Building is the new mountain climbing

Building a house is somewhat similar to climbing Mt. Everest. The routes need to be carefully planned, your body (and mind) needs to be prepped, and materials and equipment needs to be sourced. Thankfully, it is less fatal. Approximately 800 – 1,000 people try to climb Mt. Everest every year, with only 50% achieving the Summit. Six deaths were recorded in 2018 (already an increase from previous decades) and the numbers for 2019 already point to 11 deaths. There are many causes for the fatalities but many are claiming the increase in climbers, many inexperienced, causing a traffic jam on the mountain. The cost to experience this “anxiety-inducing conga line” in sub-zero temperatures and high altitudes starts at a modest $25,000 but can be as high as $130,000, depending on your desired level of comfort (and how comfortable your bank account is).

The stats on building your own home are far less clear. It seems that no one has died from taking the hammer into their own hands (though I’m sure there are the fair share of accidents). In fact, Jimmie Carter is proving that building your own might be good for your health! Without digging into each city’s permitting office, it is hard to say how many individuals file a building permit annually and how many of those actually pass final inspection. But a 50% success rate might be right on target, especially if you add people that start the process (like drawing floor plans, applying for loans, etc) before giving up.

So skip the sub-zero traffic jam and overrated view at 8,000 meters – apply that payment towards building your own home at an altitude to your liking. Plus, you get more bang for your buck: though the prep-time is somewhat the same (12 to 18 months to train for the climb vs 18 to 24 months to figure out design, engineering, and permitting) the actual building phase can be 12, 18, or 24 months filled with time management, budget review, and quality control.  Talk about anxiety-inducing to get the blood flowing! Your emotions will run the gamut from frustration to euphoria as your dreams slowly become a reality.

Building your own home will be hard and fun. And at the end, you have a home.

Ariane Roesch’s “How to Build: a House, a Life, a Future” is a memoir and how-to book recounting her journey to homeownership, outlining the steps to building your own.