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Friday, August 11, 2017

trailer court


TRAILER COURT

I don’t like mobile homes.  True, they are easier to fix up as you get your supplies at Home Despot rather than Joe Bobs 500% Mark-Up Recreational Vehicle Emporium, but they are usually overpriced and over taxed ( at least most places outside Florida.  I paid barely any more in tax yearly for my mobile with shed, covered slab and enclosed screen room that I do on an acre of raw scrub here.  Plus, if you don’t mind paying lot rent, Florida is chock a block full of dead senior mobiles for sale cheaper than what travel trailers go for here.  Florida is a heck of a lot cheaper place to live than Nevada.  If it just wasn’t a swamp, full of angry ghetto dwellers ).  It isn’t hard to see $200 a month property tax here with your mobile on county land.  And trying to find a used one?  Then you start seeing new RV prices.  It is just supply and demand.  A smaller population here and fewer units available.  They certainly aren’t worth spit.  I can’t see these people paying $300 a month for 23 years on these turds.  Sure, you can enjoy the low payment the first five or even perhaps ten years and then the pressed board stapled to the 2x2 frame starts warping and popping out.  And good luck with the rest of the products still working properly.

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You are looking at half the cost of a home but with far less quality.  Mobile homes are made for guys whose wife needs to live in a fancier place but can’t come up with too much of a mortgage payment.  Sure, it is better than renting an apartment, IF you are buying the land rather than renting the lot ( you are so close together you might as well share an apartment wall ), and it seems a lot of states that have a lot of mobile homes have zoning either trapping you into a high mortgage or buying a crapbox mobile so if you are working in a town forty miles away at the last factory you don’t have a lot of choice, but I’d rather move to a less attractive area and have some freedom than be trapped in the mobile home game.  Now, having said that, if I had a mobile home and about twelve grand for septic, a well, and extending the power lines I’d be able to live out in the boonies.  The NOL would go for that, but nothing of a lesser nature, not prior to the apocalypse.  So under a different set of circumstances I would grimace in distaste but get a mobile anyway.  But I’m too poor for that so there is no issue. 

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I don’t really care for travel trailers either, but I don’t hate them.  They are just a lot less of a bargain than they used to be ( first, Katrina saw the fedgov subsidize the industry and just like when Medicare started jacking up medical costs, FEMA trailers jacked up RV costs.  Then, after the industry took a big squishy with the rest of the economy, all the companies consolidated, Union wages were reduced drastically, but due to the debt cost all the unit costs rose significantly.  Taken together, trailer inflation ).  Before, you working minimum wage, a years tax return got you a ten to fifteen year old trailer in decent shape.  Now, it takes six months wages to get a used one in worse shape ( granted, this is regional just like with the mobile homes-and if you are in the South they are far less of a bother winter living in them ).  After spending four winters in an RV, three more than any sane person would have done, I’m no where near as enthusiastic about trailers than I used to be and I generally recommend just building your own hovel which saves money and gives you a far better product.  Hell, if I can stick build, anyone one with an IQ above room temperature can do it.

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However, I built underground which has kept my property taxes down ( if I understand the law right, only the above ground portion is taxed ).  If you are smart and are worried about your future property tax liabilities, you need to also work around the loopholes to keep your taxes drastically reduced.  I have enough silver saved ( PM’s to retain value during hyperinflation caused by the petrodollar collapse ) in case I need to pay property tax the rest of my life but am without income, but I couldn’t do that if the taxes were too high ( a big deal is made about states without income tax, and I’ve lived in one of those for twenty years so I’m not complaining, but in general you pay more tax on something else anyway.  Nevada has high valuations on high property tax, one of the few things I really dislike about the location.  Oklahoma has cheap land and cheap gasoline but you pay 10% tax on groceries amongst other high taxes ).  Since travel trailers are a motor vehicle, being on axles, parking them on your junk land doesn’t increase your property taxes.  Again, what you think of as affordable now isn’t going to be during unemployment.  Check your laws and be tight fisted paying The Man, just as future insurance against losing your land when unemployment doubles to 66.6%.

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If taxes are less of a concern, the best way to live in a trailer is to double the living space by placing an enclosed porch right alongside the unit, running the entire length.  The roof makes a great rain catchment and the walls are far better insulated than the trailer, plus a fireplace is easily installed.  Use the downstairs for a living room and bedroom and the upstairs for storage, cooking and bathing.  If taxes are high and you don’t want to have a taxable structure built onto the trailer, you’ll have to tear out the walls and cabinets and put in superior insulation.  You’ll sacrifice a bit of floor space, but ideally you place rigid board insulation against the interior side of the stud wall, then another wall of studs with fiberglass batting and over that drywall which both insulates and brightens up the place.  That would be so well insulated it would practically count as living underground.  The passive solar alone, or cooking, would keep that place toasty warm.  For the ceiling, you might just glue up rigid board and cover in a white wallpaper if headspace is an issue.  For the floor, rigid board glued up underneath, or you can buy the do-it-yourself spray foam insulation, PLUS the insulated skirting ( Home Depot, “Touch ‘n Foam” 200 board feet, $350.  Or, better

www.sprayfoamkit.com -they have 600 feet $625, or 1200 at $750.  Research “closed cell“ and “open cell“ which are two different kinds of foam insulation.  Know what you are buying ).  Do all that and you won’t be able to tell it is a trailer. 

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Which still leaves us with the space issue.  Just avoiding taxes isn’t enough, you need to relax and enjoy where you are living.  I can live in a hovel, as I’m just interested in a place out of the weather to read.  Most folks need space and pleasant surroundings.  If you can’t build on to your trailer, tax wise, you will need to purchase a Trailer Court.  More than one trailer, grouped together in a laager or similar protective arrangement, if desired.  I’m assuming you’d only need another trailer as your taxes are too high.  Just like it is smarter to buy property closer than to invest in a lifetime of transportation costs, it is smarter to invest in tax-less structures than to pay extra tax.  Because you never know how high they will go ( I’m paying fifty percent more after twelve years, on raw land ).  Granted, they can change the rules however they see fit, so nothing is guaranteed.  You are merely planning as best you can. 

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With two units, you make an H, with the horizontal bar the connecting space between the two trailers parked side by side with the doors facing.  The trailer facing the sun ( I’m assuming you need winter heat, but again, that is regional ) is two living rooms ( the old bedroom turned into a lounge ) with the kitchen and bathroom and the second unit is gutted and turned into multiple bedrooms.  Relaxing during the day, you soak up the sun and can split into two groups.  Perhaps one reading at on end of the trailer and the other playing a board game, or whatever.  Then at night or as desired everyone has their own space.  With three units, shaped in a U so everyone gets sun during the day, you can use the third for daytime privacy, office space and storage.  By the forth trailer, layed out in a square, everyone has their own unit, and you safely ignore all the conehead brats and insufferable spouses that are total ingrates after you freed them from debt and urban crime.  Bastards don’t appreciate all that you do!  Is this the cheapest or the best solution?  No, unless property taxes are a real issue, then it is a darn good idea.  It is an option, not a end all and be all. 

END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2uKO9wl )
 
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26 comments:

  1. I've been thinking of stick built on a flatbed. Tiny house style. The point being you could remove shed when you need trailer, Move it from state to state. Build two with covered court yard between.

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    1. Not sure I see the appeal of tiny houses if it is just an all wood RV. Besides being nicer looking and better insulated, but most seem to save little money over alt-construction of a bigger size, like an earthship. Not sure why mobility, as the PetroDollar collapse will see you without fuel.

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    2. I dropped two 40" quality (with solid floor) shipping containers on the ground 20" apart. All squared and level on 200 acres of junk land. Poured a concrete pad between the two and built walls w/doors and windows on the open ends. Covered all with metal hay barn type structure to keep off the sun. Hung wooden 'ceiling' from the hay barn 'roof.' Built interior 12" walls, patios on both ends.

      Total cost, not counting appliances, was less than $10,000 over the three years it took me to finish. Been living here going on 15 years; 12 with happy wife.

      I make tax and feed money teaching small arms to professionals, being qualified to teach the one and work with the others.

      Finished one container to be bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom; the other to be a shop/storage area.

      Paradise.

      Kaffir

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    3. That's because the tiny houses you've been exposed to by the mainstream are not meant to be lived in full time. They are toys, and I have written about this extensively all over the web for close to 20 years. I'm an architect, engineer, general contractor, and real estate broker, and have run my own design business since 1986 and worked for other design companies, contractors, etc., for 14 years prior to that, except for 4 years of spinning my wheels in this mans army. I know my shit.

      2 people are attributed to the tiny house *movement* and both are embarrassingly ill equip. I did the research and I know this for a fact.

      The common tiny houses that are out there are toys for wealthy people to waste money on and gain brownie points with their peers that are also part of the save the earth mindset. NONE of these people live in these things full time because frankly, they are not capable of being lived in 24/7. The people that say they do are lying through their teeth, or sponging off others, but most likely both.

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    4. Kaffir-I'm a bit jealous. Too bad I was not settled in one spot while containers were disposable level cheap.
      GS-whenever I make the mistake of watching a vid on a tiny house, these folks are just...weird. Like they never heard of trailers or poor people. Thanks for the background, I liked it.

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  2. Jim, several years ago (or decades) Mother earth news had a guy write about how his family lived in a travel trailer in New Mexico while building a house. He had an area about twice as wide as the trailer covered with gravel. He parked the trailer on one side then built a temporary stick shelter around it. I think he used light tin for the roof and covered the outside of the walls with 30 lb roofing felt held on with lath strips. He had a door and a couple of windows in it. He took and stacked foundation block against the outside wall of the trailer and installed a wood burning stove. He had a nice living room size area around the stove to relax in. It may have qualified as a temporary structure do to no foundation. Seemed like a cheap way to have more space if using a travel trailer.

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    1. I think we read the same article, and it was "decades". If I recall correctly, the south wall was all clear plastic sheet for the solar gain. Since the trailer was inside that envelope, toasty. That flapping plastic would have drove me bonkers, though. Minions! Attention! You can buy the Mother Earth News first ten years on CD, or you could unless they changed something. I don't know if the second ten is worth it, but probably. Just articles, no ads.

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  3. My dad had a trailer in a 55+ park in FL. When he remarried at 79 he replaced my name on the deed with his wife's. Dad passed a year later and she got the place. Good for her.

    She was living in the place so could afford to wait for it to sell. As for myself, I'd have to pay the lot rent of $550/month, keep the power on, and hope it sold before fees ate me alive.

    Heck, my wife and I refused a free place on a cheaper lot that was in perfectly good shape. Sometimes you can't afford to accept a free trailer.

    Buddy of mine lived in a trailer in a park in high rent southern NH while he was in paramedic school. After a couple years he got back about 10% of what he paid for the place. He still ended up well ahead of the game than if he'd paid rent on an apartment. Even including park fees and trailer expenses, he saved over $1000/month.

    Of course, then he screwed himself by buying a nice house for the wife and kid. Spent the next 5 years working 75 hour weeks to make ends meet. She couldn't work because they had a kid, or so she said. Anyway, they did sort it out and he's back to working more normal hours. However, the move to a "real" house almost broke them.

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    1. Yeh, seniors in FL do their kids no favors "gifting" them a mobile in a park. Me, I just dropped the keys at the office and walked away from $3k down payment with another $3k paid off a $12k loan. Best move I could have made. Didn't care about my credit and got a job which more than made up for the sacrifice. And I got to Nevada, from FL. Better yet. I was just thinking this morning, this is the only state besides CA I've ever moved back to once having lived there, and CA doesn't count because family is there.

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  4. Here in The People’s Republic of Kalifornia, you cannot permit a mobile home older than 10 years old, I believe it is. But of course, anyone stupid enough to move here from another state deserves whatever they get.

    Stick built is of course best, but if you need to move on for whatever reason, you must leave it behind. I’m trying to come up with a way to create a portable shelter that can either be winched on to the bed of a low boy trailer, or that is portable and can be taken down easily and moved.

    The first option could be no more than 8 feet wide, and on skids. It could probably be up to 15 feet long. Height is also a consideration, because you must clear those overpasses.

    The second option would be made of a series of panels that would be bolted together. It could assembled at home, hauled in pieces to the build site, and then assembled there, ideally with nothing more than a portable drill as a tool. Of course you could do pretty much the same thing with a gutted trailer, this just presents another option.

    One time a large shipping crate came into work, when I still had a job. This gave me lots of ideas. If you have few possessions, and don’t need much room, you can conceivably build something like this into a small shelter that can be hauled in the back of a pick up truck bed. Think in terms of a large doll house, or the Our Gang Series Club House (Minus Darla, who will be living in the city with her beta yuppie scum husband, and wouldn’t give you the time of day anyways, loser ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

    Personally, if I had fewer possessions, I’d go with the super simple shipping container option. Just paint it well, seal the crap out of it, and call it a day.

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    1. It seems like a travel trailer is your best option, all things considered. Have all the materials inside while moving. Either sandbags for outside dirt wall, lumber for a roof to drive down into a hole, or the materials to gut and super-insulate. Course, being unemployed I don't know your resources. Better to haul the lumber and build one of those mini-domes you buy the hardware kit for $100? Chicken wire outside, drape over wet concrete cloth, dry, ferrocement, then bury or earth berm or whatever. $300-$500 total I would imagine, and no tempormental odd shape roof pieces to cut.

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    2. There are the pre-built sheds that get delivered on a trailer. Here they "tie down" the unit for tornado protection, but they can be untied. It seems like one of those could be loaded back up on a trailer and moved, but over great distances this might not work all that well. They make them mobile because they like to sell them on credit, then they repo them if you don't make the payments. Some of the repo ones look like a decent buy for the money (often 1/2 to 2/3 of the new ones).

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    3. I’m sure that you’re right, and that the trailer is the way to go, if it were gutted for more room, and can be better insulated. The motorhome that I currently live in is laid out in a way that I do not have any area that is wider than about 4’ max, and it’s really cramped inside of this thing, and it’s only me.

      Obviously Earth sheltered beats all, but it’s a major undertaking for the unambitious.

      I only know that whatever it is, it has to be super easy to do; I just have the drive anymore at my age and am not a particularly skillful dude either.

      Finances are about $20k, and $4500 of that is in cash for future property tax payments. It might sound okay to some, but it’s not when you consider that I have another 9 years until I qualify for early SS, and that’s if it’s still around by then….

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    4. Sorry, meant to say "don’t have the drive anymore at my age."

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    5. Yeh, $1500 a YEAR isn't a great deal of savings if you ain't working. The geo-dome deal is just 2x4's with two holes at the end for bolts to fasten to plates. That is it. Ferrocement should be idiot proof. Sounds like your RV needs to be gutted to make room inside. Not trying to be judgemental, I'm REALLY slowing down with a combo of age and past physical abuse working. I try to go with butt simple myself.

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    6. Those pre-built sheds are the equivalent of an elephant gun. Look pretty but are WAYYYY over material or labor cost. A Pretty Pony. I wouldn't see how they charge 1/10th the price.

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  5. You might want to double check on underground being buildable without a permit. Over here, (not NV) any permanent structure over 120 square feet requires a building permit. You can't really cheat and have a "deep foundation" that you convert into a basement, because any subterranean wall deeper than 4' is required to be engineered, which would require a permit.
    Peace out

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    1. Here we get 200 sq ft without permit. The underground over 200 is what I'm not sure of.

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  6. Go to one of them places that sells the wood sheds. Take a bunch of pictures inside and out and use a tape measure to take some measurements and write them down in a small pad of paper. Go home, do your figuring, then head to Lowes and buy what you need. Then get at it. Now, to me this seems easy, I have the knowledge and experience, but I think it's completely doable by anyone that knows which end of the hammer to hit the home invader with.

    Couple tips.
    Forget what you know about houses in general.
    You can get a Black n Decker toaster oven to $40 and a microwave too, at walmart. You can get a 2 burner electric hotplate at amazon for $30 or $40. A 7cf foot fridge is at walmart for $150. Loveable Loo and a 5 gal bucket is $25. A large plastic cistern, fed by rainwater piracy is about $1 per gallon. And on and on.

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    1. Good tips-think college dorm room. I know I couldn't build a shed as nice looking as these people, but I could do it way cheaper. They are automated, power tooled and buy in bulk, so they have no excuse.

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    2. I’m the original op @ 10:27 Jim. I think I know of the kits that you’re referring to, and they’re referred to as the “fast framer kits.” I’ve thought of that option before, but the reviews on them were terrible. I’m not completely useless, and can put something together, but it will probably be somewhat half ass, and it certainly won’t be very plumb.

      Speaking from past experience having built a cabin (I had help) before in cold country, heavy insulation helps, but it doesn’t work wonders. One day it was snowing, and my 3500 BTU Mr Buddy was barely making a dent in the chill in my little 120 sq ft cabin, and several hours later, I could still see my breath. In an above ground structure, if you really want to stay warm all night, and save energy, you need a very small insulated sleeping quarters that can be heated with a very small and efficient heat source such as a candle. I know this scares the crap out of most people, but you only need to exercise common sense and take into consideration adequate ventilation and fire safety measures. The Eskimo’s heated those block ice houses so well with an oil blubber lamp that they were often wearing nothing more than a T shirt and a pair of shorts.

      I’m sure that after spending one winter in the arctic Nevada high desert winter, I’ll be getting on that subterranean shelter posthaste!

      Oh, and thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions!

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    3. I read the winter weather temps prior to moving up here and it didn't prepare me. Seems it doesn't warm up as much in the day here as elsewhere so the daily lows just feel colder. At least compared to other non-wet cold places

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  7. I laughed all the way through this article especially when you got to the four trailers in a square. I have two 70's vintage motorhomes separated by 18 feet with a greenhouse made from a portable garage. I dug a pit shelter attached to this fiasco for my summer"fridge" or winter "no heat cave". I cook, grow food and hang laundry in the greenhouse between the two. I use one motorhome for my office/reading area and use the other for the bedroom. I keep improving on this structure and it keeps getting better. The bedroom has a wood stove fitted with insulated pipe which sometimes nlasts me at to the office and some yers I can grow cold loving plants all year (lettuce, turnip). I'm adding some water heat storage this year and building a tiny haybale room in it.
    It's not too pretty but highly functional and lots of fun. The great thing about living so off the radar is that you can be a marginal builder but can keep testing ideas as you go along and have alot of satisfaction in trying things that eventually work. Can't get that any other way.

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    1. Sounds about how I experiment-no experience or skill but it somehow gets done. Eventually.

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  8. Check your property tax laws before adding on any addition ATTACHED to your trailer. My BIL added a covered deck to the front of his trailer several years back. Cost was approximately $2600 in materials - he did all construction himself.

    County property assessors told him because it was attached to his home, it increased the square footage, which increased the worth $26,000 in value. He had to pay the increased cost of taxes because of that.

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    1. Damn, that's harsh. Probably typical though.

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