"Yes, hello, I'd like to order a house please."

There is something fascinating, nostalgic and uniquely American about the idea of buying 30,000 pieces of house from a Sears mail order catalog and having it shipped to a site where the homebuyer assembles it.

I feel weird about purchasing a phone on ebay, let alone a flippin house from a catalog.

Apparently, Sears isn't the only "home-kit" company...there were many others. 75,000 houses were sold between 1908 and 1940. When you ordered your house here is what you received:

30,000 pieces of house:

-- 75-page instruction book that told you how those 30,000 pieces were together
-- All framing members were stamped with a letter and number (example: A119) that told you where the lumber was supposed to go
-- 750 pounds of nails
-- 10 pounds of wood putty
-- 27 gallons of paint and varnish
-- 460 pounds of window weights
-- 400 feet of sash cord

Sears predicted the average homeowner could build their own home in 90 days. Sears mortgages (offered from 1911-1933) required that the house be substantially completed (“ready for occupancy”) within four months. The one page Sears mortgage application had only one financial question: What is your vocation? If you answered that question, you got a mortgage!

Today, about 90-95% of these homes remain standing. Sadly, when Sears closed their Modern Homes department, all sales records were destroyed, so no one knows the location of these homes.

If you're wondering whether or not your home is a Sears kit home...click here to start your detective process.

FYI: Sears also had Sears Barn Kits for sale.
After looking at all the pics of Sears Kit Homes, I'm pretty sure that my Aunt Nancy's house was a Sears.


Anonymous said...

hi. that is weird. Where do you find this information?

sunshine said...

that is so stinkin weird?!! what the heck... whoever came up with that idea is, well lame