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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Zikoris on May 04, 2018, 12:25:59 PM

Title: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Zikoris on May 04, 2018, 12:25:59 PM
What are some interesting, alternative, or unusual living arrangements you guys have tried or know someone who's tried? What did you think of it? Tips for people who want to try it? Let's talk about ideas that don't fall into the standard buy a house/buy a condo/rent a normal market apartment models.

I'll start.

I'm a fan of co-operative housing, which is basically a non-profit model where the building is run by the members, sans landlord. The costs tend to be quite reasonable due to operating at cost.

I've also rented a few secondary suites over the years, some of which were a bit odd (like not having a kitchen), but were great options for cheap living.

A number of my friends have started up communal/collective housing situations, which seems to be working well for them.

And I know one couple who lived in an RV for awhile until they had kids, which seemed to work well for them.

Any tiny house or boat dwellers? Homesteaders? Or something I've missed entirely?
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Mr. Green on May 04, 2018, 12:54:21 PM
We currently cohabitate with some very good friends of ours. We wanted to move to the area and building a planned house became too stressful so the offered for us to move in. The house is bigger than they need so it was pretty easy working two more adults into the household. We pay rent just like we would if we we're sharing a house with strangers, and we help with chores. The reward for us is the use of a 3,000 sq. Ft. House at a fraction of the cost if we owned it ourselves. My wife is quitting her job at the end of June and it's a great position for us to be in to start extended travel. We're not worried about an empty house while we're gone or hiring someone to cut the grass, etc.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: ketchup on May 04, 2018, 01:00:07 PM
For about a year starting in 2012, I bought a super cheap ($18k) small (500 square feet, one bed, one bath, only door in the house was on the bathroom) house at the bottom of the market, and moved in with my GF and another couple.  My living expenses were the lowest they'll ever be in my life.  Would definitely recommend (with the right people, at least).  I was 20, GF was 19, and we did plenty wrong and still somehow stumbled through doing that straight out of living with family.

After we left, I rented it out for a few years, and then sold it last year.  Made out pretty well.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: merlin7676 on May 04, 2018, 01:46:10 PM
My husband and his best friend bought a 2 bedroom condo about 13 years ago and lived there together as roommates. Then when I came along, he moved out and we lived together for a year while he 'rented' his room out.

After the year, it didn't make financial sense to have 2 separate places so we moved back to the condo. So now it's me, him, and his best friend.
Kinda cramped with three people. Between the roommate always in the living room and the husband and I sharing a room, I don't get much "alone" time. Even if I go to a coffee shop or bookstore, there are people there. It's rare that they are both not at home so I can have some time to myself unfortunately.

Financially we make it work as we all pay 1/3 of the mortgage and utilities ect. Roommate has to pay for stuff that only he uses (food, hulu, ect) while we pay for stuff we use (food, ect).

I'm the most MM and frugal of us all although husband has come along way. He always likes to hear when I talk about financial stuff or things I've read on here or whatever and has done a wonderful job of pairing his stuff down and paying off his debt ect.

Roommate on the other hand is a total spendypants and it is very irritating sometimes. He's also semi-OCD (not officially but I think he is) and a semi-horder. Always getting boxes in the mail from amazon and other places and trying to get him to get rid of anything literally makes him fidget and get hostile. His room is stacked to the ceiling with clothes, unopened boxes, books, ect. He even has 14 pairs of brown boots and when we ask why he need 14 pairs, he responds "I wear all of them on occasion and I like all of them so I won't get rid of them". His closet is full of so much clothes that there is no room in there..at all.

For example, we had over 50 dishtowels that he's bought over the years. Some were holiday themed, some were different patterns ect. We finally got him to agree to get rid of some of them. He spent 3 days going over which he really wanted to keep and which he could let us donate. After we finished that, he actually said "oh now that we got rid of a bunch of them, we can get new ones". He couldn't grasp that we didn't need anymore even after the 20 we still had left over.

So it's not ideal and I pray for the day when they decide to sell it and we go our separate ways (hopefully in the next 3-5 years) but for now it's "okay enough". I can deal with it most days and can drink vodka the others (okay I joke..well semi-joke).
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Rubic on May 04, 2018, 02:23:10 PM
Since I sold my condo, I've lived with:


Most situations were pleasant, but I'm happy to currently live alone
in a cheap studio apartment for the time being.  If I share an apartment
in the future, I'll try to get separate bathrooms, which is nicer.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Dr Kidstache on May 04, 2018, 03:09:49 PM
I currently split time between a small RV and AirBnBs. Having a fixed residence doesn't suit me right now but probably wouldn't have gone free range if not for Hurricane Harvey damaging my last apartment.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: bacchi on May 04, 2018, 03:17:40 PM
I've lived in "room-only" co-ops and probably wouldn't go back. There's too much interaction and they can be personality driven. I've looked at co-housing apartments and they're more my style. The co-housing houses seem to be crazy expensive.

A friend has lived in various co-ops/communes, including Ganas http://ganas.org/ in NYC and one in Portugal. She liked Ganas a lot.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: MsPeacock on May 04, 2018, 03:38:02 PM

Roommate on the other hand is a total spendypants and it is very irritating sometimes. He's also semi-OCD (not officially but I think he is) and a semi-horder. Always getting boxes in the mail from amazon and other places and trying to get him to get rid of anything literally makes him fidget and get hostile. His room is stacked to the ceiling with clothes, unopened boxes, books, ect. He even has 14 pairs of brown boots and when we ask why he need 14 pairs, he responds "I wear all of them on occasion and I like all of them so I won't get rid of them". His closet is full of so much clothes that there is no room in there..at all.

For example, we had over 50 dishtowels that he's bought over the years. Some were holiday themed, some were different patterns ect. We finally got him to agree to get rid of some of them. He spent 3 days going over which he really wanted to keep and which he could let us donate. After we finished that, he actually said "oh now that we got rid of a bunch of them, we can get new ones". He couldn't grasp that we didn't need anymore even after the 20 we still had left over.

So it's

That sounds like actual hoarding.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: life_travel on May 04, 2018, 03:41:25 PM
Since beginning of our downsizing journey in 2012 we've gone from 5 bedroom house to smaller 4 bedroom (it was a conscious investment that we plan to sell eventually).we were in that 4 bedroom for 3 years and got roommates while we were paying off land and some other ( non consumer) debts .
Our colleagues just couldn't understand that a couple in their 40s would voluntarily live with strangers !
Then last year we decided to buy a 2 bedroom condo and rent out the house. After being 9 months in our condo we're now open to smaller living suggestions :)
Next step most likely will be either renting 1 bedroom apartment close to my work as my commute now is 1hr15mins EACH way OR moving in with my sister's family .

Sister, her husband and 2 kids are expecting a third in 2 weeks and currently are selling their too small for them house and planning to buy a bigger one . We said if they get one with separate area, we will rent it out from them as long as it has a separate entry , separate bathroom and separate kitchen , well that can be very small kitchen or we can put something together ...

My work is demanding and I've just realised last night that after moving to an open plan office 1.5 years ago I struggle towards the end of the week .. I literally had a hissy fit last two Fridays that were unfortunately directed at my husband . Being an introvert I need my alone time so while my work situation continues , having roommates is no longer possible .. I've just realised that by typing my thoughts out :)
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: MarciaB on May 04, 2018, 04:04:25 PM
My living arrangements include international travel, house sitting near where family is, short-term rentals, stints visiting family in other states, and camping/backpacking. Got a handful of storage tubs to my name (in my kid's basement) and move around freely and fairly unencumbered(ly).*

The upside is lots of freedom and very little stuff. The downside is a vague feeling of rootlessness. It's working so far, but I'm not sure how long I'll want to live this way.

*for you grammar nuts who love adverbs
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Zikoris on May 04, 2018, 05:09:52 PM
Man, the hoarder roommate sounds awful! That's probably the single biggest reason I have to not want roommates - fear of hoarding, from growing up in a really cluttery home. 50 kitchen towels! I think we have six or seven? I don't think we even have 14 pairs of shoes between the two of us total, including everything - sandals, winter boots, hiking boots, gym shoes, and dress shoes. I love having a mostly minimalist home.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: tungsten on May 04, 2018, 06:29:21 PM
I live in the Bay Area and bounce between a tiny house I have hidden on a friends property (built for $1700) and some warehouse space that I share with friends.  Neither location is ideal by any means but I only pay about $300 a month in total rent so I've convinced myself via my spreadsheets that it's mid-term worth it in order to reach FI.  I have privacy in the tiny house, but staying there is questionably legal and I may have to tear it down soon and vacate the land, so it's sort of insecure in that sense.  If both of these places became unavailable, I would likely build out a truck or a van to live in.  The plan is to keep making a Bay Area wage, hit FI within the next few years and probably take a big pay cut and move somewhere where it's cheaper.  I'm living a little more radically than I'd like to at the moment, but I'm willing to put up with it for the benefits of FI later.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Zikoris on May 04, 2018, 06:38:17 PM
I live in the Bay Area and bounce between a tiny house I have hidden on a friends property (built for $1700) and some warehouse space that I share with friends.  Neither location is ideal by any means but I only pay about $300 a month in total rent so I've convinced myself via my spreadsheets that it's mid-term worth it in order to reach FI.  I have privacy in the tiny house, but staying there is questionably legal and I may have to tear it down soon and vacate the land, so it's sort of insecure in that sense.  If both of these places became unavailable, I would likely build out a truck or a van to live in.  The plan is to keep making a Bay Area wage, hit FI within the next few years and probably take a big pay cut and move somewhere where it's cheaper.  I'm living a little more radically than I'd like to at the moment, but I'm willing to put up with it for the benefits of FI later.

A hidden $1,700 tiny house! That sounds like a blast. I need to make friends with people who own property I can hide in. How did you build it so cheaply?

I sometimes wonder what it would cost to turn a stand-alone garage into something liveable - like, with a toilet and insulation.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Briarly on May 04, 2018, 07:16:43 PM
We live in a dormitory apartment in the school where my partner works. It is free. Includes access to the dining hall, cleaning supplies, groomed cross country skiing trails. Only downside is living where you work.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: The Blunderbuss on May 05, 2018, 11:00:09 PM
I might be a couple of weeks early joining this thread, but last week we bought a 9 metre house bus, which is parked in the yard of our 3 bedroom suburban house.  The plan is that after making some minor modifications we'll look to move into the bus and rent out the house, assuming we can find tenants that don't mind their landlords living in the back yard!
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Freedomin5 on May 06, 2018, 12:44:26 AM
For awhile, we lived in a converted garage. The landlord ran plumbing in and built a bathroom. He also sealed up the garage door and put in a normal door. There was no kitchen, so we bought a propane camp stove and cooked right outside the front door, squatting on the driveway. We used one big wok to cook everything. We also had a toaster oven and an electric kettle. I'm not sure it was completely legal, but hey, poor graduate student living in LA on a limited budget = take what we can afford.

Current living arrangements = FREE. If you live and work overseas, most contracts provide free housing.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: rosarugosa on May 06, 2018, 04:44:31 AM
I live in the Bay Area and bounce between a tiny house I have hidden on a friends property (built for $1700) and some warehouse space that I share with friends.  Neither location is ideal by any means but I only pay about $300 a month in total rent so I've convinced myself via my spreadsheets that it's mid-term worth it in order to reach FI.  I have privacy in the tiny house, but staying there is questionably legal and I may have to tear it down soon and vacate the land, so it's sort of insecure in that sense.  If both of these places became unavailable, I would likely build out a truck or a van to live in.  The plan is to keep making a Bay Area wage, hit FI within the next few years and probably take a big pay cut and move somewhere where it's cheaper.  I'm living a little more radically than I'd like to at the moment, but I'm willing to put up with it for the benefits of FI later.

A hidden $1,700 tiny house! That sounds like a blast. I need to make friends with people who own property I can hide in. How did you build it so cheaply?

I sometimes wonder what it would cost to turn a stand-alone garage into something liveable - like, with a toilet and insulation.
I think there was someone on the MMM Forums who shared photos and info on a garage conversion.  He & his family lived in the garage and rented out their house, IIRC.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Mtngrl on May 06, 2018, 01:53:36 PM
We had a neighbor who lived in a converted  10' X 10' Tuff Shed on 5 acres she owned. She poured a concrete pad to put it on, and had to install a regular septic system and connect to the local water system, but the area had no size requirements for housing. She insulated the shed and had a small bathroom and efficiency kitchen, and had flowers in window boxes. It looked very cute. A tiny house, but not as portable.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Zikoris on May 06, 2018, 02:25:08 PM
We had a neighbor who lived in a converted  10' X 10' Tuff Shed on 5 acres she owned. She poured a concrete pad to put it on, and had to install a regular septic system and connect to the local water system, but the area had no size requirements for housing. She insulated the shed and had a small bathroom and efficiency kitchen, and had flowers in window boxes. It looked very cute. A tiny house, but not as portable.

I just looked up Tuff Sheds - those things are super cute! It does seem like minimum size requirements are the real thorn in the side of tiny houses. I can only hope that over time the generational shift will lead to people electing local politicians who will make changes to those bylaws/codes/rules/whatever.

I honestly don't even understand why it's a thing. Could someone with knowledge on the topic explain why minimum housing size is even a thing?
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: ketchup on May 06, 2018, 05:25:23 PM
We had a neighbor who lived in a converted  10' X 10' Tuff Shed on 5 acres she owned. She poured a concrete pad to put it on, and had to install a regular septic system and connect to the local water system, but the area had no size requirements for housing. She insulated the shed and had a small bathroom and efficiency kitchen, and had flowers in window boxes. It looked very cute. A tiny house, but not as portable.

I just looked up Tuff Sheds - those things are super cute! It does seem like minimum size requirements are the real thorn in the side of tiny houses. I can only hope that over time the generational shift will lead to people electing local politicians who will make changes to those bylaws/codes/rules/whatever.

I honestly don't even understand why it's a thing. Could someone with knowledge on the topic explain why minimum housing size is even a thing?
I donít know, but itís a pain. I almost scored a great deal on some cheap land and hoped to maybe do something similar, but they had a minimum housing size of something stupid like 2200sqft so that didnít happen.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: limeandpepper on May 06, 2018, 09:30:58 PM
I'm not quite sure what you would call it but maybe dorm-style living? Except there wasn't really a common area or kitchen to hang out and whatnot. To elaborate: when I was working in Asia, I had this landlord who owned all the rooms in one side of one floor of a building. I think there were four basic bedrooms all lined up down the hallway, and at the end there was a sink, one toilet room and one shower room for all of us to share, if I remember correctly. We were all working adults, one room had a couple living in it. I think for laundry we would just hand wash and find a place to hang them. Since there was no kitchen, I put a small bar fridge and a portable hot plate in my room that allowed me to cook some simple meals. And since there was no common area for lounging around, for a while I just kept to myself in my room, but then I found two of the guys would often just sit on the floor of the hallway and have a chat and they seemed to be having a good time, so I joined them!
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: ixtap on May 06, 2018, 09:36:02 PM
We live on a boat, but it doesn't really save us much. Maintenance plus slip fees are equal to the current rent on our last apartment. The views are better, though. And when we take our home on vacation we stay at anchorages and reciprocal yacht clubs, so there is that.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: joonifloofeefloo on May 06, 2018, 11:44:55 PM
Could someone with knowledge on the topic explain why minimum housing size is even a thing?

I spent the past few years trying to create a tiny house option. In three different regions, I was given the following "reasons":

1. Assurance of sameness. When a developer sells off plots, she has more success in this when assuring each buyer that all homes in the 'hood will be of a certain design (size, shape, colour). I was told that many people are wary of being surprised, so want it set out what their neighbours will be allowed to do. Most people feel the value of their property is determined in part by what's around it (and I think they're right), so they want to control this factor and offer real estate norms, most common sales interests.

2. Property taxes. Two municipalities claimed they can collect more where a house is standard. I don't know why this would be. Why not just charge per land value, never mind the structures? What info am I missing? Don't know yet.

3. Septic, etc. They assume more people will live in tiny houses per acre than in the same total square footage in one structure. They need to control for movement of waste, etc, but this argument also makes no sense to me. Several areas are still blocking me from putting two people on one acre, but not stopping me from having 18 babies and filling up a standard house on the same system. So that can't be it.

My best guess so far is that it's about the economy. Many parties depend on people building oversized, standard spaces, filling those up with crap, etc. I assume there is simply agreement between industries, or a larger economic plan that aims to ensure people are buying market.

Some workarounds:

1. Buy land that has no rules about the primary house size, how soon that must go up, how long a temporary space can exist on it alone, etc. Park your RV or TH there for 40 years while you're "designing and saving for your permanent place" ;)  My first two regions had no such option; the third had one available.

2. Buy land in a region that allows tiny homes. (Some do; some don't.)

3. Buy land with hyperregulations, build to code, modify after inspection. e.g. Put in another wall, quietly live in it as "two tiny houses stuck together", a duplex. (Risky, but lots of people have succeeded with this.)

4. Instead of a cute, wood TH, use a nice RV the same way, rent a year-round spot in an RV park (expensive in most of BC though).

5. Stealth vandwelling. Trick one out super nice (see Youtube) and park it anywhere free. (Generally have to move it daily or so.)

6. Be a "farmworker", even part time (e.g., weekends). In many regions, farmers are allowed to rent out a TH to farmworkers (only).

7. Like you proposed, find someone with land that would like an exchange or rent. Illegal in many places for the landowner to allow a person's own dwelling on their land, but lots of people do this. Works fine unless/until a neighbour calls it in.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: joonifloofeefloo on May 07, 2018, 12:53:51 AM
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/crossing-the-divide-1.4597581/like-dorm-life-but-way-better-these-students-are-living-with-seniors-and-loving-it-1.4597896
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: MonkeyJenga on May 07, 2018, 08:28:55 AM
I lived in what was technically a living room for a year. It had more privacy than you would expect, but I had no door to my room, and one of my two roommates walked through my room to get to his room.

I was anxious to FIRE, I had recently broken up with my bf and wasn't interested in activities needing privacy, and the rent was outrageously cheap for NYC. It also meant I didn't need to spend weeks searching for a place on Craigslist, since this fell into my lap.

I really enjoyed living with a friend who had a busy schedule - we almost never got the chance to see each other when we lived in different boroughs. It worked out well and allowed me to save a lot of money, but it was not sustainable long term.

I have not had housing expenses since December. I've been doing a mix of couchsurfing, staying in campaign housing while volunteering on elections, and staying with family. Right now I'm house sitting for a friend. It feels weird having an entire house to myself.

If I get a job and need to stop traveling and rent a place, I now know I want a private room with a door. This is my hedonic adaptation. Roommates 4eva though.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: bacchi on May 07, 2018, 11:52:35 AM
We live in a 600 ft^2 detached garage apartment -- essentially a duplex.

We did it by a pretty standard method, though. Bought a house near a university, realized the potential, and built/remodeled the garage. The benefit is that "rent" is covered due to the tenants and will probably never go up from our perspective (fixed mortgage and we can increase rent as property taxes increase).

If we move in the next few years, we'll probably keep the property because it's near family.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: diapasoun on May 07, 2018, 01:27:06 PM
I've spent over a third of my life in some sort of collective housing -- co-ops and large shared houses for the most part, with a few smaller (2-3 bedroom) shared houses as well. I like spending time with people, so it's always worked out well; it's nice to come downstairs to hang out with people you know. It's also super cheap and can get you housing with amenities you'd never pay for in a smaller rental (for my current place, this includes in-house laundry, a dishwasher, a pool, no pet rent, and a bunch of citrus trees). I'm in my 30s, and have no desire to move into a standard "just me + BF" rental anytime soon. We like it here!

Keys for success in large shared houses:

-Move into a place where you like the people. Conversely, when filling an open spot in your place, be very choosy about who moves in.
-Move into a place where you have similar cleanliness aspirations as others. If you don't, and your preferences differ from the group as a whole, you need to put up and shut up, or move. Being comfortable in the common rooms in your house is incredibly important.
-If housemates fail to complete responsibilities more than once or twice (getting rent in on time, paying bills they're responsible for, etc) they need to have those responsibilities removed from them. If they consistently can't get their rent in, you and the rest of the house are well within your rights to tell them to gtfo as soon as is reasonable for your lease and housing market.
-If anyone makes anyone else feel unsafe or in danger, they need to go, and "reasonable" doesn't enter into it. I've only had this happen twice in over a decade of shared housing, but the person with the anger management issues and the person who set the house on fire via idiotic neglect? They went, and ASAP.
-Pets can make shared housing hard -- allergies, other housemates with pets, and so on. If you don't have a pet yet and are thinking about one while also looking at shared housing, tick through all the boxes (pet rent? allergies? will the animal get along with other animals/people? etc).
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: neophyte on May 07, 2018, 01:54:54 PM
My alternative living arrangement is pretty cushy!  I have a big ole 5 bedroom house.  I rent out the three bedrooms on the second floor and keep the 2 on the third floor for myself (too much space for me, but itís nice to have the privacy and a spare room for guests)

Currently PITI plus a little extra on premium is $1200 a month but Iím bringing in $1575 a month in rent plus I get to split utilities with my roommates.  Win!

I prefer living with roommates to living alone and I get along really well with all three of them, but if I ever really wanted to I could convert the 3rd floor back to a 1 bedroom apt.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: oldladystache on May 07, 2018, 02:07:34 PM
Friend bought 3 acres in Hawaii and got permitted to build a nice house and a small garage with a little room upstairs. She built the garage first and lived in it for several years. I don't think she ever intended to build the house.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Nudelkopf on May 09, 2018, 09:57:11 PM
I chose to be a teacher and work in a rural/remote school. The government is desperate for teachers, so we get free rent. (Well, it's  $50-odd per week.) We don't get to choose where we live, or who we live with (other teachers), & we can't have pets... but it suits my financial goals!

Doctors, nurses, OTs, physios, ambos, police, etc also get the same deal.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Zikoris on May 09, 2018, 10:27:25 PM
I chose to be a teacher and work in a rural/remote school. The government is desperate for teachers, so we get free rent. (Well, it's  $50-odd per week.) We don't get to choose where we live, or who we live with (other teachers), & we can't have pets... but it suits my financial goals!

Doctors, nurses, OTs, physios, ambos, police, etc also get the same deal.

Oh yeah, somehow I forgot about that - strange because I personally lived in a "teacherage" in a remote town when I was a teenager because my mom was a teacher at the local school. She had to pay some rent, but it was a pretty good deal because it included heat, and it was in the far north of Canada where it gets REALLY cold in the winter. Pets were allowed and you didn't have to share with anyone, except for a few duplexes with shared laundry.

If I remember right, the medical staff at the nursing station had a better deal - their housing was completely free. But they also had to be on call day and night for emergencies.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Lichen on May 09, 2018, 10:31:12 PM
PTF

We're going to be selling our home soon and moving to a higher COL area (likely renting). We've been looking into some alternative housing options to help bring down the cost, since we will be in this area for at least 2 years.

I've always wanted to live in a yurt. A few counties in WA state have allowed them as main homes, but it's the super pricey, might as well be a regular stick built house varieties, not the hippy DIY version I want. I read the code of a few counties, though, and you could park an RV or single wide and install septic on land, and be considered legal outside city limits. Yurts on non-permanent foundations with no indoor plumbing wouldn't even be considered accessory structures, just temporary. Move them a few feet every six months and they meet the definition of temporary. Yurt commune with RV bath house, anyone? ;D

I lived in my car for several months when I was much younger and single with no kids. I'd couch surf at a friends' occasionally, and I'd camp in my tent on NFS land when I didn't need to be in town to work the next day. I had shower/restroom facilities open to me 24 hours via my job at the time (I was the boss and had the keys, and the owners were cool with me being there after hours). I often wax nostalgic about those days. I could totally do the whole van life thing, but my spouse insists upon indoor plumbing and space to stand. Weird, huh?
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: MonkeyJenga on May 09, 2018, 10:46:36 PM
An interior designer I used to follow grew up in Yosemite. His parents worked for Yosemite Village and lived in the park for over 30 years. It's pretty awesome.

http://www.hommemaker.com/2013/10/21/saying-goodbye-to-home/

For pictures: http://www.hommemaker.com/2017/03/01/winter-hometown-tour-yosemite/

Fall: http://www.hommemaker.com/2014/11/11/fresh-feelings-for-your-eyeballz-fall-colors-in-yosemite/
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Hirondelle on May 09, 2018, 11:32:08 PM
I chose to be a teacher and work in a rural/remote school. The government is desperate for teachers, so we get free rent. (Well, it's  $50-odd per week.) We don't get to choose where we live, or who we live with (other teachers), & we can't have pets... but it suits my financial goals!

Doctors, nurses, OTs, physios, ambos, police, etc also get the same deal.

This sounds so cool to me to do for a year or two! Unfortunately no remote areas in my country :(

Any change you'd get into something like this as a foreigner?!
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Nudelkopf on May 10, 2018, 12:51:22 AM
I chose to be a teacher and work in a rural/remote school. The government is desperate for teachers, so we get free rent. (Well, it's  $50-odd per week.) We don't get to choose where we live, or who we live with (other teachers), & we can't have pets... but it suits my financial goals!

Doctors, nurses, OTs, physios, ambos, police, etc also get the same deal.

This sounds so cool to me to do for a year or two! Unfortunately no remote areas in my country :(

Any change you'd get into something like this as a foreigner?!
So long Queensland recognizes your foreign teaching degree, then sure. As a random example, one of my colleagues is Indian, but moved here and then got permanent residency.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Mrs.Piano on October 12, 2018, 11:11:22 PM
I built a tiny house and used it for two years, then fell in love with a person who lives with a concert grand piano. Havenít stayed a night in it since taking up with Mr. Piano. We have been discussing moving it to use as a vacation spot.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Cranky on October 13, 2018, 04:26:12 AM
I paid off my mortgage. LOL Now my living expenses are really low! My roommates are all related to me and we all have doors!

I lived in a co-op house in college, and it was educational, but I wouldnít do it again, at this point in my life.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Briarly on October 13, 2018, 04:59:39 AM
We live where my partner works- in an apartment in a dorm in a boarding school. Itís free. The gym is free, dining hall is free, toilet paper is free, laundry is free, the driveway is plowed. Itís better than people think it is.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: joonifloofeefloo on October 13, 2018, 07:55:55 AM
Awesome, Briarly!!!! Love stuff like that :)

Mrs.Piano, your story is adorable!
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: ixtap on October 13, 2018, 09:21:05 AM
My husband is in his mid 30s and has never lived alone. However, his first abode out of college was a five bedroom house with one roommate, two at most over the years.

One of my first 'apartments' was an old motel. They had not done anything to convert it, the hotplate was in the floor. I have lived in two garage conversions, neither done properly. In the first, you could see daylight between the top of the walls and the eaves, you had to walk through the bedroom to get to the kitchen...but at least it was a two car garage. The second was a one car garage, with a hot plate and a microwave, but the electrical system couldn't run the microwave. Dishes done in the bathroom sink. And the owner was still storing stuff in the garage. I once lived in an old bank. Proper kitchen, but the building itself was maybe ten feet off the railroad tracks.

I once house sat for a semester during a professor's sabbatical.

I recently live in a 39' sailboat for four years and hope to be back aboard in two years, cruising. In the meantime, we are living in the only residential development in the middle of a business park which houses the city's biggest employer and many more. Most of the businesses have really nice green spaces for their employees and the only one that is fenced off is my husband's employer, so we have access. Ironically, it is also the only one  that is used on the weekends because of the gym and pool. We have a terraced waterfall across the street, with rocking chairs on each terrace. The security guard just waves when we spend a Sunday afternoon at our private oasis. We also have a roommate so that the experience doesn't set back our savings goals. We considered living in a van, but it is technically illegal here and  the harrassment that van dwellers describe didn't sound conducive to relaxation.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: secondchance on October 13, 2018, 01:48:24 PM
I moved to NYC in May and fell into an "intentional community" of ~12 people across 3 apartments.  We are roommates who choose to live like family.

There are several such communities in NYC -- we have potlucks every month!  Ganas is fascinating, I keep meaning to make it out there for a dinner.  (The OG intentional community on Staten Island)

My favorite part is that there's communal food (vegan basics only) across all three kitchens.  You get charged for 1/12 of everyone else's groceries ($60 - $100 a month).  If you don't want to pay cash, you can just go buy $60 of groceries YOU want and charge them back to the house.  Someone's always eating or cooking and there's basically no food waste.  You can have personal food but I rarely bother.

It feels like getting away with something.  Imagine having your own personal washer and dryer, movie projector, backyard, grill, smoker, clothes drying rack, kiddie pool, two dishwashers ... for ~$1k/mo.  There are always people to take care of you when you're sick or have a beer with you on the porch.

I was scared to move back to NYC but this sorta makes up for it.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: joonifloofeefloo on October 13, 2018, 02:47:52 PM
Imagine having...

I needn't imagine it, I've lived it :)    The more structured one was $1200/mo for our (three-bedroom, self-contained) unit. I liked some of the people a whole heckuva lot...but others made it horrible on balance. No extra BBQ or potluck could make up for what we had to deal with in their behaviours. I left after a couple of years. The less structured ones were $150/mo-$300/mo and I loved those -one slightly concerning person, but he was always kept in check by the awesomeness of the rest.

The characters involved -and collective responses to each- will make or break these arrangements, much like any neighbourhood/collective.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: chasingthegoodlife on October 13, 2018, 04:28:50 PM
I’ve lived in employer provided apartment at my work (pub, hunting lodge) and lived in a six person dorm while working. Both were good choices for that time of my life.

Right now (starting a family) single family home is the best choice for us but I hope to move to more communal living again when I’m older.

As a social introvert I need to get the right balance - working closely with people all day in my job (social worker) and interacting with my husband is enough human contact right now.

When I’m older and a bit less mobile (and likely a widow, as my husband is a lot older than me) I’d love to live in an apartment with my own bedroom/bathroom/living and shared spaces for cooking/socialising/making art/gardening. I have seen and visited spaces like this and I think they’d suit me very well. Of course as Jooni says, the resident mix can make or break it.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Spudd on October 13, 2018, 05:21:13 PM
I don't know if this counts as alternative, but we bought a commercial building downtown in a small town. The main floor is a coffee shop (our tenant) and we live upstairs in the apartment. It's a very small building, that's all there is to it - just one storefront and one apartment.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: TomTX on October 14, 2018, 09:46:22 AM
We had a neighbor who lived in a converted  10' X 10' Tuff Shed on 5 acres she owned. She poured a concrete pad to put it on, and had to install a regular septic system and connect to the local water system, but the area had no size requirements for housing. She insulated the shed and had a small bathroom and efficiency kitchen, and had flowers in window boxes. It looked very cute. A tiny house, but not as portable.

I just looked up Tuff Sheds - those things are super cute! It does seem like minimum size requirements are the real thorn in the side of tiny houses. I can only hope that over time the generational shift will lead to people electing local politicians who will make changes to those bylaws/codes/rules/whatever.

I honestly don't even understand why it's a thing. Could someone with knowledge on the topic explain why minimum housing size is even a thing?

Zoning laws, which often have their roots in racism/classicism/separation. With a dash of "larger houses bring in more tax revenue"

Which is dumb, because some of the most valuable real estate is in older cities with very mixed building.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: TomTX on October 14, 2018, 09:54:24 AM
I don't know if this counts as alternative, but we bought a commercial building downtown in a small town. The main floor is a coffee shop (our tenant) and we live upstairs in the apartment. It's a very small building, that's all there is to it - just one storefront and one apartment.

That sounds lovely.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: TomTX on October 14, 2018, 09:55:18 AM
Friend bought 3 acres in Hawaii and got permitted to build a nice house and a small garage with a little room upstairs. She built the garage first and lived in it for several years. I don't think she ever intended to build the house.

Apparently at least two people have done this:

http://www.snugshack.com/housekeeper-builds-tiny-home-big-island-hawaii-spoiler-alert-two-car-garage/
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Shane on October 14, 2018, 01:47:59 PM
Friend bought 3 acres in Hawaii and got permitted to build a nice house and a small garage with a little room upstairs. She built the garage first and lived in it for several years. I don't think she ever intended to build the house.

Apparently at least two people have done this:

http://www.snugshack.com/housekeeper-builds-tiny-home-big-island-hawaii-spoiler-alert-two-car-garage/

In 2016 we sold our primary residence on the Big Island of Hawaii and spent 2 years traveling around the world. Since August 1, 2018, we're back in our old neighborhood on the BI, basically housesitting for a landlord who travels a lot for work and family obligations and therefore doesn't have the time to maintain the property. The big house we're living in has three completely separate units with separate entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. In exchange for ~15 hours of work/week cutting grass, pulling weeds, etc, we've got a free small apartment in a great location.

On the Kona (west) side of the island we've got two adjacent 1 acre parcels in a remote, off-grid subdivision. We've joked about building a tiny home and living on our land, but that's not very practical for us at this point in our lives. Pretty sure the one acre lots we've got are selling for only ~$6500 each, right now. For somebody who was into living in a tiny home, and didn't mind having to set up an off grid power system and accessing the internet by a satellite or cellular connection, it might be a good option...
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: joonifloofeefloo on October 14, 2018, 01:55:37 PM
For somebody who was into living in a tiny home, and didn't mind having to set up an off grid power system and accessing the internet by a satellite or cellular connection, it might be a good option...

Someone from my life did exactly that (in that area) a couple of years ago. It's working great!
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: TomTX on October 14, 2018, 03:08:16 PM
Friend bought 3 acres in Hawaii and got permitted to build a nice house and a small garage with a little room upstairs. She built the garage first and lived in it for several years. I don't think she ever intended to build the house.

Apparently at least two people have done this:

http://www.snugshack.com/housekeeper-builds-tiny-home-big-island-hawaii-spoiler-alert-two-car-garage/

In 2016 we sold our primary residence on the Big Island of Hawaii and spent 2 years traveling around the world. Since August 1, 2018, we're back in our old neighborhood on the BI, basically housesitting for a landlord who travels a lot for work and family obligations and therefore doesn't have the time to maintain the property. The big house we're living in has three completely separate units with separate entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. In exchange for ~15 hours of work/week cutting grass, pulling weeds, etc, we've got a free small apartment in a great location.

On the Kona (west) side of the island we've got two adjacent 1 acre parcels in a remote, off-grid subdivision. We've joked about building a tiny home and living on our land, but that's not very practical for us at this point in our lives. Pretty sure the one acre lots we've got are selling for only ~$6500 each, right now. For somebody who was into living in a tiny home, and didn't mind having to set up an off grid power system and accessing the internet by a satellite or cellular connection, it might be a good option...

We love the Big Island. Except for the vog, which was far worse Kona side than in Hilo when we went this year. Paid for almost the entire trip on churned points (big exceptions being food and gas.) We've discussed it as a possible retirement location, though we would need to figure out affordable housing.

If you don't mind me asking - how far upslope are your Kona plots?
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Aunt Petunia on October 14, 2018, 04:19:52 PM
I don't know if this counts as alternative, but we bought a commercial building downtown in a small town. The main floor is a coffee shop (our tenant) and we live upstairs in the apartment. It's a very small building, that's all there is to it - just one storefront and one apartment.

That sounds lovely.

My mom grew up in a building like that but they were renting: my grandparents ran a deli on the main floor, they lived on the second floor, and the landlady lived on the third floor.

I'm not sure if this counts as alternative but my SIL and three of her kids are staying with us for a while, so we have eight people in a three bedroom house. We are not charging them rent because the intention is for them to find a place of their own. 
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: Shane on October 14, 2018, 05:35:23 PM
Friend bought 3 acres in Hawaii and got permitted to build a nice house and a small garage with a little room upstairs. She built the garage first and lived in it for several years. I don't think she ever intended to build the house.

Apparently at least two people have done this:

http://www.snugshack.com/housekeeper-builds-tiny-home-big-island-hawaii-spoiler-alert-two-car-garage/

In 2016 we sold our primary residence on the Big Island of Hawaii and spent 2 years traveling around the world. Since August 1, 2018, we're back in our old neighborhood on the BI, basically housesitting for a landlord who travels a lot for work and family obligations and therefore doesn't have the time to maintain the property. The big house we're living in has three completely separate units with separate entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. In exchange for ~15 hours of work/week cutting grass, pulling weeds, etc, we've got a free small apartment in a great location.

On the Kona (west) side of the island we've got two adjacent 1 acre parcels in a remote, off-grid subdivision. We've joked about building a tiny home and living on our land, but that's not very practical for us at this point in our lives. Pretty sure the one acre lots we've got are selling for only ~$6500 each, right now. For somebody who was into living in a tiny home, and didn't mind having to set up an off grid power system and accessing the internet by a satellite or cellular connection, it might be a good option...

We love the Big Island. Except for the vog, which was far worse Kona side than in Hilo when we went this year. Paid for almost the entire trip on churned points (big exceptions being food and gas.) We've discussed it as a possible retirement location, though we would need to figure out affordable housing.

If you don't mind me asking - how far upslope are your Kona plots?

@TomTX Our lots are near the very top of the HOVE subdivision at around 4K' elevation. HOVE is about 50 miles south of Kailua-Kona. Apparently, there are many people who commute from there to work in Kailua Kona and the South Kohala resorts, further to the north. It's a long drive, though.

Compared to when we first arrived back on the island in August, the Kona Side had beautiful clear blue skies when we visited just a few days ago. The difference in vog levels was dramatic, compared to just a couple of months ago.

Like you, we prefer Hilo Side to Kona. The only reason we've got those lots in HOVE is because they were given to us by a friend. If I didn't think it would hurt our friend's feelings, I'd sell the lots today, as we're probably never going to use them, and it's not worth it to me to pay the taxes and road maintenance fees to keep them...
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: TomTX on October 14, 2018, 06:42:48 PM
@TomTX Our lots are near the very top of the HOVE subdivision at around 4K' elevation. HOVE is about 50 miles south of Kailua-Kona. Apparently, there are many people who commute from there to work in Kailua Kona and the South Kohala resorts, further to the north. It's a long drive, though.

Compared to when we first arrived back on the island in August, the Kona Side had beautiful clear blue skies when we visited just a few days ago. The difference in vog levels was dramatic, compared to just a couple of months ago.

Like you, we prefer Hilo Side to Kona. The only reason we've got those lots in HOVE is because they were given to us by a friend. If I didn't think it would hurt our friend's feelings, I'd sell the lots today, as we're probably never going to use them, and it's not worth it to me to pay the taxes and road maintenance fees to keep them...

Well, I did some poking around - I see several 1 acre lots for sale in HOVE around 4k feet for around $4k. Some of them even have trees ;)

Best of luck with that - unless you expect to use them someday, I suggest gifting them forward.

Anyway - yes, we prefer Hilo side. I miss the Keaau farmer's market - especially the little food truck/restaurants. Fabulous banana lumpia. I know that the actual fruit/vegetable stalls moved a few blocks over.
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: JanetJackson on October 16, 2018, 08:47:10 AM
Well heck, I really thought I had posted on this thread before, but I guess I haven't.

I've moved a lot, and had some unique living situations, not all of which were pleasant, but all of which have bolstered me ahead in life in one way or another... whether that meant keeping me from having to go to a shelter, learning to save more money, or on to eventually saving 50% of my income... it's been a journey, that's for sure.


So, now that I got that run-on sentence out of the way:


> $500 camper in the rear of a friends property. 
No plumbing, only electric, so I'd access the basement woodshop bathroom for toileting needs (disturbed the house the least) and I'd shower at the gym every morning after my workout and before the workday.  This worked ok, but there was mold in my camper and it eventually made me pretty sick.  Sold it after about 6 months for $800.

> Unfinished basement:

 ...while working on the finishing for the homeowner to keep my rent at $200/month.  This was exhausting while working full time +, but helped me save some money for about 6 months.

> A very large laundry room in what I would call a 'nerd frat house': 
It was six 20-something dudes living in a two bedroom apartment. They had the two bedrooms split into twos with accordion rolling walls, they had someone living on the enclosed porch, and someone who slept on the couch in the living room.  I lived in the laundry room and they let me hang a bunch of shelves and racks to make it functional.  I rolled my bed up each morning and used a pulley to lift it up to the high ceilings for storage.  I paid $200/mo (maybe it was $150?  Hard to remember) all inclusive and they came in ONLY while I was at work on Tuesdays or Thursdays to do their laundry.  I lasted about 4 months.

> Split level house on a small horse farm that was separated into an upper home and a bottom home- both honestly really gorgeous. 
I lived in the bottom with a roommate.  He and I alternated mucking the stalls, since I was an early bird, I did the 5am and he'd do the afternoon, we'd alternate evenings depending on weather.  We'd do other work on the farm in exchange for a rent of $900 split for the bottom level.  Honestly, it was worth that much, but I found after about a year that I didn't need that level of luxury and I looked for another place.  I still keep in touch with that roommate, he was a CHARACTER.  Lol.

> Barn apartment: 
This was on a small compound in the countryside about 30 minutes outside of the city.  It was an unfinished apartment above an old red barn on the property.  He offered me a cheap rate in exchange for some work and for being able to work on the apartment a weekend or so a month so that he could make some money while he was finishing it.  Once it was finished he wanted to charge a lot more for it.  It was a great place, but he was just a little too doomsday prepper-ish while also a bit crunchy and flakey for me and was always doing some kind of WEIRD project that blocked the driveway when I needed to get to work, or randomly cut the heat to work on something without warning me in late Feb., etc. etc. I think I was there for a year?

> The Garden Shed:
I lived for almost two years in a shed that had been converted into a 'Party Shack' by a former homeowner... the new homeowners had no idea what to do with it, but it had plumbing, and an ok bathroom, so they put it on Craigslist with a horrible description and no photo.  I went anyways and brought some mace while doing the "in" text that I do with my friends when I'm going into a sketchy situation.  They know if I haven't texted "Out" indicating that I'm done.. to call the police or someone else to help me.
...Anyway, it was pretty ok!  It was a small suburban yard, but it was in the back of the property and had all the things I needed.  The kitchen was in a closet, and I worked on it a lot to make it work- lots of high shelves, ceiling racks, and a single burner electric range.  After a month or so, I got the owners to spring for a big convection toaster oven, which made the kitchen complete.  It had an ungodly huge fridge in the apartment, so I used the extra space to store things... I had socks in the fridge in the summer- it felt so good to put them on!  After about 6 months I started walking their dog for a $50 discount in rent.  I think I paid $400 for that place, and it was my own structure/no roommates.  I even grew some tomatoes in pots around the shed.  I eventually moved to a farm that would offer me a room for $200.

> Another farm:
I lived in a converted den with a fold down bed at another small farm outside of the city.  She offered me $200 all included, but I eventually got pretty weird vibes from her and moved out after about 6 months. 

> A studio apartment with a dude who was really into marksmanship and did weird unloaded gun drills all the time.  LOL. 
This was in a great location, and we split the studio, as it was a loft.  He kept most of his weird stuff in his upstairs area and I slept on a futon that doubled as the living room sofa.  About a year there.

> Current:
A modified garage apartment on a farm on the OTHER end of the city limits (but closer to downtown, where I work most).  I run a pet sitting/dog walking company and I had been referred to this family to care for their farm (goats, pigs, sheep, a horse, chickens, barn cats, dogs, etc) a few times over the holidays.  One time they offered to put me up during my farm sitting (I had previously just commuted out to their place 2-3x/day) and showed me that they had a mother-in-law apartment in what had looked like their garage.  It was nice.  A mostly normal sized bathroom, windows, a real stove.
After that stay, and at my next visit to care for their farm while they were on a weekend trip, I asked if they'd ever considered renting it.  They said they'd thought about Air BnB, but didn't want the 'job' of turning over guests, etc.  I offered to move in for a month, as a trial, to see if they minded someone living on their property... I offered a background check to them (I have one on file anyways for pet sitting, since I go into peoples homes), showed them my credit score, and gave them a few references.  I've been there 10 months now.  I don't help with the farm unless I want to.  I pay $400 all included.

------------------------------------

.... I know there are quite a few odd living situations I am forgetting here, and some that weren't odd at all (govt. housing, general cheap apartments, general rooms for rent that weren't that weird, but also not great financial deals, etc. etc.).


I am looking forward to someday soon-ish having a fairly normal living situation.  Ha. <3
Title: Re: Alternative Living Arrangements Discussion
Post by: magnet18 on October 16, 2018, 11:18:25 AM
DW and I currently live tinyhouse/RV

It's a 31' 1983 Airstream Motorhome, we love it
I'm having a blast fixing it up and getting it ready for winter. Installing a woodstove soon.

The moeny spent fixing it up is currently (more than) offsetting the rent savings, but it wasnt that way over the summer and I'm hopeful that once the winter mods are done, we'll be back to taking advantage of the COL savings