

The way to a cheap house

Moving into our cheaply built house

At some point we started to think about how we could put our plans of the cheap house into practice.

Before I tell you exactly how we did it, I would like to invite you to a little thought experiment.

Picture this:

A family house for a family of 4 to 5 people.
The living and dining area is open and spacious.
On the upper floor there is a light-flooded gallery and an air space.
In addition to large, bright children’s rooms, there are also 2 bathrooms, an office and plenty of storage space.
The indoor climate is top, because many natural building materials were used.

And now please think about the costs for such a house!

Correct. That doesn’t sound like much of a bargain, does it??

What if I told you that I found a way to build it so cheaply that it cost us less per month than renting an 80 square meter apartment.

Sounds totally implausible, or?

But is the truth.

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One of the top priorities for me was a good price/performance ratio. No matter what the house decision was:

  • -Construction method
  • Windows and doors
  • Roof
  • Home automation
  • equipment (floors, kitchen, bathroom, furniture, …) etc.

builder = construction manager?

With our drafts I started to ask for first offers and to determine the total costs of our building project.

Very quickly I realized that for me the cheapest way was the Individual contracting of all trades (professionals in construction) would be.

Here I had the possibility to decide every detail by myself. Because I wanted build cheap, but by no means cheap. So I could buy only the work that I really needed.

Little by little, I realized something else: By contracting individually, I, as the builder, take on a very big responsibility.

I knew how to complete a hobby craft project, but building a house was a whole different ballgame. It was not always easy to find out which company, when, what exactly had to be done on the construction site. In no case I wanted to risk that a craftsman arrives and can not perform his work. Only because a construction step is still missing or was executed incorrectly.

Such Additional costs Fortunately I was spared.

Quite the opposite. I was able to do a lot of small preparatory work myself before the next professional went to work.

This required extensive planning, many discussions with the professionals, and good schedule coordination. During the construction phase, I mostly did this work after it was closing time on the site.

A lot of own work

It was clear to me that own contribution is a big lever to build a cheap house.

For every hour of work no need to pay a professional I have to save cash. That’s why we have interestingly planned our house also in a maximum DIY variant through.

I knew from my handicraft projects that I am not completely clumsy and that we have friends and relatives who will lend a hand if we ask them.

My calculation showed that I would have to work with my normal employee salary for over 10 years to put the money aside that I could save by doing the work myself.

On the other hand I have from my handicrafts 2 important things Learned:

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