By Chuck Woodbury
I found this ad in a flyer for Menards, a chain of 300 home improvement stores in the Midwest. We don’t have them back in Seattle, where I come from.
I was surprised to learn that you can still buy a do-it-yourself house from a retail store. It normally sells for $77,168 but is on sale for only $68,679.
It’s 2,135 square feet and has four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a large family room with fireplace and a laundry room.
Do other home improvement stores sell complete homes? I don’t know. Do you? I think what you get from Menards are the plans and all (or at least most) of the materials to put the house together. If you’re handy, this could be an inexpensive way to build your own home.
SELLING HOMES THIS WAY is not new. Sears sold kit homes through its catalog from 1908 to 1940. More than 70,000 were sold and you still see them today if you know what you’re looking for. The one in the photo is called Modern Home No. 113. It had eight rooms and sold for $1,062 between 1908 and 1914. Sears noted in its sales literature that “by allowing a fair price for labor, brick, cement and plaster, which we do not furnish, this house can be built for about $2,475, including all material and labor.”