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Is it possible to build my dream house?

Posted by Claire on August 24th, 2003 03:33 PM


My husband and I are currently saving to buy our own place. It is our dream to buy a bit of land (5 to 10 acres would be the best) that already has a small home or trailer on it, then, as we can, build a wood/car workshop, then a house. Since we do not want to take out a loan for this, we would like to do it over several years, and as much ourselves as possible.

We already know the dedication it takes to do something like this, his uncle built a house by hand, I grew up ion an area that this was quite common in (I have helped others with their houses), and his dad’s hobby is to do major construction on his home. While I am sure there are going to be issues that come up later, my husband and I have the determination to see this through.

My question is can we do this in King or Snohomish County in Washington State. I know that the laws cater to the planned communities where everyone’s house is the same, you are not allowed to paint your house without permission, you have no lawn (front or back), and you have nowhere to park your car. People who pay to have custom home put in by professionals have a hard time with the system, so how would it treat me, who would like to just do it myself? Also, how long does a building permit last, and does the house have to meet the code for when you got the permit and started working on it or when the house is finished? If anyone knows the answer to these questions, I would love to hear them so I know what I can plan for.

Also, I am planning on studying Christopher Alexander, starting with A Pattern Language. I would really like to build a house that is designed for my family’s needs and wants rather than one that will have “great resale value”. As I indicated before, I am not fond of most houses made for resale value. Are there any other resources I should study to plan for our dream?

Thanks for any advice you have.


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