We all dream of building our own house. Some people are turning this dream into reality. We take a closer look at the growing trend of DIY home building.
In this quite neighborhood in Incheon, a house is being built. The owner Lee Su-yong is building a home for himself and his parents.
He handles every detail of the custom home building process by himself, from design, materials to even administrative work. What made him start a DIY home building project?
"I asked for a quotation to build a house, and a constructor said it would cost somewhere from US$ 260,000 to 300,000. Now, about two thirds of the work is complete. By the time it is done, I think it will cost around US$ 170,000."
He decided to become an owner-builder mainly to save money. He consults home building experts and draws on professional experience in interior design to create his dream home.
"Thorough preparation is critical. Allow sufficient time to meet different people, look for materials, visit trade fairs and you will be able to build a house that is somewhat close to your expectations."
Lee is among the growing number of owner-builders in Korea. They believe there are more merits to building a custom home than cost saving.
"In the past, houses were more of an investment. Nowadays, people have a strong attachment to them. DIY interior design was once popular. The trend has now evolved into DIY home building."
Choi Jin, a housewife in Yongin, lives in a self-built house. She says her home-building project involved thorough planning and preparation. It was driven by her desire to live in a home that suits her family's lifestyles.
"I made the living room and kitchen spacious. There is a guest room in case a guest or my parents come over. They are old, so the room is on the first floor to save them the trouble of walking up the stairs. My husband needed a place for rest, so I created a big master bedroom on the second floor."
The basement was turned into a gallery and studio for his son who majors in art. He likes the privacy that this independent space offers. Besides design, Choi also made sure the finishing materials and interior elements were to her liking. Outer walls were painted white, while inner walls were faced in concrete. She likes how her home reflects her lifestyle needs as well as personal styles.
"I used to live in an apartment, and I felt so stuffy inside. Now that I live in a house, there is an open space and a great view. I also like that I can listen to music loudly and my children can run around and play. "
To cater to aspiring owner-builders, there are now professional agencies that offer useful advice and tips for home construction. The CEO of this company also had difficulties in the past due to a lack of background knowledge in construction.
"Self-build projects require help. You would need to meet and handle at least 150 people when building your own house. The problem is that most people have no idea who they are and where to meet them."
Thanks to the popularity of DIY home building, the company now gets 10 times more inquiries than last year.
"It is difficult to build a concept for home if you don't have any background knowledge on construction. It would take a year or two to find answers on your own. ChinChinD's service is very useful in that it offers quick insights to potential issues."
Self build has never been easier with professional tips and consulting services. However, it is still a project that requires commitment and passion. There are many things that owners should pay attention to, including design, materials, construction jargon and administrative processes.
"Make sure to study hard and gather as much information on construction as possible from different sources like the Internet. I would advise against turning to self-build just for the sake of cost-saving without collecting any information."
The latest boom in self-built homes is triggered by an aspiration for an improved quality of life from those who want more than uniform houses churned out by developers.
It would be interesting to watch them bring their dreams to life.