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Haleth's avatar

Where can I learn about non-traditional homes?

Asked by Haleth (19538points) November 4th, 2015

And have any jellies ever lived in one? I’m curious about tiny houses, boats/ houseboats, trailers, communal living, and anything else that is not a typical house or a rental. After googling and reading on the internet, what is the next step to learn about these?

I’m in my late 20s and renting a small apartment with friends. For many people this age, the next step is to save for a down payment and buy a house with a 30-year mortgage. Tuition and home price are increasing relative to income, and people in my generation are struggling with student loans. It just seems like a recipe to be in debt and chained to a desk your whole life.

I will probably try to buy a small, older home in an area with a lower cost of living. But just for funsies, what does the collective know about this stuff?

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15 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I researched tiny homes for fun about a year ago. There was a movie about it. After running the numbers the cost per square foot was something like 4 times the price of purchasing a new home! Like high heels, they look great and, at first blush, appear to be fun but, they simply are not very practical.

A retired friend of mine recently sold his home and bought a used monster diesel motorhome,.38’ or 40’, for about $60,000 in perfect condition. One person can live in it easily. He moves around the country staying at camp grounds or friends’ properties plugging in to water and electricity. He stays at my place ~ 3 weeks every year . We love it!

janbb's avatar

I joined a meet-up in the San Francisco Bay area that is for people interested in co-housing. So far I haven’t been out there to attend any meetings but there might be a similar meet-up where you live to find others interested in exploration. “Alternative housing” might be the heading to search meet-up for.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I bought a mobile home when I was going to grad school in Santa Fe, NM. It was perfect. No complaints. I was able to buy it, so my only expense was the lot rental, which was very cheap 20 years ago. There were the normal utilities. We had one child when we bought it, and another came along a few years later.

It had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. It was honestly very comfortable. We liked it.

funkdaddy's avatar

Around here there are a few tiny home manufacturers that have a site with “demo homes” (not sure what else to call them) you can check out. Even if you didn’t want to buy one from them, it was fun walking through and seeing some of the ideas. There might be something similar near you.

We also have a “tiny home tour” where people who have tiny homes open them up for one day and let a group of folks come through. I didn’t go, so can’t say how it went, but thought it was neat idea.

I lived in a 40’ travel trailer for several years when I was preschool age. Really I didn’t know anything different, so it was fine, but I don’t think I’d recommend it unless you had an awesome spot or truly wanted to travel with your home. It’s not very homey and I think it’s hard to find a good long term spot without buying the land.

I have an aunt and uncle who have lived in some awesome locations without spending huge amounts of money. Their formula seems to be spend the money on the land, buy a used mobile home shell, strip it completely and make it into something they love. Hard to argue with being able to live on a riverside in rural Oregon or on a cliffside in Hawaii without millions. It fits them and they work hard to make it work.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Dwell magazine, here’s one article. There are more on the website.

I lived in a tenement in college with a roommate. It was tiny just over 500 square feet.

CWOTUS's avatar

In my younger days I lived in a 28’ travel trailer for a little over two years, in North Carolina, Florida and then Oregon.

The best way to learn about “alternative housing” is to try it, I think. When I was younger I had looked forward to living on a boat full-time at some point in my life, but now, though I still love the idea of sailing as much as ever, I’m too lazy to actually do it. And the idea of having my entire home at risk every time I left the marina makes me pause, too.

Seek's avatar

Tiny houses seem like a ton of work. It must be incredibly expensive to have all of your itty bitty furniture custom-built for your itty bitty living/dining/office/bedroom.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Seek True tiny houses have everything built-in and custom made. It is like the dining room table on a RV that drops down, for the cushions to be put on and . . . it’s a bed.

marinelife's avatar

I recommend HGTV. They have shows on tiny houses and other alternative lifestyles.

msh's avatar

When purchasing a home of any size or make, please keep in mind to have the finaces above the usual monthly bills for any maintenance, repairs, replacements, updates, and charges for those who may do the work. (Unless they work for pizza and beverages.)
Just making monthly bills and payments plus the mortgage, or the like, will not cover what you may need to successfully ‘own your own’ with minimumal stress and worry.
It’s a great feeling, enjoy ownership!

Judi's avatar

I live off grid although a person who does yoga seminars at my house calls it “A Luxury Eco Estate” on her promotional material. It’s not a first time home buyer type of house that’s for sure, but if my husband would consider it (and he wouldn’t) it would make one hell of a commune.
Living off grid comfortably is expensive. Our battery bank alone was over 20K. If you’re willing to rough it and keep the lights and electrical appliances to a minimum, and manage when you do things it could be a lot more affordable (and getting more so all the time.) If I were young with few obligations I would consider an off grid tiny house. Just make sure you have good access to water. I know people who have to have all their water delivered. That doesn’t sound like fun to me.

Here2_4's avatar

You said funsies. This is some expensive stuff here, but unusual, cool, and available.
http://realestate.aol.com/blog/gallery/weirdest-homes-in-america-unique-homes-for-sale/#!fullscreen&slide=878957

Here2_4's avatar

Check Slovakia for inexpensive, small, mobile living.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6jbJwckH7o

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Judi I love that title “Luxury Eco Estate”. I’ve seen the pix and hope that thhe spare bedroom is still available. :-)
I’d even do a Dept of Energy, Argonne National Labs based analysis for you. Free!

Judi's avatar

Anytime @LuckyGuy ! You and Hubbs would get along great since you’re both McGyver types.

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