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 on a mortgage.

Many people would trade some paint and landscaping for the security of not owing a mortgage.


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.

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

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!

10/5/2013 12:57:58 PM

Thanks so much for sharing this. My family and I made the decision to build our own home and be mortgage free this week and I have scouring the web since, and came across your article. I am a designer (websites, apps, print) by nature and have always loved building and creating things. Seeing things through from concept to completion. In college, my first major was Engineering, where I would design blueprints, etc. I was also a volunteer with my local Habitat for Humanity chapter where we would build homes for the underprivileged. It was so gratifying and the thought of doing this for my family and myself leaves me so excited. I just signed up for my local chapter here so I can get experience. I am currently looking at land and will be purchasing it ASAP. We will start construction in a year. Your article had a lot of things that I had not considered, and is giving me a lot of food for thought. I would love to see a picture of your final home. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

cheryl xavier
2/16/2013 3:02:49 PM

Wow!!!!! i am so proud of you for building your own home. i have always wanted to do that!!!!! im a single mother of 4, and i love to work with my hands. i could do it too if i had the money and time. i was hoping to see your home at the end of this artical i read. have a wonderful time in your new home. :)

9/8/2009 1:30:47 PM

Hello everyone. Nothing is so awesomely unfamiliar as the familiar that discloses itself at the end of a journey. I am from Kiribati and too poorly know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Installments include in, anti-matter into agility, and not believe in once public skills later." With love :), Gregory.

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