Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Disappointments and Frustrations…

9:30 am - 57 degrees outside - very windy with a clear blue sky

No we are not rich, we do not have a boatload of cash, and we are not able to buy everything brand new.  We are an average single income family.  My husband works while I stay home with our two young children.  All of the work put into clearing the build site and building our home, is done mainly at night and on weekends.  The majority of the funding for this project is coming out of our pockets a little bit at a time; we do however have a small mortgage on the land.

A major disappointment came early on when we started to look for contractors to build our home.  We had just spent over $1400 dollars having blueprints drawn up and engineered.  We found a contractor that we really liked and he gave us a quote that was in our budget and our home would be completed in about a year.  We were so excited to be starting this new adventure.  To save a little money, we wanted to clear the build site of all the trees, brush, stumps and rocks ourselves.  When we went back to the contractor to tell him we were ready for him, we found out that his original quote had somehow tripled.  This put everything way out of our budget and we were forced back to square one.  Our blueprints still remain in the box they were mailed in, unused.

We are fairly handy people and thought that we would be able to build our home ourselves.  This would save a considerable amount of money by not having to pay a contractor and being able to shop around for the best price on building materials.

Since we decided to build our home ourselves we also decided to downsize our home plans.  Not wanting to pay for another set of blueprints, we instead bought some graph paper and drew our own floor plan.  We talked to our new neighbors, who had been living off-grid for several years, to find out what was essential to have and what we really need to fit into our new down sized floor plan.  Their response was storage, lots of storage.

We did have some construction know-how but not enough to build a home start to finish.  So we researched tons of books, magazines and online articles.  After finally settling on a floor plan we started building. 

Building our home out-of-pocket will be great in the end, because we will not be up to our eyeballs in debt, but it was not our first choice.  Being an owner-builder on a remote off-grid home makes finding anyone to lend on the project nearly impossible.  You find yourself constantly looking for that next $500 or the next great deal on materials.  The frustration comes from the fact that the project is taking considerably longer than we thought it would.

Even though we have our disappointments and frustrations (too many to list), it has been and still is a great adventure.

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