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Old 04-16-2009, 08:02 PM
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,978,143 times
Reputation: 15649


Originally Posted by MN2CO View Post
I have 2400 Sf - it's an average home here. It's not considered huge. I understand that homes/land are more expensive on the coasts so space is smaller. 1600 is hugh to you - small to me. It's all relative.
I;m very impressed. I bet your place is wonderful!

Old 04-16-2009, 08:04 PM
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,393,688 times
Reputation: 16283
Don't be impressed - it's average - nothing special.
Old 04-16-2009, 08:13 PM
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,978,143 times
Reputation: 15649
Originally Posted by mmhere View Post
Ah HA! I can answer this one. Most of the developers working on cohousing projects had to look for people with a particular income level to make developing the project profitable. With smaller homes, the profits drop, even though there is a big need. A few developers and/or architects have built two or three-unit small homes on one lot. They got special permission to bypass planning commission rules which prohibit most residential lots to one dwelling.

Not sure exactly where the break even point is located. So many people still are stuck in the McMansion era. One person tried to build her house on her own land. She planned on 1,000 square feet. The county planning commission set a minimum size of 1,200 square feet. Lenders wouldn't make a loan because 'no one will want to live in a house that small' she she sells it.

It's much easier for most developers to keep doing what they have been doing already. Also, many people believe McMansions are here to stay. They still see their homes as an investment that must appreciate. I think smaller homes are where the market will go. But it will take a long time before many people change how they think about homes and simple living.
People will turn to smaller homes when oil and gas climb out of sight again. Many, many boomers will be unloading their mcmansions when they find out they can't do two sets of stairs, the yard upkeep becomes impossible and hired lawnkeepers unaffordable if they are headed for a fixed income and/or if retirement monies drop further due to a falling market. We take what we can pay for. I'm grateful that although I have always had a small income due to being employed in artistic endeavors, I have always lived below my means. My nephew and his wife, on a combined income of 140K, just bought a house for half a mil. Unbelievable. What do they do if they lose their jobs? Who needs 3500 sq ft? (esp since she's a poor housekeeper! maybe they'll be able to afford a team of house and yard keepers...)

Anyway, we'll all wind up doing what we can afford to do. That's the bottom line. My "thing" to avoid is prop taxes and other costs that will take up an entire SS income. if we're truly free, we can live simply and small and pay little and enjoy our time off from unnecessary chores
Old 04-16-2009, 08:22 PM
Location: Sarasota Florida
1,236 posts, read 3,608,485 times
Reputation: 1230
Cool my prop/taxes.......

Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I'm looking for a location where they're 1,200 per year or less. Anyone know where?
Mine is $1,500 for a 1500sf custom country home plus almost 4 acres, one mile outside town (small town of 2k) between Grants Pass & Medford. Homeowners Insurance is very low - around $450 per year. Like I said in earlier posts.... it is very affordable to live in s/Oregon

My little town has a "boutique Goodwill" where every item of clothing is $l.50 regardless of what it is... could be designer labels, high-quality jeans, jackets, dresses, etc. The local community thrift shop sells every item of clothing for $1; less high quality as the boutique Goodwill but still wearable and I've found some surprising items there. ((OK ..... I'm a bag-lady))
Old 04-16-2009, 08:28 PM
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,393,688 times
Reputation: 16283
I pay $3435.00 per year - based on assessor's appraised value.
Old 04-16-2009, 09:22 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,592 posts, read 39,962,822 times
Reputation: 23725
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Are you really paying 12 grand per year for prop taxes?
Is that for a huge mansion with a lot of land?
ugh, yes, $30/day prop taxes, nothing special, but the assessor REALLY likes it
It does have a nice pastoral view... (and I have a full daylight basement with the same view as my upstairs 'vaulted' Lobby.)
Only 6 acres (5 of which is over a cliff).

they tax me at $200/sf on a house that cost me $38/sf to build (I did bring my tile when moving home from Spain, that saved me some $$). My dirt alone has $300k tax value, and it cost me $20k... There has never been anyone banging on my door to buy the joint, but lots of speculators drove values up as it is not everywhere that you can live in the equivalent of a National Park, and be 20 min from an international airport. (but I am under severe restrictions too. (I can't paint my house ORANGE, even tho I consider it an 'earth-tone')

Not everyone would enjoy the 80 mph freezing rain, and the assessor doesn't come to visit on those days. I also get 100" of rain / yr, (2.5x PDX) due to the elevation, and the clouds needing to 'unload' before lumbering on eastbound. But a 'weather watcher's' paradise, clouds in the Columbia Gorge were spectacular this week!

... I'm looking for a location where they're 1,200 per year or less. Anyone know where?
from: http://www.city-data.com/forum/rural...ml#post8334844
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
Another thing to consider is taxes. Ours run about $1.05 per acre each year.
Apparently nearby you in ME, forest pays ~$50/ yr in taxes on 40 acres and house, I think...
Old 04-16-2009, 09:30 PM
Location: SW US
2,218 posts, read 2,036,207 times
Reputation: 3824
Originally Posted by janb View Post
I would love to do Colorado again (Loveland of course ). I would probably do passive solar mini-homes there. I've had my eye on a perfect hillside for that, for about 40 yrs... Still vacant! Overlooks the river, valley, and front range. ...
Ft. Collins is up at the top of my list of places to move to, along with Santa Fe which I can't afford. I have a passive solar house here, but would like to have both active and passive solar in my next house because electricity rates can only go higher. And a very small house is also what I want, meaning less than 1000 sq ft.

I built my current home, serving as a sort of co-general contractor with a project manager. Although it was a hassle at times, I would probably be my own general contractor next time if I were still young enough. Because I'm hypersensitive to formaldehyde, a mobile, or an off the shelf house, would not work for me, due to the extensive use of formaldehyde in building products in the U.S..

Problem is, I can't sell my house for anything like what it cost, so until things turn around I'm stuck here.
Old 04-16-2009, 09:57 PM
4,131 posts, read 13,313,151 times
Reputation: 3773
Below is an old chart (2006) but it still is fairly accurate I believe - according to this chart which gives an approximation, the lowest taxes are in AL, highest in NJ - DE is also reasonable as well as other parts of the south and possibly NM, more than that I'm not sure

The Tax Foundation - State and Local Property Tax Collections Per Household and Per Capita by State, Fiscal Year 2006
Old 04-17-2009, 12:54 AM
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,432 times
Reputation: 52
Smile Small House links

Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
Does that $50k mean the costs to buy the modular from the company? There are a lot of costs to building a house over and above the cost to buy the modular (the lot, foundation, all exterior things like decks, porches, steps or access into the house, driveway, walks, getting electricity and water to the house, and often there is work on the inside to finish it up plus the transit costs and crane costs to set the house on the foundation). These can add up to as much or more than the modular itself. As always, you have to look carefully at just what any building price includes.

I have a friend who built a modular house but she ended up spending a little more than I did for a finished used house at the same time. The house is nice but the roof failed in 18 years instead of the 23 years I got out of mine and it is showing some wear.
It's difficult for me to list everything and what it costs. Safe to say most small homes are less than $50,000 including everything, depending on the lot. Most homes I've seen are exceptionally energy efficient and are high-quality construction.

I'm not recommending any of the plans at the URLs listed below. To learn more about the quality of today's small homes, try these pages:

Small House Society

A good place to find links to interesting information that gives you a better picture of small homes.
Small House Society - Resources | ResourcesForLife.com

This is a page of sample small homes constructed by one of many designers.
Cottage Home Plans, Small House Plans, Cabin Plans, Small Homes by Ross Chapin Architects

If you've seen anything on TV about this movement, it probably was Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

As with most companies, Jay has a variety of plans, the largest being 3 bedrooms somewhere between 800 and 900 square feet. Here's what he has to say about small homes.

"What would your life be like without a mortgage? People just like you are building Tumbleweed Homes for as little as $18,000 and some sweat equity. Home ownership is within your reach. When I built my first tiny house 10 years ago, people thought I was crazy - but they stopped laughing when they saw how much money I saved. I got rid of my mortgage and took control of my life. I didnít need to work so much and I used my newfound time to pursue my passion."

On the following page, go down to the Small Houses section to see samples of homes and square footage. If you select the red arrow on the right, you'll get to some of Jay's 'larger' small homes.
Tumbleweed Houses

There was a time when I would have loved to live in Santa Cruz. But it really looks to me like California is not a good place to move into these days unless you have beaucoup bucks. Their taxes are very high and there are few to no breaks for retired or old people. I think it is different for the people who live there already as there are some significant tax breaks you can carry on with you. If I already lived there, it might be a different story but I think I would do better in some other states.
I know what you mean about California. It's true. However, an advantage of living in a small house is lower taxes. I haven't heard about tax breaks for California elderly or retired people. Can you tell me where you read about this? I want to be sure to take advantage of all the befits I can while living here.
Old 04-17-2009, 01:04 AM
Location: Alaska
384 posts, read 877,571 times
Reputation: 186
My parents had a lovely manufactured home on their own lot in a 55 plus community, and my friends have a very nice very new manufactured home in rural NY. I, however, just don't like the feel of them,- no matter how very nice they are these days.

As for space rental - one thing I did see in my parents generation was those that did the space rental thing really ran into problems 15 and 20 years down the road when the rent went up and they were still trying to live on a fixed income ....fixed 20 years ago. On the other hand, my parent's sold their their land and manufactured home 25 years later for four times the original purchase amount.

Anomoly - after your years of wandering it is nice that you have made some decisions that are working for you. As time passes and our individual situations change, I'm sure many of us will also make decisions and take actions ... perhaps some will even involve the people we've met here. In the meantime, I appreciate returning to "core" topics as we continue our journey. Information hits me differently at different times. Like a wave that returns to shore ... I slowly absorb and change with each incoming tide.

mmhere ... I'd like to know some of those sites you are referring to.

Wisteria - I would LOVE Santa Cruz but like Tesaje I think California is just too expensive.

But I do like the idea of an active PNW contingent! I am heading south next weekend and then east for a bit - Seattle, San Francisco, VT and NY. I might just explore a bit of the outlying areas around Seattle.
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