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States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builders?

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I've asked this question on a couple of homesteading forums over the years.  

Here in Oregon, Klamath County, there are codes, and they do inspect.  But they seem to be pretty laid back in some ways.  You aren't allowed to move onto your land until the septic is in, and the electricity (which can be solar), and you have a building permit.  But, all you have to do to keep the building permit active indefinitely is pound a few nails and have an inspector out once every six months.  The guy at the building department told us that the longest they'd had a guy living on his place in 'temporary' housing while 'working' on his permanent house was 27 years!

They are also amenable to composting toilets, solar systems, and even strawbale and earth construction, if you get an engineer to approve your plans (I know a couple of engineers, LOL!).  

If there's already a house on the property (as in, you are building on the back of your parent's place, or a friend's place), you can build up to 200 square feet, no more than ten feet tall, and at least six feet from any other structure, with no permit at all.  That's big enough for one person to live in.  Build another one for a workshop, if you need one.

It's not quite as good as just being left alone to do your own thing, but better than some places, for sure.

Other places I've been told are pretty good include parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, northern Maine, Wyoming . . . if you post this question on the Homesteading Today forum (or search the archives), you should get a lot of good information.

Kathleen, just outside of Klamath Falls


 Kathleen, thank you so much for the information.........   :)


We have 7 acres in Tennessee, so far the only thing we have found that we need a permit for is the septic.

But first we need a bridge....... :o

We were told we didn't even need a building permit.

Here in rural Texas we have no  building permits or inspections.
I was told by the local official in the Upshur County that I must build to the International code for the safety of myself and others.  

I was worried about the 35-50 mph winds we have in May during the Spring storms.. This helped

I am building in West Virginia, each county has different codes. I am in Barbour county and have not experience building anything, though I seem to be doing quite well. I spoke with the county planning board before I ever started and they will not inspect unless I put in indoor plumbing and as she stated "and that is only if it's indoor."
I have a friend who is a contractor who has came out to look over things on a regular basis, this is for personal well-being only.
However Allegheny Power does require the wiring inspected before I can close up the walls and I had to bring in 200amp service since I am not off the grid.
Here in North Carolina I had to have the county inspector in after repointing the chimney then again when the bath was remodeled.
The difference amazes me.


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