Could you afford to live in a float home?

How much you’d save if you skipped buying a house

Could you afford to live in a float home? Find out here


Before this, read “To Hell with this Home Market” to learn all about ways to have a home without buying a house in Canada’s crazy housing market.

Float home

COST SAVINGS: $200,000 cheaper than some Vancouver condos
WHO IT’S FOR: Home buyers who want a piece of Vancouver shoreline, but can’t stomach a million-dollar mortgage
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: People with mobility issues or who don’t like the idea of shovelling their roof
HOT TIP: If you don’t want to pump out your septic tank each month you can pay the marina about $10 to do it

Cottage escape

COST SAVINGS: Considerable, especially if you steer clear of vacation hotspots
WHO IT’S FOR: The self-employed
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: People who can’t stand the thought of weekend cottage traffic
HOT TIP: Older cottages are often sold “contents-in” which means that you may inherit old love letters from a bygone era or a crocheted wall plaque

Build an Earthship

COST SAVINGS: Huge. You can build for about $25 per square foot
WHO IT’S FOR: Hands-on builders and those who don’t mind lots of digging
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: Anyone who hates the idea of living in Yoda’s Dagobah home
HOT TIP: You need old tires to build an Earthship. Check with your local garage to see if they’ve got extras

Shipping container home

COST SAVINGS: Significant. You can build for about $100 per square foot, at least half the cost of a traditionally built home
WHO IT’S FOR: If you love building with Lego, you’ll really dig this build
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: Those dreaming of wide, expansive rooms. Shipping containers can be as long as 14 metres, but max out at less than three metres wide
HOT TIP: Containers cost between $1,200 and $10,000, depending on size and condition. It’s cheaper to add the insulation on the inside but bear in mind you’ll lose valuable living space

Camper van

COST SAVINGS: Enormous. A 2005 Chevy Gulf Stream van can be had for as little as $5,000
WHO IT’S FOR: People who value travel way, way, way above personal space
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: Anyone who requires a stationary life (due to daycare, schools, or work site)
HOT TIP: Unless you splurge on an RV, a camper van will be light on amenities. Get creative with stackable storage and don’t forget to consider how you’ll address the whole bathroom issue

Check out the rest of the gallery