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  #1  
Old 04/11/09, 09:49 AM
JWK JWK is offline
 
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Living in trailer while building a house - worth it?

Here is the scenario:

We have an offer in on some acreage and it looks like it's going to go. Even if it doesn't, we are almost sure to buy something this spring/summer. This is vacant land.

We are living in a mortgaged house. We have the money to buy the property outright with cash with enough left over to put up a new pole barn.

So we are thinking a possibility would be to buy a decent used trailer (also with cash) and live on the land while we get the money together to build a house. Then of course we sell the trailer.

I'm looking at a probable two year period in the trailer. There will be hookup expenses and a loss on the trailer when we sell it. On the plus side, we won't be paying a mortgage and we get to work on the outside property while we live there, reclaiming the open field back to hay and pasture, chickens, put up fencing, etc.

If we stay in the house we are in now, we will lose money on the interest we are paying on the mortgage (we are in the 5th year of a 30 year mortgage), but won't have to move. The property we are buying is an hour drive from where we live.

We have to find out how much money we are paying in interest right now on the house, but we are wondering how much used trailers go for and how much we will lose when we sell it. We will be looking at a more modern trailer with the 2x6 outside walls. We live in the NE where we have pretty cold winters.

Just wondering what your thoughts are on these two options. We need to gather a bit more information, but I'm thinking some of you have done things like this and have a perspective that you don't find "on paper".

All suggestions, thoughts, insights, opinions are welcome.

Thanks in advance. We're excited! :banana02:

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  #2  
Old 04/11/09, 09:54 AM
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I am in favor of buying land and living in a trailer, while you build.

I did it that way, it worked for us.

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  #3  
Old 04/11/09, 09:59 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: MA and PA
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My dh and I bought property with a trailer on it . We lived in it while we built our home then rented out the trailer for a few years. When it came time to either sink alot of $ in it or tear it down we decided to tear it down. It was also great to be so close while the house was being built. Good Luck!

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  #4  
Old 04/11/09, 10:00 AM
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I'd do it. Kind of depends on how you view driving to work every day, if you have kids, and what your needs for space are.

BUT....it's certainly a worthwhile way to go while you build. For one thing, y ou're on the property and can keep it secure.

You might want to look at building a small pole barn/outbuilding. Steel building that can be used as barn, storage, garage later on...and put your trailer either up against it, or inside. Even putting in a concrete slab with a steel roof over it..no walls. That will help keep snow off your trailer, a place to park. Just something to think about. Youcould add walls later if you wanted to.

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  #5  
Old 04/11/09, 10:02 AM
Murphy was an optimist ;)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWK View Post
Here is the scenario:

We have an offer in on some acreage and it looks like it's going to go. Even if it doesn't, we are almost sure to buy something this spring/summer. This is vacant land.

We are living in a mortgaged house. We have the money to buy the property outright with cash with enough left over to put up a new pole barn.

So we are thinking a possibility would be to buy a decent used trailer (also with cash) and live on the land while we get the money together to build a house. Then of course we sell the trailer.

I'm looking at a probable two year period in the trailer. There will be hookup expenses and a loss on the trailer when we sell it. On the plus side, we won't be paying a mortgage and we get to work on the outside property while we live there, reclaiming the open field back to hay and pasture, chickens, put up fencing, etc.

If we stay in the house we are in now, we will lose money on the interest we are paying on the mortgage (we are in the 5th year of a 30 year mortgage), but won't have to move. The property we are buying is an hour drive from where we live.

We have to find out how much money we are paying in interest right now on the house, but we are wondering how much used trailers go for and how much we will lose when we sell it. We will be looking at a more modern trailer with the 2x6 outside walls. We live in the NE where we have pretty cold winters.

Just wondering what your thoughts are on these two options. We need to gather a bit more information, but I'm thinking some of you have done things like this and have a perspective that you don't find "on paper".

All suggestions, thoughts, insights, opinions are welcome.

Thanks in advance. We're excited! :banana02:
You would most likely save money and get your house built sooner this way. Being 5 years into a 30 year mortgage, you can figure 95 percent of your current house payment is interest.
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  #6  
Old 04/11/09, 10:08 AM
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My aunt and uncle did that very thing - years ago. The house was built a few yards behind the setting of the mobile home so the same water, electric and septic only had to move a few feet.

Angie

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  #7  
Old 04/11/09, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisconsin Ann View Post
I'd do it. Kind of depends on how you view driving to work every day, if you have kids, and what your needs for space are.

BUT....it's certainly a worthwhile way to go while you build. For one thing, y ou're on the property and can keep it secure.

You might want to look at building a small pole barn/outbuilding. Steel building that can be used as barn, storage, garage later on...and put your trailer either up against it, or inside. Even putting in a concrete slab with a steel roof over it..no walls. That will help keep snow off your trailer, a place to park. Just something to think about. You could add walls later if you wanted to.
I agree with Ann.

There was an article a while back in Backwoods Home on living in the pole barn (either while you build or just to live there). Can't recall the issue number, but their site is pretty intuitive, and you could find the article there.

In our experience, the longer you stay where you are, the worse it will be. We always felt like we had our feet in two different worlds before we finally got here - wish we'd moved a lot faster and done whatever it took to get here sooner.

Go for it.

God bless you with good weather, fine friends, and excellent health!
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  #8  
Old 04/11/09, 10:15 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Arkansas
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The steel building idea above...great idea. Wish we had done that. The frugal trailer idea can be good if the trailer will be sufficient for your family. Any way you can get out of a mortgage is a good way. Just know that trials will be there wither way you go and communication in the family will be key to keep sanity...

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  #9  
Old 04/11/09, 10:45 AM
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We plan on doing that when our last child graduates.

I would just add that you should check the zoning laws in your area to be sure it's allowed. They might require you to put your septic system in before you can live there in the trailer.

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  #10  
Old 04/11/09, 11:00 AM
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The most important questions (from my experience) is not the one you are asking. Do you know where you will get your water, where you will put your waste, and how will you get to the building site when it is muddy? Also is electric cheap to install?

Rain catchment, followed by filtering and UV treatment, sawdust toilet / gray water (subject to local codes if any), and chains can work wonders. Most people (not us) would die without a microwave though. Generators are ok for an hour or so a day, but get a quiet one if you can, and a Honda!

The poster who asked where you will have to drive to work and if you have children is spot on also.

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  #11  
Old 04/11/09, 11:08 AM
 
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we did it and would do it again. And we only lived 10 miles from the new site. It was worth it being on site. Before we moved there, we first had a barn raising and put in electric and developed a spring. We put the trailer close to the barn, did not have septic at the trailer, used an out house, but we did have hot and cold running water at the trailer which was a step up for us....boy those were the days. We sought out and bought an old, 30 yo, trailer that had some nice features, wood cabinets, but we could not ignor the fact it was 8 feet wide and 35 feet long. It gave us a whole new perspective on life. We lived in that trailer for 2 years, 7 months, 6 days and 4 hours.

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  #12  
Old 04/11/09, 11:31 AM
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That's pretty much what I did. Lived in the trailer until the land was paid off. But with hills and floodplain, there was only one good house site that I liked. Unfortunately, I stuck the trailer right where the house needed to be. So I moved into a 14 X 14 shed for the 5 months it took to build the house. The good thing is it was easy to connect to the well and septic system and the driveway was in the right spot too.

Bought the trailer for $5000. Sold it 9 years later (lived in town until the trailer was paid off and used it as a down payment on the land) for $4200. Less than $100 a year for "rent", seems like a deal to me!

Kathie

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  #13  
Old 04/11/09, 11:35 AM
 
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Don't buy a "decent" trailer and plan on selling it at a loss. Buy one that is old enough that it won't depreciate any more in the two years you'll have it, and sell it for what you paid for it when you're done with it.

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  #14  
Old 04/11/09, 11:48 AM
JWK JWK is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackWillowFarm View Post
We plan on doing that when our last child graduates.

I would just add that you should check the zoning laws in your area to be sure it's allowed. They might require you to put your septic system in before you can live there in the trailer.


Bingo. It's not allowed. I left out some information that I took for granted that is necessary to make a decision or give advice. Can't live in a pole barn but I'll have to check on the septic regs. I'm pretty sure you have to have one before living on site. That would complicate things.
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  #15  
Old 04/11/09, 11:53 AM
JWK JWK is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
The most important questions (from my experience) is not the one you are asking. Do you know where you will get your water, where you will put your waste, and how will you get to the building site when it is muddy? Also is electric cheap to install?

Rain catchment, followed by filtering and UV treatment, sawdust toilet / gray water (subject to local codes if any), and chains can work wonders. Most people (not us) would die without a microwave though. Generators are ok for an hour or so a day, but get a quiet one if you can, and a Honda!

The poster who asked where you will have to drive to work and if you have children is spot on also.

Well can be drilled, drive put in, electric on site. These all can be paid for before the trailer. I just can't afford the house right now.

I will be a lot closer to work at the new place. I got my job two years ago after we had lived where we are now for three years. I have two children. * year old boy and 10 year old girl.
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  #16  
Old 04/11/09, 11:55 AM
JWK JWK is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Katey View Post
Don't buy a "decent" trailer and plan on selling it at a loss. Buy one that is old enough that it won't depreciate any more in the two years you'll have it, and sell it for what you paid for it when you're done with it.
Good thought! Definately something to look into.
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  #17  
Old 04/11/09, 12:06 PM
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Look at craigslist.org for your mobile home. They have cheap and even some free ones!

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  #18  
Old 04/11/09, 12:16 PM
 
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Location: north Alabama
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When we bought our land, we lived in a travel trailer for a while. Loved it, but moved into our manufactured home when the weather started to get cold.

Your situation (being in the north) sounds different. What I would suggest you consider is making a 24' x 24' building as an eventual garage or outbuilding, but using 2" x 6" studs and insulating. If you build one with a sleeping loft, you would have sufficient living space for a year or two. What you will find you DON'T have in these scenarios is storage and shop space. A couple thousand will buy you a shipping container that could be used.

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  #19  
Old 04/11/09, 01:50 PM
 
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A good friend of ours did this and this is what we will do if we ever move to a bigger piece of land. They dug and built their basement and lived in IT. He crudely made it into a mini apartment of sorts, and them and all their children lived in it while he built above them. He finished the first floor first, they moved in there and then he built the second floor above them again. They tried to do the trailer thing and abandoned it quickly for the basement and never regretted it.

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  #20  
Old 04/11/09, 02:19 PM
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Check out this site, you can find some good deals on trailers there every now and then. They had a ton of them on their recently, just have to wait for another run.

http://www.govsales.gov/html/index.htm

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