With the prices of homes around the United States skyrocketing, more people are finding ways to own a home for cheap. Very often, this involves a bit of DIY and some affordable building materials. Not only does this allow a person to create equity, live independently (and sometimes off the grid), this model also eliminates much of the home-debt that homeowners typically carry around for decades. If this sounds interesting to you, here are 5 of the most inspiring self-built house concepts, one of which you could probably do yourself!

  1. Cob Houses. Cob is an ancient building material, but shockingly strong, durable, and insulative. Cob is simply a combination of straw and dirt, mixed together with the right amount of water. When it’s at the right texture, this material can be piled on itself like a giant mud pie, encasing a simple wooden frame. Homes large and small have been built this way, all using materials available naturally on the property or nearby. The straw acts as a strengthening mechanism throughout the earth, making this material incredibly durable. If you’re willing to DIY, you won’t get much more affordable than cob.
  2. Shipping Containers. One of the most popular non-standard building solutions is to retrofit shipping containers to be residences. Shipping containers are tall enough to walk around in, and can be easily adapted for electricity and running water. Multiple containers can be cut up, stacked, or otherwise combined for a container super-home. If you’re having a company build this for you, make sure to check out latent defects insurance, as you won’t always know the history of the used containers. But if you’re doing this yourself, you should find the project surprisingly doable, though you should still strongly consider self build insurance.
  3. Laminated Bamboo. When bamboo is harvested at a specific point in its growing cycle, it is very strong and durable. Once laminated, you can make strong eco-friendly walls with this cheap highly renewable material.
  4. Prefabricated Building Panels. As the popularity of DIY homebuilding grows, more companies are starting to provide prefabricated panels to serve as walls and roofs. These can be very affordable or very expensive depending on the material and style, but you should not want for selection. Delivered straight to your site, these panels will go up on your foundation in no time, making this one of the fastest and most convenient ways to build your new home.
  5. Recycled Wood. Depending on where you source it, recycled wood can be very affordable. This is the perfect option for a house that looks simple and rustic, yet modern and tasteful. Insulate well inside, and you’ve got a durable home that will stand up to the elements just as well as if it was made of new wood.

DIY home building is a growing phenomenon that many people are trying out as traditional homes become ever more financially out of reach. Look at these and many other options to learn about the options that will best serve your needs. If you make the materials cheap, you can splurge on the other elements of your house to make this a truly DIY dream home!

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