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Single female in need of really inexpensive building ideas Options
#1 Posted : Tuesday, June 03, 2008 3:43:55 PM
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Given the current market... You might be able to find a good deal on a used trailer house.

Just be sure to check planing and zoning (if applicable) since some areas don't allow trailer houses without a permit.

*mew* *smiles*
#2 Posted : Friday, June 06, 2008 4:22:45 PM
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Hello Waves

Lets look at the things you listed

-no mortgage
-minimal building exerience
-harsh winters
-less than 5000$

Sounds like your ideas have no basis for reality.  As Bill stated, I think about your only option is having a used trailer trucked onto the property.  Either that, or some other portable/temporary structure (tent/yurt) but those won't be pleasant in the winter.  If you can get a trailer with a woodstove installed you might have a chance of making through a winter, but will your disability allow you to cut cords of wood?  If a trailer is positioned, will there be electricity?  Forget about alternative energy on a tight budget.  Can you get by without electricity, cooking and heating with wood?  Where will running water come from?  No power, no running water, no phone, no anything, just a dry place to sleep.  Do you want to live like that?  Maybe a better question is why would you want to live like that?  I'm sorry to sound very negative, but I myself have done the construction for my own cabin, and know exactly how hard it is to build something, and then make it into something comfortable to live in.

Mike in McMurdo
#3 Posted : Sunday, June 08, 2008 4:49:24 PM
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The whole off the land lifestyle is full of people like you. No money, but loads of ambition.

You have a lot of things going against you, but on the other hand, where there is a will there is a way. You won't be able to do much with what you have listed, so you have to get inventive. I'd say, like the rest, that you need to start with something small. A little camping trailer or mobile home would probably do you well. They come equiped with everything you need.

Since it's on a relative's property and hopefully they are supportive, the next step is to see if they can think of this as a "mother-in-law" house. Power, water and sewer come from the main house. You don't have the cash for this, but outside hookups for RVs are a plus to property values. Gas may be expensive, but people are still traveling in RVs they just drive less ,stay longer and often visit relatives. Your relatives may help you do the hookups. Just follow local codes.   Much of this work can be done by you and your friends and have the local inspectors make sure you did it right. Again where there is a will there is a way. You have to be convincing and energetic.

From that start. Take it a little at a time. Plan a second room addition that will eventually be the start of your house. Next year put in the foundation. The year after, make it a deck, Sometime down the road enclose it. Only do what you can do at the time, but build with the idea of expanding and droppin the trailer.

Make a 10 year plan. Network, make friends, barter, do things for people in exchange for them helping you with your house. Just remember, you do not own the land. When your relatives pass away, move on, or sell the house, you lose your house as well. Maybe the first step is to buy a piece of your own land someplace and start the networking and bartering there instead.


#4 Posted : Monday, June 09, 2008 6:56:35 PM
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#5 Posted : Tuesday, June 10, 2008 6:36:03 AM
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consider a flyash-cement mixture[52%flyash;48%cement] concrete dome unit home[no rebar needed] for a home.[check google for peter vetsch's homes and dome radio station in poland for really good ideas]Check out www.romanconcrete.com for more important info.FLYASH ,in correct mixture,makes concrete extremely strong,waterproof and it does not crack!PROF.P.K.MEHTA is probably world's greatest cement expert and promotes using ash as fantastic building material.Coal generating plants used to beg people to haul off flyash.
#6 Posted : Wednesday, June 11, 2008 7:05:18 AM
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I'm really curious to know Why it makes a difference whether one is a "single female" or any person, to answering this question. Had I typed "I'm a Single White Female" would I get faster answers? Oh, wait, that is what HE typed. "He" being a Black Asian Gay Guy pretending in print to be a Single White Female...................WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??????????
#7 Posted : Friday, June 13, 2008 1:59:14 PM
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That last response didn't seem to provide any value added, but seems to be of the same nature as others he has posted on other threads.  It makes me wonder if any of his 4400+ posts are of value.

In answer to the question about Single White Female, it might have a bearing, as some single females feel a bit uneasy living in remote areas where they are a bit more vulnerable than living in a neighborhood with lots of potential witnesses, etc, etc, etc.  I doubt that this was posted as a means of getting a quicker answer.  It is a legitimate question and deserved a legitimate reponse.

I am not sure why this cmate person feels it necessary to make these kinds of postings, as if he is the thought police and that all questions have to meet with his approval prior to being asked.  If this is really the case, then he should be a moderator.  Otherwise, it would seem to me that he/she should stick to value-added postings or at least provide some humor.


Earth Home Project:


#8 Posted : Saturday, June 28, 2008 9:17:13 PM
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The first thing you need to do is get a clear deed to your OWN property.  Building on the relatives land quite often is a harbinger of future conflict.

Build on nobodys land but yours.  If a relative owns the land, have them deed it over to you.  If this isn't possible, locate some land elsewhere. 

I live approx 25 miles from the UP in Wisconsin.  I would advise you to build with logs.  There may not be any pine/balsam/cedar on your property, but these are readily availible from loggers in your area.  Have the logs milled flat on 3 sides by hiring someone with a Woodmizer or similar portable sawmill.  They will come to your property.  Consider building using the vertical log building method.  I'd be most happy to provide you with any information/share knowledge/etc.

Realize that building a house by yourself is a long drawn out process.  Even longer if you are going to do it without a financial institution loan. 

Also realize that there are building codes you'll have to adhere to.  And I believe Michigan also has building inspections during the course of the building process.  Go to the library and read everything you can get your hands on regarding building codes, site planning, requirements, etc.

The actual framing of the house is a minor aspect of the overall building picture.  Equally important are issues such as building permits, septic systems, water delivery systems, electrical service, road access to the building site, having a cleared building site, excavation, foundation/basement/crawl space, heating system, etc.   All pieces of the puzzle need to fit together.

I was fortunate enough to build my log home in a forested area.  It took 6 years of evenings & weekends to do it. 

$5000 won't be sufficient funding to build a house to code.  Period.  You'd be lucky to get a septic system and water delivery system for 5K.  But that doesn't mean you can't get started.  I didn't have $5000 when I started building.  You can visit my photo website at http://community.webshots.com/user/hoop_john


The absolute cheapest way to live off the grid is in a teepee.  But then, not everyone has the desire to live in a teepee on a long term basis.  Certainly, it would be trying in a UP winter.  Native Americans no longer live in teepees.  There is a reason for this. 


#9 Posted : Sunday, June 29, 2008 12:53:34 AM
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 I love the vertical logs.  Your response was good too.  I too, have built, and am building again, my own home.  It does take a long time, and I'm continually amazed at people that ask me, "are you moved in yet?", not realizing how much work (and time) is involved.

I'm paying as I go, so I'm not on a schedule.  I have the luxury of not having to deal with inspections, but I have read the code books and am doing the best I can to be at code.

You gave good advise.  I think the teepee is the cheapest way to get into your own home.  A second method, would be the yurt, which isn't quite as rustic as a teepee, but not as cheap either.  And I think that after the yurt is up, a person can add to the structure by coming along later with vertical logs (as you used in your house) and go around the yurt with those.  This would make the yurt a little sturdier in high wind, as well as providing a little extra r-value for winter.  And you can add log walls (vertical logs) to a yurt easily, whereas you can't with a teepee.

On a budget, I think anything can be done, if you're willing to work and if you're willing to wait and put in the time.

I hope that those that read this thread, get some good ideas that they can use to get into their own homestead living.  It might just take a little more time, but it can be done.  I have heard of people buying small metal toolsheds (in the $1500 and $2000 price range), insulating the insides of them, putting in a toilet and a shower in a small, very small bathroom in a corner of the structure.  And people were able to live in these small structures while living on their property and saving money to build a bigger place.
With kids, you'd need a little bit bigger place, but with some imagination, hard work, and a little bit of research, as well as patience, it can be done.

Earth Home Project:


Colorado Bob
#10 Posted : Tuesday, July 08, 2008 8:54:20 PM
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#11 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 12:51:39 AM
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well if it was me here's what I'd start with


you dont have to build into the side of a hill but it would defintley help, but as long as you had friends and family to help it wouldnt be that hard to do on flat land, for a cheap wood stove you could go this route


or you could look at a waste motor oil heater like such


as far as water goes theres always grey water systems and composte toilets.  For power, there is so much out there from a small generator to get friends and family to help you make solar, wind or water power, here are a few links I like



Like the before post said it'll be tough but hey if it was easy everyone would be doing it, but my philosophy is with a little hard work and a lot of will power anything can be done, Im broke most of the time so if i cant make it from scrap I usally cant have it.  After seing friends outback cabins in AK anything can be done just use the reasources that are on here and you'll find tons of things you can make on the cheap.  You'd be amazed at how nice some of my friends cabins are and we barely spend any money making these places, but with a disability it'll just require more help from family and friends.  Everyone has their own opinion but hey heres just a few ideas you could start with.


#12 Posted : Monday, August 25, 2008 1:24:13 AM
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heres the links for the home made wind turbine and solar cells



#13 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2008 1:31:22 PM
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hi waves. i am in the same boat as you. i am single and disabled but i have no land as of yet. i plan to put in a yurt with all  solar and wind power and my own well, etc. it'll cost around $40,000 for  the whole thing or so i've estimated. i live in ohio and we have snow too. i have a friend who got a free mobile home just for hauling it away which cost about $4,000 because in the township where she found it they don't allow mobile homes and the man was having to pay a lot of fines for having it on his property. it looks like it's a '90's model,real nice. but she still had to have a well dugged and electric hook-up and that cost too. i think it'll be difficult to do anything for $5,000. but keep looking never give up on your dream. good luck.
#14 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2008 1:35:29 PM
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i would like to get a grant for some land and putting up a permenate yurt. i would also like to find out what homesteading is and how to go about it. i eventually would like to put up 4 yurts on the property. i am single and disabled so my income is severly limited.any help would be appericated.
#15 Posted : Monday, October 13, 2008 7:17:45 AM
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If i had to go native here in MN, I'd start with something small and well insulated.

I just got a used "ground source" heat pump from a friend. He had payed $600 for two of them and one worked. The one he gave to me has a freon leak that I am working on.

One thing to remember is that a ground source heat pump combined with a well insulated building is actually more efficient than an underground building. and the cost of building underground is more than the costs of adding more insulation.

The "proof" of the theory is that you could use ground water to keep an imaginary  plate in the center of the wall at the ground temperature. This would then just leave the remaining insulation handling the remainder of the temperature drop. Another factor is that Cellulose insulation has a higher "R per inch" and "R per dollar" than Styrofoam.

There was also one study that showed that here in MN that increasing thermal mass increases heating costs If that thermal mass has less than a R2 to the outside. This means you want thermal mass in the building and not as part of the exterior surface.

If I lost my $4000/month income and was going to lose everything... I'd start by building a heavily insulated trailer that I could pull behind my car and head south. The $/person/day is lower in the south due to a more mild climate.

I mostly work at my home office and it's hard to tell what is going to happen when jobs can be done anywhere. Will people move to lower cost climates?
Rufus Cracklecorn
#16 Posted : Sunday, October 26, 2008 1:22:26 AM
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Just because the land is flat doesn't mean you can't make a dugout. Kansas was settled by people who found no trees, and a lot of flat land. Untill 5 months ago I lived in a little Class C RV. Cost 2k. I had propane for heat and put bales of straw, and strapped insulation everywhre to keep from freezing ,of course i'm in the Ozarks and our winters don't compare. After over a year in the RV i plan on living in it when I find some land I can afford around here and building while I'm in it or possibly using it to sleep while only building shop type buildings. Stone is a free building material needing only muscle. At least around here its everywhere.
John Edward Mercier
#17 Posted : Sunday, October 26, 2008 12:39:37 PM
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Bill's suggestions are about cost and energy efficiency.

Any home placed deep enough within the soil will stay at, or near, its surrounding static point.

Since this is below the normal comfort zone of a human... its insulation level, much like that of an above ground home, will be a major factor in its energy efficiency.

He's suggesting the use of a ground source heat pump to gain the benefit of the soil temperature stability... but the ability to produce higher temps.

Certain building types are easier and less costly to upgrade. His suggestion is the basis for most modern efficient building...

#18 Posted : Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2:58:48 AM
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Bill,where exactly is the freon leak?..I take it you have a hermetically sealed scroll compressor,or is it semi hermetic?Might able to help in that regard..Do you have a sniffer or a ultrasonic sniffer?
#19 Posted : Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:25:39 AM
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davisonh wrote:
Bill,where exactly is the freon leak?..I take it you have a hermetically sealed scroll compressor,or is it semi hermetic?Might able to help in that regard..Do you have a sniffer or a ultrasonic sniffer?

It's bubbles freon into the water side when I hooked up the tank.

I cut the heat exchanger off since it's obviously toast. I am letting the water evaporate out of the freon side.

Next I have to get or make a replacement water heat exchanger.
#20 Posted : Thursday, December 25, 2008 7:02:53 AM
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I dont know how well this would work but here is my idea. i was considering this when i was faced with the very real possibility of being homeless. In most places if a building is under 100 sq ft it does not have to meet building codes. So my idea was to build a 100 sq ft cabin out of either straw bales or rammed earth tires. tires are free but you need a lot of dirt and sweat, some places will pay you to haul them sometimes up to a dollar per tire. Once the walls are built, back fill dirt up to the top. Take long logs and lay them accross the top of the bales in several layers. The logs should be atleast 4-10 inches in diameter. You can paint these logs if you want to keep them more protected from moisture. Then coverthem with several layers of tarp. Layer several inches of dirt onto the top of the tarp and logs, to add insulation and for wind protection. Plant ivy on the roof and walls to provide the dirt with root stabilization and to deflect rain water off of the direct dirt.For teh floor inside put down some pea gravel, then put discarded skids ontop of that to act as your risers and floor support. On top of the skids put the thinnest cheapest ply wood type material you can find to even out the surface and eliminate large gaps in teh floor. Then find some discarded carpet remnants to put over that.

I dont know how well this would work for you. I dont know what the water and drainage issues would be with this type of design but im sure it would last at least a few years. You ahve to ask yourself how are you willing to live. i would think that this would provide you with good insulation since its basically a dirt and straw bale dome. It wouldnt be high living by any means but it would be very cheap. if you did it right you would be the envy of many people through the world who wouldlove to live in such a nice house.
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