Wanting to build a "Tiny House"

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Michael Reynolds will be in Berlin on May 24...maybe you will find like minded people at the lecture.

 

http://earthship.com/blogs/2014/01/2014-european-earthship-lecture-tour/

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That sounds really interesting. Thanks! Do you know if there have been any advances in making earthships or other alternatives like earth bag construction possible in Germany?

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@ Westvan

 

there is nothing stopping you from buying a plot of land and subject to a bauvertrag and build regs you can build a 24m² holzhaus on that plot the same as you would find in any garten kolonie / Schrebergarten.

 

If, like our schrebergarten it is part of a kolonie then you would be correct, it is generally not permitted to live there hence my asking the question and misunderstanding about these types of houses.

 

With regards the op if he/she was planning on building this in Berlin then it would have to either have a cesspit/Grube or kanalisation.

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Round our way, there are Vereins/Kolonies and also a whole swathe of other stuff, on some land between the built-up housing streets and the woods. I am a bit obsessed by the strangeness of these random wee houses which are on plots in this part - some have post boxes on the gates, and I have seen the van delivering myself. I assume a postal address gets you legal living, so these in-betweens may be OK for permanent residency...all slightly odd in this ordered place.

 

On the hillside over the river is an area of 'landschaftschutz' or something, and we were told that you could live there all the time if you were engaged in some kind of activity which was traditionally appropriate - I dunno, goat herding or willow weaving or something. So there are these odd possibilities, it is the locating of the spot and fulfilling the requirements, I suppose.

 

I have always been interested in straw bale houses - great insulation, low cost build...not sure a tiny house would work, because presumably the thick walls would cover most of the floor space...

 

I wish you luck, and hope that you will post your progress if anything comes of it.

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Of course you can live in a small house...

It always depends on the local classification.

KG 'Kleingartenkolonien' are only for leisure and agriculture,

but 'Pacht- or Bauland' are fine.

Here for example: http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-anzeige/wohnrecht!!-winterfestes-kleinhaus-in-schoenster-lage!/173416288-208-13382?ref=search

Good luck!

Expat-Dog

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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.

 

Weird thread, but I can sort of appreciate the OP's interests. Wouldn't be mine, but not entirely nutter.

 

And yes, Spain is a great suggestion, since you can actually buy precisely what the OP is looking for in the €10K range (and live in a nicer climate), and although officially, there are lots of community rules just like Germany, enforcement of any rules you might inadvertently bend is rather limited, especially if you're operating in 5-digit numbers (they tend to focus on those who have more to take from, say, €500 grand or more).

 

And thanks to Mr. Pig who directed me to perhaps the only nutter thread of the day so far.

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Dont forget Germany has this weird thing called "seasons". Your wood shack (hovel?) might get a little drafty in the winter.

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Your wood shack (hovel?) might get a little drafty in the winter.

 

Eh, there are literally hundreds of people spending the winter in drafty hovels in Germany. Because they're preferable to the street.

 

 

if he/she was planning on building this in Berlin then it would have to either have a cesspit/Grube

 

In most western cities they call what Berlin has - meaning entire residential areas* without access to the centralized sewage system - "medieval".

 

* It's down to 13,000 people, to be fair. And those are expected to be connected by 2015.

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I'm not surprised that I've won the nutter prize. So my wishes are not your wishes. So you don't know how to help me because you don't get why I'm doing it. That's fine. We're all different.

 

For all those who've been asking why we're doing this in Germany, it's very simple. I love Berlin. I love living in Germany. I love Germans. They bug me sometimes but I know my culture has it's quirks, too. OK, it's cold and grey in winter but I'm from the American mid-west. I know cold and grey and that's fine. In the US, tiny houses (and there's a whole "tiny house movement") even get built in places like Maine or New England, so they aren't wooden hovels, or rather they don't have to be. I have a job I love. My husband has a small business. So no, we're not going to Spain and we're not going to "fuck off into a jungle in Africa." We're not here for tax purposes but because this is where, for the past 10 years, we have decided to make our home. Building a house is a furtherance of the roots we've already put down here in Berlin.

 

Sir Percy B: The problem with the Bauvertrag is having to use the company that holds it to build the house. That's how they make their money and it would be hugely expensive. We haven't got the €100,000 or more that it would take and the whole point to avoid taking out a huge loan.

 

It would be great to build our own sewage and water facilities. I've seen very impressive systems used by homesteaders in the US that are non-polluting and self-sufficient.

 

We don't expect to find anything inside the city, although theoretically such a house could be built on a tiny property or in a Baulücke. Does anyone know how to find out about property like that, maybe just big enough for a garage or Dönerladen? Otherwise, since I work just outside Berlin in Brandenburg we were thinking about finding a little village just past the Speckgürtel where things start to get cheaper.

 

sosarx: That definitely qualifies as a tiny house! The spinning rooms are a little too high tech, or maybe just weird, for me but I think my husband would get a kick out them. Of course, you couldn't, for example, have one person in bed and the other cooking in that house particular because someone would be stuck inside the rotating space:-)

 

Kiplette: Strawbale construction does look very interesting. I remember reading that you have to use bales specifically made for the purpose in order to get a Baugenehmigung and they are fairly expensive, but I haven't investigated it further.

 

Expat Dog: Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately Beelitz is too far away from Berlin but the one under "Wohnrecht!! Winterfestes Kleinhaus in schönster Lage!" would be the kind of house we'd like to build. Maybe I'm making this all too complicated.

 

Basically, there are lots and lots of rules to be followed. What we'd really benefit from would be someone, like an architect, building engineer or real estate agent, who knows them and can help us comply with them. To get a permit, you need professionals to sign off on the plans as well as several stages of the construction, which all seems to cost a lot. Architects' fees are regulated just like doctor's fees, so they aren't free to work for under a certain amount. I don't know what that minimum amount is. Does anyone know how much this kind of help would cost or whether there is a more self-help way to get it?

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How much budget do you have, or intend to take out as a loan?

Might it be better to buy some small fixerupper in Brandenburg and work with that? (Insulate yourself with natural materials etc.)

But be careful to double check - as in getting official documents - if you really may live there long term, other TTers got burnt trying to do that.

 

This might remove all sorts of permit problems and costs building from scratch in a "different" (non standard German) way would cause.

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We're figuring on under €20,000 for the land. We've seen offers for €15,000-€20,000 in the part of Brandenburg we're interested in. We'd like to get the house done, permits, fees, and all, for another €20,000. We'd probably be able to put up about €10,000 in cash.

 

I'm a little afraid of fixer-uppers. I know that all kinds of building materials like aspestos, as well as verious chemicals for treating wood and other things, that were approved for use in the GDR but have to be expensively disposed of once they're discovered. I'm more than a little afraid of getting stuck in a money trap.

 

What do you mean, live there long term? As in, "all year long" or "for many years?" What kinds of conditions can apply?

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I meant as in living all year round, with a postal address and registered in the town/community.

 

I couldn't find the TT thread, but there are horror stories about people buying and repairing small houses in the greater Berlin area "sure you can live there" that turned out to be mere weekend datschas/ferienwohnungen with no chance to get a permit to live there.

Or plots of land with no permit to build. Real estate in the former GDR can be dodgy, and don't just take somebody's word everything is OK. Be German, get official paper it's OK :) .

 

I do understand your concerns about asbestos and chemicals in ex-GDR houses. Hmm... your best chance might then be a prefab log house/Blockhuette, that's something German bureaucracy has learned to accept.

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A log house is an interesting alternative. They might see it as less threatening or odd. We're not really excited about prefab, although it's true that that might get past all the problems of permits, etc.

 

This is interesting.

http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-anzeige/wohnen-im-luxusloft-auf-raedern-keine-baugenehmigung-noetig-/172361272-208-3530?ref=search

Don't know if there's no Baugenehmigung necessary because it's not meant to live in permanently.

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Building a new house, even a very small one (if that would be allowed by the local building plans at all) for less than € 50.000 is, sorry, naive.

(I bet even less than 80.000.- would be hard to achieve)

 

Buying land is one thing, paying all the costs which come afterwards, for the land alone, like water supply, sewers, streets, sidewalks, electricity, local planning costs will be just as much as the land alone. You have to look for land which is advertised as " voll erschlossen", meaning all these extra costs are included in the purchase price.

 

A new house has to be build in accordance with the actual energy standards and requirements. Has to be equipped with an approved heating system, has to be , has to be.

Less square meters of living space are one thing, but even a small surface will be much more expensive than you imagine. And who would give you a loan for a building which is so specific that it would be hard or even almost imposible to sell if you fail to pay back your loan?

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I've answered a few of those issues earlier on but I'll bee more specific.

 

The whole purpose of posting and asking for tips was to see if anyone knew how to achieve something like this.

 

I'd rather the house be off-grid to completely to save the cost of the Erschliessung. I don't intend to have it hooked up to the power or water systems if I can avoid it at all. Heat for such a small space can be done with various kinds of modern, high efficiency wood-burning stoves. Wood heating is perfectly normal in Germany so I don't doubt that a permit is possible. The Schornsteinfeger will have to be paid for but I have a feeling it's cheaper than running utility lines.

 

If need be, we might be able to get loans from within the family but keeping costs down and doing the work by hand is the best way to NOT need credit. What I don't plan to do is take out a big bank loan. One major reason to do this is to stop making large monthly payments so we don't want to just trade rent for a 30 year mortgage.

 

I like the link Spiderpig posted. That's the kind of thing we're looking for.

 

Barking mad? Woof. I've always been a dog person.

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