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Old 07-19-2014, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,007,999 times
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Anyone thinking of planning and building a retirement home? Anyone considering zero-net-energy home, modular or otherwise? What is, has been, your experience?

I'm particularly interested in smaller one-floor designs, max 1400 SF.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Iowa
190 posts, read 154,385 times
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I bought a ranch with a walk out basement. I am not a green person, but cost effective changes such as LEDs, high insulation value and good ventilation only make good cents, sense and scents. Unfortunately, the cost of that last 20% net zero green is prohibitively expensive to us.

I am adding age-in-place amenities, well before needing any.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,612,888 times
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I'm thinking that is what I'm going to do with the next home.

I want a much smaller home but on a lot with elbow room. I can find the lot but not the home or the home but not the lot.

So I think I'm going to find the perfect lot and then build.

I found these cottage plans which can be altered that I've tucked away in my bookmarks.
I'm also scoping out lot sales for where I want to end up.

Buying land and holding on to it until you're ready is not a big deal.
Pay taxes on unimproved land and once or twice a year have the lot mowed.

I've done both..buy land and later build and buy a home and later move into it.
Buying the home ahead of time is a PITA and I won't do it again.
Buying the land was a piece of cake and mowing it was the only thing I had to worry about.

Here's the site where I found cottage plans:
Small house plans, Cottage plans, mother-in-law homes, guest house plans
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Old 07-19-2014, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,007,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
These are REAL cottages (with "cottage" square footage). Some of the "retirement cottages" I've seen online, I've burst out laughing. Like McMansions, with all kinds of landscaping to take care of. I like your website, thanks.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,612,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
These are REAL cottages (with "cottage" square footage). Some of the "retirement cottages" I've seen online, I've burst out laughing. Like McMansions, with all kinds of landscaping to take care of. I like your website, thanks.
And you can customize the floor plan to boot

I've already picked out one and got rid of the second bathroom in the master bedroom and converted that to a walk in pantry/storage closet in my mind ....lol. The bathroom backed up to the laundry room and could easily accommodate a door there then from the master bedroom.

I actually did customize a floor plan when I had a house built back in 1996.
I took away more than added and ended up with credits !
But I had what I wanted and loved living in that house.

But yeah..some have some grand ideas about what a "cottage" really is.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:21 PM
 
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Floor should be flat all one level with extra wide doors and no sharp turns. House should be designed for wheel chair usage even if no chair at present.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,007,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
And you can customize the floor plan to boot

I've already picked out one and got rid of the second bathroom in the master bedroom and converted that to a walk in pantry/storage closet in my mind ....lol. The bathroom backed up to the laundry room and could easily accommodate a door there then from the master bedroom.

I actually did customize a floor plan when I had a house built back in 1996.
I took away more than added and ended up with credits !
But I had what I wanted and loved living in that house.

But yeah..some have some grand ideas about what a "cottage" really is.
I would choose the first one shown. It says that in my state, the cost to build that model is about $130K. I assume that is with construction labor. In my case, my son would build (hopefully), so I'd just be interested in the cost of materials. Or are these prefab houses that get delivered to a site?
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,612,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I would choose the first one shown. It says that in my state, the cost to build that model is about $130K. I assume that is with construction labor. In my case, my son would build (hopefully), so I'd just be interested in the cost of materials. Or are these prefab houses that get delivered to a site?
No, stick built. They just do the plans.

Now I've just started giving this some thought.
And I would approach a local builder first about buying plans and having them build it.

I've never done something like this so I would approach cautiously and make sure all the ducks line up before spending any money.

My last home was the builder's plans that I changed.

If your son is a builder then you have much more going for you.
And I took that price they gave as just a ballpark figure which is good enough for me at this stage.

I'm not planning on moving anytime soon but I take years to do research and stuff (besides it's fun to do).
This place where I'm at now took me 2.5 years to find and then I had it for 1 year before I moved here.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,007,999 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
No, stick built. They just do the plans.

Now I've just started giving this some thought.
And I would approach a local builder first about buying plans and having them build it.

I've never done something like this so I would approach cautiously and make sure all the ducks line up before spending any money.

My last home was the builder's plans that I changed.

If your son is a builder then you have much more going for you.
And I took that price they gave as just a ballpark figure which is good enough for me at this stage.

I'm not planning on moving anytime soon but I take years to do research and stuff (besides it's fun to do).
This place where I'm at now took me 2.5 years to find and then I had it for 1 year before I moved here.
Our son could build that model in under a month. So then the cost estimate is in his court. It's hard to find real "cottage" plans. I like the attached garage, because that could be insulated and heated and used as a workshop. Three bedrms for us is better, but we could make it with two with the workshop.

Then there's landscaping. I would want ground cover all around the house (except for garden area) for no mowing. Beyond the ground cover, Russian sage.
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:52 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,693 posts, read 40,062,283 times
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In many regions, you can get property tax incentives for building ADA compliant.

Since the 1970's I have purposed to build passive energy each time / remodel.
When my kids build their homes (age 13 - age 15) they made energy star swiss style chalets in the mtns (/ Daylight ) ground level accessible from each floor. They qualified for $5000 rebates for energy enhancements, and we spent only a portion of that to be compliant. I have not spent more than a couple thousand dollars on energy specific enhancements, but I plan and buy materials that are beneficial, but not 'solar' priced. All places can be heated with wood if necessary (usually do that). I will switch to bio-diesel / waste cooking oil heat when I get too old to carry wood in. No air cond required in my summer locales. For HW to sinks and shower I run water loops and use demand HW heaters. ($90/month average full electric bill... $45 of which is monthly service fee). All this can be done very cheap (I still build for $50 / sf). I use a lot of 'recycled' materials. $4 light fixtures and doors...from Habitat

Each home we built has had a separate qtrs cuz I had 32 yrs of caring for a disabled parent. And I realize I may need a caregiver space myself.

I've made a daylight basement apartment in my current place.

I am drafting the plans for an energy 'southwest' cottage to add to my TX property. It will be under 900SF but will have a loft of grandkids and overflow and energy savings / temperature distribution. I plan to build a steel skeleton and then construct the walls of rammed earth. (looks like a sand painting when finished, no materials required to finish the inside or outside.
It will have large covered porches front and rear at ground level with folding patio doors so it can be used for extra living space, gardening, thermal gain, or garage / hobby shop.

I am experimenting with 'annualized solar' very popular in Japan (heating a storage bed with summer attic heat, to use in winter). I Will put in a 10,000 gal underground rainwater tank for water and thermal storage. (I helps to have my own dozer, bobcat, dumptruck, and excavator)

I choose preferred climates and desirable places so I can enjoy for the moment, and sell in the future.

I think there is a decent market in energy cottages for seniors. Thus I am working on building a cooperative senior cottage village. (energy / sustainable).

Cottages will be small (4 plexes much cheaper to build). There is a central community building with guest apartments and a commercial kitchen for bigger get-togethers.
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