Homesteading Heroine, or wishful thinker....you decide!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by michelleIL, Oct 9, 2004.

  1. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    Got a question I want to throw out to all you seasoned veterans. I'm a college student who also works, and I was reading the post from Sancraft that talked about various ways of getting her homestead up an running by buying a trailer and moving it to her property while she builds. I know that if a person buys a trailer in a park, you'll only have to pay lot rent, yet you'll be responsible for any and ALL maintenance and upkeep, pest control, etc.
    How feasable do you all think it would be for someone in my shoes to buy a place like that, and live in a park, and still work, go to school...etc....do you think I would be biting off more than I could chew?
     
  2. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate Supporter

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    WE'll I live in a "trailer" in a small park, I work, I do volunteer stuff, and have family, and I have Sancraft and daughters over when they have good transportation that's not been in a wreck.

    I don't see how living in a trailer in a park would be any more difficult than in an apartment, and at least you don't have shared walls. And can paint or fix up the inside of your place as you wish. If you purchase a used home then you'd feel even more at liberty to make it yours by paint and such, cause mine is a new one, and is now about 6 years old and I'm just now thinking about painting the walls and some stuff to customize it more.

    On the outside, I cannot do much of any trimming of bushes or trees (the owner really really likes them), but plant flowers, have mint, or I'm thinking of bringing in some straw bales in the spring and making a decorative area and plant strawberries or tomato plants in them for a garden. Don't do much cause I'm totally under trees and shaded.

    Pick your "park" carefully and you should do okay.

    But I still want land of my own and would really really really want a house with a porch of my own.

    AngieM2
     

  3. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    Well, thank you for responding...I'm ready for all the negative posts too, so bring me all your worst stories too, let's see if I'm really up to this....I'm looking for specifically a fixer upper, as I don't have much starting money.
     
  4. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You will have trouble getting your investment out of that trailer.

    OF course that is always a consideration about any property, but you can follow general rules. I have always found that properties with house and land sell better than either condos or trailers. Better to find a fixer upper house with a lot--I'd say.
     
  5. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If I had it to do over again at your age, I would have sought out being a caretaker with no or little rent. Or I would have been a home caretaker for an older person whose family just needed someone around to cut the grass and get groceries for the older person in return for rent. I could have learned much earlier some of the skills I learned much later that way.

    There are many ways to make money especially when you are young and single that I never thought about. I cleaned houses a little, but I could have done very well with that if I had had the gumption to set the rules.

    One thing I am glad that I did was not to own a car until my job absolutely required it. I saved tons for years using public transportation and living lightly (no furniture I couldnt carry).

    Then I would have saved my money to buy a tiny fix up house and had the confidence to hire a home contractor (I didn't know these existed) to tell me the plumbing, electric and heat/air) were ok.
     
  6. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    It's certainly a good idea. Park rent can be high though so pick carefully. Also some parks can be not safe to check them out. Also are you thinking "camper" type trailer or a single wide mobile?

    A large camper trailer would be plenty for one person, I've considered it in the past. It also would be much easier to have moved once you get property and much easier to stay on your property since they are self contained.

    With a single wide mobile, be careful of government restrictions. I examined living in one and getting loans, permission to move, etc. can be very difficult. The older it is the more laws they make about them. It's not the structure it's that they "think" sub standard people live in them. Like you won't keep it to code or won't pay the loan. Having perfect credit doesn't count for anything. That has just been my experience.

    I had a co-worker purchase a property with a single wide on it. He had to purchase it as land and build a house. Once the house was built the county forced him to destroy the single wide and only gave him 30 days. It would have made an awsome workshop, storage, chicken coop, etc. but he was forced to destroy it. They wouldn't do that with a camper type of trailer or fifth wheel.

    Don't rule out getting a small home instead. Depending on where you are, when you add up lot rent, and costs plus resale value of the home you might just come ahead. The first time I looked at parks, I ended up getting a small house and then built up from there. That was back when I was a student.
     
  7. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    Basically, my thought pattern is this: Buy a place cheap....KEEP THE WHEELS ON, LOL, then when I can find a patch of land, say after graduating college, and getting a better job, then move the trailer onto the property. I know I would bbe investing money into something that I know wouldn't make a profit, but it would cut down on the monthly rent, etc...plus, I would own the place, so I could do what I want with the inside...this all, in turn, might just save me enough money each month, that I wouldn't need the foodstamps...But like you all know already, there are startup costs, so my new old place can't be too much of a piece of crap, otherwise I'm out the frying pan and into the fire. Thank you for responding!
     
  8. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Trailers are a poor investment. They never appreciate. Like a car, they are worth less every day. Yet, they are better than many city apartments. If you are in a big city, there are other problems as well. Most city governments don't like too many trailer parks, so new ones are rare. Many areas close to bigger cities have rules against trailers on your own land. Companies that make trailers will buy up lots from the parks so their new buyers can put them someplace. I have heard many stories of people losing their lease in a trailer park for some petty reason so the park can replace an older trailer with a spiffy new one. This is a great incentive for the manufacturers to be in cahoots with the park owners. If you watch the want ads you can find some great deals, but before you buy make certain you have a place to put it, and a solid long term lease agreement. When the park cancels the lease, the owner must find either another buyer or a place to put the trailer. I have heard of the owners having to sign the trailer over to the park because they can't sell it and have no where to move it. It is also very pricey to move a trailer. If you can afford a trailer, you might consider a townhome. You have a better chance to earn money on your investment.
     
  9. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    I spent 5 years in an 18 ft. trailer that I towed with my truck. Saved a lot on rent , could be hooked up and gone in an hour , and I was always home. It was built in 1956 and was all real wood on the inside. I customized it to suit my needs. Never had a problem finding a place to put it , in fact found some real cool places , like resorts. Would have worked fine on my own land , but never got that far. After building a house , would work for RVing or as a guest house , or office or whatever.
     
  10. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    There is always a 'cost of living' regardless of where you live. Perhaps buying is cheaper than renting, renting may be cheaper than buying... all depends where you are and what is available. While in college, I think your cheapest option will be living with a bunch of other students and sharing a place... assuming you cannot live with your folks.

    cheers,
     
  11. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Okay, how about a TRUE Worst Case Scenerio???

    Lady in the mobile home park we lived in in FL bought a mobile, moved it into the park. She lived there for quite a few years (10 or more?). She was disabled on disability.

    She got behind on park rent for her lot.

    Got told she had to move it because the landlady was so sick and tired of messing with her excuses that she didn't care any longer.

    So she got an eviction notice that gave her so many months to move the trailer to another park.

    Guy comes in, pulls all of the hurricane straps and puts on tires and everything..They get the sucker halfway out of the lot and this singlewide mobile splits in two!

    Her house was now in peices and all over the place. It was so old it couldn't be moved. But, she also couldn't get in to salvage anything. The roof collapsed and a bunch of other stuff. It was horrible.
     
  12. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    If I was in your shoes, I would go with the travel trailer. Put it in a park if you have to (check on what kind of neighbors you'll have), but if you are close enough to rural areas you *might* be able to find another type of deal, especially if you have any experience with farming or animals. Sometimes people who have horses or whatever are willing to let someone park their travel trailer on their place in return for help with animal chores, especially so the owners are free to travel once in a while. Or you might find an older person who needs a hand with the heavier work, or needs someone to look after things while they recover from surgery or an illness. This type of arrangement could give you a free place to stay while you save up enough money to buy your own land. If you choose land carefully, you should be able to find a place where you can live in the travel trailer while you improve the property. In the meantime, you have a home that belongs to you, not to a landlord. It may be depreciating, as others have said, but if you take good care of it you will likely be able to sell it for what you paid for it, or at least for enough to get it out of your hair when you don't want it anymore. You will need access to a vehicle big enough to tow it when it needs to be moved, though.

    Kathleen
     
  13. landlord

    landlord Well-Known Member

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    Another option is to get a roomie to help with costs. You may lose some privacy but it can be temporary.
     
  14. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Must be a bit of Gypsy in me. Like Jack, I bought and lived in a small trailer while going to college and even after that, as I traveled around, doing different jobs.

    Many years later, having severly outgrown our small cabin and coming across a "deal you can't refuse", I bought a 12x65 mobile home and moved it to the place. At first, I thought I'd never like it because I had a bit of bias about "cheap trailers".

    It brought many changes to our family, all at once. Instant space, flush toilet, central heat, convenient electrical outlets, bathtub!! It has served us well!

    Ours is a '60's model, well used when I bought it 20 years ago for 3000. Haven't done much to it at all, except replace the windows and doors for about 1500. Today, I could sell this 40plus year old trailer for 6000 to 10,000 depending on whether I'd take a note on it or not.

    Taking a cue from my experiences, I started buying inexpensive mobiles, putting a bit of sweat into them and renting them out. Nearly all of them are in "parks" and I never have trouble keeping them rented.

    Besides cheap, I look for certain qualities. Good roof, no leakers. Water damage is a deal breaker, other than minor ceiling water stains. I always look for mobiles with plywood floors, rather than particle board. I try to find mobiles that have had upgraded windows or doors, 'cause it just saves me having to do it myself. I look for trailers that have electric furnaces, because they tend to have 200 amp electic panels rather than 100 amp panels.

    As you can see, I disagree with a couple of the above posters. After mobiles have depreciated to a certain point, they don't depreciate any more. With a bit of upgrading and some careful maintenance, they can probably last as long as a stick built house.

    I think if I going to college, and knowing what I know now, I'd carefully look for a mobile home, carefully shop for a well managed park. Pay the thing off, make a few necessary upgrades and sell the darn thing in place to another student when you are through with school and wanting to move on. They are incredibly easy to sell if you are willing to carry a note on them. Even college students can come up with to 1000 down and monthly payments.

    On a typical trailer that I buy for 3000 say, I'll add 1500 to 3000 in upgrades and repairs and make a return on my money in two or three years. Then it's all profit.
     
  15. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Here are a couple of true stories for you.

    While I was in nursing school, one of the students----a single mom with a son-----found a run down mobile home in a park for $2000. I went and saw this home. Pretty rough shape. Cabinet doors in the kitchen had broken off. The carpet was horrid. The vinyl in the kitchen torn. The appliances didn't work. But the lot rent was $175 and included the water and gas and was a fairly nice park as parks go. She ripped out the carpet and painted the subfloor and put scatter rugs down. She removed all the cabinet doors in the kitchen and painted the frames and put curtains over them. She looked in the paper and bought nice appliances used. Structurally, it was in pretty sound shape. She felt like she could end up selling it for more than she paid for it after school was finished and in the mean time, it made the difference in her being able to support her child and go to school full time and only work 16 hours a week.

    Then when I was taking pottery lessons, one of the male students had picked up an old travel trailer from a relative and he lived in that. Found a park for $100 per month for a travel trailer. That is pretty cheap living.

    Don't buy new. These depreciate so much the first 4 years. Find a good used one already set up. Also, like someone said, pick the park carefully. They are not all equal. You can do a lot of things when you are young and you put your mind to it.
     
  16. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    One way to get started is to do lots of shopping for a small house on a lot. I would look around the edges of questionable neighborhoods, as close to the school as possible. If you shop carefully and be very patient, you may possibly find owner financing. Get a good inspection before final purchase to find out what would have to be done to the house. This can be a tiny house on a tiny lot, but should be real property. You always want appreciating property, not depreciating. Fix this up, using imagination, creativity, and flea market finds. Landscape it for easy maintenance. Grow plants in containers. Then, when you finish college, and find work (any place in the country) sell your house. Use your equity to buy as much land as you can afford. This may be a slightly bigger house on a slightly bigger lot, or it could be an acre or two with a single-wide. Again, do all the fix-up you can. Fix-up can include lots and lots of cosmetic stuff--just be sure the basics are in good shape. Painting over termite damage or water stains is definitely NOT cool.

    This buy it, fix it up, sell it progression is the way many many people have ended up with their dream property. There are a great many books on this. Just remember, until you are in your final destination, personal taste should be in the accessories you use. The rest should be crisp and clean looking in neutral colors. You are always decorating for the next owner!! A good, experienced Realtor can advise on what sells in your area and for a small fee would probably consult with you on what to do.

    You have the chance of a lifetime for your economic life. If you get into the save and invest mode from the very beginning, financial security can be yours very early on. You need the mindset that is always working toward the goal of getting the land you want with the structures you want with enough money to produce the income you will need. That's called INDEPENDENCE Get Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez, et al. There will never be a better time to start!!! I wish I had known this in my beginning life instead of at the end.

    I wish you the very best. :p :p

    Sandi