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Old 07-04-2016, 07:55 PM   #1
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Want to live full time but with a twist.

My wife & I are wanting to live in an Airstream full-time. I've spent many years of my younger days living in an RV not an Airstream but various RV's. There is a twist though. Though out the years we've wanted to live/build a tiny home.

Once we do find one we want to gut it & buy some land & live in it. Our problem is that we can't find any laws saying that we can or can't not live in a RV on our land. We got enough time before we buy the land but no one can seem to help us find anything out regarding living in an RV on private land.

Been lurking just never posted.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-04-2016, 08:04 PM   #2
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Welcome, Reed. Since you've been lurking you know that there are a couple of threads on this subject.

Basically, look for a rural county that doesn't have any zoning regulations. You will have to get utilities there, but that's just a matter of spending the money. Location is the big issue. As you know, few recreational vehicles are truly four-season coaches. Airstream is no exception to that. Try to find a place that doesn't get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. My suggestion would be to check out the Ozarks. I'd choose a 5-10 acre wooded lot and clear enough trees that none can fall on the coach. A shelter (roof only) that is maybe 25' wide should give plenty of shade on the coach but still allow a decent view.
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Old 07-04-2016, 08:33 PM   #3
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Basically, look for a rural county that doesn't have any zoning regulations. You will have to get utilities there, but that's just a matter of spending the money. Location is the big issue. As you know, few recreational vehicles are truly four-season coaches. Airstream is no exception to that. Try to find a place that doesn't get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. My suggestion would be to check out the Ozarks. I'd choose a 5-10 acre wooded lot and clear enough trees that none can fall on the coach. A shelter (roof only) that is maybe 25' wide should give plenty of shade on the coach but still allow a decent view.
We know where we want to be got that picked out. Greenville, SC good jobs & close to home which is Asheville, NC. Asheville has got out of hand as far as the cost of living goes.

It's warm there but not hot and they get some snow. We've thought about adding some storage buildings for hiking gear & a mud room some place to put a washer & dryer. Build us a nice deck so we can spend more time outside then in. We got the plans just don't know the legal aspects of it..
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Old 07-04-2016, 08:41 PM   #4
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Since you know you want to be in Greenville, go to the city hall and ask for the zoning/enforcement department, they should be able to answer your questions. Right in Greenville it's not likely, you may have to get out into the surrounding area.
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:01 AM   #5
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Since you know you want to be in Greenville, go to the city hall and ask for the zoning/enforcement department, they should be able to answer your questions. Right in Greenville it's not likely, you may have to get out into the surrounding area.
We've looked on line but we might have to wait to get back up there before we find out for sure. We're looking at 20-25 miles North of Greenville. I have seen some land restrictions saying that we have to build a 1,400 min.
I don't see why it's your land.

I agree you getting out away from the city it should be no problem.
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:37 AM   #6
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I have seen some land restrictions saying that we have to build a 1,400 min.
I don't see why it's your land. .
Usually a size restriction is to try to protect the property values in the area. A home is most people's biggest investment and they get kind of protective about it.
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:34 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forum Reed067!

Some states like CA use to have fairly liberal rules for owner-built-and-occupied rural homes, which could be quite small and basic. If there is any other local municipality involved (village, town, city, county, etc.) there will usually be an overlay of local regs and building codes.

Not what "freedom" is about, eh?

The quandary is needing to be close to jobs, yet far from regulation.

Hard to find . . .

Good luck!

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Old 07-05-2016, 06:07 AM   #8
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Try to use the Zillow app on your Apple. The app might help you find land outside
Greenville, SC city ordinance.
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:31 AM   #9
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To start with, I know nothing about property law in SC and very little about it here in Texas, so take my free advice as being worth what it cost.

If I had your question here in Texas, I'd go to the local title company office in the area where I wanted to buy land. In there, you find a lawyer who does nothing but land law. Pay him/her for an hour of time and ask all the questions you can think of, and then listen.

As others have posted here, you need to watch out for local zoning regulations as well as for deed restrictions that attach to the land itself (usually put there by the people who create a subdivision to protect property values).

Then, there's always the HOA. Best to buy an area that doesn't have one.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:04 AM   #10
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To start with, I know nothing about property law in SC and very little about it here in Texas, so take my free advice as being worth what it cost.

If I had your question here in Texas, I'd go to the local title company office in the area where I wanted to buy land. In there, you find a lawyer who does nothing but land law. Pay him/her for an hour of time and ask all the questions you can think of, and then listen.

As others have posted here, you need to watch out for local zoning regulations as well as for deed restrictions that attach to the land itself (usually put there by the people who create a subdivision to protect property values).

Then, there's always the HOA. Best to buy an area that doesn't have one.

We're going to be looking for about 5 acres we wait chickens & some goats & need a yard for out dogs to play. I would never buy where there was HOA fees. I see those with lots of money making sure that no one builds something they feel isn't up to their standards.
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:20 PM   #11
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You might consider the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The winters are not bad and summers are a little cooler than the Tennessee Valley, since it is about 1,000 ft. Higher. It is largely a rural area with no income tax and low property tax. Land there is still reasonable, too.
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:49 PM   #12
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It looks like you have decided on the general area you want to live in, so now is the time to get help. I would suggest you contact a local real estate agent and describe what you want to be able to do. The agent can check into the land availability and see what restrictions are present on the deed and what the county, city or state restrictions are. In full disclosure I am a broker in Arizona and do this for clients who want to build on land in my area. The agent will have access to title companies who can do searches, knows the web site for county recorders to be able to get documents and should have the experience to know what can and cannot be done. Some of the other issues they should know about are septic systems, wells, and flood zones. Since an agent is usually paid by the seller of the property this is basically a free service you can use to your advantage.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:23 PM   #13
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Many zoning laws or codes are municipal or county.

Some places have codes stating that you can't live in a trailer that is less than 50 feet. They don't want people living in RVs. Some places now require passing codes for a Certificate of Occupancy.

Think if you worked hard to buy a nice home and worked hard to fix it up, only to have a beat up RV move in next to you, foul the area by dumping raw sewage, and diminishing your properties value.

Another concern is schools. It cost about $20 K a year to educate a child. Some property owners even complain about Condos, that pay way less in property taxes, but their kids cost the same to educate.

An option would be to purchase a small inexpensive house, or mobile home that is grandfathered in. A well, septic tank, and electric already there. Water Wells can cost $10 K, Sand Mounds and septic tank $ 10 to 20 K. Depending on distance from the road, electric runs can cost thousands. Building a tiny house can be expensive too.

But sometimes when properties change hands, they have to meet new codes. I am selling a house with that issue ( rails around the porch, bannisters on steps, and septic inspection )

It's not really a twist. Thousands of people share your idea.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:52 PM   #14
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Check with the Zoning board in the county where the land is located. Even though there may be no HOA or deed restrictions the county may prohibit you living in an RV on undeveloped property. Buncombe County (Asheville, NC) is one such county.
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:03 PM   #15
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I hate to be a buzz kill but your best bet will likely be what mandolindave suggested. Almost no place in the land of the free will allow living in an RV. If your are hidden so nobody sees you doing it then you can get away with it. Getting power, a well and septic will bring authorities around and that is trouble. You could end up at your neighbors mercy as to code enforcement, beware! Where I live you can't have even park an RV where it can be seen from the street according to County law. If you find a place where I could live in my Airstream on a few acres let us know! I've always wanted to have a structure with glass walls on 2 or 3 sides, a laundry and bath room and a fireplace with sitting area that I could park my trailer inside. Maybe 35' X 25' with an insulated slab floor and good southern view.
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:51 PM   #16
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We kind of like the thinking and creativity that goes into the tiny house movement. But most are built on a trailer and we have often thought, why would one build a movable house instead of purchasing an RV.

Conversely, when you want a house, why would you build a trailer. A stick built house is easier to insulate, seal from water and vector intrusion, and change in size or configuration, if requirements change. Off grid solutions work in both applications, but it may well be easier to add sufficient solar to a house than a trailer.

So maybe you are looking at the problem the wrong way around. Find a lot with a house where you can store your AS. Or sell your AS and buy a house if that fits your budget better.

Chickens, goats, and dogs are the start of a good farm, But building a barn, chicken coop, and all the associated fencing is a lot of work. Finding a place with most of it done but needs repairs that you can implement with sweat equity may be more cost effective than building from scratch.

Good luck! Pat
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:20 PM   #17
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Want to live full time but with a twist.

Have you ever considered a private
very small Airstream only seasonal Resort?
Think about it. You could have Airstream neighbors during
Spring & Fall season if you want.
You might like the extra money too.

Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:17 PM   #18
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Check with the Zoning board in the county where the land is located. Even though there may be no HOA or deed restrictions the county may prohibit you living in an RV on undeveloped property. Buncombe County (Asheville, NC) is one such county.
Asheville is home for us or it was. We moved to South Ga to take care of my mom who passed 4 months ago. While we love it there it's very pricy & overcrowded. Low paying jobs & the cost of living is HIGH!.

So we picked some where close & settled on Greenville. We're hoping that having a septic tank & utilities hooked up that we can do this.

It's not like we plan to have the place full of junk cars, etc. By the time we get done with it odds are it will be much nicer then what's around us.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:35 PM   #19
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Conversely, when you want a house, why would you build a trailer. A stick built house is easier to insulate, seal from water and vector intrusion, and change in size or configuration, if requirements change. Off grid solutions work in both applications, but it may well be easier to add sufficient solar to a house than a trailer.

So maybe you are looking at the problem the wrong way around. Find a lot with a house where you can store your AS. Or sell your AS and buy a house if that fits your budget better.

Good luck! Pat
We are planning to put this house up for sale we're hoping to get 100K for it. We have went over different ideas even getting a storage shed & making it into a house. The stricter is there you just have to get it to residential codes to live in it. Too hot here! & too flat.
Missing the mountains badly!

Land tends to go for $3,500 an acre give or take. We're no strangers to hard work & don't mind putting up fences, etc. It's our dream once we sell this house & land to buy something that we can end up keeping $50/$60K to retire on. I'm pushing 49 here in Dec & my wife is 43...almost.

We don't want to be off the grid but we have talked about solar panels to help keep costs down. Work part time & sell goats milk & cheese good money in that area for that.


A decent house would take up most of not all of the money from selling the house here. Which would hurt our plans.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:56 PM   #20
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To give you an idea of codes.

In Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania…you can't set up a tent.

In Chatham, New Jersey, you can't have a clothes line, or build a house with the garage facing the road. You need a permit to cut down a tree.

In Summit New Jersey, your garage has to be the same color as your house.

The whole building permit/inspection thing is a bit of a racquet, but if you have seen some of the shoddy work done on some houses, it becomes clear that there is a need.
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