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We Paid Cash: Our Home’s Foundation

We paid cash!A testimony from Becky

Working in the field of architecture, it has always been my husband’s dream to build our own home. In 2008, we felt like God breathed life into that dream and said, “Go for it!”

Umm… remember 2008? Financial catastrophe for most investors living in our abundantly blessed country? We were currently living in Uganda and watched from afar as people’s investments plummeted – including our own.

Upon our return to America in 2009 we began renting a home. “Still build?”, we tentatively wondered, and we felt calling us to build — and to do it debt-free.

Thanks to so many encouraging testimonies from people on this blog as well as friends in our community, we knew we could do it!

Phase 1: Buying a Lot & Laying the Foundation

We started by making an itemized list of all that we would need and what it would cost —  from soil samples to yards of concrete. My husband kept everything well organized and looked around for the very best deals on everything – both labor and supplies. He would also be able to do some of the labor himself because of his background and experience.

The Fun Begins

We pulled out what little of our investments were left – believing that if we could truly pay for a house debt-free we would quickly be able to refill our investments after a year or two of being mortgage-free. My husband worked side-jobs for close to a year, and these two amounts combined gave us what we needed to lay the foundation of our future home.

Bulldozers and construction workers descended upon the little lot we had purchased for a great deal, and we saw everything we had on paper becoming a reality. It seemed almost too good to be true! 

$400 Short of What We Needed to Pay the Bills

When the last bill came in we realized we were $400 short of what we needed. We had a garage sale, and some friends and family pitched in their “treasures” to help us out.

Do you  know how much we made? $420! – exactly the amount of money we needed, plus a little extra for pizza for dinner. :)

And Now It’s Onto to Phase 2…

We are full of faith that God will help us see our home to completion. It’s not the quick and easy way that we would sometimes prefer, but it is definitely the path we want to take as we have seen it increase our dependence on God and build our character for the life we have to live here on aarth.

The saving for Phase 2 has already begun. In the next two years, we hope to complete the framework of the house. Our kids are helping us keep track of the money we need this time. What fun!

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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  1. Jessica says

    I’m wondering about the wisdom of this, as I’m ignorant about home building. Wouldn’t leaving a foundation exposed for a year or two result in damage? From the elements, termites, vandalism, etc?

  2. says

    Congratulations on your progress. We are working on paying off our home currently and it is a long journey, but having a home paid for is worth the wait.

  3. Amy says

    I love this story! We recently built a home without debt. It isn’t super fancy with all the high end features, but it is big enough for our growing family and we have several acres to enjoy as well.

  4. Christy Carden says

    The foundation is concrete so I think it would be OK, although I am no expert. What I do know is that we moved into new construction in 2004-townhomes. The builder went under a few years later and didn’t complete the development. Some townhomes were left partially built. It took a year or two for our HOA to be able to work with the builder’s bank and hire someone to come in and finish them. Some of them were still in the frame stage and had to be torn down since the wood was rotted. The ones that already had been closed in around the framwork were deemed safe to finish. Now the back loop of our neighborhood has a few buildings, empty weed-filled space, and a few foundations–lovely!

  5. allison says

    I have the same concern as jessica. I know Chrystal doesn’t like negativity but this just doesn’t seem like it will work. we are currently building a home and it is framed but water comes in all over the place when it rains at this stage. maybe there is a different way of doing things when you are planning to take years to build. this testimonial might be more encouraging with an explanation of the plans for weather proofing an unfinished home.

    • says

      I think they’ll be posting an update when they are onto Phase 2 so we can follow along with their journey! Since her husband is in architecture, I’m guessing he has a good understanding of what does and doesn’t work. However, if anyone else considers doing something similar, I’d highly recommend doing lots of research ahead of time to make sure you’re making a wise decision for your own family and finances.

      By the way, we published a somewhat similar story in 2010 that you might enjoy:

      • Lauren says

        Crystal, I am always amazed at your diplomacy and ability to keep everything friendly and upbeat! I am probably not your imagined demographic, but I love your blog and read it daily. Thanks!

    • WilliamB says

      I had the same question. My mental framework was “They have the background to know what they’re doing. I’ve never been involved in home construction. If I ask, hopefully they’ll answer and I’ll’ve learned something new.”

      But first I should read all the comments in case it’s already been answered.

  6. allison says

    also our subdivision restrictions require construction to be completed in one year or we could be sued by the architectural review board / homeowners association and be fined by the city

  7. Cindy says

    Just want to say that we just finished a home addition/remodeling project paying cash for the whole thing. Never thought we’d be able to do it, especially because when we started we had only half saved of what we actually spent in the end (everyone says double your estimate and that’s what you’ll spend!). But it’s all because of the Lord’s help, not necessarily our money-saving talent. You can do it, if He’s the one helping you!

  8. Amber S says

    We built our own home (did all the work ourselves) over the last 4 years. We had 9 months of full-time building, then have finished as we go. It has been a struggle at times-we moved in when the downstairs was plywood subfloor and no drywall- but it is worth it in the end! We have paid cash as we go, so we have our dream home, debt-free. As far as not having experience, we started with what my husband did know and learned so much from there! Working so hard on this house has truly made us appreciate it more.

  9. Heidi says

    We’ve just built our home and though we did borrow some, it was not nearly what we would have borrowed if we didn’t save beforehand. The original plan was to build completely debt-free but when we considered the interest rate we could get (2.99%), and we saw that as we saved, the building materials were increasing at a higher rate, plus the fact that our builder gave us a large discount because of desiring our business, we decided to do it. This was done with much prayer and with the leading of the Holy Spirit because we would not want to do this without the Lord’s blessing. We owe about 20% of what our property and house is worth and will be aggressively paying off what we did borrow.

    • WilliamB says

      “we saw that as we saved, the building materials were increasing at a higher rate”

      Sounds like smart thinking to me!

  10. Andrea says

    I know several families that put in the foundation/basement of their home, covered it with a temporary (but weather-tight) roof and then lived in it for years while they saved the money for the house. Construction methods and building ordinances vary greatly in the US; there are many places where this is completely possible and legal.

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