“Building and remodeling without breaking the bank” can mean different things to different people. Some of you might be building a brand new house, and want to find some ways to shave a few thousand dollars off of the cost, while others may want to do everything themselves. Some of you might have a 3 month timeline, while others may be willing to wait years to have a “finished” house. I hope to be able to provide information here that will benefit everyone. We spent years on our house, but I also worked as the Project Coordinator on houses that were completed in as little as 58 days – so I’ve seen both sides.
If you’ve ever been involved with a building project, you know that your attitude is crucial, especially if you’re married! You need to have a common purpose and common goals. You need to think about what you want, and make a plan, before you start the work. Luke 14:28-30 says,
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start until you have enough time and resources to complete the entire project…but you should at least be able to finish a phase of the work. That was one of the secrets to our success…we took on smaller, bite sized projects. We worked towards getting our house weather tight and livable, and then moved in. It was much later that we added more space.
Which brings me to another thought – Sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice to have the home of your dreams? When we moved in our little house, we had 5 children, who all slept on two sleeper sofas in the living room. They were at an age where it didn’t seem to bother them…as a matter of fact, it was probably quite an adventure! BUT, if I were to try that now that they are all teenagers, the result probably wouldn’t be quite as pleasant! We didn’t even have a bathroom door for over a year – I was forced to install the door when my sister-in-law refused to come for Christmas unless I got the door installed…which I did…Christmas MORNING! All this to say, what are you willing to give up? Are you willing to sacrifice, and if so, how much? These are things that you and your spouse need to talk about ahead of time. You might love the idea of “camping out” for a year, but your children may want their own room and their own bed…talk about it, think about it, pray about it, and make a plan.
Lastly, have patience! Have patience with others, have patience with yourself. You will probably be learning new skills along the way. Don’t demand perfection of others or yourself. Be willing to stretch yourself to do something you never thought you could do. When we started, I had a little background in building, but not much. I started reading a lot of books and bought a lot of tools (I love Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and Amazon!), and wasn’t afraid to try new things. I didn’t always do everything right…as a matter of fact, there were a lot of things that I didn’t do right at all the first time, but I learned and each time did better. My wife and kids learned a lot about building. The truth is, Elizabeth (who’ll you see me refer to as Didiba), is the creative one, and is usually the one that gets the ball rolling on projects. I want to research everything so that its perfect…she wants to forge ahead and see progress! It makes for a pretty good balance.
Patience, attitude and sacrifice – do you have what it takes to build your House On A Dime?