DIY-er Builds Five-Bedroom Home With Help From YouTube Tutorials

January 24, 2017

Nearly a decade ago, Cara Brookins, a mother and computer analyst in Little Rock, Ark., happened upon a house badly damaged by a tornado. After seeing the basic construction was simpler than she had thought, she embarked on her own home building project.

According to, Brookins built a 3,500-square foot, five-bedroom house in 2008 with some unconventional guidance and labor. YouTube videos showed her how to pour foundation and raise walls, and her construction crew consisted of three of her children.

Brookins, who wrote about her experience in the new book “Rise: How a House Built a Family,” didn’t do it all alone. She turned to city officials to make sure she was up to code, and she hired professionals for water, gas, and electrical work. After nine months of work, Brookins and her family moved into the house in March of 2009.

This extreme form of DIY raises concerns among real estate professionals who think it’s too dangerous. As Atlanta-based real estate agent Bruce Ailion explains, “I suspect you could pull your spouse’s tooth, maybe even take out an appendix from YouTube videos to save money. But I wouldn’t recommend it.”

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