The Path to Mortgage-Freedom – Tiny House Family’s ecourse

by Hari Berzins

During the big snow storm last week, Karl and I walked up the hill from our tiny house to our newly dried-in (Woohoo!) big house to watch the falling snow. The snow in the woods was magical and the view in all directions was spectacular. I looked up at the rafters and there was no snow falling in the house! We were dry. After more than a year of watching rain and snow fall on our house, this was big. I smiled at Karl. “How does it feel to go into this snow storm with a finished roof on the house?” He took a deep breath. “You have no idea.”

dried in house

That was a nice moment.

We’ve come so far, and it’s so important to take time to celebrate all of the milestones along the way.

Hi, I’m Hari Berzins from My husband Karl and I built a mortgage-free micro-homestead and have worked our plan for the last five years. We’ve created an online course to help others realize their dream of mortgage-freedom.


In 2008, we had to totally redesign our life after losing our restaurant and home in the financial crisis. With a firm resolve to never use credit again, we started over. We dreamed of building a homestead for cash. With $300 to our name, owning a mortgage-free homestead seemed like an impossible dream.

I searched and searched for others who had lost everything and built a new life that included debt-free home ownership. How happy I would have been to find a course like ours, but I guess it was our work to write The Plan: Creating Your Pathway to Mortgage Freedom.

Our plan was a simple one and simply radical. We would work hard, stop buying, sell, donate, downsize, make a budget, and save every penny. We would find a little piece of land,


buy it for cash, and grow a homestead. We saved, worked, bought land, drilled a well, dug a septic system, built a tiny house, and are now completing the exterior of our main house. We did all of this with cash and time. We now live our impossible dream!

In our rebuilding process, we’ve relied on several practices of deep self-care to affirm that our worthiness is not attached to the balance of our bank account, nor our foreclosure, nor our belly-up business. We’ve relied on these practices to cultivate the contentedness and patience we need to thrive in our 8’ x 21’ ft. tiny house while we build our right-sized house. And we’ve relied on these practices to keep the faith when we have no idea how we are going to get through the next phase. We will share these practices with you because this change is for the long haul and we want you to be successful getting there.

tiny house

You might wonder why we are building a bigger house. The tiny house has been our ticket to mortgage-freedom. This phase of the plan has taught us so much about what we really need, about compromise, communication and delayed gratification, but we need room for our art, space to dance, and entertain, space for our children (now 9 & 11) to grow into adults. Space is so very personal, and we will explore your needs for space in the course. You will design a plan and a homestead to fit your unique lifestyle and budget.

Our little journey has attracted the attention of many media outlets which has brought with it a ton of emails with questions about our plan. We felt the need to compile a comprehensive course to guide others down the path to mortgage-freedom.

Now when I look up the hill at the main house, I’m so thankful we chose this route. It’s not an easy path. It’s hard in the beginning. It’s hard to talk yourself out of those moments when you just want to give in and blow your budget on a dinner out, or buy those cool new hiking boots or whatever it is the merchants pry your self-esteem with. With practice, this has become the norm for us, and the urges are rare. We’ll help you with this, too.

“. . . I will act, says Don Quixote,
as if the world were what I would have it to be,
as if the ideal were real. . .
— Don Quixote de la Mancha, Cervantes

There were lots of naysayers in the beginning, even family and friends who thought we were crazy. How in the world are the four of you going to live in that little house without killing each other?

the family

We are still alive almost three years after moving in, and look what it’s enabled us to do. We live mortgage-free on our own land; we’re raising animals and growing food. We get to be choosy about the work we do, and we spend tons of family time together. And once we move into our main house, we’ll have a micro bed and breakfast ready to go!

What would your life look like if you didn’t have a mortgage payment? If your dream is to simplify your life by building a tiny house, we can help you get there.

Having a supportive community is all important when making a “tiny” lifestyle change such as this. As part of our course, you’ll have access to a private Facebook group where you will connect with other like-minded individuals to discuss course materials, share ideas and support each other in creating your very own micro-homestead.

This e-course is 5 weeks long and begins on September 20, 2014. If you want to join us, see all the details here:

kids loft


living room


Tiny House in a Landscape

log cabin 1

This weeks Tiny House in a Landscape is a cabin I discovered that is coming on the market soon. The Tiny House Blog is not getting any compensation for showing it, I just liked it and the company that built it so thought I would show it to you.

Montana Mobile Cabins built this cabin in 2006. The cabin will be coming on the market soon so here is a little sneak preview. The cabin is 14 foot by 26 foot and could be used as an art studio or guest cabin.

This cabin has been impeccably maintained over the years! The cabin is wired for electrical, electric wall heater, track lighting and pendant light. Kitchen cabinets, sink and eight foot countertop. Hearth and wood burning stove. A bathroom could be easily installed in the current storage area.

The cabin will need to be moved from it’s current location in Sheridan, Montana. Cabin can be moved within Montana and possibly to neighboring states, however there may be some limitations and buyer will be responsible for moving fees.

For more information contact Montana Mobile Cabins.

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Tiny House Giant Journey and Deek

Giant Journey

Hey, Deek from here.

This past weekend while teaching a tiny house design class (Tumbleweed) down in Philadelphia (and after having one of the larger slices of pizza I’ve EVER seen- Lorenzo’s) I was given a short tour of Guillaume and Jenna’s gorgeous tiny house on wheels- one making a trek around the entire US (and Maritime Canada) as we speak. Right now they’re somewhere in the vicinity of NYC, so keep an eye out! They’re pretty hard to miss if you’re on the highway.

Anyway, here’s a full video of their house. The place has so many inventive space saving solutions, and clever decor and design approaches, that you’re bound to glean some new ideas from it, regardless of your personal tastes.

Its 20′ long, 8′ 6″ wide, and 13′ 4″ tall. The so far have pulled it over 3000 miles… and they’ve just begun!

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

PS- October 25th-26th I’ll be having a very small/intimate Tiny House Building and Design workshop near Boston…. we’re limiting this one to 15 attendees, and that’s it! We’ll be doing LOTS of hands-on building

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