Author Topic: Alternatives to traditional housing?  (Read 7384 times)

writergirl

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Alternatives to traditional housing?
« on: May 31, 2014, 03:13:31 PM »
What are some lodging alternatives to the traditional house, condo, or apartment? Our goal is not to have a mortgage. We're a family of four. My husband and I are in our late 30s and we have six month old twins. We live in South Florida.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 05:36:36 AM by writergirl »

nereo

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 03:29:19 PM »
hmm... I'm always a bit skeptical when someone with only 2 posts asks a question.. but i just can't resist

A few things that pop into my head that I've either done or known people who have lived this way:
caretaker, (for vacation properties, on industrial sites, etc)
living in a winneabego/rv
crewing on live-aboard boats (cooks are always needed, and no seamanship is required)
merchant marine / sea sampler
perma-camping.
working for national parks/forestry service
shepherd (seriously, my friend did this immediately after college, and was only ~50 miles outside San Francisco)




oinkette

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 03:37:27 PM »
I don't see what the problem is with having only two posts and asking a question. We all have to start somewhere. One of the reasons I have held back so long I sip that it can sometimes seem a bit cliquish-ly intimidating here.

But to answer your question, it depends on what you mean by alternatives. I have a friend who lives on a boat. Another lives with their parents. Another is living for free in a house his (wealthy) sister bought while he restores it. I also just met a guy who had free room and board on a cruise ship for a year. None of these is "traditional."

What you are looking for is out there, you just have to be creative about it.

Lans Holman

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 04:12:46 PM »
I know some folks who are live in night managers for a retirement community.  Free apartment and meals and I think health insurance.  They answer the phones at night, respond to the occasional emergency, put out the coffee in the morning.  Pretty sweet gig.

MoneyCat

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 10:07:34 PM »
I spent two years living in a rented room I found over Craigslist.  I rented the room and shared a kitchen and bathroom with two other renters and I was able to use the savings toward a down payment on the house I live in now.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2014, 03:20:24 AM »
I don't see what the problem is with having only two posts and asking a question. We all have to start somewhere. One of the reasons I have held back so long I sip that it can sometimes seem a bit cliquish-ly intimidating here.

I think because often people get really excited and start asking questions that have been asked many times before without searching for them.

If you live in a university area you could look into being a house mom/dad for a fraternity/sorority/co-op. They typically are required to have one by the university. Ours got a free 1 bedroom apartment in the house that was pretty private with utilities included. They were responsible for mailing the checks every month for the utilities and insurance. They also got 2 meals a day during the week. They were not a part of the fraternity (one of ours was a woman) and didnt participate in any of the activities. They also typically have a full time cook. That is a full time job, but you could probably get a free room out of it as well in most places.

our house got pretty crazy most nights, but the apartment was a bit out of the way so didnt really effect them too much. It might be a fun experience especially if you are a bit younger.

writergirl

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 05:34:29 AM »
Thanks for these suggestions, everyone. I'm new on this board. I recently found out about this site and I'm excited to learn from others. I edited my original post to provide more information.

We are a family of four with the goal of spending more time together as a family. One way to get us there is by eliminating our mortgage payments. This prompted my question for alternatives to traditional housing. The ideas that seem most fitting for our situation are tiny houses or yurts. I'd love other suggestions too please.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 05:53:09 AM »
Fraternity might not be the best idea then

Daleth

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 07:29:42 AM »
My vote would be for buying a duplex or triplex, living in one unit and renting out the other(s). When you search local real estate websites, search for multifamily housing and see what's available. If you're willing to consider a tiny house or yurt, you will have no problem living in a 2BR/1ba while renting out one or two other units, which widens the range of properties you can consider buying--if you "needed" 3-4 BR the pool of available properties would be much smaller.

This could easily eliminate your mortgage payment or at least reduce it to a trivial amount, and it has a couple of additional benefits:

- Other people (your tenants) are buying a house for you, so building your assets

- You get a lot of control over who your immediate neighbors are (buy a cute place in a decent location to have your pick of tenants, then run credit and criminal background checks on applicants)

- Your kids grow up with front-row seats to the business you're running (landlording), which I happen to think is good for kids; I grew up in a parent's business and think it taught me a lot of useful life skills.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 07:33:56 AM by Daleth »

CarDude

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 07:32:45 AM »
Thanks for these suggestions, everyone. I'm new on this board. I recently found out about this site and I'm excited to learn from others. I edited my original post to provide more information.

We are a family of four with the goal of spending more time together as a family. One way to get us there is by eliminating our mortgage payments. This prompted my question for alternatives to traditional housing. The ideas that seem most fitting for our situation are tiny houses or yurts. I'd love other suggestions too please.

Welcome to the forum! I think it's wonderful that you four are working to have more time with each other, which is, after all, one of the most precious things in life (along with health and happiness). I think the tiny house option is a great one and well worth considering. I've often thought of converting a Lowe's shed into a livable space...good luck!

nereo

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 08:05:12 AM »
I don't see what the problem is with having only two posts and asking a question. We all have to start somewhere. One of the reasons I have held back so long I sip that it can sometimes seem a bit cliquish-ly intimidating here.
First, for the answer given earlier (new posters often don't see if the question has been asked, and/or haven't been around long enough.
Also, because I've seen lots of first-time people ask a question and then never return to the discussion.  They come across the forum, register and post a question the same day, then quickly get bored and leave.
Thankfully, this doesn't seem to apply to writergirl. 
If a person posts a question without ever having participated in a forum discussion before, i'm a bit skeptical that they'll stick around.  That's what I meant.

totoro

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 08:12:25 AM »
I don't see what the problem is with having only two posts and asking a question. We all have to start somewhere. One of the reasons I have held back so long I sip that it can sometimes seem a bit cliquish-ly intimidating here.
First, for the answer given earlier (new posters often don't see if the question has been asked, and/or haven't been around long enough.
Also, because I've seen lots of first-time people ask a question and then never return to the discussion.  They come across the forum, register and post a question the same day, then quickly get bored and leave.
Thankfully, this doesn't seem to apply to writergirl. 
If a person posts a question without ever having participated in a forum discussion before, i'm a bit skeptical that they'll stick around.  That's what I meant.

I look at it a bit differently.  The comments on posts have a lot of value for me.  I don't mind if the OP drops out most of the time.

totoro

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 08:13:08 AM »
My vote would be for buying a duplex or triplex, living in one unit and renting out the other(s). When you search local real estate websites, search for multifamily housing and see what's available. If you're willing to consider a tiny house or yurt, you will have no problem living in a 2BR/1ba while renting out one or two other units, which widens the range of properties you can consider buying--if you "needed" 3-4 BR the pool of available properties would be much smaller.

This could easily eliminate your mortgage payment or at least reduce it to a trivial amount, and it has a couple of additional benefits:

- Other people (your tenants) are buying a house for you, so building your assets

- You get a lot of control over who your immediate neighbors are (buy a cute place in a decent location to have your pick of tenants, then run credit and criminal background checks on applicants)

- Your kids grow up with front-row seats to the business you're running (landlording), which I happen to think is good for kids; I grew up in a parent's business and think it taught me a lot of useful life skills.

+1

We do this (duplex plus carriage house) and it works great.

nereo

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2014, 08:15:13 AM »
Thanks for these suggestions, everyone. I'm new on this board. I recently found out about this site and I'm excited to learn from others. I edited my original post to provide more information.

We are a family of four with the goal of spending more time together as a family. One way to get us there is by eliminating our mortgage payments. This prompted my question for alternatives to traditional housing. The ideas that seem most fitting for our situation are tiny houses or yurts. I'd love other suggestions too please.
Welcome writergirl.  First, a note on forum etiquette.  Whenever you edit your post (by clicking "modify") it's very helpful if you don't erase any of your previous text but instead simply add "EDIT: ______" and make any necessary changes below your original text.  THis way new readers to the threat understand the discussion a bit better, and don't wonder why the first few responses seem to address a completely different question.  Changing typos directly in the text seems to be ok.

Given your new information, the yurt and RV options sound like they could work for you, but if you are handy another option may be to buy and live in seriously distressed properties and renovating them while living there.  It's not exactly "rent free" but it gives you time to work on them with very low rent.  Sometimes you can even find renovation projects that were abandoned mid-project. 
The keys to this strategy is that you need to be able to do basic renovations and you need to be able to live in places perpetually covered in sawdust or paint, etc.  Once they are finished you either sell or rent them out, moving into your next fix-er-up project.

phred

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 09:52:13 AM »
Lots of houses are closed up for the summer as Snowbirds fly home.  See if you can get a summer caretaking position to prevent empty houses being broken into.  Try Palm Beach, Jupiter Island, Hutchinson Island for a start.  If the grounds have a separate caretaker's cottage, you can probably stay thru winter as well if your gardening skills are any good.

Otherwise, winter hosting at any of several campgrounds including Everglades Nat'l Park.  Then, in summer, repeat the estate sitting.

Workamper News lists many of these jobs.  One applies, spouse helps out when done with regular job

writergirl

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2014, 10:35:15 AM »
The yurt or the tiny house are probably the most realistic choices for us. If we did either option, would we need to buy land to build it on? Would we need $$ to buy the land, then pay $$ to build a yurt or tiny house on that land? We probably can't get much if we sell our house. Maybe around $10,000. The other money we have is in bonds, stocks, and 401k.

Another idea is to consider building it on my parents-in-law land behind their house if it's ok with them. They own about two acres. I'm not sure if the city or county would allow it. Yet another idea is to build it behind a vacation property our family owns and rents out. There's a decent size land back there. Again, we'd need to check with the county to determine if they'd allow us to do that.

Any thoughts on these points?

writergirl

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2014, 10:44:02 AM »
Thank you for welcoming me to the forum.

I'll mention the multi family unit idea to my husband so we can talk about it. I like the money generating part. I don't like the landlording part too much though. Along a similar line, an option we have is to rent out the house we're living in now to make us some $$. We'd need to figure out where to go. Maybe a tiny house or yurt like I mentioned in a previous post.

Taking care of snowbirds' houses is an interesting idea....


phred

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2014, 12:08:15 PM »
if you're in "civilized" south Florida, forget the yurt.  Zoning won't allow it.  On the other hand, if you move into the swamps, you can put up any ol' thing.  Just be careful of the phythons

If you can do really high tech work, some places will let you keep your luxurious motorhome behind their building.  The emphasis is on high-dollar luxurious (or at least the appearance of).

writergirl

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Re: Alternatives to traditional housing?
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2014, 03:03:37 PM »
phred - good point. My parents-in-law's house is in between city and rural, leaning more towards rural. The decision could go either way. Good idea to check with zoning.