You could have bought the home below for $938 from the 1916 Sears catalog.
A century ago, Sears was sort of like IKEA in an assemble-it-yourself way. Sears shipped a complete house to you by railroad car. Reportedly, friends and family would come to help you build it.
Most were built in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
One of the kids gets their own balcony!
The large reception hall and formal dining room seen above demonstrate how much society has changed. Peeps used to meet up IRL more often.
Hundreds of models of Sears Modern Homes were sold between 1908 and 1942. Building buffs estimate that 70% of them are still standing today.
Along with lumber and other needed materials, Sears provided you with building plans and specifications.
Your shipment included pre-built parts like staircases and dining nooks, all the way down to nails, screws, and paint.
Plumbing, electrical fixtures, and heating systems could be ordered at additional cost. Some of these were deemed cutting-edge at the time.
There were other manufacturers of kit homes besides Sears.
Can you believe the resourcefulness of yesteryear Americans? Sheesh, today’s average homeowner is stressed and challenged about changing the A/C filter.
Setting aside land and labor costs and hedonic adjustments, it’s difficult to get past the inflation on the $938 sale price from a century ago.
At $467,700, today’s median home costs a jaw-dropping 500X more.
When you’re doom scrolling Zillow one century into the future, in 2123, real estate prices will look like a cat ran onto the realtor’s keyboard and sat on the zero key.
Most DIYers never turn their resourcefulness into financial freedom, because they don’t know there are ways to get your hands on the blueprints and build your own wealth.
That’s what GRE does. It’s like the Sears catalog for wealth builders.
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