Master of Real Estate Graduate Spotlight: Mary Martinez-Garcia


Alternative Housing: The Shipping Container Home

Not just for resourceful squatters, container architecture is taking the world by storm. Recycled freight containers bring efficiency, flexibility and affordability to innovative green buildings, from small vacation cabins to luxury homes, movable disaster relief shelters, schools and skyscrapers.

Images: Stone's Throw Builders, LLC

Images: Stone’s Throw Builders, LLC

Mary Martinez-Garcia, 2014 graduate of the REALTOR® University Master of Real Estate Program, and current Manager of Library Collection Development, Information Central, NAR, was asked by the Center for REALTOR® Technology (CRT) to investigate what makes shipping containers a viable home alternative, as well as cutting edge. Martinez-Garcia interviewed REALTORS®, manufacturers, and government agencies regarding the benefits and challenges of building a structure using shipping containers. She also found homes for all climates and budgets.


Images: Brookland Development, Washington, DC – Travis Price, Architect

The white paper that resulted from her research informs REALTORS® and their customers on the features of shipping container homes and highlights the pros and cons. Shipping container homes are not for everyone but they are becoming more prevalent in urban and rural areas and offer a fast, green, and sustainable approach to building. REALTORS® may want to become familiar with the features, amenities, and issues related to shipping container homes as they become more mainstream. Martinez-Garcia quotes several REALTORS® across the United States who are on the forefront of the shipping containers as homes movement.

Here are highlights from the white paper.

  • Containers can run as little as $2,000 and an estimated 300 million freight containers sit empty at sea ports all over the world at any given time
  • In addition being used for the environmentally friendly home and luxury homes, the shipping container has more recently been used in multi-unit and special use applications to meet the housing needs of students and low-income residents
  • Those active in the shipping container as a home industry foresee more synergy in the future between container based engineering and modular/prefab housing

Download a full copy here.

Martinez-Garcia credits her opportunity to work this research project, as well several other research projects, to the research and analytical writing skills she honed as a Master of Real Estate graduate student at REALTOR® University.


Mary Martinez-Garcia at her May 2014 graduation with the REALTOR® University Board of Regents


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