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.

Shipping Container Home–Ideal First Home

I moved out to the Philippines due to thoughts running through my head in 2007 that firstly the housing markets were overpriced but secondly there was no starter homes being built to get me on the ladder to pay off the debt 100% within 10 years. Instead I was looking at homes bigger than I needed which in turn would leave me up to my neck in debt as well as expensive heating and electricity bills for space I would under utilize. All these were signs the world had gone housing mad based on presuming more people would be paying more at the bottom to feed the obsession of profit on houses at the top.

In reality it wasn’t and isn’t sustainable and the collapse of the markets today show it to be fact. Problem is now banks are lending less money to less people where do you get on the ladder to start with? Homes are often still too big for first time buyers due to budget restraints yet shipping container homes could be the alterative for low cost housing. I have to admit though I don’t think low cost has to equal low quality.

Advantages of low cost housing using shipping containers is that your development can be done in phases and done correctly adding enough insulation in the walls to make the home have a great insulation property from not only the elements but sound proofed. Adding to that designing the house round the environment it exists is also an important factor. For example living plant walls or shade provide a way to shield the house if in the country side making it pretty difficult to notice its even there. Same as constructing along mountain sides or other locations that obscure the fact the home is there. On a city front colours can be used to brighten up the location or blend it into its surroundings all adapting to existing buildings in the area.

Most importantly the footprint is small in square metres allowing land to be purchased for the task at reasonable cost or should I say could even be bought cash in some cases. Allowing the budget to also be phased in over time. As the budget allows you can adapt construction to it matching the funding to the containers being bought so that the first container offers up a 1 – 2 bedroom small functional home which is limited but once a second level is added you can expand the home out and continue to rise 3 – 4 storeys high on a small piece of land.

Planning issues may be an initial problem which is why I request anyone with photos to share the homes they have built and how they got round any doubts town planners had on your projects.

I believe shipping container homes can give homes to families on limited budgets just as much as it can give homes to an eco friendly couple or architect looking to win a design prize. They are a housing solution being embraced in many countries already but with the excess containers at ports this could be a recycling project that can solve both housing and the dumping of the containers no longer needed.