Life. Life gets crazy, life gives you two energetic kids and takes away your time. I’m not good at delegating time for myself and my hobby, hence the lack of blog posts. Life is good however and has given my family many blessings.
All that aside, I wanted to apologize for the unanswered emails. Most of you guys want to know how to start building and how much to expect to pay. Those are really tough questions which require a lengthy response. So I am sorry for not getting back to you.
Since so many people ask the very same questions, I decided to lay it all out for you. I am going to reveal our spending spreadsheet, our financing methods and some tips to get started. I am no expert by any means, this is just our experience with building from shipping containers.
Alright here we go!
First, having our blueprints approved took about 6 months. My husband drew them up himself, so there was a learning curve. But it also took that long because our county, Tulsa County, had never approved a home built from shipping containers. Now that we have built and various businesses around town have built using containers, this step should be much easier.
When we turned everything in for approval we had to have an engineer sign off on our plans for structural integrity, plus we had to provide additional references for the permit office to review. Hopefully this process is a little bit easier now too.
Second, is financing. This seems to be the issue with most residential buildings. There are few comparables, so value is hard to assess. We had our home appraised last year, and they told us they were unable to give us a number. So this is a big issue for those who want to build a home from shipping containers but need to take out a home loan.
Tyler and I were able to build on Tyler’s parents property, so land was free. (Did I mention we were blessed.) Utilities, however had to be ran to the build site. This was our first expense. Depending on where you plan to build, this cost may or may not be included in your budget. This is a large cost, so it is something to consider when you pick out where you want to build.
Tyler’s parents decided they wanted to help us out, and graciously lent us the money to build our home, which we did not have to start paying back until we moved in. This is the only reason we were able to complete it. They did not pay for the whole cost of the house, so for the left over expenses we had to get creative with our financing. We took out an equity loan against a 1968 Camaro we had at the time. We took out a Lowes credit card, with great financing options, to help purchase countertops, appliances and so on. And we paid with cash. At the time Tyler and I were both working full time, and had no little ones to drain our bank accounts. Most of our spare time and money went towards our house. Goodbye social life. So if you plan on building almost completely yourselves like us, be prepared for the time consumption.
Okay, here is our expense spreadsheet.
Now, I am no expert at Excel. So the chart is not pretty, but I just kept track of everything we spent money on.
A few things which may need clarifying.
We paid a family friend to help with construction while Tyler and I were at work, that is what the $37,112.63 to Matt is. Paint is $0 because we were able to get all the paint for free. We were also able to get all our interior doors for free, due to a mistake on Lowes end.
So as you can see by this chart, it is really hard to just give a number when asked how much it costs to build a house out of shipping containers. There are a lot of variables to consider.
I hope this answered a few of your questions, if not you can email me any additional ones, and I will see if I can help!
Bonus. Here are some photos of the house as it sits today. We have had our first freeze here in Oklahoma, so our plants are starting to go dormant. (So don’t mind the wilting flower beds)