everyone wants a resilient home, so why not two?
“does not change the math, since the cash ends up mostly being used to pay people to help me maintain things. Even with cover-cropping and heavy mulching of most of the garden beds, there is still plenty else to do. And moneywise, under any rental scenario, I’m still on the hook for the life cycle maintenance of both properties.”
What other labor or maintenance do you need to do? I own a lot more property and I have very little maintenance to do. If your homes are not connected to the grid or have highe maintaince systems (wood only heating) it unlikely to sell for the same reason you want to sell. Another words if it costing your a bundle or needs a lot of labor, your not going to find many buyers.
Looking at the pictures I don’t see anything that needs high maintance, except perhaps the Solar systems. Looks like you pretty much did everything right as far as construction, and all the exterior materials (brick & metal roof) are pretty much maintenance free. Personally, I cannot fathom why you would consider selling. Thats a pretty nice property you made! What are you considering for your asking price? (Just curious since I am already working on my own homestead).
Hi Techguy, thank you for those thoughts.
I agree with most things on this list, but we’ll be wanting more insulation in than 2 x 6 walls would allow for. We’ll be specifiying double wall construction, with studs staggered to reduce thermal bridging.
Insulating to that extent would be overkill in some areas, but our coldest temperature within the last week was -37 degrees Celsius, with wind chill into the minus forties. The entire winter isn’t like that, but it’s what we have to be ready for.
You’re right that moisture management is a challenge. At those temperatures even triple pane windows “sweat”.
The property is very rural, so fire resistance is a big consideration. Metal roofing is definitely on the wish list. I’m partial to the sort that looks like wood shakes rather than standing seam. Other than cost, any opinions about that?
Western Manitoba has lots of fieldstone left by the glaciers, so we’d have some interesting possibiities for thermal mass if we could persuade some local farmers to let us pick through their stone piles.
Reason for relocating? Grandchildren.
We are in similar circumstances. We spent a decade prepping. We were pretty well set up, but one aspect of that process then occurred to us. That place is high maintenance. I’m 72 and I’m frankly sick of the work, much of which was hard physical work. So we downsized to a place that is still fairly resilient, but is closer to necessary services. Our old place is on the market so we’ll see if our preps are marketable. In the meantime we are paying taxes on two places, one of which is no longer eligible for the STAR program.
We’ve done the rental thing before. The hassle isn’t worth it.
In addition to all that, it is less clear to me that we will experience a massive collapse before I depart this mortal coil. Why not enjoy my remaining time as much as possible. The kids will inherit the surplus we have created, which may help them through the long predicted collapse.
You have created something that needs to be shared with more than an individual or family who can afford the price to have sole access to this property. Why not make this into a retreat for those who desire to disconnect from the insanity of contemporary life? Find the investors (PP’s affiliated investment advisory group?) and build more quarters on the property — preferably contiguous, but private — that are targeted to the top ten percent with the goal of helping them realize how shallow their consumptive lives are….
Residents — who produce the labor of a first class thriving community — would comprise 50% of the population or so while guests would comprise the other 50% or so. As much as possible, all food would be grown on site and processed on site. No electronic communication devices allowed. This would probably require short stays initially. Most are addicted to their devices and many can’t conceive of being “disconnected” for even more than a few minutes.
Don’t let your work go to waste… I’ll be more than happy to be involved…
Matt Holbert wrote:
You have created something that needs to be shared with more than an individual or family who can afford the price to have sole access to this property. Why not make this into a retreat for those who desire to disconnect from the insanity of contemporary life?
In the first 5 years after the property was built, I gave many tours to various groups — I estimate several hundred people, overall. Some were via the Solar Tour, others were students who were visiting other places in Berea and got steered here, others were just curious types who drove down the driveway and started asking questions. I haven’t done much tour giving in the last 5 years, mostly because no one has asked.
In that same vein, I thought about turning the house into a B&B with a “resilience education” twist. My girlfriend works at a B&B now, and I know others who are suitably skilled. But my GF doesn’t think we’ll generate enough customer volume to make the books balance. I’m outside of the town (less appealing to visitors that staying in town), and once we get through the first wave of the curious types, volume would fall off. There would also be some new items in the “costs” column to go along with the new gross revenue. But even if the $$ could work out — OMG, in terms of hassle factor, a B&B is off-the-charts!
Matt, your idea is a good one, but I feel quite sure it’s an idea that I do not have the mojo to pull off. I need to de-complicate, not further complicate. A new owner who dedicates him/herself to engaging with the property as it was design would feel like a win to me, not a waste.
TechGuy asked about the price. My answer is, I don’t know. If I remember correctly, I asked $425K in 2012. That was based on me having tracked actual costs to about $400K, and then I added a little something for all the time I put in (way more than $25K worth). But the house did not sell at that price. I’ve put even more money in since then — some for re-do’s to correct construction errors, and plenty for the normal costs of running a house. So, overall, the house represents a big ol’ pile of money, but it doesn’t really seem to suit my needs anymore. Maybe that will change and I’ll move back in, but for now, I’m happy enough in the smaller place.
If I do sell, I am resigned to the idea that this region/area will not support anything like a $425K price. Probably closer to half that. That would be a big bite in the rear, and it’s one of my hesitations on selling. But it’s all sunk costs at this point, so my financial math is really about future cash flows once I’m retired. The delta is somewhere between $5K and $10K per year, depending on assumptions. Not huge, but in my likely retirement circumstance, adding that on top of my own living costs probably won’t work. I still need to finishing doing the spreadsheet!
P.S. I AM dedicated to helping educate others on resilience and other issues. If any PP’ers feel like visiting the little cultural gem known as Berea and want a tour of my house so they can refine plans for their own project, I’d be happy to comply. Just PM me.
<< Tight Home with ERV for ventaliation >>
Yes, positive ventilation for indoor air quality is a must. I considered a heat-exchanging active ventilator, but I didn’t want to add another energy load. So, I just open the windows for 15 minutes every morning and turn on the whole-house fan, then I close everything back up so the passive solar can get to work re-warming the house. But *I” don’t have sub-0 nights!
Definitely agree with the double-stud walls. I built two actively-cooled cold rooms with that approach and they perform very well. That said, TechGuy’s idea of the 2×6 walls with the foam board is also good, especially if you’re going to use brick or some other porous siding. Taped foam board will halt the vapor drive (though you’d need to calculate whether the dew point is trapped inside the width of the foam board, as it is in my climate (Kentucky)).
<< Hydronic Radiant heating (if you can afford it). More efficient than forced air or baseboard heating. Gyptcrete pour or Warm-board Eco-board. >>
Not sure how my geothermal compares to that, efficiency-wise. I think geothermal is something like 400% efficient. But expensive. If your climate is extreme enough, it would be worth the extra cost.
Indoor stove vs. outdoor wood burner is debatable, I think. I have two high quality indoor standalone wood stoves (Vermont Castings Defiant in the house, Intrepid II in the apartment). They both perform well, but I am VERY sensitive to wood smoke, so I use them sparingly. I’m not sure that a nearby wood/coal burner would be much better — depends on which way the wind is blowing, I suppose. The fact that the wood stove is radiating heat directly into the house would seem to be more efficient than transferring heat from outdoors, but I admit I don’t know anything about exterior wood burners.
As for thermal mass, putting mass around an interior stove is very good — it tempers the heat build-up and radiates heat later when the fire is fading. Thermal mass that can get direct sunlight is also very helpful. My livingroom wall (dark tile over solid cement block) serves both purposes. The one design mistake I made was not having the wood stove more centrally located in the house. To get enough heat to the back bedrooms, I always had to overheat the livingroom. But that was really only on the coldest nights.
<< Standing Seem metal roof (if you can afford it).>>
Yup. Standing seam is awesome. Choose a color appropriate for your climate. (Light colors reflect summer heat away; dark colors heat up.) People usually choose dark colors for the look, but light colors usually make more energy sense. Make sure the paint warranty is top tier.
Mark- Thanks for the reply. (As a sidenote, I contracted with Residence Inn in the mid-80s to find them sites in Southern California. It was a short gig as my colleague who had the contacts with RI physically abused his girlfiend twice in a three week period. Once I made sure she got on a plane back to Texas, I left myself within a few days.)
I agree that running a B&B would not pencil out. My wife and I had an opportunity to run a B&B in northern Indiana in 2008 without any financial — or otherwise — commitment. It was not for us. I have also tried to get traction for this idea of a “Resilience Inn” for years without any success. In some respects it is monastic (something Morris Berman has discussed in one or more of his books) for the full-time residents. I, however, have never found the right property nor had the resources to buy one as I left the system 20 years ago.
It is remarkable how staying in the paradigm and being in the right location can make all the difference. One of my colleagues of 20 years ago who has stuck with pension investment management just sold his home in the Bay Area (sausilito). He paid 1.3 million for it in 2009 and it sold for 2.3 million a year or two ago. He actually listed the home at 2 million. In other words he sold it for 300k over the asking price.
All the best in whatever you do, Matt
My memory is that there is a service helping connct people who want to farm with people who have a farm; then they can work out the details.
“Not sure how my geothermal compares to that, efficiency-wise. I think geothermal is something like 400% efficient. But expensive. If your climate is extreme enough, it would be worth the extra cost.”
A Hydronic radiant system can work with a geothermal system. A Geothermal is a heat sync or source not the system that distributes the heat inside the house. Hydrodonic radiant operates with a very low temperature compared to forced air, or convection (baseboard heating). For a tight home, with good insulation, the water temperature only needs to be about 80F for hydronic radiant floors. Convection needs to be about 160F which makes it about 50% less efficient.
Im in a similar situation. I own 2 farms. One I built over the course of ten years and another I bought with the idea that my ‘down-on-his-luck’ friend would rent it, work it, and share the lifestyle. I learned pretty quick that city people do not simply leave the city and become self reliant farmers. Its just too much of a change, and most people cannot adapt. Its like expecting a zoo kept lion to move to the jungle and survive.
Anyway, fast forward years later and I own two farms, roughly 1/2 an hour away from each other and I spend my entire summer driving back and forth cutting hay and maintaining that property. I have it rented currently but Im starting to realize its just not worth the monthly income especially, as you said, when you consider the upkeep and cost of maintainence….not to mention the mental and physical energy.
Ive already informed my tenant that he’s got to go and Im planning to put one more chunk of money in preparing it for sale and Im putting it on the market. Like you I cannot imagine having it ready before 2020. Im not putting myself through a time crunch, when who even knows whether the market will be better, worse, or the same? I doubt Ill get what I put into it either way.