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Of Earth Design Blog

Build a home from a mail-order kit

Constructing a house can be an expensive, wasteful, and time-consuming process. Because it can take months to design and build a livable structure, just the cost alone can cause any potential homeowner to seek other options. Luckily, new affordable housing options are on the rise, evolving the building industry and redefining the definition of the American dream.

Kit homes are an affordable alternative to traditional housing construction

Also known as mail-order homes, these dwellings offer multiple unique options in a large variety of styles, with all the materials you need delivered by a manufacturer. These structures can be assembled on your property by you or a hired contractor. For some homeowners hiring a skilled professional is the best option, reducing the risks of mistakes and ensuring that no money or time is wasted. As innovative as they sound, kit homes have been around for over a hundred years, and are making an impressive comeback influenced by the modern housing crisis.

A-Frame style Kit Home

The Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog began selling the very first kit homes from 1908 to 1942. The Chicago-based operation sold around 75,000 homes to anyone who had the cash and catalog access to purchase one. The original idea was to sell home building materials as a package and provide the directions to construct the home so families could get everything in one place. Modern kit homes are built exceptionally well, with a pool of options designed to fit a range of aesthetics and lifestyles.

Page from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. Catalog

The most popular Kit Homes styles include A-Frames, Yurts, and Cabin-style builds. When it comes to overall aesthetics, A-Frame homes are the most popular option. They are great for cold climates, are well insulated, and include a slanted roof that allows rain and heavy snowpack to slide off easily. This unique feature protects the home from damage and allows it to withstand extreme weather conditions. Yurt-style homes are round in shape and are typically made from cedarwood. Yurt-style homes are round in shape and are typically made from cedarwood. These dwellings are complete with vinyl-framed thermal windows, a metal roof, and a triple-pane skylight that creates an inviting cozy environment. Cabin-style builds are one of the oldest builds that promote simple living and are best suited for a minimalist lifestyle.

Yurt style Kit Home

It is important to note that Kit Homes do not come with all of the materials that are essential for living. Typically they come with enough to assemble to “Shell '' of the home. The electrical and septic systems, for example, are not included and need to be purchased separately. If you are looking for a simple home, a few companies that would be worth checking out are DEN, Smiling Woods, and Pacific Modern Homes, each of which offers great customizable styling options.

Mail-order homes are much more affordable and faster than sourcing custom materials

As kit homes continue to gain traction in the housing market now is the best time to consider purchasing one. Whether you choose to assemble your kit yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, a kit home is well worth the investment!


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