How to Build a Debt-Free Home

Lynn Underwood and his wife set out to build a debt-free home building from from paycheck to paycheck, the finished home resulted in no more worries about mortgages or mortgage companies ever again.

| February/March 2002

  • Many people would trade some paint and landscaping for the security of not owing a mortgage.
    Many people would trade some paint and landscaping for the security of not owing a mortgage.
    CASSANDRA UNDERWOOD
  • Sweat equity, strong desire and a willingness to scrimp, scrounge and deal equal a free-and-clear home.
    Sweat equity, strong desire and a willingness to scrimp, scrounge and deal equal a free-and-clear home.
    CASSANDRA UNDERWOOD
  • Lynn Underwood has reason to smile. He and his family built their home, paycheck-by-paycheck, without incurring debt. He drew the floor plan while watching the Super Bowl.
    Lynn Underwood has reason to smile. He and his family built their home, paycheck-by-paycheck, without incurring debt. He drew the floor plan while watching the Super Bowl.
    PHOTO: ROBERT RAYNOR
  • Adapted from a gazebo plan, this was the Underwoods' home during construction and later served as Darius' teen-age residence.
    Adapted from a gazebo plan, this was the Underwoods' home during construction and later served as Darius' teen-age residence.
    CASSANDRA UNDERWOOD
  • Cyndi and Lynn Underwood say Darius, 19, and Cassandra, 16, maintain the frugal habits they learned throughout the house-building project.
    Cyndi and Lynn Underwood say Darius, 19, and Cassandra, 16, maintain the frugal habits they learned throughout the house-building project.
    ROBERT RAYNOR
  • Are you ready to build a debt-free home?
    Are you ready to build a debt-free home?
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • Many people would trade some paint and landscaping for the security of not owing a mortgage.
  • Sweat equity, strong desire and a willingness to scrimp, scrounge and deal equal a free-and-clear home.
  • Lynn Underwood has reason to smile. He and his family built their home, paycheck-by-paycheck, without incurring debt. He drew the floor plan while watching the Super Bowl.
  • Adapted from a gazebo plan, this was the Underwoods' home during construction and later served as Darius' teen-age residence.
  • Cyndi and Lynn Underwood say Darius, 19, and Cassandra, 16, maintain the frugal habits they learned throughout the house-building project.
  • Are you ready to build a debt-free home?

Learn how to build a debt-free home with no mortgage to worry over. 

Picture this: You, sipping lemonade, relaxing in the living room of the home you built yourself. It's taken the better part of three years, but you own the house free and clear. No mortgage company has their hands on your home.

Sound impossible? Are you convinced you haven't got the talent to build your own home? I'm here to remove those misconceptions. You can achieve your dream of home ownership by learning how to build a debt-free home yourself. I did. Hundreds of other people I know have done the same thing. They directed their ambition and took charge of their lives and destiny.

Consider this: A residential mortgage will amount to as much as three times the purchase price of a house over the life of the payment schedule. A $100,000 house would cost more than $314,000 at 10 percent interest amortized over 30 years. The monthly mortgage payment can amount to as much as half your regular income. What would you do with an extra $873 every month? Another important reason for building your own home is the family. Building your family home will bring a family closer together in ways you wouldn't dream possible. The greatest reward is each family member recognizes their contribution made a difference, providing self-esteem that will last a lifetime.



I can practically hear your reaction now: I can't possibly build a home. I know some carpentry, but I know nothing about electrical or plumbing or roofing. To these concerns, I would say: Reach inside yourself for the strength that will sustain the pursuit of your objective and go for it. My family and I did, and here's how:

In 1992 I unexpectedly lost my job and nearly lost my home to a mortgage company. My wife, Cyndi, and I agreed we never wanted even to approach that fate again. We resolved to build a home, paycheck by paycheck, without a mortgage. If we could live on the property, we could spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment on building materials each month. We explained the decision to our two children and sought their commitment, as well. At the time our son, Darius, was 10, and our daughter, Cassandra, was only 7. I remember her big, round eyes looking up, asking if she would have her own bedroom.

Clysti
1/5/2018 8:51:47 PM

Thank you for this. Luckily for my husband and I, we inherited my grandparents property. About 5 acres. We have been given a partially built structure, that we now have to tear apart and move to our property. All is all, we are saving over $10,000 or more by these blessings. My husband is a carpenter by trade, so this is up his alley. We are saving money right now to start our foundation in the spring. I am afraid of failure though, so it's nice to know others that have done this and succeeded. Wish us luck. Thanks again and God Bless.


Bryant
8/7/2016 7:24:35 AM

Thank you very much for sharing this experience. I have not begun starting a family yet, but my interest has peaked in regards to getting involved in the housing market. Your trasparency has encouraged me to believe that building could be a viable options if approached with discipline and without letting distractions become discouragment. I really appreciated this article


GooseandGillian
1/12/2015 8:28:27 AM

This article and one other on Mother Earth News were full of inspiration for us while we planned to build our own log home without debt. We will also be building your solar composting toilet from the Eco village based on one of your articles. Thanks for the inspiration! http://ourdebtfreepath.blogspot.com/







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