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Shawn Clements
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Hello all,

I am a new cob builder interested in building a cob home as my first home. I want to have something of my own that I have made myself. How do I go about financing this project? And with this being said its obviously cheaper to do all the labor myself, but what would be the quickest way to mix the cob? I have tons and tons of questions and any help is greatly appreciated.
 
Hans Harker
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That's a noble goal. Now do you have a place of your own where your going to build the house or do you look to finance the land purchase?
 
Shawn Clements
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I'm pretty much a young person who lives pay check to pay check so to speak and am looking for way to live comfortably and be cost effective. So I'm wanting to finance everything or at least get a game plan together as far as how much does everything cost. Also I would financing through a bank would mean having insurance and in order to get insurance would need to proof of sustainability that the house is safe.

So as far as this post goes just financing in general. Also any general info you want to throw my way would awesome.

So far I'm looking at wantjng a 30×30 home with a living roof two bed room. And a rocket mass heater to heat with and possibly using solar panels for electricity.
 
Hans Harker
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Well, money is only means to help negotiating through life but financing and cost effectiveness don't seem to be going together. Regardless no bank is going to finance a land purchase without a substantial downpayment. At the other hand if you have few grand in your pocket you can get yourself quite a few acres debt free.

 
Mike Cantrell
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Hi Shawn!
If you'll tell us a little more about yourself, well be able to help better.

How old are you? Married/kids? Where do you live?

Regarding building your own, I recommend getting a copy of Rob Roy's "mortgage free," and regarding accomplishing things while living paycheck-to-paycheck, I really love Charles Long's "How To Survive Without A Salary."
 
Mike Cantrell
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Also, it seems like you might be using the word 'financing' to mean "paying for."

That's kind of technically correct, but it will confuse your readers. Generally in the context of real estate, 'financing' means "borrowing to pay for," and if you're saving up for it, then people say, 'paying cash for,' even if they mean "writing a check for."

Other people's money is 'financing'; money that's yours is 'paying cash.'

(Not trying to pick on you here- just want to help you get the answers you're after.)


One more thing. Saolr panels are awesome, but they're a way to pay ALL of your electric bills up-front. In other words, it's a big chunk of money right away so that you don't have an ongoing electric bill. That's going to be significantly more expensive than a standard grid-tie.
 
Bill Bradbury
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Hi Shawn,
Getting a construction loan is really hard! If you intend to build yourself and you don't have a build portfolio to show the bank, you will be denied. They typically want a licensed/bonded/insured general contractor on board.

If you are approved, you will need 20% up front, pay interest only payments around 5% of financed amount and insurance will be 2-4000/year. You're gonna be a lot better off saving up and doing it on your own dime. If you're young, go apprentice, build up experience and get a portfolio, then you will know how to present your project o the bank and get that loan!

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I play this game with the banks and it ain't easy, even with 30 years experience.
 
Peter Ellis
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Lots of different elements in this question. Bank financing for a land purchase will almost certainly require a substantial down payment. It will also require documentation of an income sufficient to make the mortgage payments, keep the taxes paid, cover insurance - because the bank wants insurance.

Then construction loan as a different financing phase will look again at your income and your ability to make the payments. Credit score will come into play with any bank financing. The bank will need your home to be built legally, which will require some special efforts to do with cob, as very, very few places in the US have incorporated cob building into their building codes. The bank will require a certificate of occupancy from the municipality when the house is completed. The bank will require insurance.

On the other hand, with a steady income, good credit and at least appearance of stability (years at the same job, with the same address, that sort of thing), a person might be able to get an unsecured personal loan for a few thousand dollars that might be enough to build a basic cob house without having to get an actual building loan.
 
Daniel Ray
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Hello, nobody seems to have mentioned that a 30x30 house is fairly large in the cob world. Think small if you want a reasonable project that won't cost you a lot.

Just for EPDM for your living roof is going to run you over $1000. Cob gives you the opportunity to design small and beautiful, think more around the 200 to 500 square foot range. Cob takes a long time when you don't have many hands.

It is possible to build a cob house for next to nothing. My wife and I built ours for around $4500, again ours was 350 square fee and much of the cost went to pond liner, windows, new tools and kaolin clay for earthen plaster. We foot stomped are cob which was free but by the two of us it took 3 months to just do the walls.

Cob is super satisfying but don't underestimate the amount of labor it will take.
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