Cost effective building in Turkey (Part 1)

candir-evBuilding a house in Turkey is simple for most people. You buy land and someone takes you by the arm, handles everything for you and five months later you get the key. This is how it is done for someone who does not speak any Turkish or is familiar with the way through the bureaucracy – and frankly  it is the best solution.

We want to build a house of 80 square meters at a location that is quite out of the way – thus transportation costs and hassles are greater. Because I know little about the bureaucratic administrative procedures and my Turkish is not altogether satisfactory – especially when it comes to the technical field, I would also prefer to have someone take me by the arm through the process. Unfortunately I am unable to do so and considering the fact that all these administrators are usually secretive about the details of what money goes where, makes that I’m going to try it the hard way by slowly doing it myself. I’m going to make it a sport to achieve as much luxury in the construction of this house while doing it with a budget as small as possible.

We want to build an approximately 9 × 9 meter house.


Normal building costs

First we asked a builder what it would cost if he were to build our house. His estimate used the best of materials and when completed, ready to put furniture in would cost 125,000 lira. (current currency exchange rate: 1 euro = 2.90 lira) The permit application would cost about 10 to 15,000 lira additionally – and of course this was not a fixed price as any setbacks could push prices even higher.

We knew there had to be a better solution.

Less than two weeks after we made the decision to organize everything by ourselves, along came my future neighbor telling me that he had to put a new roof on his house across the street from our land and wanted to know whether I wanted to buy the old roof tiles. Of course! And after asking a few people what these used roof tiles cost and whether there could be something seriously wrong with them, we decided to take them. So, we now have about 2,500 red clay roof tiles for 1,000 lira, or about 40 Turkish kurus each.


Less than a week later a rooftop solar water heater was offered to us for 200 lira. It belonged to someone whose home it no longer fit after a remodeling addition was added. It had originally cost them almost 3,000 Turkish lira. So, if we’re lucky we can have it installed and working for an additional 500 liras – But that remains to be seen.