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#1 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lets say you are being offered land with the stipulation that you had to live on it and turn it into a working farm. You currently have almost no assets but would love to capitalize on this once in a lifetime opportunity. There are no livable structures on the property but there is an old barn.

Where would you turn for shelter?

We are a family of four and currently live in 900 square feet but we could deal with a bit less. My husband is very handy and could do a good deal of work himself (currently unemployed).
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#2 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I love this question, because it's so unusual.

I would consider a few things. Who is making these stipulations? Would you be the land owner once you were living on it? Why does it have to turn into a farm in order for you to acquire it? If it doesn't end up becoming a farm while you're living there (say something happens and it is no longer a possibility), do you lose the land?

Seeing as your husband is unemployed, he really doesn't have much to lose. If you could somehow build a structure (or remodel the barn?) that is livable on the land for cheap and quickly, you could gradually over time invest in turning it into what you want. If time is not a pressure in the situation, and you could spend the next 20 years turning it into what you wanted, and you were the landowner, I would jump all over it. Is it possible you could stay in the home you're living in now until you had the means to build a structure to live in on the property, or does whoever is making the stipulations want you living there PRONTO?

Lots of things I would consider. But it is a very interesting opportunity!

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#3 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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If it were an immediate need I would go for a huge tent.One than has a sleeping and living room area.And a memory foam mattress because I wake up so sore when sleeping on the ground.

I have see some barns online that were converted into living space.Look for photos to get an idea. I would go for it as an exciting summer project.If it does not work out you move.

Best wishes!
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#4 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 09:28 AM
 
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You can get some pretty large wooden shed structures like these
http://shedkitstore.com/best-barns-w...its-c-141.html
Easy to put up and some are almost 500 square feet for under $5,000 and up in a day or two.
Or you could do a yurt, dome or teepee.
Keep us updated. I can't wait to hear more.

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#5 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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I've got no advice, but I think it sounds like an awesome opportunity!!
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#6 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, so I found a random posting and contacted the individual. They currently live on the land (70-ish acres) but aren't utilizing it. All around them developers are going nuts clearing the land and building tons of new housing. This is causing the property values to increase and therefore this person's taxes to go up. They are apparently on a fixed income and in no position to afford this. By getting someone to live on the land and turn it into a farm they are hoping to one get come tax breaks and two collect some money to help with the taxes. In return something would be written into a will regarding the future ownership of the property.

Anyway, only VERY preliminary emails have been exchanged so far. There have been some people giving away ancient single wide trailers in my area recently. I cam considering having one (or two) moved to this property and let my DH start to fix them up.

It is all very exciting but I am not holding my breath.
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#7 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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Is this in Ontario by any chance?

Decluttering 500/2010
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#8 of 36 Old 06-12-2010, 10:50 PM
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I'd start out with a tent. We lived in one for five months after a house fire. You'd think that it would be unpleasant, but it was great. We had a chance to stay at the local motel 6 but we declined. The lure of the tent was just too strong

After you move into your tent you can come up with other arrangements if you wish, like a shed or trailer or something else
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#9 of 36 Old 06-13-2010, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Not Ontario. I know I'm being a bit vague but I don't want to risk someone else taking it. If it doesn't work out for us I will be OK but I want to give it our best shot first.
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#10 of 36 Old 06-13-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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If you are in the US, be cautious about the old single wides. Here in Arizona, you are not allowed to bring Pre-Hud mobiles onto a piece of property (which could explain why the ones in your area are being offered for free). In fact, the only way you are allowed a permit to move them (also required), is if they are going to a land fill. If you want to park a trailer on the property, a travel trailer might be an option. Personally, I like the yurt idea, but then again we are in the process of getting one liveable.
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#11 of 36 Old 06-13-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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my family is facing a similar situ. we are looking at getting a yurt this summer. we found a regional yurt maker that uses all salvaged materials. but a good army/canvas tent could work well too. i have lived in a regular tent and even the best tent will only last 3-4 months with constant use. I've lived in a tepee also. just depends what is available in your area and how handy your man and you are!!


good luck!

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#12 of 36 Old 06-13-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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Cool, there is what sounds like a similar situation being offered of an Ontario farm. It's not near me unfortunately, but I have eyeballed the ad quite a few times.


Id go for tent, or travel-trailer for short term quick, cheap and easy housing, and yurt, trailer or cabin for something more permanent.

Good luck! If you get it, make sure you blog about your experiences!

Decluttering 500/2010
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#13 of 36 Old 06-14-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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I'd look at tipis. Just google "tipi living" or something like that. They are just plain awesome. I wouldn't at all mind doing that.

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#14 of 36 Old 06-14-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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The suggestions above are great and I can't think of much else to add to it. We're trying to purchase land right now and will have to find something for housing also. We're looking into the wooden storage buildings to turn into a house. DH looked and it would be possible to connect the buildings to make a larger house if needed. We're looking at buying the property though so wanting something permanent. We have lived in a camper for a few months before though and it wasn't that bad even with 2 little ones. If I was in your situation I think i'd look into a camper. Maybe a tent/yurt for now until you get settled a little more.
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#15 of 36 Old 06-15-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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That sounds like a great opportunity!

If it were me, I'd go for a yurt, or a big wall tent. (With a wooden floor under it. I wouldn't want to live on the ground.) Either of those would be liveable while my cob house was being built.

I wouldn't do a singlewide. They are a money pit. My bro and SIL got one for $3,000, but they ended up spending much, MUCH more than that, because they had to have a foundation, and a septic system, etc. And it started falling apart because it was old and couldn't handle being moved. (The water pipes got wrenched around in the move, so they leaked. The kitchen cabinets were falling apart. There was a hole in the floor.) I'd much rather live in a yurt.
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#16 of 36 Old 06-16-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Sounds like an exciting opportunity! We are a family of 6, we live in our 5th wheel on our farm while we are building our cob home
The 5th wheel is great in the meantime, def not very environmentally friendly but has what we need, beds, kitchen, fridge, bath, composting toilet etc..Cob is easy to build and affordable!! PM me if you want anymore info! I have to get back to building

Mama to SDD (12), DD (8), DD (6), DD, (4), DS (3) and new little babe arriving Dec. We are in the process of building our cob home and homestead
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#17 of 36 Old 06-16-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenelopeJune View Post
That sounds like a great opportunity!

If it were me, I'd go for a yurt, or a big wall tent. (With a wooden floor under it. I wouldn't want to live on the ground.) Either of those would be liveable while my cob house was being built.

I wouldn't do a singlewide. They are a money pit. My bro and SIL got one for $3,000, but they ended up spending much, MUCH more than that, because they had to have a foundation, and a septic system, etc. And it started falling apart because it was old and couldn't handle being moved. (The water pipes got wrenched around in the move, so they leaked. The kitchen cabinets were falling apart. There was a hole in the floor.) I'd much rather live in a yurt.
to all of that! I'd be in a yurt on a platform. You can raise one in a day or a few depending on size/amount of people helping and how handy you are. But, then again, DH and I are considering a huge move and yurt living, so I have yurt-fever!

I was going to say the same thing about a singlewide. I lived in one for most of my childhood and it deteriorated and depreciated in value quickly.

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#18 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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This may sound nuts, but what about a metal or plastic shed? I know Costco has a 6x10 for $400 or so? That would get you THERE with a bed, kwim? Everything else could be in your car/truck for a few weeks until you can get something else going. I see all kinds of "come and take it for free" sheds on Craigslist but when time is money (or is it?) a few hundie may not sound bad. Check Freecycle too, you NEVER KNOW! When it's meant to be, it is.

My husband always says he'd do a steel building with permits (on our own property) and then build a loft/apartment inside it.

Erin sharing life with a burly husband and two rad boys 7/06 & 5/09 : : Zone 9-ish
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#19 of 36 Old 06-23-2010, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've actually been looking at sheds and steel buildings. We have a shed that could be moved (10x10).

Sadly, DH is extremely resistant to change. I tend to be a dreamer and would make huge sacrifices to get something whereas he is not will to sacrifice and will only move on a "sure thing". At this point it looks like a no go- very frustrating, especially, since I know he has this skills.
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#20 of 36 Old 06-23-2010, 09:40 AM
 
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You've got other things to think through before figuring out a dwelling.

You totally need to figure out the legal arrangement between you and the current owner and the areas zoning.

My parents live in one of the least restrictively zoned placed in the U.S. and they still had to have a soil perc test and have their septic inspected before they could move into their house (which they needed no building permit for).

Anyway my point is that if you dwelling is not completely legal the current owner is not going to be able to reap the tax advantage that he/she is after.

My other point is that a conventional septic system is required nearly everywhere and while they can be done DIY and are not particular technically difficult they are lots and lots of work (especially if you are using buckets of rocks and shovels). I'd put up ten yurts before I would dig the trenches and move the gravel to install another septic system.
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#21 of 36 Old 06-24-2010, 10:16 AM
 
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Is there any mature woodland on the property? I was thinking maybe a simple log cabin for now. It is possible, but would take a lot of work. There are numerous books on building simple shelters, like log cabins and slip form methods of building stone homes, which you could probably get from the library. Think like an early settler and look around the property. Use what you have.
Does the land owner own a piece of digging equipment? You could dig a foundation and build it of stone. It will be a lot of work.

It might also pay for you to watch that area's, and yours, for a free house or camper. Is your husband skilled in carpentry? How about tearing down an old barn for the lumber / logs to reuse? I have seen a free house and a free double-wide around here. You could also post a wanted ad for the same. Maybe a yurt. We have a 3 person tent, but how will you cook? In that case, I would try to locate a small wood stove and create a temporary summer kitchen. I have seen old summer kitchens for free, too, but you have to have a way to haul stuff.
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#22 of 36 Old 06-27-2010, 02:50 AM
 
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We planned on setting up a tipi but long story to the point - someone lent us their 5th wheel they used for hunting for a few months while we built a small cabin we are still in. We plan on putting up something more efficient and earth sheltered and are in the planning stages now. We made some compromises to get on the land with no rent as soon as we could. Good luck with it! Sounds like a great opp. If it all fits.

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#23 of 36 Old 06-28-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I hear good things about Yerts. But it depends on your area's zoning laws and all that kind of stuff. We are looking into straw bale/timber frame homes (because we have a lot of trees on our property that can be used as timbers), but I have a feeling we'll run into some trouble when it comes to getting a permit. If you can get away without needing any kind of county/township permit, you can get away with a lot more. Also, if you can build something with out a permanent foundation (up on treated wood), in some areas it would not make the property tax go up because it's not considered a permanent structure.

Here's a website I was looking at: http://www.solarhaven.org/StarterStrawBale.htm

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#24 of 36 Old 07-03-2010, 03:32 AM
 
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I like the idea of tipis and yurts, but it may not be ideal for winter, depending where you are. I know yurts can be winterized and made more permanent but the woodstove and everything else will cost quite a bit more than the basic yurt cost.

I read somewhere about a family who stayed in a plastic greenhouse type thing all winter because their house wasn't ready... can't remember where though. Maybe an old Mother Earth News mag?

Is the older couple willing to sink any money into building up the farm, or will that be your responsibility? I'm thinking of fencing and animals and stuff.

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#25 of 36 Old 07-04-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xand2y View Post
Sadly, DH is extremely resistant to change. I tend to be a dreamer and would make huge sacrifices to get something whereas he is not will to sacrifice and will only move on a "sure thing". At this point it looks like a no go- very frustrating, especially, since I know he has this skills.
Yeah, my DP is that way, too. It takes months and months to make him see how awesome this or that opportunity is. But, usually, since I am highly intelligent, and always right he comes around!

If you feel this is right for your family, I say go for it. The pieces will either fall into place or not. If they don't, it wasn't meant to be. But, I think they will.

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#26 of 36 Old 07-04-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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I like the idea of tipis and yurts, but it may not be ideal for winter, depending where you are. I know yurts can be winterized and made more permanent but the woodstove and everything else will cost quite a bit more than the basic yurt cost.

I read somewhere about a family who stayed in a plastic greenhouse type thing all winter because their house wasn't ready... can't remember where though. Maybe an old Mother Earth News mag?

Is the older couple willing to sink any money into building up the farm, or will that be your responsibility? I'm thinking of fencing and animals and stuff.

Dont think it was us BUT we do live in a greenhouse right now We built a HUGE greenhouse overtop of our 5th wheel for this winter. So when our cob home is done we will be able to move into it and still have a big useful greenhouse space. It protected us very well this winter, through rain wind etc. Inside it we built a cob bench and table so the kids have an area to eat and play outside even in yucky weather.

Mama to SDD (12), DD (8), DD (6), DD, (4), DS (3) and new little babe arriving Dec. We are in the process of building our cob home and homestead
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#27 of 36 Old 07-12-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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I am no help with the housing/shelter, but my SIL's parents own 2 alpaca's. The wool from the alpacas produces enough money to provide them with the tax breaks. They have an alpaca farm not far from their land, so it's convenient to get them sheared every year. Just an idea. Good luck!
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#28 of 36 Old 07-20-2010, 09:44 AM
 
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watch this show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEvYT3CMtQI

We have an RV luckily so thats what we would live in.
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#29 of 36 Old 07-30-2010, 12:45 AM
 
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good points by pp. also, in many areas it's not even legal to move old single wides, so that's probably not an actual possibility. (here in GA for example, once they are over a certain age they can't be moved.)
I feel for you being the dreamer! that's me too! good luck exploring options!!

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#30 of 36 Old 07-30-2010, 07:52 AM
 
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So many good ideas. I am really enjoying this thread.

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