Future Home Ideas

The Heretic

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Road maintenance is a cost that caught me a little flat footed. 6 years ago it was $7K to get the road paved - my share - due to it falling apart after several of us logged. I also paid about $15K to have my driveway paved.

Then we didn't account for the fact that 4" of asphalt is no adequate to handle the heavy (40 ton) garbage trucks that come every week. So now we need to pave again on top of what we did last time - that would be another $10K for each household, if it weren't for the kindness/charity of one person who offered to pay more than half of it, the rest of us only have to pay $1500 plus what we had left over from last time.

If we pay about $100-$200 per month over the years, that will hopefully be enough for next time.

A gravel road would be adequate, but noisy and dirty (for some - I am back far enough that it doesn't matter) and would still need to be maintained several times a year (regraded) and would develop potholes, plus paving helps the property values. My next place (if there is one) would probably be a gravel road though - at least most of the driveway as I could not afford to pave it unless I won the lottery.

My backup plan is to stay here, put in a greenhouse (which I will do anyway to improve value) and just keep paying on the mortgage. Then when I am gone, the kids will get the appreciated value and they can build whatever/wherever they want - but that is not optimum as it takes time (a decade at least) to setup a place to be self-sufficient.
 
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Trees/keeping trees: keep in mind the effects of storm winds on the trees. You see lots of subdivisions in the PNW where they go into a Douglas Fir forest and take out most of the trees, leaving scattered mature DF trees spaced around the development. These trees grew up reinforced by their surrounding forest, and were protected from high winds by the density of the whole stand. As a result, they did not develop a root system capable of withstanding the winds they are now exposed to. You regularly see news articles after a wind storm showing one of these trees crushing a house.

Research the direction and speed of the highest winds at your home site. Retain a buffer of well-established trees to protect the home from these winds. Plant a buffer of trees if you have the time for them to grow. It takes at least 20 years for them to become large enough to accomplish this.
 
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Avoid shared access roads unless there is a formal mechanism for financing the maintenance. There are often one or more users that fail to meet their financial obligations. This is a two-edged sword, as a majority of the ownership may decide on a more expensive option than you can afford.

Don't expect public ownership of the access road to guarantee good maintenance. Small governments are being squeezed by pension obligations, and maintaining roads is something that they will try to avoid.
 
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I've been down this road. I'm an engineer and used to the machinations that go into these things so it wasn't a lot of stress for me. My wife may have a different take. The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to plan before executing, then stick to the plan as close as you can. There are always surprises and opportunities to deal with during construction. So, also plan for contingencies. Don't throw every thing you have (or more than you have) at the plan without leaving a small pile of resources for those surprises and opportunities. When you design, find those few things that are non-negotiable and build and compromise around those things. Do not fall into the trap of building something that you don't want thinking that you can change it later. That is false economy. It will either never get done, or will cost you far more, in terms of money, time, inconvenience, and household bliss, than just biting the bullet and doing it right when building. Whatever you decide, be happy with it, compromise is not a dirty word. The biggest place to save money is not in quality, it is in scope. Most of the things that go into building a home are priced by the unit. You save more by cutting down size before cutting quality. This is especially true over time. One last bit of advice: there are no changes during construction that are not written down and agreed to by you and your contractor. If the scope and cost are not agreed to beforehand, it doesn't get done, and it sure as heck doesn't get paid for. Make this known loudly prior to starting to build. Also let it be known that subcontractors have no status with you, they are 100% the contractor's issue. Surprise invoices from a contractor because the wife casually mentioned to the contractor, or subcontractor, that the kitchen would be a lot nicer if that wall was moved 2 feet and a window added is not conductive to marital bliss.
 
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Things to keep in mind;
- Man plans, God laughs
- You have to be sure your Wife likes it. She's thinking she's gonna live there longer than you.
- Don't base your OLD Age planning on YOU driving Yourself anywhere.
There's a lot of wisdom in there.

If you are anywhere remote with a crappy road and lots of land. Make sure to invest in heavy equipment - it will make your old years a lot more bearable.

Now that I am over 50 (and still in reasonably good shape) - I sure can't do what I was able to do when I was 30. Certainly, not for as long as I used to. Suddenly, 60 and 70 are looking closer and I'm planning more for how I can maintain what I have as my physical output decreases.
 

The Heretic

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Things to keep in mind;
- Man plans, God laughs
- You have to be sure your Wife likes it. She's thinking she's gonna live there longer than you.
- Don't base your OLD Age planning on YOU driving Yourself anywhere.
Or:

1) Stuff happens
2) What wife? If some women hooks up with me (unlikely) then she better be ok with my plans or she can go find someone else - that was one of the issues with my ex; she didn't like my plans and my plans are no longer her concern.
3) I am hoping on a self-driving car before the decade is finished. If not, I have kids to drive me. I drove my daughter around for a decade or two, then it will be her turn.
 

Catherine1

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Build a quality house even if you choose to build your second house much smaller than your first quality house which was much, much larger and on several levels. (First floor, second floor and a full large basement.) Plus if your first house was on more land.

Don't try to make your dry climate or wet climate land into something that it was NEVER intended to be from the gitgo.

Don't plan on depending on another person to help you with chores, to drive you around, etc. if you live in the boonies due to a illness or death of your spouse.

Plan your future on doing it on your own with NO spouse, sad stuff (Death.) happens in life, and with no children especially if you never had any children.

Plus there are many people who THINK that their children will be for them and they live far away or the old people move to be closer to their children only to find out that their young adult or middle aged children (Grandchildren too.) move away due to another job transfer or military assignment. I have seen that happen a lot with some of my peers over time.

One floor living if possible and if you choose to have a basement or second floor - make sure that your main MASTER bedroom and full bathroom are on the main first floor. Wheelchair sized extra wide doors so that a w/c can get through it easily unless you plan on a LOFT STYLE small home or cabin where almost everything is WIDE OPEN with even a low wall towards a bathroom in some home plans.

And even if you use a second floor at FIRST for your main master bedroom and bath/shower room - plan on using a first floor one down the road due to cancer, any illness, weakness, and while a person is dying especially if you do NOT plan on ever using a nursing home or any such thing!

Plan on a super LARGE shower with NO ramp or with a LOW ramp for entry by foot or with a shower chair. One low step. LONG hose or extra long hose for a shower massage type of faucet/shower head. EASY access for the bathroom sink and toilet. Some types of potty chairs can FIT over and on top of a toilet not just next to a bed so be sure that you have room on the floor-space for the rubber feet and arms unless the arms swing up. Don't plan on using those over the top high toilet seats with NO FEET since they are not as sturdy in my opinion even for a slender tall man. Your mileage may vary.

Don't count on old or good friends even though some of them may be THERE for you but remember that all of us AGE.

AGE in place or don't age in place!

AGE where you want to live but don't plan on having on all of these helpers because eventually they DIE off, get ill, can't do what they used to be able to do even if they are pretty healthy and MANY of them move away because they planned on moving away for a warmer climate or even to another state or to another country.

COST of living and constantly rising RE Taxes in states where only the wealthy or poor will live while they continue to DRIVE AWAY - DRIVE OUT the middle class and upper middle class is a very real concern even for people who planned ahead. Plus a continued influx of NON fiscal conservative people and SJW types will only make things worse.

Some states CATER to senior citizens and the middle class and others do not while they play constant CLASS SOCIO/ECONOMIC WARFARE GAMES. BOTH parties do this and it is a real threat to fiscal conservatives who never asked for JACK.

BIG money coming into states? Some b about it but TAKE THE MONEY and move away. Some b about it and don't sell. Every person is different and decides what is really important in their lives.

So before you plan your home and even though you planned ahead on a state's situation from a to z - remember that those things WILL change even if some people said that they never would. That includes people planning on building in places where there are all sorts of natural calamities due to their specific locations.

More later on.

Cate
PS: I planned and built my first house and my second house so that it would work for w/c living and other things - thank God! I still plan on one more house before I die but who knows what the future will bring? Only God almighty.
 
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