Wanting to build a "Tiny House"

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My husband and I are dreaming of a tiny house. We've got a great 2 room flat but even though it's at the bottom of current housing prices, it's getting to be too much for us. We want our monthly investment to go into something we can eventually pay off, but not in 35 years. Americans can build tiny homes of 200 or 300ft2 for under $10,000 in the States. We've been looking at what it costs to build in this country and it looks like at every step of the way there's a legally protected professional waiting to take a pound of flesh. We want to build the whole house for what normally would be the deposit on the loan. As far as I can gather, an architect is necessary to sign off on the design and get the necessary paperwork. We want to build a wood-framed house in Brandenburg of less than 40m2, no basement or even poured foundation, and ideally off grid in terms of power, water and waste so there's no Erschliessung, and do the construction work totally by ourselves. We'd get a garden house, but you can't live in them permanently. Are there any visionary architects out there willing to take up an experiment in low-cost housing? Or are there self-help groups to get through the planning, permit and inspection processes? The internet is full of info, but it's too much to navigate alone.

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clar - yes there was no need for that attack but sadly this is Toytown. Anyone into permaculture, sustainability and green issues tends to be given short shrift here.

 

keep me posted about what happens!

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I'm sorry you are so sensitive. My point is not what your fantasies are (I really don't care what they are or how successful you are or not) but how the local communities would view your plan to live in a 40m2 wood house that cost 10k with no electricity, water or Kanalisierung. They would see that a being too hippie-ish for them. Get it?

 

If you've lived here so long then you should know that Germany doesn't appreciate alternatives to the norm. Why do you think there are so many Aussteiger that leave Germany? You could try Spain or a trailer park somewhere in the southern part of the US. Or a campground in Germany. There aren't many more options than that here.

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Earthship-Deutschland/274216749307590

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A friend of a friend of a friend has a summer/weekend house that is in the country outside Nuremberg somewhere that is entirely off grid and there are four or five that are similarly set up nearby. They are really small but not sure if they are wood framed or not and I have no idea of cost or how he went about getting it and how they deal with water and waste although I know he uses a small generator for what little electricity he uses.

 

I meet with one of the friends this weekend and will see if he knows any more than the little I know.

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I like the Earthship! However, I'd rather deal with the Portuguese bureaucracy to build one in the Algarve.

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A bit of random googling in case you don't know the keywords in German:

 

http://tiny-houses.de/

http://www.bauen.de/ratgeber/hausbau/bauratgeber/planung/artikel/artikel/vielfalt-in-preis-und-design-minihaus-anbieter.html

http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/finanzen/article13411694/Wohnen-auf-engem-Raum.html

http://www.containme.de/

http://www.design-wohnhaus.de/de/design-wohnhaus/modul-haus.php

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Rhody: Not every community is the same and I don't think this will be possible in the middle of a planned development where all the houses are the same. Of course, they are all the same because building companies buy a group of lots and then sell them with binding contracts to build using their services, so nothing like would work anyway. The question is, what are the alternatives?

 

For example:

Electricty> Solar, wind, bio-mass, to name a few.

Water> reclaimed and filtered rain and grey water

Kanalisierung> composting, possibly solar, septic system

 

I get that you don't know of any constructive suggestions. I don't have the answers either. Hence my question. But if you don't know, don't try to answer.

 

To Bookslut: Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, as far as I can gather, earthships are totally illegal in Germany because they are considered illegal trash dumping. Their made out of tires. My husband's relatives in the US actually built and live in one. We'd be satisfied with a little wooden box. Check out these. The website has a lot of inspiration but without an architect, I'm not sure how it would work.

http://tiny-houses.de/

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Anna K: Thanks. There are some links there I hadn't found yet. I'm still hoping to build ourselves rather than buying a Fertighaus. It seems like it would be much cheaper.

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There's one guy in Germany who has attempted the DIY shipping container route. http://pocketcontainer.de/

He's tried to meet German building codes but his ideas don't seem developed enough to rely on yet.

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Topcat: Thanks! That would be great! Is it just a weekend house or one that can be lived in year round? Ferien-, Freizeit- and Wochenend properties often can't be registered as a Hauptwohnsitz.

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Do you know about Wohlwagens? They are small garden houses on wheels. Don't know how much they cost though. There's contact information for Germany to find out more info. You may even want to consider asking them about if they can build or help you build a small house that's a stand alone.

 

post-14005-13904929081728_thumb.jpg

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I don't think the OP is totally nuts, I recently saw a documentation of a German lady writer who lives off the grid, and totally legal, too. Later saw her in one of the better talkshows (Markus Lanz?).

I'll try to find out more and post.

 

As to the hippie bit above, I think rhody was being sarcastic, describing the attitude some Germans have towards this lifestyle.

 

Edit: When I was a desperate student, I seriously considered living in an old truck the way others were doing.

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We were really attracted to the idea of a Bauwagen or Zirkuswagen, especially because of the freedom it would give us to up sticks and move somewhere else in the future, should we want to. The more I read about it, though, the more it unlikely it seemed to be able to park the thing. There are Wagenburge but they're too political and we've had our fill of communes. A German friend of mine's parents have moved into their Wohnwagen full time, but they move it from place to place every few days or park on friends' land. I've read that you can't park a vehicle and live in it full time, even on your own land, without getting a Baugehnemigung, which you would probably never get. If anyone knows how, I'd love to hear about it!

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Some time ago Spiegel ran an article that may interest you, here it is:

 

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/campgrounds-turn-residential-in-germany-a-935811.html

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Thanks again to Anna K. The Mikrohaus is very interesting at first glance. They even offer to deal with all the paperwork with the local authorities for a reasonable fee.

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There's a camp ground like that one the S2 line just after S-Lichtenrade. I used to go by it all the time and the people obviously live there. I've also read that there's a growing trend of retirees moving into their garden houses. A friend of mine bought one out in a village and no longer keeps a flat in the city. Of course, it's not legal, partly because of the lack of a Feuerwehrzufahrt, and it only lasts until the neighbours decide to complain, but it's incredibly cheap.

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I don't think the OP is totally nuts, I recently saw a documentation of a German lady writer who lives off the grid, and totally legal, too. Later saw her in one of the better talkshows (Markus Lanz?).I'll try to find out more and post.As to the hippie bit above, I think rhody was being sarcastic, describing the attitude some Germans have towards this lifestyle.Edit: When I was a desperate student, I seriously considered living in an old truck the way others were doing.

 

A point to Metall! I am interested in the microhouses too but like I said for the Algarve...

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