Re: a strategy for affordability
From: Ron Czecholinski (
Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 16:55:36 -0700 (PDT)
Sharon and Greg - I agree whole heatedly, where there is a will, there is
usually a way (with many obstacles, detours, and variables). I started
building in the mid 70's as an "owner builder" highly influenced by the back
to the land movement. In preparation to build my own house I got a job with
a contractor and went to one of the first owner builder schools in the
country - Shelter Institute in Maine. I built a 1500 sq. ft. house on 2
acres for around $30,000 - the folks that started Shelter Institute built a
much smaller house for under $2,000 (no, I didn't forget a zero). I have
been committed to simple living and alternative affordable building ever

The model I am working on right now with a small house of 700-1000 sq. ft
and an auxiliary cottage of 300-500 sq.ft. could allow for an investment
starting around $65,000 on a co-ownership arrangement - and sweat equity
could possibly reduce that further. In addition, I am pretty sure I could
find several other ways to help people find affordable alternative options -
a group willing to be significantly involved in development and building, as
well as to think outside the box and relocate if necessary to an area that
has conducive code will have many options to choose from.

Several years ago, as home ownership was becoming more and more elusive
(unless you are comfortable with barely manageable debt) I decided to start
turning some of my attention to consulting for owner builders. Also, having
a long time interest in community (and 10 years experience) I believe the
best context for this effort is in the context of a co-housing type of
structure. I finally have been freed up to pursue this more directly and am
excited to be pursuing a project that I hope will provide some of the

I also am glad I found my way back to this list - I have followed this
movement since the early 90's and visited this forum (without contribution)
off and on over the past few years. If this project continues to come
together I hope to learn and contribute much more.

Ron Czecholinski

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