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"Temporary" housing  RSS feed

 
M Turf
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast Michigan
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Hello,

I own some land that i want to build on, but I can't afford to build until i sell the house i'm in. But i can't sell the house i'm in until i have somewhere to go. The local building department allows for "temporary" housing for a few years prior to construction so i'm trying to research my options since they don't really give any examples.

I have pets, so i really can't go less than 400 sq ft. I need space for the litter box!

I've checked out the Tumbleweed page (and a few other "mobile" home pages) and the mobile units aren't big enough and the cottages aren't mobile (even though they are stinking adorable!!).
I've checked out yurts, but not sure how i feel about them. They really look like tents and i question how warm they'd be in the winter. I'm in Michigan where we get decent cold weather. Does anyone here live in one? Or have lived in one?
I've checked out prefab garages with lofts above, but not sure that will qualify as "temporary" since i would make it part of the primary house when i build. (i'm waiting to hear back from the building department on this one).

Does anyone have any other suggestions for "temporary" housing that could be easily removed (the ordinance requires removal which is why i'm not sure the garage one will work) (or sold i guess) after the primary construction is completed and will make it through a snow filled winter (or two)?

Thanks,
Megan
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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With a well, septic and power pole, a camper or RV can be comfortably habitable. Used campers can be found in excellent shape for reasonable prices. Sell it when you are done or keep it for guests. At 20-30 feet or more, there should be ample room for a litter box. Just how big are these pets?
 
M Turf
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast Michigan
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There will be 3-4. One is on her way out. Don't know if she'll make the move. Aren't campers really narrow? I really don't want to go less than 400 sq feet.
 
Emily Brown
Posts: 61
Location: Maine
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Yurts are popular in Alaska so I imagine they would be fine in Michigan. There are quite a few in Maine too. They are super efficient to heat because the warm air can circulate easily and doesn't have to go round corners. They have a strong resale value as well.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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An insulated building designed to be your future garage or workshop would still be my preferred method. It can be wood or metal and had for cheap and has continued use on the homestead.

Our property had a large uninsulated metal barn already, we camped out in there. Used a couple cheap(ish) garage tents to create privacy and smaller space to heat. Barely tolerable in KS, not going to work further north without a lot of wood. Maybe if you built a rocket stove and spent most of your time on the bench.

Check your code, taxes and insurance, I really wish I did NOT have an attached garage--they count it as house sq. ft. (living space) for taxes.

As long as you don't install permanent bathroom and kitchen they usually don't think it is permanent housing
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Have you checked the market for used single wide trailers? At 14'x70', that's almost a thousand square feet, plenty of room for you and your pets. In Southern California, the place where single-wides go to die is Mexico. They are in all stages of disrepair, some needing major surgery to make sure you don't fall through the floor. Needless to say, trailers this rough are very cheap, just the kind of thing you can park somewhere for "temporary" housing and then scuttle when you have something better.

When it does come time to scuttle it, ask the local fire department if they need some practice on a trailer fire. They might take you up on it, set the thing ablaze, and then leave you with a big pile of biochar on your property.
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 89
Location: Central Maine
2
hugelkultur tiny house trees
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I am also researching temporary housing ideas. I am not allowed a mobile home of any kind on my property. I have looked into yurts, but to get one big enough for a family of four they run at least $10,000. I want my permanent house to cost less than that. We plan to build underground, but need somewhere to live while the trees we cut season. We have looked into Turtle Tough shelters, and that seems to be our best option so far, but they are rather small. Any ideas?
 
John Elliott
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Sarah Houlihan wrote:I am also researching temporary housing ideas. I am not allowed a mobile home of any kind on my property. I have looked into yurts, but to get one big enough for a family of four they run at least $10,000. I want my permanent house to cost less than that. We plan to build underground, but need somewhere to live while the trees we cut season. We have looked into Turtle Tough shelters, and that seems to be our best option so far, but they are rather small. Any ideas?


What type of outdoor living space will your permanent house have? If you are building into a hillside and plan to have a covered patio run along the front, you could build that first and that could give you enough extra space that the Turtle Tough shelter would not seem so small. Use the TT shelter for the bedroom and the covered patio becomes your living room/dining room/kitchen.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I second the rv idea. We use an ancient camper that doesn't run for guests and woofers. It's quite cozy.

Are these dedicated indoor cats?

Yurts are very nice for cold weather, I have a friend who has one in New Hampshire and uses it in ski season quite happily but they are expensive, not a cheapo quickie.
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 89
Location: Central Maine
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hugelkultur tiny house trees
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That could work. It would give some windbreak and I could potentially even start growing some vegetables there. Hopefully we will be far enough along with the house by the time winter comes that we won't miss that extra space!
 
Zachary Morris
Posts: 28
Location: Southern Oregon, 6a/6b
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M Turf wrote:Hello,

I own some land that i want to build on, but I can't afford to build until i sell the house i'm in. But i can't sell the house i'm in until i have somewhere to go. The local building department allows for "temporary" housing for a few years prior to construction so i'm trying to research my options since they don't really give any examples.

I have pets, so i really can't go less than 400 sq ft. I need space for the litter box!

I've checked out the Tumbleweed page (and a few other "mobile" home pages) and the mobile units aren't big enough and the cottages aren't mobile (even though they are stinking adorable!!).
I've checked out yurts, but not sure how i feel about them. They really look like tents and i question how warm they'd be in the winter. I'm in Michigan where we get decent cold weather. Does anyone here live in one? Or have lived in one?
I've checked out prefab garages with lofts above, but not sure that will qualify as "temporary" since i would make it part of the primary house when i build. (i'm waiting to hear back from the building department on this one).

Does anyone have any other suggestions for "temporary" housing that could be easily removed (the ordinance requires removal which is why i'm not sure the garage one will work) (or sold i guess) after the primary construction is completed and will make it through a snow filled winter (or two)?

Thanks,
Megan


I've designed a sort of a steel framed army cot using t posts and an alluminum bracketing system. With some tin roofing, a wood stove, the t posts, brackets, ply wood it takes about 3 days to put together by one person, and costs from $800-$1000 with limited tools. Mine is 8x16, you can make any size though. It's a design that's easily extended on as well.
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Can't remember the common name for them - but in the UK many folks make up a type of tunnel tent using hoops and canvas. They seem to be pretty long lived and are essentially as big as you want to build them. For the life of me I can't remember what they're called though Sometimes my memory gets the better of me.




Edit added for my lousy memory today

A Bender

http://www.permacultureglobal.com/posts/633
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Another option .... if you can find one is a Jamesway Hut.

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

 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Quonset hut? They work well EXCEPT for snow load!! same goes for an army surplus or outfitter tent.

I can build a hoophouse with chainlink rail pipe and decent tarp for pretty cheap (under a grand for all new material 20x40). I also could build a second inner hoop with a foot airspace to make a really insulated setup. The inner frame can be really minimal because it won't have any load. It could easily handle a foot of fluffy snow, but more than that and it would need constant attention and sweeping of snow off. Very do-able if you are going to be there all the time, not a great answer if it is a weekend retreat.

It really depends their definition of "temporary." There are farmers here that have some rather large barns built on skids so they are "temporary" and not subject to property tax.
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Another option - pretty close to a nissen or quonset but of course far more natural is the wigwam or wikiup. Millions of native folk can't be wrong.
 
Kdan Horton
Posts: 34
Location: North West Georgia
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We made a little 8x16 custom cabin. It's on blocks so qualifies as mobile and comes in under the minimum square footage requiring a permit, should anyone ever "find" it. Great for weekends & guests once we get the house built. It may end up being a chicken coop or library or grow house one day...I like options. It cost about $750 in materials and 3 weekends to build. The plastic roof may need to be re-thunk for Michigan though. Works OK in Georgia.

cabin4.jpg
[Thumbnail for cabin4.jpg]
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Kdan Horton wrote:We made a little 8x16 custom cabin. It's on blocks so qualifies as mobile and comes in under the minimum square footage requiring a permit, should anyone ever "find" it. Great for weekends & guests once we get the house built. It may end up being a chicken coop or library or grow house one day...I like options. It cost about $750 in materials and 3 weekends to build. The plastic roof may need to be re-thunk for Michigan though. Works OK in Georgia.



Looks pretty neat. My guess is that it wouldn't have that much trouble with Michigan winters - I've seen similar shelters up here in New Hampshire and they tend to last out our Nor'easters

 
Sean Rauch
Posts: 136
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Here are your three determining factors for the intermediate stage living quarters as I see it:

1. Are you going to build it yourself? If you plan to do the final building all on your own then a temporary building as your first project is probably really smart. Its bite sized with minimal risk construction that you can cut your teeth on. If you aren't planning to do the bulk of the final build yourself this can still be a good idea but if your a first time or limited construction experience builder then you really need to make those virgin mistakes on something you won't be banking your life on long term. If you are going to build something yourself making it an out building that you can use as a greenhouse etc after the house it done is just being smart.

2. How much time do you have? If you work full time and you only have limited time to work with like 2 weeks vacation then you probably don't want to spend a ton of time on your temporary dwelling. In this case an RV, Yert or other quick to establish setup is what you want, believe me just getting settled into a new property will take a lot of time you need to figure out how you're gonna poop, power etc. That all takes time.

3. How much money do you have? If you have zero then your options are very limited and you need to adjust your expectations accordingly.If you have 10k to spend then I highly recommend buying a used RV. You should be able to get something that functions and is fairly roomy for that money. The best part of a used RV in that price range is so long as you maintain it you shouldn't have any trouble getting the money back and anyone who is selling it either dealer or owner should be able to move it wherever you want it as a part of the sale. This is the time of year to get a better then average deal on a trailer. Even if you only plan to spen $10k on your final build a trailer that costs 20 and you sell it for 20 the temporary home is really a net zero for you in the long run.

My two recommendations are either an RV which is very easy to setup and get your money out of or an out building. With any option 400 square feet may be shooting high. Remember building an 8'x8' cold storage shed is easy and you can store all kinds of stuff you don't care about keeping warm. Plus you'll probably want it to be there for you after the house is done.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi M Turf,

I have been reading along with all the advice you have been getting and most (all?) seem like great ways to go. Sean R. really has broken it down, and it's time you have to ask what you want to do? The only thing I can add is the psychological elements of this are probably what get in the way for most folks. I design and build structures for a living, but because of my other profession, I live and sleep outdoors 300 plus days a year, so what I would call a living situation and what you would is two different things...which is mainly psychological. Many folks say, "I can't," but what that really means is, "I don't want to," or "I don't know how to."

Moving a 40' metal shipping/storage container onto your property for your "stuff," and living in a tent could be the fastest, and could be cost effective compared to other options. You have to ask yourself how much you want this move, and how far outside your normal comfort zone you are willing to go to achieve it.

Regards,

jay
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 89
Location: Central Maine
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We finally settled on a canvas wall tent for our temporary living. Depending on how long we live in it, we can put insulation in to help keep it warm. There will be a woodstove in it for sure and these tent are made to have woodstoves in them. There are cover you can buy to protect the tent from ashes or rain or even snow. It cost us about 2400 for the tent and we found a woodstove for 45 that just needs a little TLC. Should be a good option for us. Davis tent company if anyone is interested.
 
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