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Thread: Camper or house - need advice

  1. #21
    Senior Member boss mare's Avatar
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    When you say camper are you talking about a cab over camper that sits on a bed of a pick up truck? Some things to consider is that the older ones do have a tendency to leak . water and sewer hook ups need to be figured into this. The stove /heater are propane.. need to watch for carbon monoxide issues. They can also be money pits, along with travel trailers and motor homes.

  2. #22
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    If I were you, I would just build my own vardo camper with scavenged materials since the budget is only $2000. Apparently they are not that hard or expensive to make, since Jay Shafer built one with only a few hundred dollars out of mostly recycled materials.

  3. #23
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    My suggestion is that, before you buy anything, you take a careful look at "Tiny Houses." (Google, and study, maybe even visit a couple). Older camper/trailers/motorhomes are a really poor option IMHO, for quite a number of reasons, some of which you've already expressed concern about: security and insulation. The doors are not solid, generally don't have dead bolts, and one of about 5 keys seems to open every one of them (we were witness to a demonstration of this in a campground one time- guy had 5 keys and was able to unlock 19 of 20 units.) Until the mid 90's very little attention was paid to actually insulating these things, so they can be miserable both in the cold and in the heat. Also, anything with a mostly flat roof Will Leak when it rains.

    You may be able to find campgrounds in the Chattanooga area that use trailers as "cabins" - it might be really enlightening to spend a night or two in one. (if you were on the West coast, I'd know right where to send you.)

    Good for you for exploring options! Keep us posted.

  4. #24
    Member ButterflyBreath's Avatar
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    Thanks for your replies! Actually, I didn't expect to buy anything this soon, but I looked at a camper today and am going tomorrow to buy it, as it is a good deal.

    It's a 33' Yukon Wilderness camper built in 1988. I doesn't have any structural problems that he mentioned or that I or my dad noticed. The bathroom needs a little work (the toilet needs a seal or hose replaced, and the sink needs to be replaced) but for $1500 I think it's a good camper to start with. The owner and his wife lived in it, so a lot of the bulky furniture has been removed, which is fine because it would be very dated anyway.

    My dad admitted though, as we were driving back, that the property I was thinking of putting it on... the driveway needs a few thousand dollars put into it to get it where I can drive my car up it. I can't live up there if I can't drive my car up to the site. So... we are discussing other options because he won't have the money anytime soon.

  5. #25
    Member ButterflyBreath's Avatar
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    To answer your question about what I do in home health, I'm an LPN. I make a living wage, but my problem is that lately I haven't had enough work even though I am available to work full time. I'm working on finding a company that can employ me full time.

  6. #26
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I looked at a camper today and am going tomorrow to buy it, as it is a good deal.
    Are you serious? A month ago you were posting that you were about to lose your job, and you're going to sink what little money you have into a camper that you have no place to park and may not be habitable as is, and you won't have any cash to fix? I must be missing something, because that doesn't make any sense to me.

  7. #27
    Member ButterflyBreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    Are you serious? A month ago you were posting that you were about to lose your job, and you're going to sink what little money you have into a camper that you have no place to park and may not be habitable as is, and you won't have any cash to fix? I must be missing something, because that doesn't make any sense to me.
    In my opinion having something to live in that is paid off makes more sense than renting if I am ever without a job. The camper seems very sound except redoing some things in the bathroom. It's too small (the bathroom), but I can live with it. Interestingly, one of the issues brought up here has been security, and since the owners lived in it there are nice big deadbolts on both doors.

    About where I'm going to put it... I have relatives in the area willing to let me park it on their property while I work on it. In the meantime I'm going to talk to banks to see if there's any way I can buy a small piece of property to put it on to live in. I doubt I will find anything unless maybe owner financed. Luckily I have some time, as I am not pressured to move out of where I currently live. I can't wait to have something of my own though. So maybe that will provide some motivation to get this all figured out. Worse come to worse, the lady I rent from right now said she would not charge me to have it on her property, but that won't be a good long term solution.

    About work... I tend to freak out easily because my workload changes so much with home health and when I originally posted this I had lost (temporarily but maybe permanently) my regular case. However yesterday I started a new case that looks promising for long term work. And if I can't do nursing I can always do caregiving. I just get stressed about all the work fluctuations with schedule and hours. I won't actually loose my job.

  8. #28
    Member ButterflyBreath's Avatar
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    Arrrrgh. Ugh. He sold the camper out from under me this morning! I asked him this morning to see the camper without all the stuff he has in it right now so I could see the floor, etc before giving him the money and he said he'd call me back. Well he didn't, and when I called him about it and told him I was on the way with the money he said he had already sold it! I'm sorry but I really want to see the floor before I buy something I'm going to live in. My dad said it was a great deal even if I had to replace a little flooring. Oh well, I guess it wasn't for me.

  9. #29
    Junior Member Tanglefoot's Avatar
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    Do look carefully at ordinances--you have to be really careful about living in an RV. If on land that is within county jurisdiction, common policy is that you can only stay in an RV for 30 days in one place. There are loopholes that can sometimes be used. A lot depends on how likely any neighbors/passerbys are to file a report/complaint and how zealous the ordinance officer is. In some areas, living on land that does not have a single-family residence on it does not fly. Staying on your landlady's property may be easier to get away with if you claim that you only "camp" in the trailer. Just be aware that your living situation will likely be illegal. I would get as well versed as possible in the county/city ordinances where you live, look for other local rulings you could cite, and keep a loophole or two on hand. Be prepared for the possibility that you could be required to vacate your space...have other options.

    A common strategy for tiny-house dwellers is to rent space on others' land as opposed to buying land. That way, they're not tied to an investment in case they are forced to move along.

    It's unfortunate that regulations are so unaccomodating to alternative living. Things are starting to change in some areas, and it can always be an opportunity to spearhead local change, as laws and ordinances are "by the people". If you don't want to get active in local politics, many also choose just to live quietly and hope not to get caught.

    Do some research in tiny house (regulated the same as RVs) legality--there are resources and discussions around that could be helpful, and the tiny house movement is very resourceful in legal work-arounds and ordinance reform.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButterflyBreath View Post
    Arrrrgh. Ugh. He sold the camper out from under me this morning! I asked him this morning to see the camper without all the stuff he has in it right now so I could see the floor, etc before giving him the money and he said he'd call me back. Well he didn't, and when I called him about it and told him I was on the way with the money he said he had already sold it! I'm sorry but I really want to see the floor before I buy something I'm going to live in. My dad said it was a great deal even if I had to replace a little flooring. Oh well, I guess it wasn't for me.
    Frankly, I'm glad he sold it. That place could have been a money pit. I've once heard not to buy a camper or RV for under $15,000 or more than 10 years old, because you're just wasting your money.

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