I don’t know if I mentioned this here yet, but I actually spoke with someone at the building permit office for the county I live in earlier this week and got some surprising news.
I did post a blog where I wondered what I should do, if I should build a small house on my own land and potentially have mortgage debt, or if I should build a tiny house on wheels and take on the challenges that would bring.
While considering my options, and talking to various friends and family about it, I started to formulate a financial plan with building a tiny foundation house in mind.
It will take longer, it will mean living at home longer while I save up, but the end result will still be me living in my own place, debt free. It will also allow me to have things I want, but was willing to sacrifice to live in a tiny house on wheels, such as a dedicated space for a crafting table/nook, and the ability to keep my computer.
My name plan is thus:
First: I will pay off my credit card. Regardless of what I end up doing, this is the first step and will be done before the end of this year. It will take at least 6 months from now.
Second: I may or may not take few months to save up for an old truck. Now that I don’t need to pull my house with said truck, it doesn’t have to be a 3/4 or 1 ton, but could be a 1/2 ton, a normal pick up truck.
I specifically want something that is pre-70s. I would really love something like this that looks to be a 1930s, ford or maybe chevy tudor?
The older the better, at any rate. Though I realize that the gas would be a small fortune, it would primarily be used when I need to go to Home Depot, or when I go out looking for stuff to use reclaimed, like old things I find on Craigslist, at yard sales, or on the side of the road for the trash.
I obviously wouldn’t be able to get anything this nice for a few thousand dollars. And the older it is (and the better condition) the more expensive it becomes. Also while Ford coupes are not entirely rare, Models As, etc. Trucks are a bit more so. Harder to come by. My craigslist searches haven’t come up with much below $15k and that is not in my budget or my financial plan for the future.
Instead, more likely I will be looking at something more like this, 1959 Chevy Fleet side, with rust, missing parts, that will require a fair amount of work.
Luckily I have a dad that knows cars, can help me kick the tires and make sure I get something that could be fixable, and then can help me fix it.
This all depends of course on whether or not I even plan to take this step. My parents SUV has a trailer hitch and they have a small trailer they use for all such purposes that I could borrow for my needs. Or I could take that same $3k-ish that I’d save up for an old project truck and just get a more modern used truck. If I could settle for 70s, 80s or even 90s then that same $3k could get me something that actually runs.
Third: which may be step 2 if I skip the previous step, will be to save up for land. I’ve been browsing the real estate websites seeking land in my county. My perfect dream is to have somewhere around 4 acres, so that I have room for my house, a small barn, and at least 3 acres of pasture for a horse or 2. Getting 4 acres will require AT LEAST $30k saved up, and even then I’d be lucky to find something relatively flat (required for horses) and in a nice place zoned for housing for that price. So even in that best case scenario, at my current savings ability it would take me at the very least 30 months to save that up. That’s almost 3 years.
Instead I think I will set aside the 4 acres for a horse and consider the alternative. I could board a horse somewhere. Some place that has lots of acres and maybe even riding trails, something I wouldn’t be able to have. Instead I could just try and get an acre or two. I could plan to save up until I have about $12-$15k and look around for 1 to 2 acres. That will take a little over a year for me to save up.
There is also my uncle. He owns a plot of land in my county that is about 40 acres. I could discuss with him the possibility of purchasing 1 or 2 acres for $12k-ish, with the intent of once my house is built, either paying him monthly or just saving up to over time purchase more and more of his land that he won’t ever use.
I think the best plan and the one I will most likely take is to start saving up and re-evaluate when I have the $15k. Speak to a realtor, see what can be done.
Fourth: Once I have the land, the next phase begins, saving up and building the house. My dad suggested last night looking into companies that will come to your land, cut down your treas and clear it out in exchange for the wood, or you can pay them to turn that wood into building materials with a mobile saw mill.
However I go about it, I will build the house over time as I can afford to. I will start with a design, and knowing me I will be working on the design and coming up with several options over the next couple of years. Once I find a design I like and want to go with (such as the one pictured above, this House in Minnesota) I will start pricing the materials and split it into phases.
Once I have the land I can start stockpiling materials. I can price how much it will cost to do each step. I think I do want a basement, so that I can have a washer and dryer, the water heater and such all down there and not take up living space. I won’t have an attic or anything so basement storage would be great.
I want the outside to be stone. I love stone. So digging the basement and pouring the concrete I will need to pay someone to do. I also may need to pay experts to do the floor of the house so I know it’s sitting on the basement foundation correctly. But framing the house I should be able to do, and with Dad’s help we should be able to do plumbing and electricity as well. The roof may require expert help again, and the rock exterior may also require experts. But my plan is to build very small, which will hopefully mean a bit less cost.
When it comes to interior stuff I can take my time. The important part will be saving up to get the basement/foundation done, the floor in, and the roof and outside done quickly to protect the interior from the elements.
So once I start doing the costing of the different steps, I’ll need to re-evaluate what I need to save up. Once I get my land I may need to save up another year or two to have enough money to start with. Or I may chose to get a personal loan from the bank.
The entire process from today until my house is live-in-able might be around 4-5 years. But I’ll own my own land and have my own house in my 30s, and have the pride of building it myself.
In the meantime, I will work on the design and beginning to figure out how much the building will cost, and get some opinions from Dad and also professionals on what I feel could be done myself.
And the best part? This house will be designed specifically for me. It will have a space for everything I want, but be small enough for just me. If I want to host D&D at my house, I can design the great room so that it has enough space for a table and everyone to have elbow room, despite the house being under 600SF.
I am very excited to get to designing.
Aesthetically I want something that looks like an old fashioned stone cottage. With stone and dark wood and white or wood walls inside. Probably white, since though I like the old fashioned look, I also really like my interiors to be very bright.
I do know I want a reading nook. Someplace that has built in book cases and a bench seat by a window where I can sit and read. I know I want a drafting table, the kind that sits at an angle for doing artwork but can fold down flat against the wall, or fold perfectly horizontal for a flat working surface for things like sculpting. I want this to be separate from my desk where my computer will be. I don’t want or need a dedicated TV, instead I will probably get a screen I can pull down and a project for when I want “movie night” or something while most often using my computer or ipad for watching shows.
I do want a comfy couch to curl up on. I also do want an area where I can host D&D and other times have my parents and my grandparents over for dinner.
Outside I want a fairy garden. If you don’t know what that is, go to pinterest and search Fairy Garden. They are adorable, and I will be able to sculpt so much stuff for mine! It will be awesome. I want a sprawling Fairy Garden instead of a lawn that requires mowing. Though I may have some kind of outside patio type area with a fire pit.
I don’t want a lot of trees close in on the house, but I do want the house shielded from view of the road. I would love to have the house at the back of my property with a long winding driveway that opens up into the little clearing that my adorable little fantasy cottage will sit. And at some time along the driveway, maybe up at the road, maybe closer to the house, I want a wooden arch made of just branches twisted together with a sign that will read the name of my place. Something fantastical and magical sounding, like “witchaven” or “gypsy hollow” or something akin to that (though not either of those).
So, I still intend to build a little house, just not a 200SF one on wheels, but still one that is 600SF or less. And I still intend to document that process, especially when it gets to the interesting parts! So I am glad that the original purpose of this blog can remain intact.