Re: Affordability w/small homes?
From: VAN DEIST (vandeistmsn.com)
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 04:46:49 -0700 (PDT)
One practical consideration in deciding upon a small home is that the most 
expensive parts of construction are the bathroom and kitchen. Square footage 
costs beyond those expensive necessities are much less.  Additionally, 
financing of a small, one bedroom cottage might be difficult, because the 
financing entity will be looking at resale possibilities if the original owner 
doesn't complete the mortgage contract for one reason or another.  If the 
financing entity doesn't feel that the house is "mainstream" enough for easy 
resale, it won't finance the construction.  One bedroom homes of less than 1000 
ft2 had been a consideration for the elder cohousing project that I've been 
working on in Venice, FL, but the barriers on getting construction/permanent 
financing were insurmountable.  We're now designing a cluster of 13, detached, 
2 BR, 2 BA, 1400 ft2 cottages plus a 2000 ft2 common house.  I had originally 
hoped to have smaller, 1 BR, 1 BA cottages that would have relied upon guest 
rooms in the common house, but that didn't pan out for the reasons already 
stated.  I have designed and built several 1000 ft2, wheelchair accessible 
cottages, and I currently live very comfortably in one of them.  My next 
project (besides cohousing) is to design and build a 1 BR, 1 BA cottage with an 
additional, free-standing, adjacent, master bedroom "casita" for an 
office/guestroom.  In my zoning jurisdiction, the casita needs to be attached 
by at least a covered porch, or it will be considered an accessory dwelling 
unit (which is prohibited in single family zoning in these parts).  Other areas 
of the country (like San Mateo County in CA) actually promote accessory 
dwelling units on RSF zoned lots as part of an effort for providing "in fill" 
affordable housing.
....Van Deist.....             
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Marganne<mailto:marganne [at] macnexus.org> 
  To: Cohousing-L<mailto:cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> 
  Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 5:13 PM
  Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Affordability w/small homes?


  April said:
  >I have been considering how to phrase this question for over a month 
  >now.  I've decided to just be blunt and hope I won't offend anyone.
  >Are there any cohousing communities that are really affordable?

  Ever notice how, on mailing lists, someone posts on the very topic 
  you've been considering bringing up? I really have to thank April for 
  'priming the pump' on this one.

  I'm looking for a housing solution for myself. Cohousing is very 
  attractive to me. I've been reading about cohousing for several years 
  and recently joined a mailing list for people into small homes (less 
  than 1,000 square feet). (The Small House Society
  
http://www.resourcesforlife.com/groups/smallhousesociety/resources.htm<http://www.resourcesforlife.com/groups/smallhousesociety/resources.htm>
 )

  Because I live on a fixed income and do not qualify for most housing 
  assistance programs, I can't afford any of the 'affordable' cohousing 
  options. Based on my research on the small home list, I CAN afford to 
  buy land and pay all building costs for well under $100,000 total.

  I am willing to simplify my life, get creative, and live in about 500 
  square feet of well designed, energy efficient (green) home. Some 
  people live very well in less than that amount.



  Can this scale of affordable housing be combined with cohousing in 
  some successful manner? I've struggled over how to ask this list 
  about this notion.

  Some people cringe at the thought of living in a small home. One of 
  the most difficult things people think they have with 'living small' 
  is not having enough space. People tend to 'live large' in the United 
  States. This list has discussed how many square feet a person needs 
  to be comfortable and how it varies. It is very subjective. It's 
  allot like people discounting cohousing because they don't believe in 
  living with others by consensus can be successful for them.

  I'd love to bring all the people from the small houses mailing list 
  together with all of you so everyone could answer everyone else's 
  questions. (Would make my job easier.)

  What I'm asking is:
  --Are there existing or formulating cohousing projects that use the 
  small home concept?
  --Are there people like me who would consider cohousing in a project 
  with smaller homes that cost less to build?

  Due to my circumstances, I'd like to find some sort of 'community' 
  where I could live actively now and possibly for the remainder of my 
  life. I feel certain there are many other people like me -- with very 
  little or no family -- who like the idea of creating a family by 
  choice.

  Is it possible to find/start a project like this? Here I go throwing 
  my ideas into the virtual universe to see what happens. :-)

  Cheers!
  Marganne

  P.S. Thank you again, April, for bringing this up.
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