Alternative Housing Arrangements

How to avoid signing your life over to a mortgage
polaran
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:07 pm

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by polaran » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:19 pm

I went from renting a room in a house to living in an RV in a mobile home park about 3 months ago. Compared to my previous living situation, it may end up being a wash financially or even costing me more. As somebody who prefers living alone, though, it's a pretty significant cost savings compared to an apartment in the area. I went from paying $500-600/month for rent/utilities in a small house shared with 2 roommates, 3 dogs and a cat, to ~$250/month for lot rent/electricity/internet to live alone (+1 dog) in a used 5th wheel trailer that I paid $6000 for. This is in a college town that has a price bubble due to relatively low availability of housing. YMMV based on the specific city you're looking at, its zoning laws, and its climate.

So far, I like it. I put a few hundred dollars and many hours into some necessary repairs and maintenance on the trailer in the first month after purchasing it. I've had a lot of fun building my own DIY/general handiwork skills working on a home where I'm not afraid to mess things up. The one I bought is large and has a better layout than many apartments I've been in, but a lot of RVs prioritize sleeping large numbers of people vs maximizing functional space for 1-2 people to live in full time. There are some downsides - if any of the major appliances failed, I'd have to choose between spending for a replacement in a trailer that isn't really worth dumping much money into or finding a different living situation quickly. I've had mostly nice weather (temperatures 50s - mid 90s, occasional light rain) and may change my tune after my first winter in it. I'd prefer and be willing to pay more to have it on somebody's land rather than in a trailer park, but local zoning laws disallow that here. I've also encountered some judgement from family and coworkers about choosing to live in a trailer but don't really care enough for that to be a deterrent.

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 568
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by bryan » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:24 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awwZ7N07w4w minimal van build. Excellent idea of having the bed/storage frame removable like that. (sprinter ad)


User avatar
bryan
Posts: 568
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by bryan » Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:15 pm

Well, LA is still fighting against sleeping in vehicles: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d28cd373 ... near-homes

James_0011
Posts: 215
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:00 am

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by James_0011 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:46 am

C40 wrote:The examples I read/hear about that are the most appealing to me are ones where a person lives on the property of another person for free in exchange for a small amount of work. Sometimes the "work" is as simple as just being around to keep an eye on the property. Jennypenny recently shared a good example on another thread:
jennypenny wrote:....Look for alternative arrangements. An older woman I know has a twenty-something guy living in the apartment over her garage. He has a regular full-time job, but he also does what she calls "husband" stuff for her on the weekend-- cuts the grass, rakes the leaves, cleans the gutters -- in exchange for the free apartment. And I think she feels safer with a guy nearby..
Lookup something called the "caretaker gazette" it cost money to view, but it's essentially a directory of people looking have have others live in their house and take care of it in exchange for a room.

If I can get a remote job, I plan on bouncing from woofing location to woofing location. Free room and board + I get to travel.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 1702
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by C40 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:20 pm

bryan wrote:Well, LA is still fighting against sleeping in vehicles: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d28cd373 ... near-homes
Whatever the law happens to be, you can make it very easy to sleep in a vehicle. A car would be difficult, but for people living in vans, we can set them up so any windows appear totally black (as if it's dark and empty inside) to anyone except for super interested/nosy people who might try to shine a flashlight through a window (in which case they'd see that the window is blocked by something. Either case, they can't see you inside. Living in a van in residential areas does basically require you to move the van often, but you should be doing that whether it's legal or not just to be nice to the people living there.

These laws are primarily a method to clear out people who park their van in one spot and leave it there for many many days, who put trash on the ground nearby, who do hard drugs in/near their van, who look like dirty bums, etc (People who will, if left there, sink the surrounding property values very quickly). The laws are probably not aimed at preventing people like me (or you?) from sleeping in a van. The only way to truly enforce these laws appears to be to make it entirely illegal to park on the streets overnight. I've seen some small towns along the CA coast that have done this. Every block has a few signs saying ~"No parking 1-4am except for vehicles with residence permits". That works, but I imagine it's also a pain in the ass for the people who live there as well and get a new car, a rental car, or friends come and visit. So I doubt those kind of parking restrictions will become the norm.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 1702
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by C40 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:20 pm

James_0011 wrote: Lookup something called the "caretaker gazette" it cost money to view, but it's essentially a directory of people looking have have others live in their house and take care of it in exchange for a room.
Oh cool, thanks. I have your post saved now for future reference :-D

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 568
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by bryan » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:05 pm

@C40, Not sure about LA, but in SF it is certainly motivated by home-owner/NIMBY types as well as businesses. It really grinds their gears that someone might be taking/squatting a (scarce) public parking spot; or that dwellers just aren't playing by the agreed upon societal rules. Maybe the unsightliness is also a factor (SF just banned tent-dwelling too, iirc). Most of SF has residential zones which shift the dwellers into certain parts of town. In these parts of town new signs have been popping up restricting the length and height of the parked vehicles between 12AM-6AM which obviously targets the (even stealth) dweller population. My favourite area to park in SF had such signs installed within the last couple months, forcing me away a couple blocks.

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 3806
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by Ego » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:03 pm

C40 is the stealthiest of stealth. I'm amazed at how his van becomes a sort of invisible cloak. Very well designed. He could easily park in front of someone's house and go unnoticed.

By the way, I forgot to mention that the park has free wifi throughout.
http://www.balboapark.org/info/wifi

Bundle up, it's going to be cooooold tonight.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 1702
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by C40 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:28 pm

bryan wrote:@C40, ... In these parts of town new signs have been popping up restricting the length and height of the parked vehicles between 12AM-6AM which obviously targets the (even stealth) dweller population. My favourite area to park in SF had such signs installed within the last couple months, forcing me away a couple blocks.
Ahh yeah, I did see some signs like that right along Golden Gate Park. Luckily for me, I don't like the congestion of that area (or most of San Francisco in general) or of the more packed parts of LA. And Luckily for me, so even if entire cities start doing that, in the worst case scenario, all I have to do is spend time somewhere else

Ego wrote: By the way, I forgot to mention that the park has free wifi throughout.
http://www.balboapark.org/info/wifi

Bundle up, it's going to be cooooold tonight.
Oh cool, thanks for the wifi heads up.

Heh, when 50 or 60 degrees is considered really cold somewhere, that's pretty darn nice :-D :-D

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 568
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by bryan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:26 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_ILu-R-Nz8 - convert warehouse/mixed use to hostel/short-term rentals in LA. A few unique twists and re-inventions.. Centralized management ethos/control (no snoring allowed! access over ownership), and "membership" possibilities (access to amenities if not a bed) instead of just advanced reservations. The main thing I found interesting was the murphy bed design which allows you to keep your items on your desk and fold the bed above up/down (could be improved for hostel environment to secure the items on the desk better...).

Does give me a complimentary business idea... maybe be an opportunity for the ERE community (at least the entrepreneurial folks) to form a co-op..

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 568
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Alternative Housing Arrangements

Post by bryan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:22 am

Even in the bay area artist lofts (illegal living in warehouses) can be had for cheap. You just have to convince current "artists" in the warehouse that you are a good fit. Or you can go in with friends and lease your own warehouse or commercial building and basically live there (sleep in the van to keep things legal?).

So does anyone in the Bay Area want to (investigate, if viable) form a coop to lease a warehouse where we live in our vans (ERE trailer park, basically)? PM me instead of getting too far off topic. Just looking on craigslist there seem to be similar arrangements out there already. Containertopia, basically..

Post Reply