My story. I’m a self employed housekeeper/gardener/painter. Back in the 1990’s I set about buying a house. Can you guess what sort of reaction I got from mortgage bankers when I told them what I do for a living and how much money I earn?
I did all sorts of research with many weekend field trips and after a few years I found a piece of undeveloped property that I could afford with cash. I then I had plans for my home drawn up for a few hundred dollars.
I saved up for a septic system, a foundation, and then a shell, etc. I scavenged furniture from thrift shops and pulled things off the curb on bulk trash day. I’m not too proud for that. No Sir. It’s been twelve years now and the place is about as done as it’s likely to get. Looking back I could have made do with less space, but I love my little 480 square foot mortgage free cottage.
All those people who thought I was crazy for not building a “real” house? A lot of those folks lost their giant homes to foreclosure…
The cottage is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. The house was built over a period of several years beginning in 1999, but the cost for the house itself was about $31,000 – not including the land.
Other costs include $2,800 to connect to the electric grid and about $5,000 for a septic system. It’s impossible to drill a well in the area due to the brackish water so close to the ocean so the cottage is on rain water catchment from the roof. I started with a 1,000 gallon water storage tank for $800 and recently added two more larger water tanks for a total of 6,000 gallons at a cost of about $4,000. This was all done on a cash basis over a twelve year period.
The furniture is all second hand and objet trouve (trash sounds better in French…). I don’t think I spent more than $15 on any one piece besides the mattress which was bought new. Of course, there was a lot of time spent cleaning, sanding, staining, and painting the stuff.
Thanks Johnny for sharing your story and pictures, if you have a small house story of your own please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.