Buy a Home Kit and Build Your Own House

Consider a kit home for an inexpensive option for building your house and use this guide to learn about the variety of styles you have to choose from.

| May 4, 2009

  • steel kit home
    Many styles of homes can be built from kits: domes, timber-frame homes, log homes and panelized houses. This house was made from a steel frame kit.
  • steel frame
    The steel frame of this kit home is fireproof.

  • steel kit home
  • steel frame

There’s one sector of the homebuilding market that seems to be weathering the recent economic storm better than the rest of its industry — kit homes. Kit homes are houses built from packages of building materials, sometimes pre-cut to fit together without waste. Various styles of homes can be built from house kits.

Many kit homes can actually be built by the homeowner, or at least with substantial homeowner participation, resulting in significant cost savings. The extent of that participation depends on a wide range of variables, including the time and energy the homeowner may have available, knowledge of the various skills and materials required, and willingness and ability to learn.

Dave Kimball, owner of Shelter-Kit in Tilton, N.H., says, “There are a lot of stories in the news about declines in the homebuilding sector, but we’re doing fine. I think people who might have hired a contractor are now looking to us to save some money. It’s an interesting market right now.”

While not all of the hundreds of kit home manufacturers around the country are experiencing strong demand, many have managed to maintain steady business even in the current economic downturn.

Types of Home Kit Options

Despite the vast array of different packages offered by kit house manufacturers, most kits fall into one of four main categories: domes, timber-frame homes, log homes and panelized houses (plus some hybrid combinations). Steel-frame kit homes are a more recent entrant to the market in a class of their own. But within these broad categories, there is an extremely wide range of products offered, from packages that can be easily assembled without cutting much of anything (a “precut” subcategory), to those that require substantial cutting and trimming on site.

Although there has been a trend in recent years towards larger, customized kit home designs, many in the industry see that trend slowing or even reversing due to the effects of the recession. Kimball says there has been a recent shift toward new “green home” kits.

8/11/2017 7:16:15 AM

The Problem with wood is that white ants eat it !

8/2/2016 11:57:08 AM

It's really about what you want. When metal siding was added to my home. It cut utilities in half. If that ain't green... hmmm

9/24/2009 9:48:13 AM

I'm with J_R_S! So many companies are abusing the "green" label for marketing/profit, that it is fast becoming an empty term; much like the meaning of "organic" over the years. New steel is NOT green! Wake up Mother Earth News! Your readers are more astute than you give credit. Don't market this garbage to us. Surely there are truly "green" and ethical businesses that will run ads with you. Or perhaps you are charging too much "green" for your ad space for small, sustainable businesses to afford.

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