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What about Permaculture roommates?

Warren Bellant


Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 11
Location: Seattle Area
Hi All!
I'm a heavy diesel truck mechanic in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I'm lucky in that I actually enjoy my job (usually) and since it's both very technical and very physical, it pays well too. Since discovering Permaculture last year I've been really hot to get a house on an acre or so, within commuting distance of my job and I'm saving like crazy to make that happen. I'm hoping to get my place within 18 months or so and then sell this paid off condo and knock the house mortgage to zero. I've lived debt free since I paid off this condo last November and it's awesome. I don't ever want to be in debt again (unless it's very short term debt).
Now that I'm in my mid 40's, the (shall we say) reproductive urge has decreased dramatically but that doesn't mean I'd say no to a nice woman if she happened along. If you think I'm your kind of guy, feel free to contact me. My primary idea though is to create a cool suburban homestead and have a few roommates who are into Permaculture.
My ideal thought is to have a 4 bedroom place and pickup 3 roommates. I don't have any illusion (or desire) of recreating a 1960's free love thing but I would like a balance in the male to female energy in the house. I don't want the place to end up feeling either like a frat house or a lifetime network reality TV show. I'd also like to have enough room to extend hospitality to the occasional permaculture guest who happened to be in town for whatever reason. Wouldn't that be just awesome? And once I'm trained up, the home could be a bridge, allowing city types who are interested in permaculture to get a little experience. I have no illusions about my own current knowledge though, so I'll probably hire an expert to help me come up with a design for the place (& possibly even help me locate the place when I'm ready to buy it).
I have the beginnings of a plan on how to handle the tasks that a household needs to get done, without anyone feeling like they're getting a raw deal. The plan involves a labor for rent swap at a decent wage and have the roommates select what jobs they want to do, probably using a PC. If someone wants to put in more time they pay less but if someone makes a good wage and wants to do less, they'd pay more. I hope this system will help avoid the horror that a roommate situation sometimes has. One roommate likes things clean, so they clean for a few weeks, then they start feeling taken advantage of and they stop. Then the place turns into a factory farm pig sty. I've experienced that particular roommate problem in the past. Anyway, if a particular job is undesirable and doesn't get selected, I want the PC to automatically increase the compensation until someone picks it (or I pick it myself, since I plan to be part of the system).
I want part of the rental income to go for staple food items (like wheat, cooking oil, ect) although technically the roommates would be responsible for buying their own food. And whatever is produced and preserved on site would be for our use. The goal is to have a household that provides a pleasant and inexpensive domestic life to those who live there, and my chief compensation will be help in maintaining and improving the place, and enough cash to cover the tax, building maintenance and build an emergency fund just in case of unplanned expenses.
Do you think there's a market for this sort of arrangement? I want to find out before I buy the place. I'd feel pretty silly living in a big house all by myself. ops:


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Daphne Singingtree


Joined: Jun 21, 2011
Posts: 29
As a single person who owns a four bedroom house (have four kids, all grown now) I do not recommend your plan. I have had roommates for years. My dream of an urban homestead, permaculture, micro community model has met with limited success. My experience, roommates come and go, since it is my house, no one as invested as I am in the long term sustainability of the property. Some have helped more than others, some worked out stayed for some time and we are still friends when they move on, others not so much. I have figured out that life is too short for annoying roommates, and try to screen for compatibility as much as anything. That said I prefer to live with people then alone, and currently am producing a lot more food than one person could eat. One of the bedrooms is an office, so I only have two housemates at a time, and that is much more workable than three. Although I sometimes have someone in an RV on the property. Working out chores and other living together issues is pretty simple if you start with clear agreements, preferably written, communicate regularly, and don't have a lot of pre-set expectations that everyone will live like you want them too. My other piece of advice, do not get a morgage that is dependent on income from housemates, there is often a month or two in a year when one of my rooms is empty. 
Warren Bellant


Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 11
Location: Seattle Area
daphnetree wrote:
My dream of an urban homestead, permaculture, micro community model has met with limited success.

Thanks for the reply and the word of caution.
Yes I plan to have a minimal or nonexistent mortgage when I buy my place, so any rent I get from my roommates will be extra income rather than anything I'm dependent on. I'd rather save now than live in debt later. I suspect I'll have enough to do that in about 18 months or so.
Great advice on how you handle the chores and such. Do you live in Washington? I'd love to see a functioning homestead like yours.
Daphne Singingtree


Joined: Jun 21, 2011
Posts: 29
Vention wrote:
Do you live in Washington? I'd love to see a functioning homestead like yours.

No I am in Eugene, Oregon and my place still needs quite a bit more work before it is a full urban homestead, have big gardens and chickens that is it. Planning on getting rabbits soon, and next year the front yard will be turned into grain growing.
                                  


Joined: Feb 11, 2010
Posts: 45
daphnetree wrote:
As a single person who owns a four bedroom house (have four kids, all grown now) I do not recommend your plan. I have had roommates for years. My dream of an urban homestead, permaculture, micro community model has met with limited success. My experience, roommates come and go, since it is my house, no one as invested as I am in the long term sustainability of the property. Some have helped more than others, some worked out stayed for some time and we are still friends when they move on, others not so much. I have figured out that life is too short for annoying roommates, and try to screen for compatibility as much as anything. That said I prefer to live with people then alone, and currently am producing a lot more food than one person could eat. One of the bedrooms is an office, so I only have two housemates at a time, and that is much more workable than three. Although I sometimes have someone in an RV on the property. Working out chores and other living together issues is pretty simple if you start with clear agreements, preferably written, communicate regularly, and don't have a lot of pre-set expectations that everyone will live like you want them too. My other piece of advice, do not get a morgage that is dependent on income from housemates, there is often a month or two in a year when one of my rooms is empty. 
  I'm somewhat in the same situation.  I'm looking for people to help, but most of the time, I get screwed on rent or work when people work for rent.  I'm looking into time banks (timebanks.org) where time spent working could be valued, the value put on a debit card of some kind and the debit card could be used at authorized merchants to purchase goods/services.
                                


Joined: Jul 21, 2011
Posts: 10
Warren that's a great idea and this comes from someone who has house-mates now and for a couple decades now.  Too bad I'm not in Seattle or I'd be interested in your upcoming venture. 
If you're seeking advice:
Be crystal clear about expectations from everyone living there, yourself included.
Have a schedule of chores and split them among all members each week.
Set goals for your urban homestead and share this with potential house-mates.
If you're not seeking advice ignore the last four sentences.
Best of luck to you!

One more thing check out IC.org.  Its the intentional communities website and there may already be people in your area doing something similar that can advise you further.
sarah cummings


Joined: Dec 11, 2011
Posts: 1
this will be my first post here. finally realized that it might be a good idea to register. not sure if you're still looking to put something together but if you are, i'd be interested. i'm currently living on the eastside. at the very least, it'd be nice to meet some like minded people.
Mar Barak


Joined: May 21, 2012
Posts: 72
Location: NYC
    
  10
Hi,
I am 48f in NYC struggling to perm a home here and then
retire to FL maybe... Many people invest in homes to rent
out and there are many people grouping together on land
developement in many creative ways. Just need to clarify the terms. I am posting on singles and open to roommate as well.
thanks


If you want wealth, help others to grow wealthy.
Who said that?
Dustin Wilkinson


Joined: May 08, 2012
Posts: 43
In less than one weeks time I'm going west to Washington to search for a welcoming environment...

By "welcoming" I mean accepted as the strong heartfelt & authentic person I find we all are in one way or another... accepted for medical or handicapping issues including the use of Marijuana as for it's legality in the State of Washington remains a major deciding factor for going...

I've found the community/group/click/some even labeled cult type situations a fearing in the way of placing what is acceptable on the course of free will... Value systems & personal feelings & be-lie-fs & authoritarian mechanisms have failed too many times...

What I hope to find is a place that is humble enough to do the "right" thing (not only internally but externally as far as our earth/country/& humanity are concerned as well) & too, expand logically buy implementing a "one world" goal with bunches of unique spirits who find connection rather than separation the medicine or cure & who too are attracted to resolve rather than conflict to begin with...

I see (in theory) a nice off-grid situation with enough acres to produce a heck of a lot of happy people within the living quarters of say 20+ acres (the more the merrier) with a healthy working environment of sustainable & mutually beneficial relationships with our lands & our counterparts both foreign or domestic to open eyes & inspire healing movements...

Our single selves and our own unique interpersonal talents & skills amassed into an open minded, yet ultimately "healing" community or village or what not... Seems quite peaceful in these times of troubles...

I guess if I had to answer the question "who are you?" to a crowd...I'd have to respond with "full spectrum"...

Connect with me or just say what's up with me here or FB & let the universe work it out...

Facebook.com/Theprofeshhhh

As I mentioned I'm on my way to the Northwest coast from Valley City, North Dakota for an exploratory adventure looking for farms sustainable lifestyles & hopefully help on or start up a community of my own...
Due to medical reasons (Meningitis/brain damage) I've decided on Washington until the fools on capital hill change the Marijuana laws for good...
I grew up in a TINY (less than 25 house) village here in ND & from a big family farm that's had all kinds of different animals & garden crops along with the wheat crops...
I've had my share of experience you could say...

Say hello if you think we could maybe create something beautiful together...

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.
- Edison, Thomas A.

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.
- Edison, Thomas A.


If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.
- Edison, Thomas A.
 
 
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