Is It Difficult to Build Your Own Home?

The neighborhood Sears store may be fading from view in America, with hundreds of stores closing with regularity during the venerable retailer's recent battle with bankruptcy. But there was a time when the original Sears, Roebuck & Co. was a major player in the home-building industry. From 1908 to 1940, Sears sold more than 70,000 kit houses in North America through its mail-order catalog operation. Sears sent the future homeowners everything they needed to build a sturdy, stylish home from the ground up. More than 440 different home designs were available, and the materials were delivered pre-cut and ready to assemble. Hundreds of these homes still exist, particularly in the Midwest, often with the current occupants not realizing that they live in a "Sears Modern Home."

Welcome to our Sears Catalog Home:

  • The Sears houses would be shipped by rail and then delivered by truck to the home site. A typical Sears Modern Home kit contained about 25 tons of materials, with more than 30,000 pieces.
  • Published in 1908, Sears’ first catalog featured 44 home styles, ranging in price from $360 to $2,890 USD. Plumbing, electrical fixtures, and heating systems were not included in the base price.
  • Sears offered financing beginning in 1912, with mortgage rates in the 6 to 7 percent range, for five to 15 years. Sales peaked in 1929, just before the Great Depression.
More Info: NPR

Discussion Comments


I built my own home from the ground up wife and family members included (39 years ago--not part of sears project We drew the plans, as well. Building is not our profession


Sears did not change with what their customers needed.

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