Rising prices have made the American dream of homeownership increasingly elusive. For growing numbers of people, cost cutting is a prerequisite to a decent place to live. Over the past four years, my wife and I have tested several cost-cutting techniques on a very small scale, by building or renovating six single-family homes—five affordable rentals plus our own house. Total costs for each, including site acquisition, labor, and materials, have ranged from $35,000 to $75,000. By comparison, the average sales price for a house in our county, in northern Vermont, is over $100,000. Other have studied and reported on these issues on a much larger scale. There are two reports that I find particularly useful. One is The Cost