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Setting up a Crowd fund to pay cash for a 9 acre farm with house. Need ideas  RSS feed

 
Posts: 3
Location: Seattle Washington
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I am in need of some help for an up coming project. I am going to try and purchase a pice of property and want to do a crowd funding to pull it off. it is 9+ acres with a house built in 1938. the land is all ready organically farmed in a small way.
My crowd funding will kick off around the beginning of March. We need to raise 180k to pull this off over the 60 days of funding.
Some of my thoughts for raising money
divide one acre into the equivalent of 9 city lots and for 5k a person can come down and design a site and and have use of the produce of it for 2 years.
On each of the plots we would build a 250sqft cob cottage with rocket mass heater. for 5k a person gets to design and build the cottage with the use of it for 3, 3day periods a year for 2 years.

Just wondering if you would have an other thoughts on this?

I am scrambling to pull this off. the Sellers like the idea of us doing this and have given us 90 days to see if we can pull it off.

Thank you for any input.
Jim and Elizabeth
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Picture of the House
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Some of the land
 
steward
Posts: 4400
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Jim, welcome to permies!

Why only two years of use for a $ 5000 pledge. Doing the math on that one... seems like you might have more interest if you gave folks more time.

What are your plans for the site.
 
Jim Richardson
Posts: 3
Location: Seattle Washington
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Miles,
The goal on the property is to set up a training facility to teach Permaculture, and Cob building. To take our ideas into the community and not just teach how to have a small farm but make a City lot a place where you can raise the food you will need for your family. How to bring community together to support one another.
We will show how if you are a renter you can put a garden on the property you rent and become sustainable and not break your wallet doing it.


How many years would you suggest?


Thank you
 
Posts: 7
Location: SW Pa
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4 or 5 years or 2 years but a week at a time sounds more reasonable at that price, kind of a timeshare cabin thing sounds like.
 
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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Is 180k the entire asking price for the property?

How much are you putting in for yourself? Or are you expecting people to fund your new home completely?
 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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Kickstarter does not allow projects to buy real estate or other 'fund my life' project, but there are other crowdfunding sites out there. If you think you can pull it off, by all means, go for it. Any method of acquiring land legally, honestly, and fairly gets my approval.
If it does not work, there are other ways to make it happen. I wrote an article a couple months ago about Garden Plot Rentals. The size and price are smaller than your proposal, but requires considerably less investment in infrastructure. Perhaps contracting garden plots in advance could bring in the monies needed for financing this or a different property..
 
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Jim and Elizabeth:

I would be really clear on the following before you embark on this:
--Define the mission of your project.
--Be very clear about what you get out of the project.
----are the donors essentially paying for all the land? If so, this is something you ethically need to reveal to people. If not, indicating what your financial stake is is critical. If you have a financial investment in working to secure the property in hours/expenses, those need to be spelled out and made transparent.
--Be very clear about what your potential donors get out of the project - the way you've presented the project leaves me feeling like the folks investing $5,000 get to do a lot of work for ...some produce? You say you will teach them how to set up a garden. Do you have a curriculum you can post? How many hours per day will they work on this? What happens after that one acre is fully gardened? Will you open up another acre and repeat the process? Will zoning in that area allow for that many "living structures" on the property? For the Cobb building - who oversees this? Does zoning allow for cobb buildings on site as living structures? What is the curriculum? Same for Rocket stoves...
--Have you looked into liability insurance for this?
--How will you determine if a person is a good fit for what you want to do?
--How will you build community and address conflicts. For most of us, the "people systems" of permaculture are the most difficult to understand and manage. What if you get people on your land that are not appropriate in some way? The opposite can also happen - if the person providing support feels like you have not lived up to your end of the bargin (if the "contract" is vague), you could run into some unpleasantness.

Those are the thoughts off the top of my head.

I have limited experience with crowd funding - however, the projects I've been privy to "behind the scenes" include some "long and thoughtful pondering" and a very clear understanding of what you want and an implementation plan. They are deceptively far more work than they look - especially the really good campaigns.
 
gardener
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Doing a little math. I pay $5000 and get the use of a cottage that I build for 18 days. That's $555.55 per day. I guess they must be great cottages.

If anyone is interested in coming to my place to build a cottage, I'll do them one better. Build me a cottage and you can live in it for a year, spread over 5 if you like, or all at once. You don't have to pay anything.
 
Ken Peavey
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180k objective at $5k/supporter says 36 supporters would be required. At 9 units/acre, your plan would need 4 acres dedicated to these cottages. The Zoning Board may have issue with this. Would these 36 supporters be sharing the 9 units (4 sponsors/unit)? I'm afraid I don't have much information to go on.
Your profile lists Seattle. Figure 4 months/year on the chilly side. Even with a RMH in place, there would be little variety growing. If the residence window is 6 months, and each of these 36 sponsors stayed 3 long weekends/season, an average of 4 cottages would be occupied on any given weekend.
Details of your plan would need to include bathroom/shower facilities, kitchen facilities, particulars concerning what the sponsors will be paying for in addition i.e. food, fuel, furnishings, construction costs, seed, tools, bedding, laundry, as well as lay out details in regards to events by weekend and how to reserve time.
9 units on an acre says 4840 sqft/ unit. How will the sponsors determine what will be grown on that plot and how the produce is divided amongst the residents.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Whenever I make an offer, I like to ask myself --- "Self, is this something that I would do, if I had $5000 to spend" ? I'm 49 and have my own property on which to build cottages. A more fair question might be --- When I was 18 with no other commitments, would I have gone for something like this ? No, not me. What if there was no financial outlay, just the opportunity to provide unpaid labor ? No, it's a little more tempting but I would never have done it. What about when I was 8. I was pretty good at math by that age, so no.

I'm wondering who the target market is. The fact that someone has saved up $5000 places them in a category of people whom I would not expect to do this. It's been my experience that people who would think this is a wise use of their money are unlikely to have accumulated even $1000.
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There is a way that we can do business. If you are able to pull this off, I'm willing to be your ghost writer for a book about the process. I think it would sell. I'll negotiate a publishing deal that gives you a minimum $5000 advance.
 
Posts: 567
Location: Mid-Michigan
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

If anyone is interested in coming to my place to build a cottage, I'll do them one better. Build me a cottage and you can live in it for a year, spread over 5 if you like, or all at once. You don't have to pay anything.



I'll see your "build it and you can live in it", and I'll raise you a "the concrete walls and floor and metal roof are already there."
Seriously, same offer as Dale's if any of you like Michigan more than British Columbia (cricket... cricket).



Ok, back to the business at hand. Jim, I think it's fair to say that financially, what you're describing isn't compelling. So one solution to that might be to offer your potential donors some OTHER reason to care. By which I mean, expand on your vision, and tell everyone how wonderful it would be if you succeeded, so that their money is going to something that either:
-makes them feel like a good, noble, wise person for giving money to it (this is the starving-children approach)
-makes them feel like a good, sensible, active person who's taking real steps to improve the world by giving money to it (this is more like, I don't know, Greenpeace maybe?)

By this I mean, people don't make a donation because they expect to profit from it. If you had something to offer that would be profitable for the participants, you wouldn't need to ask for donations! You'd just ask your real estate person for some leads. People will donate to you so they can pat themselves on the back. This is a fairly callous way to describe it. Seth Godin would say, people feel the need to belong to a group based on their shared values, and people need to tell themselves a story where they're a hero.

Either way, the financial part doesn't go first. The social, emotional, personal part goes first. That's what leads to a decision to donate.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Mike Cantrell wrote:People will donate to you so they can pat themselves on the back. This is a fairly callous way to describe it. Seth Godin would say, people feel the need to belong to a group based on their shared values, and people need to tell themselves a story where they're a hero.

Either way, the financial part doesn't go first. The social, emotional, personal part goes first. That's what leads to a decision to donate.



Well said!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'll see Mike's half built structure and raise it by a free breakfast if you can make it here by 8:30 and a free week in an old vehicle on the property if anyone is really desperate. It's not a building, but it's not in "The Rust Belt".
 
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Hey Jim, welcome to Permies!

I must agree with the many here...your offer is, "way too one sided," and way outside the context of "most," permaculture communities. If you want to actually start an educational program that is under the umbrella of a 501c3 or related that is different. If you are trying to "crowdsource" a private venture, then you are going to have to share more of the "venture with the crowd." That is only fair and prudent. Perhaps ask for others to join you in purchasing this property and sharing in the toil of building the education program and its rewards?

Regards,

j
 
Mike Cantrell
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I'll see Mike's half built structure and raise it by a free breakfast if you can make it here by 8:30 and a free week in an old vehicle on the property if anyone is really desperate. It's not a building, but it's not in "The Rust Belt".



Heck, breakfast and getting outta the Rust Belt, now you're even tempting ME!




Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Perhaps ask for others to join you in purchasing this property and sharing in the toil of building the education program and its rewards?



That seems like an approach that would lead to long-term success. The barrier is going to be this 90-day timeframe.
Jim, am I right in inferring that traditional financing is a no-go? There must be a reason you're not just borrowing this from a bank?

Once you owned the property, then you could take your time involving other people and their money...
 
Posts: 1945
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Personally I wouldn't go for a deal like you are proposing - the actual arrangements seem difficult to work. What am I going to the land for? Is it to work regularly on an allotment space? In which case I need to be there every day or so through the growing season, not just a few long weekends.

You want to make this really attractive, so that people feel like they are really winning - I'd sell fewer plots off, but for more money and on a much longer lease.

Let's say 5 plots, at 20,000 each - your's as often as you want for as long as you want for 20 years. Make it clear that the money upfront gets them a cob cottage built by you completed within the initial 2 year period. You get a big wedge of money up front to help fund the overall site development, and they get a cheap cosy bolt hole. Make it clear what facilities will be provided in the cottages - running water? Mains power? Gas? Toilets? Hot showers? Floor space? Number of beds? Quality of finish?

Yes you tie up some of your land for a longer period but the longer duration is far more attractive to people.
 
Dale Hodgins
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This thread has been fun, but I hope you realize that there are likely to be insurmountable regulatory hurdles. It's probably going to be considered a sub-division with all of the legal wrangling that this entails. There could be zoning issues, density issues, and neighbor issues. Then there's the whole issue of unconventional buildings.

Until these issues are resolved, it would be foolish to pursue money that would almost certainly have to be refunded when red tape grinds the project to a halt.
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I would seriously look at the tax assessor's listing for this property.
If it is described as "Single family dwelling", then adding an additional structure for somebody else to live in would probably require getting the zoning changed to "Multiple dwelling". With such a change, your property taxes would become as if it was an apartment building or hotel.

I was looking at a property that had a small guest house. I considered trying to rent it out, until I was told that that was illegal without a zoning change. The county would not have done that without having to go through zoning commission meetings, etc., and my property taxes would have more than doubled. Look before you leap.

And, as a side note, the building codes are stricter for 'income property' where somebody has to lay out cash for the right to stay there, than they are for a family's dwelling. Each county is different how they handle their zoning and taxation, so a thorough investigation would be in order. If it is not to their liking, they can fine you and require that the structure(s) be dismantled.

Good luck.

 
Jim Richardson
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WOW Thank you all for your responses.

What I stated as an Idea is not cast in stone. It was designed to get some ideas churning. I realize now that what I am trying to do is over my head so at this time the crowd funding is a NO GO. I am pursuing a conventional Loan. Once we get up and running we will be looking at ways to generate income from this property. Teaching Permaculture, Cob, Rocket Mass and Masonry Heaters. All Ideas are welcome and if you just want to bitch me out for trying Oh well!

But again thank you.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I think this is a sensible route to go and I'm sure that all of us, even those who had a little fun at your expense, wish you great success in this endeavor. Workshop income is quite doable once you have the land.
 
John Polk
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Hmm. 9 acres that appear to be in, or at the edge of city limits.
Are there apartment dwellers within that city?

If so, you might consider having 1 year leases on 'community' P-patch gardens. (500-1,000 square foot patches?)
Many apartment dwellers would love to have a little plot to 'grow their own'.

Have them line the street - would provide off-site parking, plus act as a buffer for exhaust + tire dust.
You could have a small shop to sell seeds & transplants each spring - built-in customer base.

Might pay your taxes plus part of your utility expenses.

 
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