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Jennifer Buck owns three acres of land in Connecticut and wanted to build a home. She went out and got quotes from contractors and was told it would cost roughly $400,000. As NerdWallet staffer Hal M. Bundrick reports, she went in another direction.

She’s now building a two-story, 2,000-square foot home herself – from a kit. Dave Kimball of New Hampshire-based Shelter-Kit, which sold Buck her home, says most of the kits his company sells are custom designed; it’s not a one-size-fits-all business.

“We do a lot of the larger buildings but are working on several 16-foot-by-24-foot cabins at this time,” Kimball says. “The size seems to vary year by year.”

Kimball says Shelter-Kit homes qualify for financing by a typical mortgage lender. However, home kit plans and providers vary widely, with prices ranging from $20 per square foot to more than $400. Lender enthusiasm for financing may vary as well.

Buck is building nearly all of the home herself. She did contract out the construction of the foundation, though. Her home came with all of the materials and a 35-page step-by-step instruction manual.

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