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How this Tiny House Family Lives Mortgage-free and How You Can Too

How to be Mortgage-free Guest Post by Hari Berzins – Original story appeared at Tiny House Blog

During the big snow storm last week, Karl and I walked up the hill from our tiny house to our newly dried-in (Woohoo!) ‘big’ house to watch the falling snow.

The snow in the woods was magical and the view in all directions was spectacular.

I looked up at the rafters and there was no snow falling in the house!

We were dry.

After more than a year of watching rain and snowfall on our house, this was big.

I smiled at Karl. “How does it feel to go into this snow storm with a finished roof on the house?”

He took a deep breath. “You have no idea.”

Here’s How You, Too, Can Build a Mortgage-free Homestead

Mortgage-Free Micro-Homestead

That was a nice moment.

We’ve come so far, and it’s so important to take time to celebrate all of the milestones along the way.

I encourage you to read our story below and take a tour of the tiny house that started it all for us…

Hi, I’m Hari Berzins from tinyhousefamily.com.

My husband Karl and I built a mortgage-free micro-homestead and have worked our plan for the last five years.

We’ve created an online course to help people like you realize their dream of mortgage-freedom too.

Mortgage-Free Tiny House Garden

In 2008, we had to totally redesign our life after losing our restaurant and home in the financial crisis.

With a firm resolve to never use credit again, we started over.

We dreamed of building a homestead for cash.

With $300 to our name, owning a mortgage-free homestead seemed like an impossible dream.

I searched and searched for others who had lost everything and built a new life that included debt-free homeownership.

How happy I would have been to find a course like ours, but I guess it was our work to write The Plan: Creating Your Pathway to Mortgage Freedom.

Our plan was a simple yet radical one.

We would work hard, stop buying, sell, donate, downsize, make a budget, and save every penny.

We would find a little piece of land, buy it for cash, and grow a homestead.

Mortgage-Free Micro-Homestead
  • We saved,
  • worked,
  • bought land,
  • drilled a well,
  • dug a septic system,
  • built a tiny house,
  • and are now completing the exterior of our main house.

We did all of this with cash and time.

We now live our once ‘impossible’ dream!

And if we did it, I know you can too.

In our rebuilding process, we’ve relied on several practices of deep self-care to affirm that our worthiness is NOT attached to:

  • the balance of our bank account,
  • nor our foreclosure,
  • nor our belly-up business.

Family of Four Living in an 8 x 21 Tiny Home?

We’ve relied on these practices to cultivate the contentedness and patience we need to thrive in our 8’ x 21’ ft. tiny house while we build our right-sized house.

And we’ve relied on these practices to keep the faith when we have no idea how we are going to get through the next phase.

We will share these practices with you because this change is for the long haul and we want you to be successful getting there too.

8 x 21 Tiny Home

You might wonder why we are building a bigger house when the tiny house has been our ticket to mortgage-freedom.

This phase of the plan has taught us so much about what we really need.

It taught us about compromise, communication, and delayed gratification.

But we need room for our art, space to dance, entertain, and space for our children (now 9 & 11) to grow into adults.

8 x 21 Tiny Home Living Area

Space is so very personal, and we will explore your needs for space in the course too so that you have clarity about your needs.

Together we will design a plan and a homestead to fit your unique lifestyle and budget.

Our little journey has attracted the attention of many media outlets which has brought with it a ton of emails with questions about our plan.

So we felt the need to compile a comprehensive course to guide others down the path towards mortgage-freedom.

Now when I look up the hill at the main house, I’m so thankful we chose this route.

8 x 21 Tiny Home Kitchen

It’s not an easy path.

It’s hard in the beginning.

It’s hard to talk yourself out of those moments when you just want to give in and blow your budget on a dinner out, or buy those cool new hiking boots or whatever it is the merchants pry your self-esteem with.

With practice, this has become the norm for us, and the urges are rare.

We’ll help you with this, too.


“. . . I will act, says Don Quixote,
as if the world were what I would have it to be,
as if the ideal were real. . .
– Don Quixote de la Mancha, Cervantes

There were lots of naysayers in the beginning, even family and friends who thought we were crazy.

How in the world are the four of you going to live in that little house without killing each other?

8 x 21 Tiny Home Family Of Four

We are still alive almost three years after moving in, and look what it’s enabled us to do.

We live mortgage-free on our own land; we’re raising animals and growing food.

We get to be choosy about the work we do, and we spend tons of family time together.

And once we move into our main house, we’ll have a micro bed and breakfast ready to go!

What would your life look like if you didn’t have a mortgage payment?

If your dream is to simplify your life by building a tiny house, we can help you get there.

Having a supportive community is crucial when making a “tiny” lifestyle change such as this.

As part of our course, you’ll have access to a private Google+ group where you will connect with other like-minded individuals to discuss course materials, share ideas and support each other in creating your very own micro-homestead.

This e-course is 5 weeks long and begins on May 10, 2014. If you want to join us, see all the details here.

How to be Mortgage-free Guest Post by Hari Berzins – Original story appeared at Tiny House Blog

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Judy
    May 5, 2014, 1:39 pm

    How lucky for you that your husband is a builder. Building a 1400 sq ft house for just the cost of materials puts you far ahead of most of us. You are truly fortunate!

    • May 5, 2014, 2:24 pm

      Yes, thank you, Judy! We are fortunate to have such a wonderful husband and father. But he wasn’t a builder until he started building. Anyone who builds is a builder, and everything is built one board at a time. Karl has spent hours at the library and watching online videos to figure out how to build. We really believe anyone can do this. With the right tools, mindset and community support, anything is possible! Best wishes to you!

    • jerryd
      May 5, 2014, 4:21 pm

      Judy you could likely do it too the same way. A good start is helping at Habitat for Humanity or get a job as a carpenter helper.

      Another is trading labor with someone who can.

      Many small homes are quite affordable. I bought my modest place for just $300/month for 5 yrs. Fact is small homes are hard to sell and some owners will self finance is how I got mine. Now 20 yrs later the town has grown up around me.

      Starting with a well done shell like some of the better sheds or built for you, then just finish.

      If you want one, start looking for your best way and do it.

  • Katydidit
    May 5, 2014, 3:04 pm

    Absolutely love the spirit of this home, a total reflection of the people living in it! Simple, functional. Good to hear a story of 4 who are happy after 3 years! Congratulations Berzins on both your micro tiny and mega tiny homes! Thanks all for sharing!

  • Pat
    May 5, 2014, 5:26 pm

    Can you get a floor plan etc for a tiny home.?

  • Treasa
    May 6, 2014, 11:17 am

    I champion the idea that your situation did not over come your resolve to move forward and upward, that you shared your experience with us, that perseverance paid off, that you also felt free to build larger when circumstances of living and children made it a clear choice. Also what a great ‘tiny house’ to live in that made it possible .

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