RESILIENT HOUSE 1-Selecting a house that can adapt some homesteading

resilient house

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT

If the house needs to match the lifestyle, then the house must be able to accommodate our plans for becoming resilient.


We have been on the lookout for a home for a few months now and one of my main considerations is how the house can make us resilient for the future. By this I mean I look for  a few things for the house:

  1. PRICING-it must be easy for us to service the debt in the event of a job loss or if cost of living just rises
  2. LOT SIZE-I will have a garden for food so this is critical for me
  3. SOLAR ORIENTATION-must work well for growing a garden
  4. FIREPLACE-something I want so we have flexibility for heating
  5. LOCAL REGULATIONS-the city must not hinder me from having some form of livestock, be it chickens or rabbits. If there are too many regulations then that is a bad sign
  6. BRICK FACADE-This is in case of hail
  7. PROXIMITY TO GMO FARMS-obviously an issue but since we are likely going to be within the city suburb limits this should not be an issue
  8. PROXIMITY TO INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES-we’ve lived in areas close to manufacturing/industrial zones and my son has health issues with it. Plus, it’s just not a good idea.
  9. NOT IN A FLOODZONE-insurance and risks I do not want to pay for

The wife’s requirements added to these would be:

  1. Proximity to places that they frequent-these would be groceries, stores and places to keep the kids busy.
  2. Safe neighborhood

Some exclusions:

I doubt we will find a house that has a basement. They are not that common in my area so I will put this off to the side. If it so happens we have it, then that would be great and ideal.

Same thing goes for a 2nd story level, it’s common enough but not for my price range. It will not be a deciding factor for me.


THE LATEST HOUSE (MAR 5)

This last weekend we found a house that fits the above list.

resilient house front

The exterior is pretty normal which is great. I won’t go into the typical things you look for a house but will focus on my concerns relative to this blog. The front door does not pose any security issues more than the typical home does. I might want to add a cctv or light out there later. The main thing I looked at is that it has no weird angles or corners which would be a good place for criminals to hide in-at least nothing significantly worse than your typical house. I can deal with the bushes by interplanting them with some thorny bushes and cutting them lower. The corner by the front portion of the house, I might want to add a cctv to deal with it if I don’t want to bother looking out from the other windows every time I have to open the door.


SITE PLAN

 

resilient house

Here’s the site from above. I am not that happy to have all the lot square footage given to the front yard. I’d rather have that in the backyard  and then have a smaller front yard. The plan was to focus any gardening on the backyard, but in this case I might want to do it at the front too. I will need to check if the city has any laws on what you can do at your front yard.

It has a 2 car garage, which is great. In the event of hail I can pull both cars into the garage. This is a real concern for me as my car right now still has some hail damage. It happens, more regularly than some people might think.

I’ve got a side yard here as well which I can put to good use. Always good to have a couple of ways around the house. However, I do need to secure this. Currently it is a big opening for criminals to get in the house.


REAR YARD

resilient backyard gardening

The rear of the house shows promise too. it is not a great size, but it faces the right way for solar orientation.

What can I do with this backyard? Here are some ideas:

  1. grow a garden
  2. harvest solar power
  3. build a solar dehydrator
  4. build a fire pit and barbeque pit
  5. training space for airsoft
  6. grow some rabbits for meat
  7. grow chickens (the city has restrictions on this)
  8. Add a small shed for an outdoor workshop and storage

The fact that the rear fence is not made of wood and allows air and views in and out can also work to my advantage. Typically I would want lots of privacy at my backyard. However, this yard faces a huge empty lot for about a block. People will be driving by it to park their cars and pick up trash, but that should be about it. This might mean a cool breeze in the summer.


CITY REGULATIONS

The city website publishes it’s code and regulations online so I am making this part of my research for every house. I thought this city would be very laid back in terms of regulations but it turns out it has quite a few that I don’t like.

The city has restrictions on owning chickens. You can only have 2 and your coop has to be 50′ from your neighbor’s homes. I can check if the neighbors can sign a waiver and allow this in case we don’t meet the 50′.

There are some restrictions on rabbits too but they are not intrusive to me. It did not put a restriction on how many and the size of the hutch. It did require that the rabbit poop does not fall directly to the ground (which is stupid because rabbit poop makes for great compost without cooking). Not an issue, I can work with this.

The city also has restrictions on parking long term on the road in front of your house. THis becomes an issue if I decide to have a trailer of some sort. I would need to move this to my garage and then build a carport to protect the car from hail.


FUTURE PLANNED DEVELOPMENTS

How does one consider the city’s planned zoning changes and developments in regards to their home purchase? I checked deeper into the city’s plans for this house. Being that this city appealed to both me and my wife-which has been hard to find-it was worth the time to research further as to what the city has plans for. In this case I found quite a few things. It turns out that the home is pretty close to an area that the city is pushing to develop into apartments and commercial areas. I am just short of the development limits by a few blocks.

This can work in my favor. Long term I would not want this because I don’t want to have a house too close to an area full of apartments. I want to be neighbors with homeowners who are vested in the community and will have a longer stake in the area. Renters may not have that because they are still transient for the most part.

During the interim while the development is new, this would bring an influx of activity to the area. It will suck during construction periods because it will cause local traffic and destroy local roads. Once built, it will raise my property values and will make the area too crowded for me to want to stay-both will incentivize me to leave smiling.

Our plan is to stay in this home for abut 5 years, so perhaps this won’t be a big issue. Maybe it won’t even see zoning approval during our stay here. If we stick to our 5 year plan we will likely not even experience any of the construction going on. At least not in full swing.

This planned development will significantly change the areas character-which is something we currently like about it.

Right now, this planned development is just information I am keeping in my back pocket. I don’t have much use for it yet, but I can use it as we plan longer term goals. If we move to a different house in 5 years for example, maybe we can rent this out until the property values make sense to sell it.


CONCLUSION

This house (House no. 1 for this series) will work for our long term plans. I am praying that we can get this house and then I will just modify some of my plans so it works with any city regulations. I may not get my ideal home and location, but this is a healthy compromise so I get to do what I need and keep my family happy.

(UPDATE:

At the time of this post, this house is under contract with another family. They beat us to it by an afternoon. It was available in the morning, then by the time we had arranged for a 4pm appointment at lunch it was under contract. We will continue looking)


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.

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