Living without mortgage – space, the final financial frontier…

Yesterday, I watched an episode in this TV series “How to live mortgage free” with Sarah Beeny – a property developer and TV presenter.

Here are the ways people found around the mortgage:

  1. buy a “brown site” (UK speak for previously used for industrial purposes) without existing planning permission.  Work closely with the council to develop house plan, be aware of what style they favour right now.  Tonight’s example was a woman who wanted to build a green eco-friendly house, which was viewed favourably by the council
  2. pay off mortgage as quick as possible – a couple featured tonight managed this in 8 years by extra voluntary payments – instead of the statutory 25 years repayments
  3. buy risky home – e.g. lightweight flatpack style tin chapel. Build inside by using recycled materials and doing all the work yourself to save money
  4. canal boat  – buy cheap and fix up, avoid higher mooring fees by paying lower rates but moving every 2 weeks 

    Screen shot 2017-04-20 at 00.05.02.png
    converted barge
  5. shipping container adapted into floating home (project completed by researcher/presenter Max on the programme)

NB Renting a small mooring on water is so much cheaper than buying land.

The programme is back next week with more options.  Cavillers and nay-sayers (and there were quite a few negative comments on Twitter) – found fault because in all these cases, the home owners had to invest a lump sum right at the start.  However, this was always substantially less than the deposit on an average family home.

Also, problems are glossed over and Twitter was a flutter with all sorts of practical snags and queries left unanswered: how much does it cost to heat a boat in winter? what about safety on a boat?

Separately, if you check the phrase mortgage free on google, lots of people’s life stories will come up.  I noted one by a guy who took 10 years to build his own home in Hawaii, on a mothballed estate.  He wanted to build a very small house but builders don’t find it financially rewarding, councils didn’t want to know – so he requested permission to build a standard 2 storey family home with double garage.  Then he gradually build a double garage, making it into a home – and finally sent the council a note saying that he wasn’t going to bother building the house.  The finished home is the size of a double garage, but is also like a studio flat.  He makes it work and is happy that on a very small wage he gradually got to make his own home which he owns outright.

The interesting points he had to make is that mortgage gives you the immediate gratification of a large house with all mod cons.  But in the past, many folks could not afford to buy, rented or shared the one house with several generations of the same family.  Self build takes more time and patience.





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