What should we be demanding from our homes today?
Somehow we lost our way. Our landscape and real estate listing websites are dotted with buildings people don’t want, can’t afford, and in some cases are just making them sick and are poisoning our environment. At the same time there is a tremendous need for housing. So what should you be looking for in a new home? What should we be demanding of home builders and our communities?
The Big Housing Challenge
It’s a great time to buy a home, build a home, and move. But there are also a lot of challenges out there.
In the last year there was a 67% rise in bank owned zombie homes. There are more vacant homes in America than there are homeless people. Yet, big new homes and record setting luxury condos keep being built as if it is a race. There is a big disconnect.
Sadly many of the existing structures out there are just going to cost more to teardown or replace than they are worth. Many families are being forced or duped into living in deadly homes with dangerous mold and toxic building materials.
The growing trends in going green, sustainability, and tiny homes, and businesses that give back say a lot about the millions of great people who want something better. Yet, many are still having a tough time finding housing that really matches their values.
Rethinking the Home
What elements, factors, features are most important in a home, really?
Whether you buy, build, or rent here are some of the things to think about…
Amount of Space
Size is clearly one of the biggest factors in choosing somewhere to live. It is also one of the hardest to get right. We may have woken up to the myths of how happy cheap McMansions were supposed to make us, but going too tiny might prove to be dissatisfying too.
John Saladino 51 year international interior designer says that most people “go too big with their homes and then become unhappy.” He learned the hard way in the home which he felt uncomfortable in, and resold to Ellen DeGeneres.
Tiny homes are trendy. Yet, in reality not many couples and families are going to find happiness in a couple hundred square feet. At least not for long. So look for a space that is big enough, not too big, but which will meet your needs for the long term.
Price per square foot has been discovered to be one of the worst metrics for basing home prices on. Selling homes and condos simply on what another with a similar number of rooms or space sold for is a great marketing ploy. But what about the actual cost to own it? One home might bring a lot of extra utility and medical bills, and taxes versus the other.
Via HGTV owner of Portland Alternative Designs says “We’ve all been sold on the idea that what we want is a big house. But more and more people are realizing that they don’t want to work 12-hour days to be able to afford a home they never get to enjoy because they’re so busy working.”
It’s not just about being able to afford it. It’s how you want to spend your time and life. Working or being with those you love?
This is going to become a huge deal in the near future. Having the ability to generate your own water and power, and being able to avoid being held ransom by corporations for these basics is important. Does your home or apartment building do this?
The entire country of Costa Rica just celebrated over 114 days of running 100% on renewable energy. Why can’t we replicate that everywhere?
Isn’t this the core of what a home is really supposed to be about? Most of us don’t live in tents or in the street because we want shelter that protects us and our families. Far too few properties out there may really provide safety from severe weather.
How Do We Get More Of What We Want In Real Estate?
We can vote for what we want to see more of with our housing choices. That includes what we buy, rent, or commission to be built. We can apply social pressure by being positive influences. We can choose which companies we invest in, who we support on social media, and can even get involved in the local decision making process on what gets built and what doesn’t.
Perhaps your ideal is a micro-cabin on wheels, or a tiny house community where you and all of your neighbors can share one lawn mower and take care of a community garden. Or it might be a slightly more spacious Mesocore home with a steel core that can withstand the strongest storms, integrates solar power and rain water harvesting, and looks like a home you’d be proud have your friends and family over to dinner at.
Whatever your ideals in a new home take action and make it a reality today…
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