How to Build a House Under 50K

Updated February 21, 2017

Finding land at a bargain is of primary importance to keeping total costs down for owning your own place, but actual building costs can be kept down, too. Purchasing alternative building materials or construction materials advertised in print or online classifieds, at a fraction of the retail cost, is one way to do that. Constructing a home on an extremely restricted budget works best if innovative or recycled materials are used. However, standard construction materials will be necessary for parts of the project. Using one's own labour or the assistance of friends and family is also crucial to building a house for under £32,500.

Acquire a building lot on which local authorities will permit a house worth £32,500 or less to be built. Before buying the lot, interview local building authorities to see if special sewer, electrical or plumbing infrastructure is required. Keep in mind that adding new utilities can be cost-prohibitive, if these services are not established in the neighbourhood.

Obtain a building permit. Design a 600-square-foot dwelling with a floor plan that includes basic space. Include a living room and kitchen, one bedroom and closet, and at least one bathroom. Review cabin plans or vacation unit plans online to gain good ideas for laying out a very small living space.

Construct the foundation of the house first. Build the foundation by laying 2-inch by 8-inch boards for the footing. Pour concrete into the footing, allow to dry, and construct a foundation from breeze blocks.

Use 2-inch by 4-inch lumber boards to build the framework of the house and roof area. Cover the roof with 1/2-inch plywood that has been recycled, if possible. Sheath the house in inexpensive faux wood or metal siding that has been recycled. Install roofing materials and windows to enclose the living space and protect it from rain.

Use creative flair to build the interior of the house. Insulate the home well before covering walls, and make sure all electrical and plumbing systems are in place before putting up walls. Install leftover plywood, panelling, new drywall sheets, metal sheets or hard plastic sheets to build the walls. Don't overlook recycled bricks to construct interior walls as well. Look for inexpensive ways to purchase linoleum or carpet pieces for flooring.


Build an inexpensive house by constructing a solid framework and foundation. Don't compromise by skimping on these materials. Instead, use artistry to build interior and exterior walls that are relatively cheap but strong. Be on the lookout for creative techniques, such as using recycled kitchen and bath cabinets you've hauled from someone's giveaway pile.


Use friends to help hammer, nail and paint. Don't, however, rely on anyone but a licensed electrician to run wiring and the breaker box of the house. Expert electrical work is required due to the danger of fires if it's not done right.

Things You'll Need

  • Lot for building
  • Permit
  • Recycled building materials
  • 2-inch by 8-inch lumber boards
  • Concrete
  • Breeze blocks
  • 2-inch by 4-inch lumber boards
  • Exterior siding
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Roofing materials
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.