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Multi Family / Commune living

sledgehammer's picture

Just an out of left field question. Say you had 5 related families( 13 people) all own their own houses and looking to consolidate (economicly driven). Presently they pay for Re taxes on 5 houses, have 5 kitchens, 16 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms and so on.... Heavy emphisis on alot of combined wasted space.


I'm thinking you could build one big house appropriatly divided with common areas that serve all and save a boat load of money.


Put your thinking caps on I'm looking for ideas.


 


PS I'm not looking for a throw back 60's hippie nekid land.

(post #85966, reply #42 of 75)

That's the way it used to be for everyone.


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #85966, reply #20 of 75)

Here's a place near here. http://www.peterboroughcohousing.org/ Not exactly what you describe, but it's along similar lines.  I know someone who bought in a couple of years ago when this was in the planning stage.  Pricey, but well intended.

(post #85966, reply #22 of 75)

PS I'm not looking for a throw back 60's hippie nekid land.


Those chicks are as old as I am, not a good picture.


Hairy legs were still in last time I went north across the Golden Gate.


Good luck, Joe H

(post #85966, reply #23 of 75)

And there was a problem with 60's nekkid hippies???

One of my fondest backpacking memories was a trek thru the Sierras in the early 70's. We set up our camp near a nice stream late one afternoon and about an hour later two couples set up about 50 yards away. While the guys were pitching the tent, the gals shucked down to their panties and started tossing a frisbee. Until then, I had never considered frisbee flinging a spectator sport. - lol

(post #85966, reply #24 of 75)

Thanks for all the replies. This is in infancy planning stage.


Right now I'm thinking of pod like individual units with linked common areas. On the surface there seems to be savings in many areas I hadn't considered. As someone pointed out space for cars... well we could eliminate quite a few.... How much time does your car really get used in a day?  This would be new construction so septic could be easily handled with a grey water system.


The savings would also allow upgrading to more expensive green systems with a quicker roi. Heck I'm considering TV, and donationtions as a revenue source if I can pull this off.


One advantage we all have is location isn't a problem, no one is tied to a specific area.


 


Thanks again.

(post #85966, reply #25 of 75)

Co housing is a form of this. Many of the legal problems have been solved in this form. The newer developments have also into the ecological issues.

With the building backgrounds here you can address these and come up with some rather unique design structures and living arrangements.

Go for it and I am really rather interested in this form of development, mainly for the 'cheapness' of the living! hahahaha

dan

(post #85966, reply #32 of 75)

The irony is that extended families living together are how most of the world works.  Each family having their own house is a rarity rather than the norm.  Think much of Africa, Asia, etc..  In the not-too-distant past, even more so.  Including this part of the world.


That being said, i love my family and in-laws . . . but i likes my space.  i don't care what the tax savings are.


 

(post #85966, reply #43 of 75)

Hey Sledgehammer

Where are you?

Been there done that on The Farm in Tenn.

It was all about the agreement.

Basic stuff

What you eat.

What you hold dear to your heart, maybe what you believe in.

You know things you all might have in common.

And things you all might not have in common.

Start there first and maybe the rest might follow

But you have got to have some basic common agreements you are not

willing to go back on.

The voice of experience. Check out The Farm website they did and are

still doing some neat stuff.

Good luck

Regards

Thomas Collier

Primo Construction

(post #85966, reply #69 of 75)

"septic could be easily handled with a grey water system."

Have you researched this to know the facts for your area? There are few places that allow that anymore.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #85966, reply #27 of 75)


And there was a problem with 60's nekkid hippies???


Not then, but those chicks are all in their 60's and more.


don't think I want a replay........

(post #85966, reply #26 of 75)

Out here in so cal our brown friends from south of the border it doing it every day. Lots of them have 3- 6 familes in one house. Not my idea of a good time!


But a cenyttral courtyard/ kitchen area I think would work.


 


ML

(post #85966, reply #28 of 75)

We have the same brown friends here. One great advantage for them is they get to have twelve people on a four person septic system. I think its a special code for employees of rich developers. lol

(post #85966, reply #31 of 75)

Nothing really new there been several versions of Co-Housing that have sprouted up across the nation over the decades. Members share meal preparation, laundry duties, childcare,etc.
I think the biggest thing that leads to the downfall especially where members actually share the same living quarters is personality conflicts. Anyone that has been married and divorced knows what I mean. While the members may share common ideals and values there will always be some rift between one or more members when folks start living in close proximity.

(post #85966, reply #34 of 75)

Makes a lot of sense to me. Of course, my wife and I are "cool," if you know what I mean. We had two live-in tenants in our first house, and then had a duplex in which we rented one unit to my SIL.

Living with your tenants, man - you'd better be cool.

It all depends on the personalities you're dealing with. I read one book, published by Taunton, which included a segment on a married couple who lives in two houses on the same property. I'd say that'd be the *opposite* of what you need - heh - but it goes to show that tolerances will vary.

(post #85966, reply #39 of 75)

Hi sledgehammer,


5 related families( 13 people) all own their own houses and looking to consolidate


Well, I can think of a pretty cool design for "4" families....maybe one of your families is a mom inlaw and could double up with a retired child and spouse so here goes....


Everything would be a mirror image colonial grand home....drive up circular right to the front columned porch for guests. Enter into a common living area, pool table, chess table, scrabble, fireplace, great gathering fun area for all ages.....heading straight through to the back would put you into an outdoor kitchen and courtyard opening to a great backyard....back inside the main shared gathering area you can turn left or right.....both sides are identical, divided front and back units....you'd have a cozy private den with eat in kitchen, laundry & half bath....a set of stairs and/or elevator would take you upstairs to two bedrooms w/two full baths and a bonus guest/home office above the garage...back downstairs you'd pass through the laundry into your one car garage.....back outside at the end of the house you'd have your shared double wide driveway with an extra turnout to have a second vehicle per unit.


The two car garage at each end of the house would be entered from the end giving the look of a much larger house.....very grand in appearance. I would go to the extreme in sound proofing and use infloor hydronic heating with each room having it's own adjustable zone, setup room lights on motion sensing such as you find in some new office complexes, that way you minimize one family unfairly being energy hogs....you can't fully share resources and be perfectly fair but you can use technology to "help" level the usage field.


So, did you follow all of that?


Pedro the Mule - Same barn, different stall please

  

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."

(post #85966, reply #40 of 75)

You might see if you can wrangle a tour of some local boarding houses, or maybe the local "Ronald McDonald's House". Also, some newer college dorms.

Basically, each family unit gets one or two bedrooms with a sitting area and a full bath. Additional bathrooms and the kitchen are in the commons area, along with "living room" and "family room" areas. The living room/family room areas would best be done as a large area that's divided by partial walls and jogs in the floor plan into several smaller spaces, a couple with TVs, at least one designed as a quiet area with computer/office facilities (and maybe individual lockable file drawers for each family), and probably a "play area" where kids of all ages could make a little bit of noise and roughhouse.


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #85966, reply #41 of 75)

My family lived together in up and down duplexs in New Jersey for generations.

From what i gather everyone that lived together pretty much hated each other forever.

In fact when i got married i refused to live in the empty apt under my Aunts.

I was born there, My mom was born there , my grandma was born there and my Great Grandparents bought the house..

Yes it would make terrific monetary sense if the families could get along

(post #85966, reply #44 of 75)

It's a good idea.
I am suprised Frenchy hasn't chimed in-- because i know he planned for this possibility in HIS current house.

PART of the reason I bought MY current house was to allow for this possibility---without much squawk I could EASILY have 4 geerations living here

Other people have mentioned co-housing----------which is interesting-- but not quite the same. when I have done any reading on co-housing- it always seems more like a group of un-related strangers trying to artificially create an old-fashioned neighborhood.

Look around the world---parts of Italy,Africa,Saudi,scandinavia, north america---and on and on---- this type of living arrangement has and IS being done all over the world

I will almost certainley use the wrong terminology-- but I think you gotta have the right cultural infrastructure in place.-- It would be difficult to work this out among 5"equals"

i see it as more of an updated version of "The Waltons"-------
Let's say my mom moves in with us-we have room AND there is considerable cultural precedent for that
my wife and I are already here---AND 2 sons who come and go to college with their friends etc--we have plenty of room
It would be very easy to envison at least one of the sons----getting married and living here--perhaps while he or the wife works on a graduate degree,law school etc.--- baby is a possibility there as well.

I am allowing for the possibility-- but I am certainley not pushing for it-- it will either happen or it won't--all of it, some of it or none of it.

Best wishes,
stephen

(post #85966, reply #45 of 75)

I have always liked the idea in theory. Look into "cooperative living." That is about the best thing I've found to allow maximum independence while still sharing common areas for like car parking, eating, recreation and children playing. Pretty popular in Scandanavia. Another idea I liked is called the "woonerf"--a street, usually a cul-de-sac, used only for automobiles arrviving and leaving carports and used most of the time for children to play on.


The problem with most shared living is that if the neighbors are not pleasant and cooperative, it can be bad, but in a co-op there are rules and people (must) take turns running the common areas. I think the places are bought sort of like shares of stock. You own your apartment that faces a commons and on the commons is a place to have shared meals (I think you can opt out of that) and recreation. You have to help prepare meals or do childcare or tend a garden or care for the grounds so many hours per month. Very good use of land and resources. Sort of like a Planned Unit Development (PUD), but gets into the social aspects as well as structural elements.


Edit: I see others mentioned this--is sometimes called "co housing" as someone else mentioned.


Edited 3/27/2009 7:35 am ET by Danno

(post #85966, reply #46 of 75)

dunno if anyone's mentioned it yet (haven't had time to read all teh posts) but the idea of doing shares may need fleshed out a bit more... it certainly does preserve the rights of the shareholder if they were ever to sell/leave, but what about the remaining shareholders? in other words, what if 4 out of 5 families get along great, but the fifth realizes it was a mistake... are the other four obligated to buy out #5? if so, how is the price determined? or does #5 have the right to sell to anyone they like, without the approval of the other four families... i think you get the idea. 


i wish you luck! what a cool, non-traditional household model!  your expeireince would enrich both your own lives as well as those of anyone who comes to visit.

(post #85966, reply #48 of 75)

Hi Fisher1009,


or does #5 have the right to sell to anyone they like, without the approval of the other four families... i think you get the idea. 


I'm sure I'll miss some detail here but here goes......My Dad and his business partners set their "shared" office up such that they individually owned the building they ran their business in....technically they had an LLC.....all four partners were equal. The business paid rent to the LLC, the LLC then paid the partners after the typical upkeep expenses for the property/building.


In addition to this they each carry a life insurance policy through the LLC. If they died, the policy would be there to buyout the decease......$ would go to the deceased partners beneficiary. The remaing owners would then each own a greater equal share and the policy would also pay for any inheritence taxes levied on the gain.....any left over $ would forward on to the beneficiary. This way noone else ever entered the partnership and those remaining didn't get caught in a possible financial strain.


As in a house, if one of the partners left upset (which never happened in 28 years) the LLC would still survive and any potential separations would continue to receive an equal share of the rents even if they left the actual business that resided in the building.


Making any sense here?.....in other words for a shared home the corporation would own the building and each family would pay rent....now if said family had bought into the corporation that built the house, then they would benefit by having some portion of the rent returned to them as a dividend, etc. As the building increased in value so would the value of the renters stock holdings. They would also benefit from depreciation schedules and maintenace costs as direct write offs through the corporation. From a business perspective the only real down fall is if they ever sell.....capital gains taxes. If they wanted to sell they could have an independent appraiser value it. At that point the remaining officers would have first right of refusal to the home stock at 3% below market, say 60 days or so. This discount would essentually be the difference of a real estate agents protected fee which would not be necessary being handled inside the firm. They too, could carry life insurance as my Dad's company does in the event of a family owners death. Each "unit" or "stock holder" would have "one" vote.....not a vote for each person living there. You could even set it up such that all active shareholders always remained equal but that had better happen up front. In this way noone ever has "controlling" interest. Out of 4 partners having 25%....if one sold.....the others would divide it equally if that share was kept inside the family corporation.....so now they'd each have 33 1/3....if they couldn't "all" purchase it then it would be sold outside the firm. You'll never make a perfect senario but you can ward off some of the potential known problems.


So everyone is a renter and "all" officers have the choice of who stays and who goes. The corporation is responsible for keeping the shared unit filled and bills paid.


Pedro the Mule - Man it sure was easier when it was just me and the plow back on the farm

  

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."

(post #85966, reply #47 of 75)

If it worked then multi genrational living would be much more common.. children would stay with parents and grandparents in the same home..


 Heck 1/2 of all married couples get a divorce.. so multiply that times 5 couples and we have  a 50/50 chance of the couples themselves getting a divorce for irreconsilable differances.


  Add the potential for job losses, illness, and other life changing issues. and the chance of that ever being successful is simply too slim to contimplate..

(post #85966, reply #54 of 75)

It's been working for me for thirteen years. It's been a great family wealth building tool. Perhaps we're unusual.

(post #85966, reply #49 of 75)

Google up "co-housing..."

(post #85966, reply #50 of 75)

We've been discussing something similar too, though smaller family and no children really (one nephew, but he would be unlikely to live there more than occasionally).

We like the idea of multiple small buildings, around a central courtyard. Probably connect the buildings with some type of passage way. Open if located in a suitable climate. Have a main kitchen/dining room, probably a home theater room to share. Then have small individual kitchenettes, etc is separate buildings.

As for finances, I don't know yet. Given the complexities of the tax code, this is something one should study carefully. Ultimately, the easiest is for one person/family tax unit to own it. But of course there are drawbacks.

Any form of corporate/co-op will run into difficulties getting a mortgage. Not impossible, but difficult.

If there are multiple actual owners, there may be issues when people need to sell/move/die etc. Title becomes complex.

(post #85966, reply #51 of 75)

There are plenty of legal precedents for all the legal issues. One just needs a lawyer familiar with the precedents in the state where this will be built.


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #85966, reply #55 of 75)

Re: Mortgage difficulties. When I got into this it was a breeze. I just happened to deal with a gal who happened to be a member of an ethnic group where this is common. In my case, an Asian-American. She told me that Caucasians hardly ever go this route. So, I guess I got lucky.


In our case, gave the tax deduction advantage to the person who could maximize it, and handled all the rest through the familt trust.


 

(post #85966, reply #52 of 75)

My wife and I bought an interest in a house at Panama City Beach, FL about 15 years ago.  It's basically a 6-way time share, with 6 couples.  It's worked incredibly well for all these years.


We have one titled owner, and the other 5 couples have a Promissory Note from the titled owner to each part-owner.  We have a new calendar each year, we do 6 week rotaion on use of the house, but we back out all of the major holidays, and rotate them separately.  So I get the 4th of July week every 6 years, I get Labor Day Weekend every 6 years, and so on.


Anyway, we decided to title it, deed it in one name only, just to make the insurance less complicated.  This was before LLC's became so common.  Thing is, we were able to pool our money and pay cash, so there was no loan origination trouble - I'm afraid that with the current state of economic affairs, the loan might pose a problem.  Construction loans are taking about 45 days now to underwrite, I'm told.


It's an intrigueing idea.  I saw a piece on CNN yesterday about a husband and wife that had moved into the home of her ex-husband.  The couple had joint custody of two little girls, so this simplified things in a way.  They all seem to be friends - they all have meals together, and the two men go off and do things together.  Strange times.


Greg


 

(post #85966, reply #53 of 75)

Thanks for bringing it back on topic but it appears the neysayers where right. Those that could benifit the most are the same ones that are least willing to give up the ideals that put them in a bad situation.


But it has expanded my horizons.... living on 140 acres in a 900 square foot house that is self sustaining is easily within my reach.... Just need to sell 2 houses to make it happen.


 


Wish me luck.


Edited 3/27/2009 8:54 pm ET by sledgehammer

(post #85966, reply #56 of 75)

Good luck sledge.

That would be my dream but as far away in the country as i want to go my wife wants to head more towards the city.

Where are you that you can buy 140 acres in the valley.

Got an old plow horse your the guy thats boss{cowboy song}