Charity pressures councils over million empty homes

This is an odd thing in the UK as there is thousands of houses left empty and the worst offender is the government. Failed regeneration schemes, buying out of buildings for other reasons as well as empty caretaker and other ex use homes from past government posts are laying empty all over the place. Working inside the government housing sector before previously the issues are often more complex than they seem.

First issues are many have been left empty for years meaning for them to be utilized by government for social housing it would require considerable investment for any property due to the strict regulations. E.g. rewiring, re-plumbing,renewing the gas installation including all pipework, renewing bathrooms and kitchens over 25 years old etc. etc. these are all part of “politics”. You see what happened is people started to set housing standards that the government past on to its social housing these standards in general cannot be met for multiple reasons the main one being cash flow but also the quality of tenants isn’t great but their expectations and needs have increased.

What happens then is this situation where councils have properties they can neither renovate or rent out and although some of its down to stupidity often more than not its more to do with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. I remember an allocated property lot we received from the Royal Air Force for the housing association I was contracted with at the time. They had specific requirements to be brought up to standard yet even the basics were behind coming from another department. E.g. Our guideline is no more than 25 years on a kitchen or bathroom yet every property we received hadn’t had any major work done for at least 35 many still had coal bunkers and exterior toilets. Although they had a new bathroom installed at some point (still well past 35 years ago) which gave them a toilet indoors you get the picture of the state of these homes.

Why is this all relevant to shipping container homes your wondering? It shows the madness of society we live in where there is so much red tape and legislation that even the government creates problems for itself which also means getting your shipping container home through planning may be an initial battle. BUT the important thing here is the more people push through the more acceptable it becomes and the more people can do it. Personally I think there are many developments the social housing sector could benefit from using shipping container homes themselves as a long-term solution if not short-term for the housing shortages in the UK.

The other way to look at it is most of these houses are old and rundown the investment into them would be extremely costly and a stalemate is currently what we are seeing. Often its easier to rip out and start again rather than renovate and the shipping containers are a cheap option to the solution.

Yes this gets away from the green solutions but there are very few options open for these homes currently not in use and over 2 million families regardless as homeless in the UK but its a thing to ponder on how would you fix the problem?

Living In A Shipping Container–The Right Type Of People

the wrong crowd

The thing with shipping container homes is you will either get a “that’s cool” or you must be mad type of comment from the people around you. But myself I consider myself one of the right type of people for a shipping container home and I will explain why.

Initially through my first years of leaving school and struggling through college I was having to make do and maximise my cash flow sometimes would be a case of down to the last few pounds (UK money) and then buying something I could then sell later to make more money. Over the years this developed where I was cashing in my salary at the end of the week selling goods all weekend before putting money back in the bank on Monday.

This isn’t thrifty but it does go against the grain as we are told we should have the latest clothes, expensive car, nice house etc. the fact is everything is based around consumer spending and increasing personal debt. I will give a simple example of what I mean if you take a rawl plug its pushed on all the DIY shows as the way to hang a shelf etc but does anyone talk about a whittled piece of wood you just hammer in the hole and snap the head off? Something that is free, doesn’t damage the environment and most of the time actually does a better job due to a tighter fit? Of course not you go down to hardware store and buy the bits and pieces we are told are “right for the job”. The removing of thought from most things has been on going for some time.

Now for me I spend most of my life up and down financially as even when I was with my ex partner and having a great salary her expenditure was a struggle to control. We had the house, the car, 5 horses, ate out most of the time etc.

My salary then was around ten times greater than most of the people I knew from school and generally it was gone at the end of the month due to everything being on finance to keep up with my ex’s desire to compete with the neighbours. But here is what changed.

I left after a problem in the relationship and within the first month I had already saved nearly £3,000 even though was still burdened by debt left over from the relationship. How? because I didn’t eat out and if I did it was lunch time at work that meant my night time meal wasn’t a big curry take out but often was even skipped if not something simple. I began cooking more and at the same time because I had regained my financial control I started to use my remainder at the end of the month for paying off huge chunks of debt instead of thinking “hey lets party!”.

I began to get debt free to the point where I am today living in a completely debt free environment on the other side of the world in the Philippines. If anything I have learned we don’t need most of the stuff we are told are “essential” or this years big item! Even in the U.S. people are waking up to the fact they are sold lies daily and the American dream has changed including the idealism of consumerism. They have realised the last iPhone didn’t enhance their lives so generally don’t buy the new mobile because its irrelevant except as a fashion accessory. That’s all part and parcel of living in a shipping container because its not about “getting by” but actually taking control of your life.

Here in the Philippines Christmas is celebrated by church masses and giving food to neighbours the giving of presents is something being leaked in from the U.S. but thank god most people haven’t bought into it. Personally I actually tell people not to buy me gifts but instead save their money. Not because I am too tight to buy for others but simply most of the time people buy stuff for each other they neither need or want. I would rather someone took the cash and paid off a bit of their credit card because that’s a Christmas gift that keeps giving and not only makes me happy but also helps them get debt free.

This is how it gets on to the right type of people for Shipping container homes as its often down to what people want and need in life. There has been a lot of interest in the single mother living in a shipping container home she built for less than $4,000 but in reality it was her financial restraints that led her into this type of life. For others its being environmental,minimalistic or wanting control of their own lives. For me its a case of minimalist living and being debt free while achieving home ownership. Its not for everyone which is why people either get it or don’t.

 

Why Live In A Shipping Container Home?

The initial problem with a shipping container home is getting over the hurdle that its not just a shipping container but can be adapted for home use. I have worked in several industries that involve travel. The issue with that is you get used to living with pretty much everything you need in a bag and its when you get to that scale of things you realise how much stuff people have but don’t really need.

When I looked at the $4,000 shipping container home in the U.S. owned by a single mother you quickly can see why she did it. Ok she didn’t want to work full-time at the same time its difficult to do with kids anyway. In reality though she has adapted her budget to fit a home and its only in the last 20 years has this obsession been going on to get bigger without reason. Why? because it drove the fake housing boom market through the roof until it all fell apart like lemmings running off a cliff people became obsessed with making money on homes yet there were less and less people coming in at the bottom end of the market which then collapses the whole chain. This happens due to the “Refurbishment” housing people that quickly rip out old, replace with new and sell on with added profit. Do this with enough people you price out the bottom people on the ladder to the point many gave up even trying to get a first home. I know I wasn’t interested in tieing myself down with a 25 year debt for a house that cost three times as much as it was less than 10 years earlier.

Shipping container homes from a budget point of view are a banks worse nightmare. Only loan you may need initially is for land as its likely you will just develop the home yourself in your spare time. This knocks of literally years of debt you would have had going via a bank loan giving you more freedom and better cash flow. Mix in the general running costs of heating,cooling,lighting on a smaller scale property your also reducing your footprint which also lines the pockets with more money. If anything you are probably going to spend more time outside than you would in a conventional home which is also a lot healthier.

I really do struggle to see a downside on doing a shipping container home especially when I see so many people burned with the housing market crash quickly followed by the recessions that have been on going ever since. Being debt free the ability to survive the current trend is a lot easier than riddled with debt with a bigger mortgage than the building is worth.

Budget Shipping Container Home

I like this container home because its simple. But also because it shows with a limited budget and regular cash flow you can start with a container and work towards a fully functioning home. Yes its nowhere near finished but at the same time its got everything they currently need and is even open to the elements to allow a more natural surroundings way of life. If anything it shows you can go off the debt map and go your on way when it comes to owning your own home. Take your time, do what you can yourself and learn to salvage you can save fortune and get your own home for a small budget.