According to this recent survey in the Oregonian
More than half of U.S. adults have had to cut back elsewhere to cover their rent or mortgage, according to a new survey.
The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation found that 52 percent of adults had made trade-offs. Of those:
21 percent took a second job or worked more hours
19 percent stopped saving for retirement
16 percent accumulated credit card debt
14 percent cut back of health care
12 percent cut back on healthy food
6 percent moved to a neighborhood they considered less safe
3 percent moved to a neighborhood schools are not as good.
Renters were more likely to make such sacrifices than homeowners. Blacks and Hispanics were more likely to have made such sacrifices than whites. And homeowners and renters spending more than 30 percent of their income — a widely held standard of affordability — on housing were more likely to make those sacrifices than those who were spending a smaller share.
There is a solution to this problem, and I am about to tell you what it is!
A simple blueprint to list, fill up, rent out, and sell any number of empty buildings on purpose, at almost no cost:
- ADD AMENITIES – In my sixty years, I have owned and rented multiple times. Surprisingly, the happiest time in my life and my families life was when we rented in a luxury apartment complex with all the amenities (The Boulders on the River in Eugene, Oregon) With so many of us living and working at home, a few amenities can really enhance rentability, especially fitness and spa facilities, especially for techies like me. In this building I live in, there was a Curves downstairs years ago, so adding to and upgrading those facilities is not hard. Since it was mostly offices here, there are not enough bathrooms without the facilities, so rentability for a small apartment with community showers is greatly enhanced by nice facilities.
- GET WITH MODERN LIFESTYLE CHANGES – With work and living styles changing, due to changes in marriage, divorce, and a mobile, global society; do we really want to live in the suburbs by ourselves? Those cracker box houses and chemical lawns were originally designed in the 1950’s when everyone looked like Ozzie and Harriet, and had a day job. That was a very long time ago, and the model was never sustainable, environmentally sound, or attractive to me. I am an extrovert, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I had to go all the way back to the land, raise and can my own food, and get very bored to realize that I can never be happy out in the bushes all by myself with only hillbillies to talk to! Many of my generation went through this. Now that I am single (and a great deal of us are, or will be again), I want to be around people. If I marry again, probably no kids; a beautiful old building in a wonderful town like this one where the cost of living is low, climate is great, and I can have Clint Eastwood and many other celebs as neighbors; world class beaches, dunes, and golf courses in Bandon and Charleston (close by), only 20 miles from these amazing clean, almost empty beaches; and a bunch of nice nightlife, pubs, restaurants, and recreation from fishing to elk hunting to skiing a short drive away; combined with a mix of young people and hip west coast baby boomers to hang out with in Coos Bay, this is much better for me, and also for many of you. Many years ago I saw a buyer of a dilapidated apartment complex in the Bay Area become independently wealthy when the place filled up instantly with Gay people, much to his surprize!
- APPEAL TO MODERN THINKERS AND YOUNG PEOPLE – Just as my generation and myself had to explore “back to the land”, so the young people of today want to be exposed to and learn all these things, and their values are actually similar; after all, we were their parents! Also, I love gardening, as do most people, it is really wonderful and I like to eat fresh clean organic produce. Most of these downtown buildings, for instance, have flat roofs. It costs almost nothing to create a roof garden of beds, or to allow the residents to do so. But for me, a cool garden on the roof, fresh produce from it, and some kids to teach (I have the encyclopedia of organic gardening committed to memory) would be a deal-maker! Would you believe there is not one single building in this town with a garden and lawn chairs on the roof like that for the residents? Some building improvements and marketing ideas do not require money, just imagination, and perspective! A knowledge of the marketplace is irreplaceable. When was the last time that you evaluated what you want, what you like, what makes you happy, and where you can best find that with low overhead?! Likewise, if you own a building, and it is empty, you are compelled to listen here!
- APPEAL TO THE NEW RENTERS – They have bad credit, but it is not because they are a bad risk. They have a good income, they pay their bills, but things got so bad during the recession that they short-sold their homes, ruining their credit. Now they rent, and as rents in California and other places skyrocket, there becomes more and more need for affordable low cost housing; and no, it is not my opinion that Government should be involved there. The building that I am in was remodeled one room at a time, bootstrapping the cost. Many old guys like me have tools and expertise, and like to work with our hands; would gladly exchange some rent consideration for our time. Now, all of a sudden, building maintenance, remodeling labor, and gardening on the roof could cost nothing but temporary rent on space that is empty right now! If you are afraid if execution cal me I will refer you to somebody licenced who is not. Unfortunately, most rentals are managed by professional property management companies – with no incentive at all to even think like this or listen to any of it, and who, in my opinion, are usually as creative as a rock! Wouldn’t you rather have your local real estate broker, who has commissioned incentive to see you do well, manage that building for you , fix it up, then sell it??!! Now we are starting to get closer to what I am proposing, read on!
- THINK ECONOMY OF SCALE AND CONVENIENCE – If I raise some of my own food, barely have to drive, and have very low rent, with recreation of every kind a stones through away, how much money to I really need? Lets examine the existing model: High rent, high consumption, commuting hours per day, paying huge taxes before we even see our money, in debt to create appearances and buy cars and clothes – this is kind of like slavery without whips and chains, isn’t it? Why do they want to take away our guns, HMMM??!! But consider that, if my rent included food and utilities for between 500-1000 month, and I worked from home independently, as so many of us do, and was in a state with no state income tax (like Oregon), I can make 24,000 per year and pay 0 taxes legally in 30 minutes online, and never pay anything in, get all my money from clients money immediately, without waiting…are you starting to see this…
- HEALTHY LIVING AND LOCAL BARTER – I never go to doctors. I do not trust them, don’t laugh; they are educated by drug companies and chemical companies who support the universities. But if I have a guy in my building who has a credential or expertise, from herbal medicine to fitness, many services could be offered by somebody who did not need $250,000 per year just to stress themselves into an early grave with the old lifestyle! I would venture to guess that there some doctors right now who would like to be our resident doctor with an apartment, food, and a steady supply of direct pay cash clients. My back healed because I could not afford the operations. They do not do those fusions – almost never now!! As a patient, I need to trust my doctor. (related: The 19 Jobs Where You’re Most Likely To Kill Yourself ) If he is my neighbor and friend, and does not have to worry about money, I trust him. Likewise I want to trust my food to be safe, my contractor to be honest, my janitor to give a __… I could go on and on. Those who know me know that I will never be too good or too old to mop a floor, do dishes, dump the garbage – and, frankly, some of the kids these days would benefit by being exposed to me, and I have two beautiful successful kids 33 and 34 to prove it! Once upon a time, maintenance work was done by people who lived there! With a farmers market every wednesday one block away, I could almost do without a grocery store, and actually, the evolution of this model could greatly reduce the size and number of super-behemoths in favor of local organic. From headache remedies and simple medicine, to hand made a local furniture and clothing, to 7-devils Brew, there is really very little that we need an “establishment” for with this model.
- SHRINK GOVERNMENT BY REDUCING NEED AND REVENUES – I put to you that there will be very little crime at all in such a community, too many people watching. So would we need less police, with less traffic, less budget for tickets, right? Lets take that train of thought farther, shall we: how do we shrink our Government? We don’t, because they are in charge. The only thing that they are not in charge of is how we spend our time and our money. So what if we all start on this plan and significantly cut the revenues?! Yup, that is the only way to shrink government, and we have the power to do it. If we don’t do it, we will be answering to more and more regulation soon. If there is a grass roots solution, there is not a need for a government one. They have been dealing with shortage much longer in England. they do not have lawns! They have victory gardens!! We have a better climate!!!
I am not some fringe type. I drank Republican cool-aid for may years. I laughed at first too. But I believe that sustainable living, in local communities (and empty buildings) is the answer to a great deal of our problems in 2014. What do you think? Please let us know!
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