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Author Topic: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?  (Read 2951 times)

azrairc

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 TL;DR



*Circumstances*

-Bought land

-Zoning is okay

-Hooking up into ready well / septic / electric

-Researched a ton but scattered brained by all the factors

-budget for RV is about 20-25K

-would be living in it 5 years minimum before I can afford to build a small house

-Want to stay OUT of debt



*Concerns*

-Live 90 minutes south of DC so winters are not brutal but reasonably cold

-Research says cold sucks, worry about moisture, freezing pipes, buy with the underbelly heated, buy 4 season, buy arctic fox

-Utilities breakdown in RV's all the time?

-Skirting, I have no idea what I should do for that, just that some skirting is required to avoid freezing in winter



*Questions*

-No truck to move this around, if it is stationary can repairs be done as things break?

-Do any RV's have more of a "standard size" replacement for appliances that break?

-Something about the tires / wheels is a big deal right? Should it be stuck on cinder blocks with the wheels taken off?

-How rough will winters be if I take the proper precautions?

-In your knowledge and experience do you think I should do this or consider an alternative?

I am absolutely happy being a minimalist having a barn built to hold all my crap.. I currently live in a 1br 700sq ft apartment and have spent roughly 20K in the past two years. I rarely use the living room.. i really need a shower, bed, desk, kitchen and dryer.





Please provide me any useful threads / links if you know of any, I've reviewed many but I'm sure I've missed plenty.



Alternatives vs RV Pros/Cons



#1 Trailer Single Wide Modular home



Pros - slightly more space, holds standard appliances (400 sq ft for smallest option)



Cons -

- base 19k for the smallest cheapest I can find, more like 30k with small upgrades, trucking trailer from factory, adding AC unit, upgrading from plastic to porcelain sinks (yes it comes standard with PLASTIC sinks)

-My county has an ordinance requiring fire sprinkler system in "new buildings" so somehow a sprinkler system would have to be hooked up in any trailer

- As for quality.. seems like a 19k trailer

-As for building a house later, it will have to be removed which is more difficult than an RV



#2 Hire an architect and build the most absolute smallest house possible (that can later be expanded as piece of a larger home)

Pros - Constructed, stick built structure, or start with a "shell"

- My step father is a construction superintendent with experience and could help me with the labor process/connections to contractors

- No minimal sq ft limitations according to my zoning

- Would be built with superb quality, I have no doubts in his work is absolutely top of the line



Cons - No idea on how viable it is, I imagine an architect could come up with something

- Would be asking for a ton from my step father who is already very busy with work

- Would take up to 18 months

- No idea on the cost, but I would hope doing it yourself would be less than the average ($150 per sq ft)

- Still would have to hire electricians and other subs

- Any surprises could require me to take out loans, I have great credit but I'm currently in school full time and have a limited income coming in for the next two years



#3 Tiny Home

Cons - All seems viable options seem to be 40K++, so costly, you might as well go with the trailer mod home instead



Basically, the budget to build the well/septic will take a big chunk of my cash, the land was a big chuck of my cash. If I absolutely stretch my budget and pull all the strings I could bring that budget up to 40K for a replacement structure on my land. I went in thinking at the absolute worst I could resell the land cleaned up with the utilities ready or place a hitch trailer and it seems that as if that is how the $ is playing out.. how ever in diving into my research I realized it is not as simple as buying a 5k RV on facebook and hooking it up



Any insight, thoughts, on how you might proceed in my circumstances would be greatly appreciated! thanks in advance

camperAL

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Hi azrairc,

My only thought would be to figure out where the house will be located (might check with pros and land zoning). Then figure where you want a storage barn or garage and build that so it can be insulated and heated to store your RV while you live in it. Will probably make a big difference in comfort and a big heating bill.

You will want to make sure you properly exhaust things out of the building from your RV so you don't get asphyxiated while living in it. The storage building will keep pipes from freezing and you can probably have a tank to heat both the building and your RV. You may only need to run electric heaters to stay reasonably warm in the RV.
CamperAL (Indiana)
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Arch Hoagland

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Skirting...I have seen people use hay bales for skirting around RV's.
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RVMommaTo6

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Living in a travel trailer to save money while living in a cold climate probably won't work out as well as you think. Even with the arctic package, it isn't insulated like a home. They are not meant to be used like a house. I am speaking from experience, I used my TT for years at a local ski resort and stayed in it for long weekends. The wear and tear on it was way more than I expected.
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SeilerBird

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Momma is correct. I doubt you would last one year in a setup like that.

thoffland

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You may consider that mobile home option then build more house onto it when you are ready.

I stayed in a rental on Oahu that did just that, they bought the land, put a bungalo/mobile home on it and built more house onto it as time went on. When we rented the room, the entire house was about 4k sq ft.
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Back2PA

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I'd go with option #2, build then add-on. This option gets you away from a depreciating asset (RV/trailer) and immediately into an appreciating asset (land with improvements). In the long run I think this sets you up financially in the best possible way. I would start with something like two bedrooms and a bath, with one of the bedrooms used as a kitchen/great room, and converted back to a bedroom down the road. You could live in it with just the sub-floors and open studs with insulation if necessary for budget reasons, completing as budget allows.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 04:58:02 AM by Back2PA »
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magothy1

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Have an architect, hopefully a friend who can do it reasonable, draw up something that you want eventually, then build a piece of it with a kitchen and bath. All straight walls, no extra corners, keep it simple simple simple. Then add on when you can afford it. Or, get a simple travel trailer and build a pole barn around it. You have a good basic idea - stay out of debt, but it's some lean living getting started.  Good luck.

Pugapooh

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A large wooden shed kit?  Add insulation and plumbing.  Basically,make your own tiny home.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm not clear on what Alternative #1 is. Are you talking about a "manufacturer home (what used to be called a mobile home)?  Or a park model RV?  Or maybe a modular building? They are three different things.

You mentioned a requirement for a sprinkler system, but manufactured homes are often not considered buildings under those laws. Or rather, they are subject to a different set of building codes than fixed site dwellings. Modular homes, however, fall under fixed site codes.
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Utclmjmpr

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 I think if he checks he will find the ordinance pertains to commercial buildings and not residential, particularly in rural areas.>>>Dan
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TheBar

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I had ex-cousins back in the 80's who bought 2 refrigerated railroad cars at auction for the price of scrap steel. The initial price, block foundation, and the cost to truck them to the site was around $15K at the time. When I saw their setup I thought they were crazy but they were newlyweds without a lot of free cash and hadn't built their credit yet. They placed them 20 feet apart with a breezeway between them. Using the cars as side walls they only needed 20' end walls and a roof over everything to enclose the space between. They removed most of the inside walls of the cars and sold that as scrap steel. 10 years later and a lot of work on weekends and evenings their house was 40' wide and 72' long with 11' ceilings. It was a fun project and the end product surrounded by a brick exterior was an impressive and very well insulated house.
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spdracr39

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If having plastic sinks bothers you I don't think you will be happy with travel trailer construction. They are not built with the same materials or ruggedness of a house. After expenses and long term maintenance costs I don't think you will be saving much at all. I would stay where you are and try to accelerate the building of your house instead of going off on a side project.

Oldgator73

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Build a double car garage with a one bedroom apartment above. Save your money until you can build a house onto the garage and then rent the garage apartment out.
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Deano2002

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2019, 06:55:41 PM »
I had ex-cousins back in the 80's who bought 2 refrigerated railroad cars at auction for the price of scrap steel. The initial price, block foundation, and the cost to truck them to the site was around $15K at the time. When I saw their setup I thought they were crazy but they were newlyweds without a lot of free cash and hadn't built their credit yet. They placed them 20 feet apart with a breezeway between them. Using the cars as side walls they only needed 20' end walls and a roof over everything to enclose the space between. They removed most of the inside walls of the cars and sold that as scrap steel. 10 years later and a lot of work on weekends and evenings their house was 40' wide and 72' long with 11' ceilings. It was a fun project and the end product surrounded by a brick exterior was an impressive and very well insulated house.
I'd like to see pictures of this!
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NY_Dutch

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2019, 07:17:16 PM »
Build a double car garage with a one bedroom apartment above. Save your money until you can build a house onto the garage and then rent the garage apartment out.

A friend of ours bought a 2-1/2 car garage "kit" from a local lumber yard, substituting additional material, windows and a second standard door for the garage doors. Completed, it made a nice shell ready for adding insulation and interior walls, etc. The shell and slab cost about $15,000, and as soon as he had the bathroom closed in he moved in while finishing the rest.
Dutch
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muskoka guy

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2019, 08:08:33 PM »
Building the garage first is a good alternative. That way you aren't wasting money on something you don't need in the future. You might want to check with your building authorities to see if you are allowed to live in a partially finished house. Some area wont give occupancy until completed. Likewise, some areas wont allow you to build the garage before the house. All good questions for your local building department. A quality camper might get you by, then resell it later. Chances are the tires will be too old by the time you are done with the camper. I wouldn't worry too much about them. If you skirt the bottom in, the sun will not get to them anyway. By the time you install a driveway, well, and septic, and electricity, you will have spent a good batch of money already. All things you need in the future for the house anyway.

Hanr3

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2019, 09:24:11 PM »
A quick small home is a 24'x24' garage kit. Frame in a bedroom and bathroom on one wall. Leave the rest of the space open. Live in it until you build the house and convert it back into a garage, or leave it as the guest house.
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Roy M

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2019, 09:35:30 PM »
It depends on municipal bylaws. Here we cannot use an rv as a permanent dwelling except in an established park and most will not allow it. It can be lived in as a temporary home as long as the occupant has obtained a building permit for a permanent structure which has to be completed in 60 days. The regional districts are cracking down on trashy dwellings that are unsafe, they also don't like them moved off the property just before the assessor arrives.

Lynx0849

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2019, 12:09:06 AM »
Skip the architect... save that money.
As above, design a small house to be built by a modular house Co. Buy the part with kitchen, bath, bed.
Building blocks are 12-13 wide by up to 60 long. That is, what will fit on a trailer. Design the blocks.
Surprisingly affordable and way higher quality than a trailer. Also, insulated as a house and uses residential appliances.
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mel s

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2019, 10:18:22 AM »
TL;DR

-Bought land

-Zoning is okay

-Hooking up into ready well / septic / electric

-Researched a ton but scattered brained by all the factors

-budget for RV is about 20-25K

-would be living in it 5 years minimum before I can afford to build a small house

-Want to stay OUT of debt

Any insight, thoughts, on how you might proceed in my circumstances would be greatly appreciated! thanks in advance

azrairc
Unlike "RVs" and "park models", MOBILE HOMES, (aka: trailer houses), are HOUSES built for year round living.

jymbee

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2019, 12:56:31 PM »
While there may well be a perfectly reasonable explanation, it still bugs me when someone joins the forum, asks a very detailed questions, gets a number of thoughtful responses, but is never heard from again even this many months later.
Wandering in our 2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C Class A

SpencerPJ

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2019, 01:01:58 PM »
While there may well be a perfectly reasonable explanation, it still bugs me when someone joins the forum, asks a very detailed questions, gets a number of thoughtful responses, but is never heard from again even this many months later.
That's why with me, first time posters get a small answer, and I get more involved as they seem to engage.  I have written too many detailed responses for what I feel will never be used information.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2019, 04:20:23 PM »
I usually take the approach that my post may benefit someone else if not the OP...
Dutch
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SpencerPJ

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2019, 05:03:04 PM »
I usually take the approach that my post may benefit someone else if not the OP...
:)) :))  Ya, but not the subject of this post and it's circumstances.  lol.   
Sometimes I do think people are in a panic to resolve something and post looking for an answer, and maybe find their answer elsewhere, and carry on. 
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John From Detroit

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2019, 06:04:26 PM »
So long as zoning allows I see no problem with the plan. THough it is true that RV's are not (usuially) Designed for full timing i've been living in mine for over a decade with the only breaks being a few nights in the old body shop (Hospital not auto body)   Just be aware you may wind up causing a zoning change to happen.. Folks don't like to see people living the good life.
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spdracr39

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2020, 06:11:52 AM »
Just get a loan and build the house. Pay it off as fast as possible. If you can save up to build it in 5 years you can pay it off in 5 years so why waste 20k plus trying to stay out of debt.

jackiemac

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Re: I bought my own land, would you consider a camper in these circumstances?
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2020, 02:05:55 PM »
OP not been back since 1st post in June 2019......... not sure theres much point in proferring more advice at this point.
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