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Philosophical Ping Pong – or: how to get a whole house for free

Haus zu verschenken pixabay free.jpg
In the mood for a gift? How about… getting an entire house or a nicely sized property site for free? Doesn’t that sound especially nice when you are living in an expensive city and have to face ginormous housing costs?

Well, this does not only sound like a dream - this is actually possible! Today even. All you have to do is to pick a beautiful landscape site you want to spend the rest of your days in. What about moving for example to the sunny south of Europe: the gorgeous mountainous of Italy, Spain or Portugal are waiting for you. Or do you dream of the tranquillity of a mystical fjord? Then Finland might the place for you to get your “house gift”.

Unfortunately, we all know that free things often come with a catch. Getting free spaces in some of the most beautiful places in Europe (not only here by the way. I just focus on this region in my short essay. If you want to read more about more abroad places such as in Australia, China or North America, just send me an email & I am happy to forward some more examples to you) comes with an obligation: you will surely get the property for free (or a symbolic €1), if you promise to renovate or rebuild the place.

So, if you want to sweeten your day by just watching and reading some examples of people and their free or 1€ homes  – relax, grab a cup of coffee and just click on the links below. I have found some very nice examples for you.

“Discovering 1€ homes in Boromezzavalle Italian real estate”
If you are interested in how exactly some of these beautiful (but definitely in desperate need of renovation) homes look like, watch this short video.

“The Pandemic’s Silver Lining? This Village may have been saved by it”

Short 1-min-Video (from 2013):
“I bought a whole Spanish village for 45,000 euros”

A very fine example of a modern off-grid house

Spain’s New Rural: Imaginative Urbanites and Architects revive the rural areas of Spain and Portugal

“A pioneer’s call to repopulate abandoned European villages”
A middle-aged couple, both experts in architecture, moved from Lisbon to Central Portugal to rebuild several abandoned small houses and turn them into their “Natural Material” dream house.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic from a philosophical point of view, then join me with my „PingPongPhilosophy“.

My hypothesis is: If only there were  more architects specialised in the field of “house gifts”, then the extortionate housing crisis in bigger cities would soon disappear.

Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration to get your attention, but ultimately I am more than convinced that this is at least partly true. Why?

Please just “watch” my PingPongPhilosophy as follows (and pls bear in mind: I only focus on the architectural side of the “house gift issue”, the political issues about infrastructure etc. are already frequently addressed):

All major cities in Europe are faced with high rental and private equity costs.

on the other hand, there are real ghost towns, if you go upcountry. Space to live for free but no one is living there.

the way we build or renovate houses is currently changing in a fundamental way. E.g., we already have affordable techniques to build off-grid.

we therefore become less dependent on existing (or non-existing) local infrastructure such as power supply or wastewater sewage.

sustainability is currently the word on everyone’s lips. This also is true for the building sector.

renovating old houses or making unused spaces worth living again is sustainable in its very meaning. And that’s actually what you do, if you choose to accept a “house gift”.

a dream of a lot of (younger) people is “ to live in the countryside someday” (if you are interested: here’s the relevant survey, unfortunately only available in German). And: more and more people work remotely, if (and I know that is a big “if” for rural parts) the internet and techniques work smoothly.

so, living in the countryside can be a solution for the increasing number of people living in cities, and not only for LOHAS.

house building/ renovation costs need to be less expensive or life quality needs to drastically increase compared to living in the cities. Or both, in order to motivate you to take a “house gift”.

and you will probably need  architectural experts: someone who knows how to build or renovate off-grid in rural parts at reasonable pricing and times.

(And now leaving all other aspects aside, academically speaking: c.p.)

Final Ping:     
If you have easy access to architects that specialise in the „house gift field“ (off-grid, reasonable pricing, high  quality of life, fashionable design for an ex-city-person), the more likely you are to consider taking the house or ground for free (given all the reasons above, again c.p.)

Final Pong:   
Finally let’s add a view to the  market into our philosophical play: namely that the more city people move to rural sides (for the mentioned reasons above), the lower the housing prices will become in cities due to lower demand.

And here we are with my - intentionally exaggerated - hypothesis: If only there were more architects specialised in the field of “house gifts”, then the extortionate housing crisis in bigger cities would soon disappear.

To sum it up: my motivation to write this short essay is to sensibilise our society for the
urgent need of a strong network of architects, who already have experience in building and
renovating off-grid in very (!) rural areas or who want to get these experiences. I like the idea of easily bringing city people who are interested in a rural life in contact with  these architectural experts.

I know that there are an awful lot of more things to consider regarding the topic of “ghost villages topic” and the gifts some of the local governments are making to those who are  willing to move there. This essay is just meant to be a small drop in the sea that is this complex discussion, metaphorically speaking. I am looking forward to discussing it with you.

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