My two biggest concerns with the concept of PermaEthos are
- Utilities Especially Power
- Financing for Lessees to Build Homes
On utilities likely this can be handled, in many ways it will not be much different then a “trailer park” model where people often own their home but not the land. Still the more “off grid” we can be the more freedom and resiliency we can have. So getting started that way, may be a good idea for many, especially seasonal residents.
On financing there are two issues. One not owning the land will make getting loans a lot more difficult. However, due to the fact that the company will own the land free and clear and the lease is a 99 year lease that may make some financing possible. We may also in time attract other investors to finance building projects.
The other issue though is likely a lot of people may want to build earthships, dome homes, etc. Financing on these is also difficult. Yet the problems are often the solution!
So one model is building a “tiny house” perhaps not a micro house but more of the shed model. These are affordable and quick to set up. Something like Melanie Sorrentino has done with a 10×10 shed conversion. For the non permanent resident this serves as a base camp for future development. I have seen some pretty nice structures made with 10x10s, 12x10s, 12x16s, etc. Cooling such a structure and keeping it cool is a lot easier then a 1200 square foot home.
One could start with this, get it basically delivered even already mostly converted for under 5,000 dollars. Given the location will be secure because of some permanent residents it would be a great place as a fall back location along with great get away location just to enjoy yourself at times.
I am thinking we could find a local contractor that could have 3-4 stock models and with the volume of business we might do would give a great price to us. Also at say 5K in construction costs even those that can’t pay out of pocket can likely find a source of credit for such a small project.
I also think folks willing to self build earth contact structures have a great opportunity here. Such homes need very little energy and will do well on a solar system.
Next there are a TON of RVs out there for cheap. If you check out what MD Creekmore did with “The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” you will see that a lot can be done with just a little bit of money. Again with the fact that the community will be secure you can pull a RV onto your lot and leave it there. I personally would highly consider doing this on my lot. While I wouldn’t really plan on being there from June – August if there was no power, the rest of the year is really quite comfortable. Especially if you were to build a shade shelter for it.
The shade shelter can be done with a commercial product. Such as a carport kit or can just be a frame you build yourself and cover with congregated steel. What we were shopping for homes last year many houses had old mobile homes as “guest houses” we found many had shade structures built above them. I have to say even in summer they were not terrible if the windows were open with a fan running.
The beauty of this community is it will be in an unincorporated part of a county in Texas, that is an absolute requirement for what we want to do. In such areas there is little to no code enforcement and you can be unconventional. Perhaps some people will simply get an old GP Medium Tent and build a floor under it. I lived in one for 7 months in Honduras. Here is a picture of that tent.
Temps during my deployment were constantly over 100 degrees but at night that tent was pretty comfortable with flaps up and running a box fan. That tent stood up well to thunderstorms and kept myself and 7 other men sheltered for 7 months.
The point is there are always options. While I personally would want to build a small home and be on grid for convenience long term, I am open to other options when we first break ground. The other things to consider are how some of this creates long term infrastructure.
Put a tiny house in and down the road it is a guest house. Put in a car port for an RV, sell the RV when you build if you don’t want it and you have a car port for your car or as a storage area for other needs. The key for many when getting started will be being creative.
What are some other thoughts you have on creative housing either for short of long term use.