Author Topic: Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?  (Read 750 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?
« on: October 03, 2018, 12:22:34 PM »
If there's already a thread about this, I'm sorry.  My searches were pulling up "Kitchens" and then "Kittens" so I gave up and figured I would just post it anyway.

Thinking of buying some land and contracting out the stuff I can't do, but I love building things and am really intrigued by these home kits.  It's a local company and I know someone that did one of their garage kits and really liked the whole process.  Anyone have any thoughts or experiences with one of these?

Thanks in advance.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 07:06:10 AM »
I haven't built a home but I've built quite a few large buildings from kits. Generally you get the raw lumber shipped to you in a big pile that you must sort through to find the correct pieces, cut to size and use where specified in the directions. The advantages is that someone has done all the raw material calculations for you, they give you a plan for how to build the thing and it gets delivered on site so you don't have to worry about hauling everything. However they do come with some disadvantages. There is often lots of ambiguity in the directions so you cut the wrong piece to size and end up with something too short to work later. Or sometimes you simply just use more than what was called for, etc. Another thing is that sometimes several of the boards shipped to you might be split, badly warped, etc. to the point of not being usable and so you still have to go buy some lumber to finish up. Finally, with kits, you generally get everything all at once which means you have to protect it from the elements or opportunistic thieves until used. If you are taking many months to say build your own house, that is a long time to protect it and it is much easier to have it delivered closer to when you actually need it.

Kits definitely have their place in the world but they certainly aren't for everyone or every site.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 10:05:50 AM »
Thank you so much for the info.  I did talk to them and apparently they deliver in stages, which is great.  I'm still a bit nervous that my skill level may not be up to par yet, but I figure I will do a couple smaller projects that are similar.  Start with a shed, then move to the garage kit.

Thanks again!

Jon Bon

  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2018, 11:08:32 AM »
Ok my experience is nowhere near Mr Henderson's.

I recently built a garage, which is just an unfinished house. Granted it is a square box with a much simpler design but all the materials were the same.

So I just took my plans to lowes, they gave me a framing and sheeting lumber package, and then a cladding package. Both were good materials with good estimates on quantity.

Personally I dont think I would use a kit house, id rather just pay an architect and have it exactly what I want. In terms of what you get on interior materials I have no clue, but for sure would want to mix and match to much for a kit to work for me. Higher end lumber, medium grade flooring, and super cheap plywood for example.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 10:26:45 AM »
That's a great idea.  Thank you.  I was thinking of starting with a free shed plan I found just to cut my teeth on something a little easier to handle.  I may take those plans over to one of the two box stores around me and see if they can get me set up.  Maybe I can beat the snow this year. 

Thanks for all the info!


  • Stubble
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Re: Anyone Ever Built a Home from a Kit?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2018, 08:27:04 AM »
House kit's come in all flavors. Some are just a pile of lumber delivered to you, some are "panelized" where the walls come pre-framed. The marketing of these kits always touts how easy they are to put together. "Build your own house and save money!"
Quality of materials and finishes varies widely.

There are companies that cater to the Owner Builder by offering financing along with one of these kits.

Can you save money buying a kit? Yes....but ONLY if you make it up in doing the labor in almost all of it.

There are some great kit companies (especially the Canadian ones) however you will spend 50-100% more in materials costs to have the convenience of someone else selecting 2x6s and delivering them to you. You'd be amazed at the markup in this industry.

95% of the time it will not work out financially because as you said, you are planning on subbing out various jobs.

If you'd like to build by all means do's a great way to learn new skills and you CAN save a ton of money if you do it correctly. This is exactly what I would do if I were going to build again.

1) Select you lot first. What needs to happen for utilities, access, zoning etc.
2) You want your lot first so that you can also select a house plan that works for the lot.
3) Go to a LOCAL building supply yard with your plans. They will happily do a bill of materials for you for free and you will have far more control. They should be able to give you the same discounts as any other builder (let them know what you are doing)
4) Collect bids from your subs. The whole marketing schtick from panelized kit house companies is that they go up fast. Have you ever seen a good framing crew? They are amazing and what you'll pay in framing costs you'll more than save in materials and the timing will work out almost identically from start to "dry in."
5) You now have enough information to work up a realistic budget. Either to go get a loan (whole other topic) or to start writing checks.
6) Act as General Contractor...THIS is where you save the most money!!
7) You said you wanted to cut your teeth...even subbing out most of the process you will have PLENTY of opportunities to work on the project yourself.

Obviously the advice above is not complete...

The only time a house kit makes sense in my opinion is if you are building in a remote location where having materials delivered is too difficult.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 08:37:38 AM by CatamaranSailor »