Build Your Own Affordable, Eco-Friendly House

What is the best way to build a low-cost home that doesn’t harm the planet? Most materials such as concrete and steel are highly processed and transported long distances, making them unaffordable to millions who are in need of housing. These high-tech materials also cause a great deal of harm to the environment. The answer is to utilize locally available, low-impact natural building materials such as earth, stone, straw and small diameter wood. This article explores several methods of using earth and sustainably harvested wood to cut housing costs to rock-bottom prices. And because the techniques are user-friendly, they are ideal for do-it-yourselfers.

Earthbag building: Like other earth building methods, earthbag building is simple to learn and extremely low cost. It has evolved from the military’s use of building durable, blast and bullet resistant structures with sandbags for 100 years. Modern-day builders are using the same basic process of filling and stacking bags to build beautiful houses, offices, shops, schools and orphanages. Earthbag buildings are resistant to mold, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, insects and rodents.

Since the main building material is earth, which is often free or very low cost if delivered, structures can be built literally dirt-cheap. No expensive equipment is needed. Most people already have the basic tools around their home – shovels, buckets, garden hose and ladder. The building process is so simple that unskilled workers can learn each step of construction just by watching for a minute. Earthbag building is extremely adaptable and can be used to build almost any shape imaginable, including domes, vaults, roundhouses, or more typical square or rectangular designs.

Small diameter wood: U.S. forests are currently overcrowded and prone to forest fires. Millions of acres are destroyed each year to fires and disease. Gleaning small trees from the forest in a sustainable manner actually improves the health of the forest and reduces forest fires. With an inexpensive firewood permit (about $20), anyone can obtain wood for building their home. Most of this wood usually goes up the chimney to heat homes, but it is much more valuable when turned into useful products with a long life. All the wood for a house can be obtained this way at much lower cost than buying dimension lumber from a building supply center.

One option is peeling the bark off and using them in the round for pole frames. Wood in the round is much stronger than sawn lumber and requires less processing. With a portable mill or chainsaw attachment, do-it-yourselfers can also mill their own wood for beams, joists, studs, trusses, purlins, window and door frames, trim, cabinets and furniture. Where I live, builders are culling standing dead trees (sound wood) from the forest so as to avoid the time and effort of seasoning the wood. In addition, using sustainably harvested wood as described here is more aesthetically pleasing than conventional stud walls covered with sheetrock. The beauty of the wood is left exposed, honoring the tree from which it came.

Tamped earth floors: Traditional poured earth floors can last for many centuries, thereby saving a small fortune on wood floor framing and replacement of carpet and linoleum every 15 years. Earth floors look like leather once finished and are extremely beautiful. (They’re being used in trendy, custom homes.) However, poured earth floors take a long time to dry, making them impractical in all but hot, dry climates.

Tamped earth floors use less water and dry much faster. These floors can typically be walked on one or two days after installing. The building process involves screening road base or other appropriate soil through 3/8″ mesh. This mix is spread out in 2″ layers and tamped level. The process is repeated until the desired height is reached. Material for the top coat is screened again through 1/8″ mesh. The top coat mixture is hand-troweled and burnished, using just enough water to bond well. After the floor has thoroughly dried, seal with several coats of linseed oil thinned with turpentine.

Earthen plaster: The most beautiful wall finish I’ve ever seen is earth plaster. If you’ve never seen earth plaster before, you may think of dreary brown walls. Do an Internet search for “earth plaster” and you’ll see the amazing results. Because there are many kinds of clay, there’s no limit to the range of colors, textures and special effects. One popular method uses mica in the plaster to create sparkling, brilliant walls.

Earthen plaster is the probably the most user-friendly wall finish. In many cultures women, children and the elderly have done the plaster work for centuries using just hands and basic tools. The key to durable earthen plaster is wide roof overhangs of about 36 inches. Keep rain and snow off the walls and it will last a long time, requiring only minor touchup.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about using natural building materials. Thanks to the Internet, now it’s very easy to learn about these and other low-cost building methods. Additional articles on the above topics are available for free on the author’s websites.

Mortgage To Build Your Own House

A lot of people reach a point where they decide that building and decorating their own home is the next step in an adventure called life. After all, having a home in which you have engraved a part of yourself can bring a lot of joy personal sense of accomplishment. Putting together a plan to build that work out the room you’ve always wanted or maybe that special little home office can be fulfilling and motivational. It’s no secret that building your own home is expensive. Fortunately, there is a way to help you advance with your plans. Although it can be difficult to convince a lender to loan you money for something that hasn’t been built yet, it is possible to get a construction loan.

What is a construction loan? A construction loan is a short-term loan that’s supposed to cover the expenses of your project. Getting it requires thorough planning and high points which you must present to the loaner. You’ll need a detailed construction plan along with a realistic budget while assuring the loaner that the project is a small risk. Usually, the more experienced builders keep a sort of “blue book” in which all of the details mentioned above are included.

Now, let’s discuss the down payment. It’s no secret that down payment plays a major factor in any loan, but in the case of construction loans, it can put quite a big strain on your budget. You can expect a huge percentage (up to 25%) to be added as down payment. The main reason why it is so, it’s that unlike traditional loans, construction loans are viewed as high-risk investments in which the loaners want to make sure you see your project through.

First, you must choose a location. Owning the lot where you plan to build your home can be potentially helpful for you to get the loan, otherwise, the down payment percentage will increase exponentially. Getting a well-established building contractor with a good reputation for this sort of projects should be a priority. The reason for this is that going at it alone and planning to be in charge of everything can be viewed as a problem by the loaners because you have no experience in handling projects like this. If you can somehow present a detailed and convincing construction plan which demonstrates your skills and knowledge in the home-building business, then you might just get the loan.

Let’s sum up. While building your home can be an extremely gratifying experience, it’s no secret that you will have to jump through a lot of hoops to see your dream become a reality. So, before even thinking of going through with a project like this, be ready to put together a well-built project plan and get a well known, qualified home builder. In the end, it all comes down to your available resources. Your budget will decide the fate of your project, so start saving up so you can cover the down payment.

Top 3 Reasons to Build a SW VA Modular Home

In today’s economy people are downsizing to smaller more affordable homes and the possibility of building a dream home is not taken into consideration. There are many opportunities available today to accommodate a downsizing home owner. Here are the top 3 reasons that SW VA modular home builders should be considered before buying a used home.

1. Less expensive

Building a custom house sounds expensive but modular homes are competitive in pricing due to the way the homes are made. This type of builder has the ability to save on time and labor as well as control the environment that the homes are built in.

2. Faster to build

A modular home is made in a factory and does not have to deal with weather changes, dropped labor or natural disasters. The dream of building modular to fit personal taste takes on average 6-12 weeks, when a stick built house can take 6 months to a year or longer.

3. Better quality control

A modular home is built in a factory by sections. An assembly line has high quality control due to the legal inspections that have to take place. There is also zero environmental damage due to nature and/or weather.

So, if looking to downsize and move into a more affordable situation make sure that modular home building is taken into consideration. Being pushed to move out of a dream home in order to live a more affordable lifestyle should no longer seem dreary. Look into building and most quality Roanoke VA home builders will be upfront and willing to work with a specified budget. Modular home building is less expensive than building a new home and competitive with today’s upside down real estate market. Building this way is quick and has better quality control then a stick built house.

Build The Home of Your Dreams With a Construction Loan

With the current economy trend setting low real-estate prices, many assume that buying a used home is worth every dollar they fork out. Others engage in apartment loans, thinking of it as hitting two birds in one stone: having your own home while gaining some extra cash through rental income. While these are all very good strategies, some families opt to get a construction loan and build the home of their dreams.

Although it might sound difficult, building your dream home is possible, provided you understand how a construction loan works. Presently, the construction-to-permanent loan remains the most popular option. This loan encompasses full lot and construction coverage, and even converts to a mortgage the moment your dream house has been established. Once you’ve laid down the down payment, all you have to do is make interest-only payments at a fixed interest rate. And after the construction has finished, the loan will be transformed into either a 15-year or 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Certain banks will dish out interest reserve accounts that allow you to make interest-free payments throughout the construction process. The bank will calculate the amount of interest-only payments and add the total amount to the overall loan. Funds will be deposited into a different account, which makes this ideal if you currently have pre-existing mortgage or rent payments on your plate. The licensed contractor you’ve hired will then mete out a ‘release schedule’ that details the monthly construction schedule with the necessary funding in tow.

Once you have determined that one of these new home construction loans suits your tastes, then there are five quick steps to set you off on the right track:

1. Know your Affordability Limits

You need to determine how much of the total loan you can afford by using an online loan calculator. Remember that you need at least 20% of down payment to avoid PMI payments.

2. Find Lenders

Compare the current loan rates from online lenders and local banks. Ask a reputable building contractor for past lenders they’ve worked with, and attain their contact information.

3. Attain Pre-Approval

Skim through the pre-approval process of each selected bank. Outline the closing costs and estimated tax rates. Ask for a copy of a pre-approval letter.

4. Find a Contractor

Settle on a reputable contractor that is licensed, insured and has experience in constructing new houses. Figure out a budget plan, building cost and architectural schematics to get your house project underway.

5. Select the Land Piece

Hire a reputable realtor to identify a suitable piece of land in line with your budget. Verify any attainable building permits from your local municipality, and make sure a septic and water system is readily available.

Once you have all these five steps pegged down, you’re all set to building that dream house of yours!

Don’t Hunt for a New Home – Build Your Own Dream Home!

While buying may seem practical in the short term, building a house can provide more benefits, in the long run, especially if you choose the right builder. Building a house is much more beneficial than buying one. There are seven reasons why you should consider building your dream home instead of settling for an existing property:

1. Save time – Several factors could influence your house hunting experience, and these include the location, price, condition of the house, negotiations with the previous owner or the bank, and legal issues. You have fewer things to worry about when you decide to build your home. There are builders that can help you find the right financing, too.

2. Get what you want – Searching for the perfect house can be difficult. Even if you think that a property is great, there will often be something in that place that is not quite right. Building your home ensures that you can get exactly what you want in your dream house. Hence, you can be sure that everything is perfect for you and your family.

3. No repairs – Because it is new, you do not have to worry about costly repairs, maintenance, and renovations. If you need extra rooms, you can let the builder know during the design process, so they can incorporate it to the new plan and give you exactly the house you want.

4. Modern build and design – Everything about your dream home will be planned and put together in your way. You can be sure that the property is designed to suit you, your needs, and your lifestyle, and that it complies with the standards of modern design. A modern build may provide helpful features like environmentally friendly doors and windows and an energy-saving layout.

5. Build wherever you want – Location is one of the biggest aspects of selecting a home. When you build a house, you can decide where it should be. Do you want to be close to your parents’ home, schools, offices, and shopping centers? You have full control.

6. Everything is up to you – Choose your own interior, appliances, design, and fixtures. Moreover, you get to experience a better sense of ownership when you build your dream home.

7. A worthy investment – Building a new home is always a good idea if you intend to sell it in the near future. It will fetch a better resale value because it is less likely to be outdated.