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  #1  
Old 02/23/04, 11:35 AM
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Location: Georgia
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Living in an RV

It looks like I may be able to get some land fairly soon. How hard is it to live in an RV until we can build a house. Also, how do you hook up utilities to it? I don't know anything about RVs.

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Old 02/23/04, 12:32 PM
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Rv living

Will the property be far enough south and is it late enough in the year so that you won't have to worry about freezing pipes, etc.? That is usually a problem with RV living in winter.

As far as hook up go, the RV usually has an electrical cord with a fairly standard plug in end on it. Simply plug into an electrical box. If the place doesn't yet have electricity, you may just wind up having a box mounted on the utility pole for now.

Next comes water. A water hose simply connects to faucet. Some prefer the white hoses that are considered drinking water safe.

A sewer line connection will be the toughest unless the place you are going has a septic line cleanout plug. If so, there is usually a 4" flexible hose that connects to the RV, then goes to the sewer dump port. A foam seal is used to prevent sewer gas from getting out, etc.

If you don't have a septic system to dump into, then you really need to take the RV to a dumping station every few days to dump the system there. How often will depend upon how much water you use and put into the septic system.

Propane bottles on the RV usually supply heating and cooking needs and the refrigerator with fuel when not connected to electric.

I sure wish you good luck and success.

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Old 02/23/04, 12:55 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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..........Well, I was considering Doing about the same thing!! If I sell my place here in texas I was going to Buy an older model Airstream Trailer to live in until I get all my buildings up. Don't know where you live or where your headed but thru the research I've figured out you need to find a trailer with some important factors.....(1) ALL plumbing should be Enclosed as well as all holding tanks and should have some sort of insulation of some known value, i.e.say down to -30 f or some such. All wiring and monitor circuits should be tested and certified as well as the main fuse panel. (2)Trailers can be inspected just like houses I believe so the stove, frig, airconditioner(s) & generator, should all be operable. All the appliances just mentioned are very expensive to replace. So if your going to be in Az or Tx thru the summer while building I would want reliable appliances in my trailer.
........Most of the search engines for the trailer websites will ask for a Range of dates to search......I will usually enter 1968 to 2000 or so . Airstream is and has been a quality, American made product in my opinion. You will discern very quickly that there are some older trailers of the 1970 vintage that have been very well maintained and may even be one owner units. They , maybe , a better value for your money than some of the later ones made in the 80's. If , I decide to pursue this course I'm going to find a quality unit that I can live in even if I were to decide to sell the next place.
.........Utilities..........Well, after you purchase your land you have to make three(3) decisions very quickly. (1) location of your home, (2) drill your water well , then , (3) the location of your septic system . In Texas , there is a 50 foot separation required between your septic system and your water well. Once these items have been located then You will need to have a Power pole setup for the Construction crews and You will need a 30 Amp, 120 volt fuse box to plug your trailer into. Keep in mind that you will probably want to setup your trailer maybe a 100feet away from the building site as the crews will need 360 degree access to your home site plus there is the issue of noise and privacy.
.........Personally, I would build a storage building of say 30 X 40 with covered parking for your vehicle and your trailer and Then initiate the construction of your Home AFTER you and DW\DH have settled in and get your bearings.....fordy

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  #4  
Old 02/23/04, 01:04 PM
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One warning on Airstream Trailers. Don't buy anything with body damage. It gets fairly expensive and shops with techs qualified to do the work are getting few and far between.

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  #5  
Old 02/23/04, 01:08 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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................One last Point.....When you decide to sign a purchase contract for your Land.............BE SURE and make the Purchase ...Contingent.....upon a SUCCESSFUL PERK TEST. If the perk test Fails, you're going to be stuck with having to install an ANerobic septic system which reqires NO leech field but can run up to $$15,000 to install. IF, you are adequately ($$$) financed then no problem, but if you're on a budget , well every penny counts. Besides, if the Perk test fails, you can utilize the results to Negotiate a LOWER purchase price for the land assuming you can afford to install a more costly septic system.....you need all the finanical advantages you can to keep your money in Your pocket........fordy... :yeeha:

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Old 02/23/04, 03:17 PM
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The septic would be an eventually thing for me....

An outhouse is quick cheap and probably illegal

A composting toilet is a bit cheaper, not sure if it'll fit.

Goat fencing would be #1.

definately get the soil test done before buying.

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  #7  
Old 02/23/04, 04:35 PM
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I have lived in an RV while getting a house built. Most RV's need a 20 or 30 amp electric outlet box, though we did use a connector that allowed us to use a regular electric cord from a generator that we used for electric. We made sure the RV refrigerator and hot water heater worked on propane before we bought an RV so the electric cord was only for lights and small appliances. We did without air conditioning and we were in the desert heat. The septic was the first thing in but I wish I had gone with the humanure system instead. Several of my neighbors have a humanure system and it works so well.

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  #8  
Old 02/23/04, 05:52 PM
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sancraft - from your original post, sounds like you don't yet have an rv - if so, my vote is travel trailer - cheaper, more room, more functional and probably easier to sell when the cabin is done

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  #9  
Old 02/23/04, 05:55 PM
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forgot - at the stage you're at now, please read ken kern's books - "owner built home" and "owner built homestead" - good ideas cover to cover (twice)

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  #10  
Old 02/23/04, 06:04 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 528

Hey, if you can build a house in a month-----no problem. LOL.

We have been living in a 29.5 ft 5th wheel with a bump out in the living area for 1 year, 6 months, 24 days while we built a workshop and are currently building our house. I recommend you hide the ammo when you do this.

The Good: The place is paid for. We will have no mortgage and we have been able to live on our property. It is better than a tent. It can be sold when we are done and moved easily.

The Bad: Tight quarters, all our stuff is in climate controlled storage (not cheap), tiny, tiny refrigerator, no storage for buying much in the way of groceries, no washer/dryer, our closet is about 4 ft wide 4 ft long. 6 gallon hot water heater for showers and it takes 45 min for it to reheat in the winter.

The Ugly: Propane costs us about $600 a month in the winter to heat this tin box. Electricity costs about $200 in the summer to cool it----if you can call it "cool". The dumping of the plumbing is your worst nightmare on a regular basis. You will have a permanent back ache from the lousy mattress in the bedroom. Mice LOVE travel trailers.

When this one rolls down the driveway, I will not be sorry and hope I never, ever have to even be in one again.

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  #11  
Old 02/23/04, 06:31 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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A freind of mine did just what you are proposing. The trailer he used was a 1978 park model which my parents gave him. It leaked, the carpet was bad and it was generally junk. The big plus was that as a park model it had a regular toilet and no holding tanks. He was able to plumb it directly into the septic system. His pole barn went up first then the house. he survived a Michigan winter in it and now has a real nice house which he paid cash for. If you can't find a park model at least replumb it with a real toilet and eliminate the the holding tanks once your septic is in.
Kirk

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  #12  
Old 02/23/04, 08:46 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Calif, The Mother Lode
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Make sure that you are allowed to live in a trailer for an extended period of time. Some counties only allow 6 weeks to 6 months of trailer/camper living, not full-time living.
We have been living out of a 20' travel trailer, 1950's model for 10 years. We built a sun porch/living room off it. It has a wood stove and tv. We also have a 100' cabin, that we use for a bedroom.
We are building a 1,000' house now, it's been a 2 year process, so far, and hope to be in by next winter.
We had a well and a septic tank, when we bought the place. We put a regular toilet in the trailer and eventually a standard size water heater.
We got public power about 3 years ago, spent the previous 7 years on a generator.
lacyj

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Old 02/23/04, 09:01 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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..............Lacy, I'm curious as to what brand of genset that lasted you 7 years. Was it gas or Diesel?? I can't imagine a "Cheap" genset lasting that long without burning up several motors, if it was a gasoline model rather than diesel......elaborate if you have the time.....fordy..

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  #14  
Old 02/23/04, 10:30 PM
 
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Rv

The worst part of the RV life is the tight quarters for a long period of time. If you have the right mindset, you should be OK. The other comments are definitely considerations. We also looked into solar panels to help out with the electricity. Might be worthwhile if you have lots of sun.

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  #15  
Old 02/24/04, 01:24 AM
 
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Sancraft,

My wife, daughter and I lived in an old 1975 Dodge 21 foot RV for a year and a half while we built our house. Winter was the toughest time for us as, even though we underpinned the whole camper our septic and water systems periodiacally froze. The size of the camper with three people living inside proved also to be a challenge. Even our "breathe" created much condensation that the windows would occasionally get a lay of ice on them. But, we managed and survive the ordeal with our goal of completely the house before the next winter.

We did not have a real septic tank to dispose our waste in but, used a groundhogs "lair". The tank emptied out fine into it and never once backed up.

Our power had to be installed with three poles to reach our land. The power company gave two of them for free but, the third one cost us $160.00 which after living on the land over a year was re-imbursed back to us as a credit on our electric bill.

The only hassle we forsaw with the electric company was a requirement to built a "permanent structure" on the land. We put in the cellar and the piers all made from Nearing's slip form method of stone masonery. Then we had to put a cistern in the ground. These requirements were minimunal but, were satisfactory for the service to be installed.

Ernest

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  #16  
Old 02/24/04, 06:24 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: South West MI
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I did it but I built a real bathroom and had the septic put in. I put septic and water in then built a simple 12x12 bathhouse with the washer and dryer. The propane water heater put out plenty of heat to keep it warm. It was well insulated for the long haul, 2 years then moved the fixtures into the house when ready. Yes there we're nights when someone slept in the bath house but we survived.


mikell

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  #17  
Old 02/24/04, 06:51 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: South West MI
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I did it but I built a real bathroom and had the septic put in. I put septic and water in then built a simple 12x12 bathhouse with the washer and dryer. The propane water heater put out plenty of heat to keep it warm. It was well insulated for the long haul, 2 years then moved the fixtures into the house when ready. Yes there we're nights when someone slept in the bath house but we survived.


mikell

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  #18  
Old 02/24/04, 07:29 AM
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RVs.

Joan, in most states/circles a travel trailer is considered to be a recreational vehicle.
No big deal, perhaps where you live only motor homes/coaches are called RVs.
In clubs, such as the Good Sam Club, anything from a tent trailer to a motor coach is considered an RV.

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  #19  
Old 02/24/04, 07:38 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,387

I am not sure if this is helpful, but in one of my searchs for "stuff" I found used modular buildings. They are the portable offices, classrooms, etc that are used here and there.

I found 8x32 offices for under $3000. They came with AC, heat, wiring. Some have more stuff in them than others. Some have restrooms, though I don't think showers. Google them and see what you can find.

I don't know if that would work better than a real RV, but thought I would pass it along just in case.

Jena

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  #20  
Old 02/24/04, 09:41 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Calif, The Mother Lode
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Fordy,
We bought two generators from Sears, both gas, we bought the extended warrenty, something, I wouldn't normally buy. Sears totally rebuilt both generators,TWICE, it was like gettin' 6 generators for the price of 2. We ran them, 12 hours a day, pumping the well in the summer. We really gave those poor things a work-out. We had planted a young orchard of about 70, various fruit trees, then the grapes and garden, and a cement pond that was drained regularly.
We had deep cell batteries and an inverter for electricity. On wash day the genie ran for the washer, the dryer was gas with electric to turn the barrel.

The thing about those little water heaters that come with a travel trailer:
You get a choice of, shampoo, shave or soap up and that's about IT. A five gallon water heater gives you about 5 to 10 minutes of HOT water max.
lacyj

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