Aug 8

You CAN do it

DISCLAIMER:  I do not know everything about building houses!  This is our opinions and experiences.


If you want something done right, ya gotta do it yourself.

  This statement didn’t really ring so true until we decided we wanted to build a house.  Like I have mentioned, the quotes we got from builders were just absurd.  You would have thought we were asking them to build a rocket ship to take us to the moon!  It was a rude awakening that we couldn’t afford what we really wanted in a house.  Boo Hoo right?  Well, we got to thinking, what about the home makes it so expensive?

  • Unfinished attic space  that can be USED (shocking thought concept)
  • Custom kitchen cabinets (not just for royalty)
  • Porches (draining the builders bottom line)
  • REAL anything (wood doors, etc.)
  • Anything involving craftsmanship  (Cinderella wishes)




It shouldn’t be this way.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  The answer?

Do it yourself.  Skip the builder.  You become the contractor.  You actually get to make decisions and control how the money is spent on your project.  A builder might say they will build your house for cost plus 10%, but in reality let’s just say you could be getting A LOT more for your money if you did it yourself.  You will be paying for the builders convenience, and what will make their job easier.  Do you really think a builder is going to search the U.S. for the best price on the flooring you picked? Very very doubtful, but I did and saved thousands.  You can too!

From what we got quoted by multiple builders, to what we ended up paying by doing it ourselves on the exact same project, using the exact same blueprints, with OUT taking away from our wants list???  We saved $200,000!!  YES.  It is true.  It happened.  This is why I’m passionate about getting what you want with your money that you have worked so hard for.  If I can do it you can too!!!  I have a biology degree with zero experience in the construction business.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was very very beneficial to have someone like my husband, the Wizard, on board.  He’s an engineer by day, and a semi-genius when it comes to building things.  However, like I said he has a day job.  He wasn’t here nailing all the pieces of our house together.  We contracted this thing out.  We did do some minor things in the building of the house, but it was usually me and the Lollipop Guild here during the day making sure contractors were coming as promised, and that things were coming together as planned for the day.  We also called and got quotes for the different stages of our project, and collected materials……wanted and needed.  (Craigslist and  Ebay will be your best friend.)

The Lollipop Guild doing a daily check!


So what is it you need to get your project going?   No, not tequila shots………

A recipe book on how to be your own contractor!

There are a lot to choose from out there.  I recommend reading reviews on all of them.  See what people have had the most success with.  We made a mistake and went with an outfit that gave us the recipe book along with some “promised” help in the inspection and budgeting department.  Long story short, we got a recipe book.  Also I can’t mention their name because we fired them…..get used to that too.  I am not good with telling people I don’t think they are preforming up to snuff.  Makes me feel awkward, and I haaate hurting people’s feelings.  As Dave Ramsey says, buckle up buttercup.  It has to happen when building a house.  Sometimes ya gotta give people the boot.  It will help save you money in the end.

A firm foundation. One of life’s best lessons in theory and reality.

Just a side story ………An example of builder logic:

We personally didn’t want a garage on our home for multiple reasons….mainly because I am a werido about aesthetics and authenticity, and we were shooting for a Victorian farmhouse.  So, we told the builder this and he said they would deduct $1,000 from the overall quote.  Logical conclusion, a garage cost more than $1,000 to build.  So shouldn’t the price come down more?  Nope.  Not in builder world.  They will corner you into building the house that they want to build.  What materials they already have, and what building systems they already have in existence (ex: “standard three car garage”, arched doors, ten foot ceilings, tile here, wood there….blah).   Waiver from their pattern and ya better have a fat wallet.  It will cost you for custom.


Good news for you.  Now you know it doesn’t have to.  Pray about it.  Think about it.  Do your homework, and ask yourself where you want to spend your money when building a house.  Maybe its not worth the hassle to save a few thousand or hundred thousand.  For us there wasn’t an option.

Yea……I’m a geek. This was my face throughout the project. Lord help us.


Just another lovely side note.  We ended up having the most fun as a family going on trips to get items for the house.  We would map out our path and take off on a Saturday to hit our different Craigslist pick ups in the most efficient way possible.  We found a set of five old doors from a Victorian farmhouse with hardware attached for $150!  A brand new stainless steel farmhouse style sink that had a tiny scratch for $20…..still in original packaging!  Almost every light fixture in my home came from a lady redecorating her almost new house.  A Pottery Barn double vanity with marble top and matching mirrors for $300!  And my favorite…..a shoe box full of “old” door knobs that contained 12 perfect glass knobs for $20!  It IS out there folks.  I live in the middle of no where USA and found it.  Just imagine what could be found in more densely populated areas!  I get all giddy thinking about it.  Can I do this for a living?

One of our Craigslist finds for the house. Side note: Gather items BEFORE building begins!

I hope you find the courage to at least explore the options.  Like I mentioned, pray about it and do your research.  Tequila optional.

Good luck!!


For God has not given us a spirit of fear & timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7


  1. Yvette Kennedy says:

    Hey! I didn’t know all of this about you, but I love it all! We want to build on our 10 acres and costs ARE absurd! Toby want to do it on our own, but I’ve been scared. You’re encouraging me to do that!

    • Becky Evatt says:

      Thanks Yvette! You should definitely look into it! If we can do it, anybody can. It was actually a lot of fun!

  2. Hey Becky! Cute blog! We also built our house out here on the farm and couldnt believe how expensive everything was. We ordered our flooring directly from the manufacturer and save thousands! Also custom cabinets were much cheaper than those from Lowes And I agree with Craigslist (wasnt very popular 17 years ago) and FB sale sites for bargains Gotta love Craigslist!

    • Becky Evatt says:

      That is awesome Linda! I didn’t know you guys did that. You’re a thrifty mama too!!

  3. This is the best post yet!!!! Determination! Strong will! Your dream house…… congratulations.

  4. Love this post! Very uplifting. I hope you’ll get into the nitty gritty of it all.