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alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 04:07 PM   #1
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alternative housing

I wanted to sound you all out on this...DH and I have recently had our expectations reduced regarding our housing possibilities (we're getting a small inheritance in June which is going to be much smaller than we thought).

Anyway, we'll have enough cash for a 20-percent down payment on, say, a $150,000 condo. But DH would prefer not to have any debt at all, and he wants to buy something outright for super cheap, so that we can avoid having any kind of monthly rent or mortgage payment.

Me, I'm fine with that, with some exceptions. I'm not willing to live with housemates, or without indoor plumbing. But I would even be okay with, say, a trailer or a manufactured home. Has anyone here done that--what are the disadvantages? (I'm thinking lot-rental fees, poor resale value, lack of equity, etc...Are there more?)

I once saw an interesting metal structure in our neighborhood that must have been an industrial thing, just a long greenhouse-looking thing that was probably some sort of commercial building, but it caught my fancy. Aesthetically I'm a modernist, I guess, and I was attracted to the look of that building. I thought, what about buying some land cheaply and then having one of those metal companies (like the one Paul Harvey sometimes yaks about) build us a structure like that? If skylights could be cut into it and it were wired for everything, it might be liveable...

Just trying to come up with options for alterna-living. Anybody have other ideas?

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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: alternative housing

Renting is not necessarily a bad idea. If you invest the money you could get a good return on it meanwhile you get to live where you want and be mobile. Now, IMO, buying requires more agreement between spouses. It could cost more and is more long term and had more emotions associated with "home".
I liked the condo I owned before marriage/family because of its location and low maintenance. My extended family sometimes discusses getting a large house together. If you are going to share spaces I suggest starting with the partners rather than finding the space first. I saw some coop housing in Davis, CA which my wife, the social person, liked more than I did.
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 05:44 PM   #3
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Re: alternative housing

What state do you live in? Don't know any state you can buy something for $30,000 (but maybe I'm wrong)

A manufactured home (used) as you say, will leave you with rent payments for the leased land, and value of unit will probobly go down, not up.

I think a manufactured home is good for people who just can't afford anything else. It is probobly less expensive than renting. Just not in Florida, Georgia or New Orleans, unless you like the outdoors a lot.

Or am I reading your post wrong?
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 06:09 PM   #4
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Re: alternative housing

Quote:
Has anyone here done that--what are the disadvantages? (I'm thinking lot-rental fees, poor resale value, lack of equity, etc...Are there more?)
Isnt that enough
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 07:13 PM   #5
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Re: alternative housing

* If that $30,000 is all you have to work with, I suspect you'll have a tough time finding anything to buy.
If you live in an urban area, you might look at older neighborhoods that are due for rehabbing -- you may be able to pick up something, but you'd still need $$ and lots of stamina to fix up the house, and might have to deal with the issues that a "marginal" neighborhood has.
* *
* * *A thought .. would your DH consider using the $$ as the down payment on a duplex?* You could rent out the other side and let those folks make the payments.* (Admittedly, I've never done this, so I can't offer any guidance.)
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: alternative housing

We live in Oregon...for now. We'd be willing to move.

Duplex...good idea, I'll float it to DH.

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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-21-2006, 09:15 PM   #7
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Re: alternative housing

Think hard about your total environment, not just the house/living area itself. Anything that you could buy outright in a city for $30-$40k will be in a poor neighborhood. It will not be aplace that you'll be able to go out at night safely. I'm sure that there are some safe urban low-income neighborhoods somewhere, but most are not safe--at all. It's different in the country.

Alternative-type homes usually can't be built in "regular" neighborhoods in the suburbs due to zoning restrictions.

Be aware that any alternative structure will have a low resale value if you decide to sell in the future.

Okay, enough negatives. Some ideas:
- The duplex idea might work--the neighborhood might be quite a bit better if you buy a 100-150K duplex and rent out the other side. There's a surprising amount amount of privacy in most duplexes, it is more like a single-family home than an apartment.
- Consider a fixer-upper in the 70k range, if you can find one and if you are willing to do a lot of work. You'd have to find one in a neighborhood of nicer homes, but if you put $10k down you'd still have a low payment and enough cash to do a lot of non-structural fixing up. You might then either stay there or sell the house and buy another permamenent house with the equity. Downside: I think it's likely we've seen the top of the real-estate market in most places-- you could end up buying at the peak and selling after prices drop.
- Consider moving a house. Sometimes you can get a free house if you're willing to pay to have it moved, which is not as expensive as you might guess. Yep, it will need work after you get it there, but if you are willing to do the work it can turn out very well if all the conditions are right (inexpensive buildable land, available houses to be moved, etc).
- Used mobile homes can be had very cheaply (singlewides for less than 10K). If you bought land in the country that had available utilities, this might be a suitable temporary measure while you build a house yourself or look for one to move to the site. These trailers are not very sturdy, can require a lot of upkeep, and generally aren't a good long-term solution.
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-22-2006, 08:28 AM   #8
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Re: alternative housing

I am with those who say stay away from the manufactured homes.

My FIL lived in such a home in a nice enough senior development in Florida. When he died his kids sold the place for $8000.

They depreciate.
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-25-2006, 10:28 AM   #9
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Re: alternative housing

I have a friend whose parents have a mobile home near Daytona Beach, Florida. They paid something like $3,000 for it a couple years ago. I think the lot rental is around $300 per month. It's not a bad place to visit but I don't know if I'd want to live there. I lost track of how many times I banged my head on the doorframe!

It needed a lot of work, but still for $3,000 seemed like a steal. I'm sure there are better things to sink your money into, though.

If you can score the land separately and want a fairly inexpensive building put up on it, you might want to give these guys a shout... http://www.durabiltpolebuildings.com/ Or someplace similar. They do post-and-beam (barn-type) construction instead of the more conventional frame construction. I had them build me a 24x40 garage last year. The pole barn company's part in it only ran around $15,000, but the whole project probably cost about $28K, because the site needed a lot of prep, the county engineer made me beef up the foundation, and they also required me to run about 150 feet of driveway to it. I would've been happy just driving over the grass, but the county said NO!

Now obviously, a finished building with plumbing/etc would cost more, but it's still a pretty cost-effective way to build.
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-25-2006, 03:25 PM   #10
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Re: alternative housing

Thanks for the ideas, Andre
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-25-2006, 03:28 PM   #11
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Re: alternative housing

tiki, I dunno what zoning restrictions you might have to deal with, but if I were looking to set up a small, efficient home on a piece of land I owned, I would seriously consider something like the houses featured here: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses.htm
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-25-2006, 06:06 PM   #12
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Re: alternative housing

I have seen a couple of houses made out of old shipping containers. One near where I live, actually. Stack them in some artistic manner, cut needed holes, could be fun. Should also be pretty safe, though whether your local building codes would agree is another question.

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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-25-2006, 08:17 PM   #13
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Re: alternative housing

Cordwood (stackwall) construction...

http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/cordwood.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordwood_construction

http://www.motherearthnews.com/home_..._From_Firewood
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-26-2006, 03:36 AM   #14
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Re: alternative housing

The modern manufactured homes are way, way better than the ones of old. They went through an entire new standards process that they all must meet now, etc. I went through some and they are gorgeous. Many of the new ones look almost identical to a regular house.

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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-26-2006, 04:10 PM   #15
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Re: alternative housing

http://tinyurl.com/o8y7q

Quote:
SANTA MONICA, United States (AFP) - A wealthy California woman is to turn a Boeing 747 jet into a house on some of the most exclusive real estate in the world.

Francie Rehwald wanted a house that was environmentally friendly and "feminine". Architect David Hertz, a specialist in using recycled materials, said she was stunned when he recommended an old 747, the biggest commercial aircraft in service.

The jumbo jet cost about 40,000 dollars from a cemetery for more than 1,500 scrap airliners in the California desert.

The jet is to be moved in parts to a 55-acre (22-hectare) site in the Malibu Hills near the Pacific Ocean and Rehwald admits the final cost will be several million dollars.
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-26-2006, 04:27 PM   #16
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Re: alternative housing

Have you thought of Dome homes. Some brands look quite inexpensive.
You need to buy the lot to put it but you can assemble yourself.
You can also shed all kind of permanent housing by living in an RV.

You can use any of these low expense solution for some time while you increase capital for a purchase.

You can google both solutions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer
The modern manufactured homes are way, way better than the ones of old. They went through an entire new standards process that they all must meet now, etc. I went through some and they are gorgeous. Many of the new ones look almost identical to a regular house.
Yes and in some areas of the country (AZ?) manufactured home seem to be the standard.

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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-26-2006, 07:15 PM   #17
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Re: alternative housing

I take orders for homes at cavco and can honestly say that these things are awesome. We build very upscale MFH with options that will qualify as a regular stick build home.

www.cavco.com

A 2700 sq ft triple wide is pretty damn impressive
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-26-2006, 07:29 PM   #18
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Re: alternative housing

what the price range for those?
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-27-2006, 07:47 AM   #19
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Re: alternative housing

I think often the terms modular home and manufactured home get interchanged. A manufactured home is basically what the house trailer/Mobile Home evolved into. Some of them can be quite nice, but usually there are still tell-tale clues, such as the low roof pitch, low outside wall, thin interior walls, etc. These are the types that are usually just set up on jacks and skirted, although they can be put on a permanent foundation. Essentially though, they're just a home built on top of a long flatbed trailer, and if you look up under, you'll still see the metal trailer frame. Sometimes even the wheels!

In contrast, a modular home is a home built in sections and trucked out to a site and set up on a permanent foundation. Once they're finished, it's impossible to tell them apart from a site-built home. My Mom and stepdad live in a modular home. The only real clue that it's modular is the extra-thick bearing wall running down the center of the house. It's extra thick because each 12x48 section had to be able to support itself. All the walls are built with 2x4's though, so otherwise it seems normal inside, and it even has a basement, something that's not so easy to do with a manufactured home, since you have that steel trailer frame underneath. Now my Mom's cousin, who lives nearby, has a manufactured home. It was made by Fleetwood. It's a big sucker, something like 76x28, and it was actually built on a full cinder block foundation (no basement), but you can still tell what it is. From what I recall, the neighborhood actually went into an uproar when they found out that this home was going into their community. Until the realtor pointed out to many of them that their own homes were either manufactured or modular.

There's a place about 10 miles away from my Mom & stepdad that sells modular homes. I think it's called American Dream Homes or something like that. They used to have a cape cod model I really liked. It was about 40x28 feet, and had two bedrooms and two baths on the main level, and an unfinished upstairs that the owner would have to do at a later date. I remember going through it a few years back, and really liking it. I can't remember how much it cost, though.
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Re: alternative housing
Old 04-29-2006, 06:20 PM   #20
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Re: alternative housing

Thanks Perinova, tomsimpson and andre for these intriguing ideas. I love the Cavco lofts and cabins, they're cute
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