HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?
Being a home owner of a house that lets us produce something gives us more options than just renting. We have more options and more opportunities by owning a home-we just have to find one that will allow the opportunities to happen and not hinder it. No HOAs, reasonable city regulations and some land.
We have been looking for a house to purchase. This will be our first time to buy a home and we have been renting for years now. Living in NYC back then, buying real estate just was not an option for us-mainly due to cost. Since we moved to Texas, we realized how this is actually very attainable. We have been shopping for months and have been educating ourselves as owners and as investors (as selling the home in the future is always a possibility).
One of my main guidelines in this purchase-which is one of the biggest purchases in a family’s lifetime-is: can the home help me live a more resilient lifestyle?
By this I mean, rather than being just a property that consumes my resources, will this home actually produce for me?
This is a homesteading mindset-making a property produce for you instead of just consume. Moving it more in the direction of being an asset rather than just a liability.
With our current situation, I cannot force my family to moving to a full on acreage homestead to grow our own food and distance ourselves from a city. My wife and I have compromised and agreed that we will live within the city limits and find a place where she can still be close to areas of entertainment. We have multiple family visitors in a year and my wife likes to take them around the city. Also, she is not comfortable with the thought of isolation or distance from neighbors yet. I myself am not sure if I am capable of the workload of maintaining and utilizing that much space.
Our approach is more of a suburban homestead solution. We’ll live in a suburb in the Dallas area, I can commute to work and grow some of our own food. So far, I have whittled down my requirements to the following:
- good solar orientation for growing food
- good solar orientation for cold weather
- freedom within local laws to have some livestock
- space in the yard to grow food (preferrably in the backyard)
- space in the yard to grow something for market/sale
- fireplace for heating
- brick exterior preferred
- parking for 2 cars to protect us from hail (which we are still dealing with in one vehicle)
- distance from any facility/farm that can cause health concerns or dangers
- not if a flood zone
HOUSE NO. 2
We started to look at Garland more. It is about 30 minutes from Dallas and has great pricing on homes. Plus, the restrictions on parking on the street and owning livestock are much less than in Rowlett-which had House no. 1.
Almost every city will have their own set of regulations. If you want to check your city, you can search (name of city) and “municode”. It often has better search results than (name of city) and regulations. Here is my prospective city’s municode:
You can have fun browsing the city regulations or you can also use great sites like BackyardChickens.com where they have a quick guide on local laws. They are updated (at least the city I looked at was).
I am planning to have chickens or rabbits in the yard, so checking this is important for me. With this house in this new city, we can have coops as long as they are 30’ away from the next house. This is much better than Rowlett’s 50’. I can also have 4 chickens instead of just 2. I imagine we will be looking at Garland more, as I am liking Rowlett less. Plus, as I mentioned in my last post for House No. 1, Rowlett had overreaching laws about parking trailers in the streets.
House no. 2 had a great location. It was on a corner lot and had an L-shaped backyard. Lots of space for me to grow stuff and use for all kinds of things. Here’s an image of the property from Google Earth.
The house is quite old, built in 1978. I imagine we will deal with asbestos and lead.
It has 3 bedrooms and 2bathrooms-what we wanted. And the layout of the rooms were focused on one side of the house. This makes it easier for security and protection for me and my kids. If I am every in a situation where there might be an intruder in the home, I have to cover only one hallway.The bedrooms are not insanely big, so we can heat them efficiently too.
It has a nice great living room with a corner fireplace. Nice vaulted ceilings-which will help keep it cool in the Texas summer. The heat hopefully will radiate nicely even with the ceiling height.
Nice sized kitchen. This is good because it is space we can produce things in – going back to the house as being a producer instead of a consumer. I used to can meat. I can do that easier if we have space. I also can cook bulk meals better if we have a well laid out kitchen. Bulk meals save money if you can do it.
We have a 2 car garage which has great access from a major road at therear-not a one lane service road. One lane service roads are a problem if you end up having 2 cars on them at the same time-which is often the case. The house backs up to a main road, plus there is a wide strip of grass separating the house from the road. This gives me even more air and distance from adjacent houses.
House no. 2 is on a corner lot. So I have the road and strip of green on the back, then on my side is another road which has a city park across it. This is ideal for me as that gives me distance from other homes, it’s one less nosy neighbor I may have to deal with and it is absolutely a source for insects, birds and squirrels. This is great from a permaculture perspective.
The backyard has a nice covered patio with a concrete slab flooring-where I can set up a small garden and small workspace for me. On occasion I will work on something which needs to be outside,but not on the dirt. This may be a small carpentry project for example. I imagine I can do a lot of these and still be comfortable in this kind of set up. Plus, the layout allows access to the garage and to the kitchen. Highly ideal for tools, breaks and I can also see straight into the living room to keep an eye on my kids while working.
It also has some good trees on the yard. I think these are just enough for shade to grow plants and not burn them. My son has dreamed of a tree house, I can build one for him here. It does not have great solar orientation for me, but given the shape and size of the yard I thought I had some flexibility to make it work for my goals.
We put an offer on the house. After much back and forth my wife and I agreed on offering a good amount above the asking price. We also offered to cover some paperwork typically covered by the owner.
Update: the house was posted on Friday afternoon and we went to see it that same afternoon. By Saturday evening we made an attractive offer on the house.
On Sunday afternoon we were told that we did not get the house. Our agent said that this may have been due to a cash buyer. We didn’t have details on what the accepted offer was. We told our broker that if the house comes back on the market that we wouldstill be interested. House no.2 offered us a lot of options and really got our imagination going. However, we did tell ourselves that if we do not get this house, thenitis justnot for us. We are okay with that,and we cannot offer more on the housebecause then we might end up underwater or in foreclosure later on. So today we are still looking for one.
MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.