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Mortgage Free!: Innovative Strategies for Debt-Free Home Ownership, 2nd Edition Paperback – November 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Yes! It's about time somebody put together a how-to book for shedding those chains of a 30-year mortgage. We don't have to slump through life in bondage. We can live well AND have our freedom, and Rob Roy shows us how in this entertaining, detailed, and well-illustrated book."--Janet Luhrs, author of The Simple Living Guide

About the Author

Rob Roy knows what it means to live mortgage free. As director of Earthwood Building School since 1981, he has instructed many in the arts of natural building, and renewable energy. He is also the author of Earth-Sheltered Houses, Cordwood Building, Timber Framing for the Rest of Us, The Sauna, and Stone Circles. Rob and his family live in West Chazy, New York. You can learn more about Earthwood Building School at


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; Revised and updated second edition edition (November 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603580654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603580656
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,195,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Todd S. on November 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Update 2 years after reading the book...

The fact that I haven't forgotten about this book or its principles 2 years later is a testament to the author's ability to convey information and some of the information contained within. However after 4 years of looking for cheap land, going under contract twice, and now trying to actually get something built, it has never been more clear just how much of the book is pure fantasy in this day and age and for that reason I knocked it down a couple of stars.

The book puts you in the right frame of mind to adjust your lifestyle if you are committed to saving money and eventually stop feeding the bankster pigs (my words). I recommend people read it for that reason. As I suspected in my original review (below), the expenses involved in LEGALLY building anew just don't amount to savings. I have looked at properties literally all over the country, and land outside of planned communities (subdivisions) is expensive. If it's not, there's always a really, really, really good reason for it.

Because I need to be somewhat near civilization to make a living, and not confident in my abilities to live merely off the land completely off the grid away from everyone and everything, I settled on one measly acre 40 miles outside the urban core with the goal of building a decent enough cabin legally for under $100k. Despite being "out in the country", the building codes are the same as anywhere else in the state and zoning regulations look like they were adopted from some real swanky area although this is still Georgia I'm talking about, how bad can it be?

The solution offered for going mortgage free, is essentially to live in a shack.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Teacher Mikal on March 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I just finished Mortgage Free! and I'm pumped more than ever to build that timber frame in the mountains. I couldn't be a more accurate target audience for author Rob Roy. I'm a late twenties art teacher and woodworker (and ex-carpenter/blacksmith) that perpetually annoys my friends and family with H.D. Thoreau, Wendell Berry, Neil Postman, and E.F. Schumacher passages. I'm married, have a decent "grubstake" (savings for land and house) no children, and limitless energy.

This book is probably the first real estate/building/economic philosophy book that I've read in my short years that truly aligns with my own thinking. It has nothing to do with the TV nonsense of flipping homes, buying and selling foreclosures or short sales to get rich, or how to be a landlord in the city. Its greatest merit is the argument that we can live this life unchained to the typical work-a-day existence of mortgages, corporate ladder climbing and consumer/energy gluttony. This very merit, although a proven path even ten years ago, is untested in our current lousy and price-bloated economy. Roy's main thrust is that we should avoid the death pledge of the mortgage at pretty much any cost-and here I agree. What this book really needs though, (indeed lacks) for me, are tangible case studies and numbers that come even close to the typical prices of anywhere else except the Upstate NY area where the author is familiar. I live in California, but I've also lived in Chicago and Denver. Prices in the West are often ten times the updated prices you find in Mortgage Free! The advantages that couples in the late 60s and early 70s had with open space, low prices, and inheritances, are unknown to me.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is Wonderful in Many many respects and I Highly recommend it because to me the subject matter is indispensable. He's complete, thorough, etc. The one thing he is Not is concise. Great, great material and very well covered - but be prepared for a read that is occasionally tedious. I read through it anyway :) Also, be prepared for the discussion of a few other odd topics. He talks about salary free living, college, etc. Most of it's logical; such as going to college only if you have a career picked and must have the degree for it. College is Wonderful - but if you don't know what to do, wait. This is the sort of thing that he spends long paragraphs on. Again - good read; totally worthwhile. Just be prepared. His information is solid and useful. He covers the whole process and what to expect as you go. He discusses adaptations for individuals. He even helps you decide if it's right for you at all, and openly admits that in some situations it's not. In most situations it is the best way to go about home ownership - but if you're 2years from retirement and finishing your mortgage at the same time... or if you have a spouse that will leave if you live in a temporary shelter for a couple years while you build, etc. He gives reasonable ways to decide if this fits you and your family, and if so how to make the adaptations needed to fit it to your life. Good luck :)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Tarnas on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the closest book I've found to a manual on "dirt cheap" shelter. It is extensive but aimed at those with more than $10k-$30k. It does not provide much in terms of ways around this high cash barrier, and admits defeat in the face of encroaching building codes. Does not deal with salvage/innovation/squatter culture strategies at the bottom-feeder level, but openly admits that this is beyond the scope of the work at hand. Does not cover permaculture cooperative strategies. Places shelter in direct opposition to college and debt. Good stories throughout, mostly based on good fortune or a starting position of income above poverty level... not much innovative "bootstrapping" here.
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