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Living in a trailer (mobile home) long-term if it means a route to homesteading?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
We have had an exciting opportunity present itself. We are currently living in a tiny, old house in a small town. We've always wanted to be in the country. However, we've had catastrophic financial happenings over the past years, so moving was never an option.

Recently, my sister and her dh, (who happens to be my dh's brother) are looking into buying a small acreage in the country. They are planning to put a trailer on the land and live in it for 7-8 years while they pay off the land, then build a small house. We have always been very close with my sister and BIL, and have talked often about how wonderful it would be to live by each other, garden together, etc. And so, because my dh does construction for a living, they have offered to also purchase a used trailer for us in exchange for dh's labor for building a storage shed on the land, excavating the driveway, etc.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to finally have the country/homestead living we've always dreamed of. We love gardening, canning, and have raised animals at my dad's farm, who lives near us. The thought of being able to do this all right outside our own front door is so exciting.

I'm wondering about living in a trailer long term...has anyone done this and liked it? I realize it's not optimal but we are beyond broke with lots of debt, and building, etc is not in our future. Obviously, a mobile home is not going to last forever, but we would probably be looking at just upgrading to a newer trailer in the future as needed (around here, you can buy a decent used singlewide for several thousand dollars).

Any "I grew up in a trailer" stories out there? The most important thing in the world to me is being home with my kids...if this worked out we could be mortgage-free.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 24
I didn't grow up in a trailer, but many of my relatives and neighbors did, and my sister had one on 10 acres for quite a few years.

I, personally, think they get a bad rap they don't deserve. Where I grew up, it was hard to get people to work on your house, or contractors to build a new one, and trailers were a natural choice. There were varying degrees of niceness, of course, but I think that there's some really benefits to them, especially in your situation. And there are some VERY fancy ones out there now, though it doesn't sound like that's what you're looking for.

One issue to consider is your financing, if you are getting a loan for the land. It's hard to get them converted to real property; my sister went through this issue. You have to put them on a real foundation and do some other title-transfer paperwork, I believe.
post #3 of 24
We live in our 5th wheel on our land with our 4 kids. We have been in it for 2 years this August coming up. We are really happy and don't mind the small space. The kids have no problems at all either. The first year we went travelling, spent 2 months of DH parents farm, 2 months at my parents place and 3 months of the grid on 180 acre farm. We then went travelling again and found our land in Sept. We are building a cob home starting in April/May. The biggest issue I find is other people having a problem with the way we live. We even had someone call Child Services on us because we have a composting toilet, live in a small space and conserve water, they called it Neglect! It all worked out fine but just a warning for you, some people have issues with living outside the box!
We were thinking of waiting it out another year to build and save more money because you are not able to mortgage these types of homes.. But will all the crap we just went through with Child Services I am scared to wait now!

Alot of people have told us to build a shop and live in it or get a mobile but we have our 5th wheel, its paid for and we have all we need in it! Our home will cost us 60,000- 80,000 to build so we just can't reason spending 20,000 to build a shop to live in..
We built some out buildings, a small barn for our dairy goats, a chicken coop, compost bin etc, mainly built with recycled materials for cheap
We also built a greenhouse cover over our 5th wheel to give us some outside area and for storage, it has worked really well! We are putting a garden in this year as well to help with our goal of working towards self sufficiency. When you have land it is much easier to provide for yourself and save money not going to the store! Good luck with your adventure!
Heres a link to our website
www.canadianfamilyrobinson.com
post #4 of 24
Assuming that the trailer was not very toxic (the materials used in them often are) I would go for it!

We are just about to move into a 225 (or somehting like that) little cabin, without electricity or hot water. As a friend of mine put it "If you must live that way and hate it, it is sad. If it is a choice, it is admirable."
post #5 of 24
Have you checked into the zoning for this? If you don't already have a well and septic tank set up, you may very well run into issues. In many places, the zoning restrictions in the country are almost as strict as in town. I'd make sure that you'll be allowed to have two homes on one parcel before you make too many more plans.
post #6 of 24
I grew up in a trailer and it was fine. It was a little tiny, and I shared a room with my 2 sisters for a while, but to me, that was perfectly normal. We lived there until I was in 6th grade I think. I remember sometimes wishing for some privacy, and not wanting to share my room with my sisters, but I would just escape outside into the woods behind our house if I needed to get away. It was no big deal.

The only thing I can think of is my parents had a really hard time selling it. We lived in a trailer park and I think they had it on the market for years before it sold. But it doesn't sound like that will be an issue for you guys.
post #7 of 24

I grew up in a trailer and hated it.

 

I think it's wonderful that you have the chance to live in the country. From my own experience, I would think of living in a trailer as a temporary solution. Make sure the trailer you buy is in good shape and you can live comfortably there. A well and a septic system is a must. Make sure that you keep your home organized and tidy and that everyone has a little space of their own.


Edited by aquarius aspiring - 12/31/11 at 5:22pm
post #8 of 24
We live in a trailer with our two kids, 3 and 1. It hasn't been very long but we love it. And we love the money we are saving in the process. It isn't the ideal situation, but hey, we don't have a lot of money. We could rent a house, or an apartment but I see that as a waste of money, because in the end you have nothing. And you paid someone else's mortgage. At least with this option, when we are ready to move we have something to sell. (even if we only get a little back, it's something). And until we sell it we can live cheaply.
If you were to be home with your kids, you would also be able to keep your eyes open for problems that are arrising, and nip them before they get to be huge problems. For example the no privacy issue.

My experience in a trailer is about a year. My mom-in-law, however, grew up in a trailer. Parents, 2 boys and 2 girls, 3 bedroom trailer. She is very fond of them.

I think the key is to keep yourself from feeling stuck, like you have no options. It sounds to me like this is the best option for your family right now, and even if you don't love trailer life, you gain a lot of satisfaction knowing you made a good financial decision for your family.
And with no rent, and no mortgage payment, imagine the posibilities! You can get out of debt and then start saving to build a house!
post #9 of 24
We bought a trailer a few years ago with the intent of moving it to land when we could buy land (of course, now no one around here will sell to someone wanting to put an older single wide). It's not horrid. Just make sure it's solid. They tend to leak and are made cheaply. Just plan on needing to upgrade the plumbing (depending on the year of your trailer). They use this tubing that isn't very reliable, and the fixtures are horrid) but the total cost of that is small (around $500-small considering you are getting your foot in the homesteading door) I'd go for this! Sounds like a great oppurotunity.
post #10 of 24
My parents lived in a trailer from the time I was an infant until the time they moved into the duplex they'd built with another couple in true hippie style. I was about 5 when we moved.

I adored the trailer. I will point out that it was a nice trailer (w/d, central heat, water in the kitchen - the previous poster whose family washes dishes in the bathtub has my total sympathy!). But this was before the days of the luxury mobile home, so really, I can say with confidence that a "regular" trailer in good condition seems like a nice place to a small child.

Definitely research the zoning regs, but if things work out in that department I think this idea has a lot of potential. I would try really hard to find a 3-bedroom given your family size, and you want to cull your belongings like you are hiking the Appalachian trail. Clutter is the enemy of peaceful living in a small space.
post #11 of 24
I haven't done it but I would if it came down to it and EVERYONE in the family was on board. (Well, I guess I mean is that if my partner was as excited about it as I would; I would think kids would adjust better unless they were older (middle school age maybe).
post #12 of 24
I too agree it easier to start when the kids are younger! Our kids dont really remember life in a 2500 square foot home but they sure love having Mommy and Daddy around even though we only live in 220 square feet! We did a cool bunk set up so they each have their own space (small but their own!)
When my 12 yr old step daughter comes she DOES not like being in the small space and keeps asking when she will get her own room!
At her Moms house we say
Our cob home will be 1000 square feet and I am sure it will feel big!
Good for you guys, hope it all works out!
post #13 of 24
We are living in a trailer right now! Bought it 4 years ago, with 5 acres of land, out here in the country. We will have the entire thing paid off this year. The plan is to build a home once this place is paid off, but we don't want to take out a loan for the house. We want to save up each year, and build the house in steps over the years. Like foundation one year, frame & roof next year, then interior from then on. So we will not be tied up in debt for 30 years, ya know?

I have to say though, that we do live in a nice trailer. It is 980 sq feet, so it feels like a normal home. We put in laminate flooring when we moved in, and I like to keep the place clean. So when you're inside, it feels like a normal house. Whatever trailer you live in, it is so important to paint it and keep it clean.

I think it is more important to be debt free than it is to live in a nice fancy large conventional house. But that's just me, and I'm not your typical mainstream girl. So really it's up to you to decide what is most important to you and your family. I gotta say though, being debt free is priceless!!
post #14 of 24
I have friends living in a trailer that's been placed on a foundation and "converted" to a home. All the zoning stuff is the same for them as for a house, and depending where you live, a septic system can be $$$$$. Also, it seems to me that they run into a lot of repair issues. As in, they are living in a mobile home as they would in any well-built, permanent structure house, and the stuff just breaks/breaks down sooner. It's not as insulated as a house would be, which in a place with frigid winters means big propane bills. Also, fixtures are trailer-specific, which means they have to buy replacements for certain repairs from a certain kind of dealer who specializes in mobile homes, as opposed to just getting stuff at the nearest hardware store.

All that aside, I think they like it. They don't care about the size of bedrooms, since they are there to enjoy the outdoors.

Oh, and in their case they do have a mortgage, and the rate was much, much higher than other home loans. Higher, in fact, than my credit card.

But we're presuming you do not have to purchase property and that you'll buy a trailer outright, yes?
post #15 of 24
I am trying to reply to a certain post but don't really understand this site yet so, here's hoping it works! U said u grew up in a trailer with I think UR 2 sisters was wondering until WHAT AGE u were before u moved out? How BAD do u rememember it being REAALLY? I mean, my 12 yr old, her 3 yr old sister n I MIGHT end up moving into a trailer permanently then building additions on it etc, keeping it as TINY HOUSE as humanly possible with 2 kids single mom...? I MENTIONED it to 12 yr old in passing n she just screams: STOP! I'm thinking it's the 'dying from embarassment' havin no personal space so she thinks, and the worry about others, that has her seemingly so 'outraged at THIS moment' I cannot help but wonder if I push thru that with her n she grows to love it!?!?!!! She always loves web we go away to trailers small cottages saying she loves the small space, we ALL GET ALLNG HAPPIER wen were closer together and truth b told I cannot afford 2100sq ft of my own or ANYONE ELSE'S ANYMORE SO it's probably GOING to happen wether she likes it or not!. Ways around this attitude? Help!?
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanine H View Post

I am trying to reply to a certain post but don't really understand this site yet so, here's hoping it works! U said u grew up in a trailer with I think UR 2 sisters was wondering until WHAT AGE u were before u moved out? How BAD do u rememember it being REAALLY? I mean, my 12 yr old, her 3 yr old sister n I MIGHT end up moving into a trailer permanently then building additions on it etc, keeping it as TINY HOUSE as humanly possible with 2 kids single mom...? I MENTIONED it to 12 yr old in passing n she just screams: STOP! I'm thinking it's the 'dying from embarassment' havin no personal space so she thinks, and the worry about others, that has her seemingly so 'outraged at THIS moment' I cannot help but wonder if I push thru that with her n she grows to love it!?!?!!! She always loves web we go away to trailers small cottages saying she loves the small space, we ALL GET ALLNG HAPPIER wen were closer together and truth b told I cannot afford 2100sq ft of my own or ANYONE ELSE'S ANYMORE SO it's probably GOING to happen wether she likes it or not!. Ways around this attitude? Help!?

Janine, welcome to MDC!

 

Could you reformat your post so that it is easier to read?  Using text-speak and lots of caps makes for difficult understanding.

post #17 of 24

I just bought in Feb a 2700 sq ft modular with 4 bed, 2 baths, a huge kitchen, and 2 living rooms with a full basement and 4 acres of ground.  I bought this home in the middle of going thru a nasty divorce and I had ratholed enough money I was able to pay cash.  I left a 4800 sq ft home in Santa Claus, IN which around here is a very nice neighborhood and I couldn't be more proud of my home.  I grew up in a little bitty trailer about 650 sq and about 300 acres and I love the simple.

 

Tina

post #18 of 24

This should inspire you....

 

http://trailerchicgirls.com/

post #19 of 24

I'd go for it, but I'd be more concerned about possible problems with inlaws later than living in a mobile.  I know that you're all getting along now, but things can change.  I don't want to be a party pooper, but I would suggest that you guys have something in writing to protect both parties.  As far as the trailer goes - it's a roof over your head, and you can fix it up so that it is nice - we have TWO trailers that we are living in right now.  Our first one was only 600 sq ft and there are TWELVE of us!!  We all lived in it for almost a year before we got a second trailer - we fixed that one up really nice and it feels like home.  None of our kids care that we are living in a trailer, and we moved from a 3900 sq ft house that was NICE.  They are just happy that we are all together and they love living out in the woods.  We want to build a house too, but that takes a lot of time and money and we bought raw land - we knew that it would be expensive to start from nothing but we had no idea just HOW expensive it would be.  We are so thankful for our trailers at this point, and I think someday, when we have our land built and the land paid for, it will have really paid off to have lived in them.

post #20 of 24

we sold our 2300 square foot beautiful remodeled 1920's home and moved into a trailer in rural FL. we have no regrets whatsoever. we have paid down considerable debt (only have to pay off the car now) and will own our land in 4 years and be completely debt free and mortgage free. at that time, we can either stay in the trailer or build a small home on our land.  

 

the main thing with a trailer is simply making sure you don't bring more stuff with you than you have room for. if needed, purge before you move (overstuffed trailers aren't fun).  our trailer is 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms and is 1100 square feet. we have plenty of room! it is definitely spacious enough for our family of 4 and we are all quite happy here.  we are slowly remodeling our home to make it...uh...less trailery, lol. i frequent www.mobilehomeliving.org to get inspiration and ideas.  i also love this blog

 

i say go for it!! smile.gif

 

ETA - wow. i just saw that this thread was about 3 years old, lol. 


Edited by elizawill - 12/31/12 at 1:38pm
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