Sunday, 17 August 2014

Blaugust 17, 2014 - Bare Necessities

I realise that I really should treat home buying as buying a 'first' home, with the intention of buying cheaply, paying it off, then moving on to something more expensive by using the first house as equity. But I'm 31 and I like to have nice things, so I have been trying to find a way to make whatever money I will have available stretch further.

First I began looking into straw bale construction, as it has a reputation as being a cheap option. Reading through some of the websites it quickly became apparent that it isn't necessarily the case. Straw bale can range between $700 and $2,000 per square metre, depending entirely on how much time, effort, and help you can bring to the game. I could rustle up a little help, but not enough to offset the big lack of time I could devote at the moment. Compared to starting with a cheap prefabricated home, straw bale would be a big step up. But it just doesn't seem a feasible starting point.

I was talking to a colleague today about my property aspirations, as I can't seem to stop thinking about them, and she told me her daughter was living with her partner in a caravan and a shed on her new block of land while they save for a build. I wondered if this would be a good way to go, and it got me thinking about exactly what I'd be able to do without, and what I'd need as a bare minimum to stay sane.

I could do without most things for a time. At an absolute minimum I'd need room to secure all of my stuff, so that means a large shed at the least. I'd need power, water, temperature control (or mitigation), and either a landline or good mobile reception. I'd need somewhere to store food (boxes and a fridge), chop (a table), cook (a hotplate, or a cookfire), and wash dishes (a tub). Going without a bathroom would get old fast in the Winter, but in the warmer months it would be quite tolerable.

If I could save money by living in a shed for a while, I might be able to afford a decent block of land right off the bat and build something nice on it further along the line. Or, in conjunction with a shed, I could build a small straw bale single room hut to use as a bedroom, and then when the house is eventually built it could easily be re-purposed into a detached studio.

I know me, though, and how much I like nice things. The temptation to take a risk and borrow more than I could safely afford (I base this calculation on assuming an interest rate of 10% were to happen) is strong. Oh but surely rates will stay low for five years, I muse. I shall have to remain vigilant against myself.

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