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Old 02-28-2013, 01:48 AM   #1
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Default Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant residence.

First of all, I am so excited to have come across this forum! I have already read through several threads with lots of good information.

We are located in Oregon, and have decided we want nothing more than to purchase a piece of land and build our dream round home/yurt. We are financially at a place in our lives where we can do this, but only if we are able to purchase our land with financing our yurt. We know it will have to have a foundation and meet all codes, etc., but are having a hard time finding information on how this whole process works. For example, we have been pre qualified for an amount, so we know our budget between land and building, but are concerned they will not approve us once they realize we are wanting to build the yurt. We have been seriously considering using Smiling Woods Yurts out of Washington. They provide kits and engineer stamped plans, but we are wanting to hire a local contractor to build our walls instead of purchasing the kits, will this cause issues in getting approved? And will it even save us money to do it that way versus just purchasing the complete kit from them? (The one we are hoping for is their 40 foot diameter yurt which runs about 38,000) that includes all walls, windows, doors, and roof supplies. Which would leave us to have septic, electrical, water hook-up and certificate, interior walls and cabinetry, and foundation, amongst permitting and labor costs. I have read the rule of thumb is to estimate 3 times the amount of your kit as your final price... That seems high to me at 120,000? And I don't foresee the bank appraising the value that high when we have nothing to compare it to. Any tips, advice, or answers would be hugely appreciated.
Hannah

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Old 02-28-2013, 08:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

Hannah,

Welcome to the site!

From what I see on their site, they will sell you the engineered plans for the walls, and anything else you may add, as long as you purchase the roof from them too. Probably not a bad idea because as they state, the roof is the most intricate part. Depending on what you want to do, that could be probably anywhere between $500 - $2,000 to get that done from them. If you can get an estimate from them on the materials needed, you can then run those #'s through your contractor and then probably get a ballpark on what it would cost for them to build it. The contractor could probably ballpark you what the electrical and septic costs might be. Once you get those numbers, that's when I would think about approaching the bank. I wouldn't even mention the word yurt to the bank if you can avoid it. Just say you want to build a house, if they ask more, a round house. They should be happy with any wooden house that meets code IMO.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

Thank you Jafo!

I think that is exactly what I am going to do yurts are extremely popular in Oregon (Especially in our state parks), but only the canvas kind, and I know banks would turn away to that idea. I have already had to make sure to be careful and not blurt out the word "yurt" while talking to our lending company, and I'll just keep it to myself until we are to the point we have to show them our plans. We are so excited, and I am sure you will be seeing me around here often!
Thanks again!
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

We just added a new manufacturer that produces and builds these kind of yurts:

California Yurts

They have an A+ rating with the BBB. I don't know a lot about them, but it looks like they have been around for a while. Hope it helps.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

Hey... I'm excited for your family and this new step! What a great opportunity.

We have a mortgage on our yurt! it was brutal... grueling 2 years and shaved a good 10 years off my lifespan... but we got it! I am genuinely proud of my bank for taking such a HUGE step with us and making headway for yurts in Canada.

Okay so main pointers like Jafo wrote... avoid using the term yurt for any reason. Its a house... that is a house... thats a permanent structure that 'happens' to look like a yurt... but its not. This was the KEY thing that finally got us over that obstacle that kept canning our request.

Our Yurt is on a post foundation (which I don't regret one bit), however post foundations=cottage=run around with financing options. So not only do cottages have the run around... we had a YURT on posts... but once the paperwork read 'cottage' and they could review the rest they realized as a cottage its extremely well built and a better investment than the average cottage.

This brings me to my second point. If at all possible... build a cement foundation. I don't know about how the US banks do mortgages but ours literally start from the ground up... the foundation largely dictates IF they will even look at mortgaging or how much they will put up for it. We would have avoided HUGE amounts of run around if we had just gone with a cement foundation and quite honestly after all the materials were considered for the foundation we did... it would have been cheaper. (also think... infloor heating... mmmmmm)

Basically banks want to know you are not going to be able to pack up their investment one day (as is the general reason yurts exist... to be mobile) and walk away. So you are going to need to convey to them that it is in every respect a permanent structure and about as easy to dismantle and move as would a 1200 sq foot rancher.

The lack of fabric can only help your case. Banks have a hard time wrapping their head around fabric even though in the long run its more durable not prone to rot and easy to replace.

Location is also key. The more remote the location the harder it is for a bank to want to finance it... unless its an area that land is crazy over the top sought after.

You are going to want to find someone who is willing to insure your yurt and property before anything else... banks generally wont mortgage uninsured properties... I'm pretty sure this spans the Canada/US border. We have insurance from an underwriter... im not gonna lie... it costs a fortune and theres only ONE place on this side of the country that will touch it.

Having permits and all that in place are huge... I had mine built professionally (before I met and married my carpenter foreman husband) and that was a good call. I had every licensed trade take care of their own thing. It ran up our overall cost of building and overall building a yurt wasn't necessarily a 'cheaper' way to go it ran about the same as building a new house... but cooler haha. That being said... don't underestimate how much it can be appraised for... esp if you can talk with the appraiser and explain whats in it and the overall benefits of a yurt... ours was appraised twice by a bank appraiser for 150k to start and only slightly less than that value by the province's property tax... appraiser... people (i have no idea what their title is... the ones that determine the value of the house for property tax amounts). The land here that isnt ocean front is (for a lack of a better term) value-less. So those amounts are based solely on our structure!

I live in Canada so it goes without saying that things are going to be different than the US... but its a jumping off point to be able to check with your bank. If I could do things differently I would have gone to the bank first to check what the dos and don'ts are... I was able to independently fund the yurt and went to the bank after the structure already existed and they basically had to just 'deal with it'... im not sure that i would have gone through with building it if i had visited them first... or if they would have just said no across the board... and they would have... going to them with a structure already in place was more of challenging their rules rather than them dictating them to me.

Hope this helps some too. Please keep us updated I'd love to hear about your journey!
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

By the way, while arranging more of the data from yurtinfo.org (I now own the site), I found this company in Oregon:

Mindfullivinghome.com

They build the yurts you are looking at. You might want to ask them?

Hope all is well!
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

sleepingwillow, Any update on the process? I will be shadowing you in your building of this "round house" My fiance and I are looking to build ours in the next year to 1.5 years. I'm starting the logistics on it now.

I just joined here and when I typed in pennsylvania in the search, sadly nothing came up.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for the help Jafo and amber! So, since I wrote this, I had a heck of a time with the banks... Here in my small town they were not so open to the idea of lending on a yurt, no matter what I called it, lol. So we settled, and found a beautiful (huge) old craftsman home in the middle of town. Put our offer in, and it was accepted. That was in march. It was a short sale (thank god) because after a couple months we realized it really wasn't what we wanted. We wanted to minimize our lives, possessions, not have a huge mortgage, and spend our days outside. This craftsman didn't have a yard, actually the neighbor had the land surveyed and we found out we wouldn't even have a driveway either. So... We backed out of the purchase last week, took a deep breath and purchased our 30 ft yurt from pacific yurts a few days ago. We have applied for a farmhand (immediate family) occupancy permit for us to be on my husbands families 60 acre farm for a few years while we save money (without a mortgage or land payment). I will be blogging our first year in the yurt through the process. We are currently dealing with septic and electric permits and praying it all goes smoothly. In the meantime we are clearing out a spot to build our platform and then planning on building our deck once we are in the yurt. We are hoping to build a sunroom off the south facing side for year round veggie growing and it will be another heat source if we leave the door open to it also I will keep you guys updated along the way!
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

Great! I think you will be ok with the process. It takes a little time, but Pacific Yurts supplies you with some great stamped plans and design specs if you just ask them. This goes a long way on getting a structure approved.

Can't wait to see some pics of your yurt when you get it built!
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Looking for someone that has experience in financing a yurt as a permenant reside

That's exciting! My original plan was to buy some acreage off my brother and build a tiny home but that fell through. It was only going to be 4 acres though.. I would like closer to 10 or more.

but
hmm, immediate occupancy permit... I can already hear the gears turning inside my head.
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