Off the grid/Vanlife/Tiny Home/Boat living lifestyle

DeusLuxMeaEst

Pelican
Gold Member
I like the idea of this, just don't see it as practical especially if you want to raise a family.

I'm skeptical of some of the videos and guarantee some are paid sponsors.

I've decided city living is not for me, so being partly off the grid in a rural town with neighbors farther away would be ideal.

I remember a few years ago a Google engineer was making a 200k+ salary and living in a van. For younger guys aggressively saving and combining this with FIRE could make you fully financially independent by 40 or earlier. It's an idea to explore.
 
I like the idea of this, just don't see it as practical especially if you want to raise a family.

I'm skeptical of some of the videos and guarantee some are paid sponsors.

I've decided city living is not for me, so being partly off the grid in a rural town with neighbors farther away would be ideal.

I remember a few years ago a Google engineer was making a 200k+ salary and living in a van. For younger guys aggressively saving and combining this with FIRE could make you fully financially independent by 40 or earlier. It's an idea to explore.
I agree 100% about that as far as raising a family goes. My situation is that I don't have a family, no wife or kids and am pretty much socially isolated in general, and it's not looking very likely any time soon that I'm going to be having someone in my life any time soon.

That being said, it would be several years of what I pay in rent anyways to go into living this way, and if something did happen where I met some girl and eventually have a family, I'd try to arrange something different. But it's looking very unlikely.

The main thing I dislike about this "minimalist" living (I'm not actually a minimalist by nature) is that it actually costs more in the long run to live this way and there is a lot of other sacrifices one makes to try to adjust and accommodate to this way of life.
 

hedonist

Woodpecker
By any chance do you know of any other websites / communities or lists like those but for in the United States?

It seems so hard to find the right type of people for starting this project. I don't necessarily want to develop any land per se unless there is an opportunity for it, just need to find someone who has a living situation that is in alignment with mind who wouldn't mind renting out a portion of their property and to have either a Tiny House on a trailer or a Small Cottage or Cabin built on some concrete slabs.

I'm sure they exist, I would think its a fine line between prepper communities too. Some probably want to stay off the radar for obvious reasons.
On another extreme there is this guy....http://www.integralworld.net/scofield8.html



I remember a few years ago a Google engineer was making a 200k+ salary and living in a van. For younger guys aggressively saving and combining this with FIRE could make you fully financially independent by 40 or earlier. It's an idea to explore.
Its a huge motivation to not contribute anymore to funding the clown world and the politicians of the west.
As the IQ curve seems to go more in the wrong direction it only motivates me to want to get away from the general public more.
Stepping on a plane/public transport or a grocery store the decline is very apparent.
 

username

Ostrich
Gold Member
We have a little chunk of raw land that we are looking to develop. The cost to add a well, septic, extend power lines or go solar really add up. Right now were looking at $60k for a well, septic, and solar. This is a rough estimate and will likely drift higher.

Us being solar only will require quite of few changes in energy usage. From 5PM to 9AM we will have little to no solar generation and will have to either rely on batteries charged by the panels, run gas generators, use propane, or come up with another source of energy. For 6 months out of the year it's really hot so we have to come up with a solution to keep the house cool during those solar off hours. In fact, it might be better to super insulate the new house so less energy is needed to cool the place off.
 
We have a little chunk of raw land that we are looking to develop. The cost to add a well, septic, extend power lines or go solar really add up. Right now were looking at $60k for a well, septic, and solar. This is a rough estimate and will likely drift higher.

Us being solar only will require quite of few changes in energy usage. From 5PM to 9AM we will have little to no solar generation and will have to either rely on batteries charged by the panels, run gas generators, use propane, or come up with another source of energy. For 6 months out of the year it's really hot so we have to come up with a solution to keep the house cool during those solar off hours. In fact, it might be better to super insulate the new house so less energy is needed to cool the place off.
Curious, what State is this in? But yeah such projects to develop land now more than ever are not cheap whatsoever.

The thing that is most frustrating is that there is no real way to truly own your own land, with very few exceptions in the United States.

Only Texas and Nevada as far as I know, have some jurisdictions where you can legitimately purchase and outright own property in a Sovereign Manner with an Allodial Title. Under the Allodial Title you are also not entitled to have to pay Property Taxes, but how that works out in those specific areas of those states is beyond me. It would sure make it worth it though to develop land if you have to pay so much to begin with, knowing you own what you build and will be relieved from needing to pay on an on-going basis.

The very proof that we do not own our own land and property is evident not in only the property taxes, but in all kinds of restrictions into how the property can be utilized and developed. The moment you want to build something new on your property, one needs a "building permit". Then a livable dwelling must be found to have "water, electric and septic" connections, etc.
 

aynrus

Kingfisher
It seems so hard to find the right type of people for starting this project. I don't necessarily want to develop any land per se unless there is an opportunity for it, just need to find someone who has a living situation that is in alignment with mind who wouldn't mind renting out a portion of their property and to have either a Tiny House on a trailer or a Small Cottage or Cabin built on some concrete slabs.
Why would you want to build something on a rented land?
You can buy land. If you rent from them, how would you get water - do you expect to hook up to their well? They might not want it, as a lot of wells are limited, plus wear and tear on the pump, etc. Or they can promise you water and then change their mind.
So you quite likely would need to drill own well. Would need to install own septic. Driveways cost a lot, grading, clearing, running utility lines costs a lot too. Then you pay for the slab. All these significant expenses would be wasted once your lease is up. You want to invest in the development of own land only.

Plus, there could be legal issues regarding the cabin. If it's not titled as mobile home, you could face a legal question of ownership of that structure after some time if it's sitting on the slab - but you can not title it as real estate, since you don't want to tie it to others' land. Cabins on wheels or not on permanent foundation are illegal to live in, in almost every jurisdiction in the US. And neighbors do turn them in....then inspector comes and it's over.

Then, the need to relocate it once the lease is up, is expensive and risky. Loss of value of the structure when it's not titled as real estate. It makes much more sense to build the minimum square footage per code on own land - and a lot of places do not even have minimum square footage so can build very small (but electrical companies sometimes do have one, to give free electrical installation, otherwise very expensive). In most rural places you can build very small, 400-500 sq ft cabin without any problems, on own land (unless land is restricted by CC&R). In my experience all these greedy landlords....can't trust them, you lease the land from them and then you face hassle or changes in verbal promises. Investing in any infrastructure on rented land is a no, definitely.
 
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Why would you want to build something on a rented land?
You can buy land. If you rent from them, how would you get water - do you expect to hook up to their well? They might not want it, as a lot of wells are limited, plus wear and tear on the pump, etc.
So you quite likely would need to drill own well. Would need to install own septic. Driveways cosat a lot, grading, clearing costs as lot too. Then you pay for the slab. All these significant expenses would be wasted once your lease is up. You want to invest in development of own land only.

Plus, there could be legal issues regarding the cabin. If it's not titled as mobile home, you could face a legal question of ownership of that structure after some time - as you can not title it as real estate, since you don't want to tie it to others' land. Cabins on wheels or not on permanent foundation are illegal to live in, in almost every jurisdiction in the US. Then, the need to relocate it once the lease is up, is expensive and risky. Loss of value of the structure when it's not titled as real estate.
Because I don't want to pay property taxes in the long run or be stuck in a bad situation.

My own personal situation makes it nearly unfeasible for me, as a single person who is socially isolated and displaced and the lowest one can possibly be in the social strata, it is far too risky and not a wise decision for me to buy property and develop it. Unless I lived in a proper community of people and have a family going on for me.

Yes you are exactly right about the "legal issues" since it's a grey area, and the Cabin or Tiny House has different zoning / legal definition terms in all sorts of different areas. So I am looking for a place where either it can be done legally or even if under the radar.

Unless I find some other arrangement where somebody already has a cabin that I can rent out very low or offer caretaking or some other service, like if they live on a farm. There is a high likelihood that most people in the future are not going to be able to earn enough income to even pay their property taxes at the rate things are going.

If I have the portable cabin / house, I don't plan on developing anything on the land, unless it was somehow in mutual interest for the long-term with the property owner to do that, but at most I would have a makeshift patio and other means to manage septic challenges rather than having one built.
 

aynrus

Kingfisher
Because I don't want to pay property taxes in the long run or be stuck in a bad situation.

My own personal situation makes it nearly unfeasible for me, as a single person who is socially isolated and displaced and the lowest one can possibly be in the social strata, it is far too risky and not a wise decision for me to buy property and develop it. Unless I lived in a proper community of people and have a family going on for me.

Yes you are exactly right about the "legal issues" since it's a grey area, and the Cabin or Tiny House has different zoning / legal definition terms in all sorts of different areas. So I am looking for a place where either it can be done legally or even if under the radar.

Unless I find some other arrangement where somebody already has a cabin that I can rent out very low or offer caretaking or some other service, like if they live on a farm. There is a high likelihood that most people in the future are not going to be able to earn enough income to even pay their property taxes at the rate things are going.

If I have the portable cabin / house, I don't plan on developing anything on the land, unless it was somehow in mutual interest for the long-term with the property owner to do that, but at most I would have a makeshift patio and other means to manage septic challenges rather than having one built.
You'd be paying property taxes on the structure.... Non-primary structures are taxed just as much as houses, it's based on square footage usually.
They'll send a drone or drive-by assessor and your landlord will get a tax bill most assuredly.
So your lease price will include that property tax or they'll ask you to pay this separately.
You'd need to title it as personal property, to retain ownerhsihp, but you'll still be taxed on it.

I understand what you said and myself been in and out of this kind of situation plenty, but you'll still have to develop the land to live on it. You won't be able to hook into someone else's septic, the septic rules are crazy strict everywhere except Alaska now, and they do enforce. Neighbors call and report this stuff all the time, also. You'll need to develop access driveway, clear/level the pad, pour concrete, install septic, run trenches and lay piles and wires, all this costs a lot, and you'd waste time investing into someone else's property, losing these money.

If someone has a ready installed RV pad, with concrete, electric, water, and sewer connection, that's the only situation there it could make sense, but again, it's illegal to permanently live in temporary structures almost anywhere and this does get reported, so you'd expect to be asked to leave any moment - you don't want to be stuck in signed long-term land lease in this situation. If you're set on living in temp structure, you can least could develop your own land with pad and then sell it if you have to leave, at least you'd keep invested money or even make money on this. Land with ready pad is easy to sell. It's hard to get out of bad/failed lease, much easier to sell developed land now.

In many states, rural property taxes are very low and wouldn't be an issue.

There're few remaining rural areas out there where people don't get hassled by the county over living in temporary structures... Some also build "workshops" and live in them secretly, to circumvent septic rules (but still best to do it on own land, not to lose money invested in the improvements). There're places where you can do a septic cheap for 3K, though.
 
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You'd be paying property taxes on the structure....
They'll send a drone or drive-by assessor and your landlord will get a tax bill most assuredly.
So your lease price will include that property tax or they'll ask you to pay this separately.

I understand what you said and myself been in and out of this kind of situation plenty, but you'll have to develop that land. You won't be able to hook into someone else's septic, the septic rules are crazy strict everywhere except Alaska now, and they do enforce. Neighbors call and report all the time, also. You'll need to develop access, pad, septic, run trenches and lay piles and wires, all this costs a lot, and you'd waste time investing into someone else's property, losing these money.
If someone has a ready installed RV pad, with electric, water and sewer connection, that's the only situation there it could make sense, but again, it's illegal to live in temporary structures almost anywhere and this does get reported. If you're set on living in temp structure, you can least could develop your own land with pad and then sell it if you have to leave, at least you'd keep invested money or even make money on this.
I've given all that with thought in mind, and I'd be responsible for paying any of the fines assessed to the landlord if such an event were to happen. Afterall, I'd be paying taxes and have to have other regulations on it anyway right? The reality of these situations though are not anywhere near as drastic to be all so inevitable, although maybe more in the future when the drones are used a lot more regularly. A lot of it depends on one's neighbors (if they have any) and other various factors.

Either that or I just have to find places that don't care much, there are places in some states that aren't bothered with or don't enforce bylaws on the regulations even if they have them.

My goal is to eventually live entirely off-grid even if my neighbor is on the grid, so I'm willing to even consider using washroom facilities or electric in their property (even if under an agreed cost) while leaving the cabin more or less like a shed.

The reasons why this type of living is deemed "illegal" is specifically done on purpose and not by accident, it's all tied into the fact that nobody is truly truly allowed to own property in this country and there is no such thing as "Sovereignty", and it is also designed to promote impoverishment but no solution for addressing poverty itself. For the same reason, more modern houses have even done away with the "in-law apartments" that used to be more common.

To make matters worse, most jurisdictions if not on the County level, at the State level prefer to not define these types of properties because it gives them more leeway to not be accountable for poverty or legal definitions, that's all it entirely boils down to, and so they can define the law or circumstance as they see fit. Only in some recent years have some states and regions taken an interest in it to start defining them, but then they still want to treat it with the same regulations of an actual house, code and all.

I know what I'm getting into with attempting it all, I just need to find a lucky situation with the right person and lifestyle who would have interest in it where I can offer them a small amount of rent or stipend and assist with other tasks on the property if they desire, and the assurance that I would be responsible for any liability or penalties if something "happened".

Ideally I would like to develop land for myself and what not, if I live among people I can assimilate with and have a common goal with, but I have not even found the right type of people for that either.
 

aynrus

Kingfisher
I've given all that with thought in mind, and I'd be responsible for paying any of the fines assessed to the landlord if such an event were to happen. Afterall, I'd be paying taxes and have to have other regulations on it anyway right? The reality of these situations though are not anywhere near as drastic to be all so inevitable, although maybe more in the future when the drones are used a lot more regularly. A lot of it depends on one's neighbors (if they have any) and other various factors.

Either that or I just have to find places that don't care much, there are places in some states that aren't bothered with or don't enforce bylaws on the regulations even if they have them.

My goal is to eventually live entirely off-grid even if my neighbor is on the grid, so I'm willing to even consider using washroom facilities or electric in their property (even if under an agreed cost) while leaving the cabin more or less like a shed.

The reasons why this type of living is deemed "illegal" is specifically done on purpose and not by accident, it's all tied into the fact that nobody is truly truly allowed to own property in this country and there is no such thing as "Sovereignty", and it is also designed to promote impoverishment but no solution for addressing poverty itself. For the same reason, more modern houses have even done away with the "in-law apartments" that used to be more common.

I know what I'm getting into with attempting it all, I just need to find a lucky situation with the right person and lifestyle who would have interest in it where I can offer them a small amount of rent or stipend and assist with other tasks on the property if they desire, and the assurance that I would be responsible for any liability or penalties if something "happened".

Ideally I would like to develop land for myself and what not, if I live among people I can assimilate with and have a common goal with, but I have not even found the right type of people for that either.
I edited my post, adding some info, since you posted.

You don't want your landlord to be getting/paying the tax bill on the structure - if they pay tax, you can lose your ownership. If cabin is simply placed there without notifying the county, county will send a bill based on what they saw during drive-by.
You will need to title the cabin as your personal property - but it's still subject to tax, and don't think it'll be lower rate than real estate, from what I've seen. So you're on the hook for the tax in any case.

You can get away from neighbors prying eyes on larger parcels, usually it needs to be over 10-11 acres to be classified as "farm" and get more lax requirements, but on 10 acres neighbors are still kind of close, the bigger the better.

The same states/areas that don't care too much, are the same where property tax is low. You can find some very low property tax rates out there (I know some areas with almost no tax, also, but the climate is bad, too cold) and this really won't be an issue versus paying the lease. I personally explored the idea of some kind of intentional community type of stuff before, and decided it's a solid no for many reasons. Same for leased land situation, I was offered one just last summer. Chock of trouble. Own land is much better situation.

Regarding liability....a lot of people don't have any insurance, including liability, just live this way. I'd want to have one. Liability insurance alone isn't expensive, compared to structure insurance part, I believe. If you live on someone's property who takes care of the liability coverage....you might not be covered, it can get tricky with tenants/workers being on the property.

And more regarding insurance - you probably want to insure your cabin for loss not to risk investment....but rates on portable structures are very high compared to real estate insurance rate. Unless you're on own land you can't get real estate coverage rate.
 
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I edited my post, adding some info, since you posted.

You don't want your landlord to be getting/paying the tax bill on the structure - if they pay tax, you can lose your ownership. If cabin is simply placed there without notifying the county, county will send a bill based on what they saw during drive-by.
You will need to title the cabin as your personal property - but it's still subject to tax, and don't think it'll be lower rate than real estate, from what I've seen. So you're on the hook for the tax in any case.

You can get away from neighbors prying eyes on larger parcels, usually it needs to be over 10-11 acres to be classified as "farm" and get more lax requirements, but on 10 acres neighbors are still kind of close, the bigger the better.

The same states/areas that don't care too much, are the same where property tax is low. You can find some very low property tax rates out there (I know some areas with almost no tax, also, but the climate is bad, too cold) and this really won't be an issue versus paying the lease. I personally explored the idea of some kind of intentional community type of stuff before, and decided it's a solid no for many reasons. Same for leased land situation, I was offered one just last summer. Chock of trouble. Own land is much better situation.
Yeah that's why I plan on it only being placed in a scenario where not visible in a "drive-by" scenario, which is usually how unusual / questionable structures are documented. There's even more risk if there are obvious incoming connections for electricity or if the dwelling has obvious signs from the outside that it is being used to "live in".

I've done a lot of research on many cities and towns on their bylaws, and some of them define "living in" by things like 7 or 14 days or more at a time, and all kinds of other ridiculous criteria on what is classified as what based on square footage.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not 100% sold on the Small House thing, there are a lot of things I don't like about it because they don't maintain equity and are more likely to lose value and aren't designed to be moved around a lot, if necessary. The main reason in fact that I haven't acquired one so far has been because of not yet finding the right person and the legal issues. I have gotten a couple of offers up in NH and VT, however one of the persons ended up being a registered sex offender with a huge record of drug offenses as well!!!

I'd prefer to buy someone else's unused cabin on their own property (like some farm or an estate) and work out a reasonable monthly payment. The way I am looking at things is that very soon we are going to see explosions in property taxes everywhere especially after the eviction moratoriums and the new wave of mass exodus of people from large cities everywhere. In some big cities, Property Taxes have already jumped 40-50% into 2020.
 
I lived a camper van and RV for several years. I traveled to every US state. I did it on only $10K/year.

I recently wrote a book about it. PM me for it.

I also just published my second book on moving abroad as a digits nomad, trying to become a second citizen, and escape lockdowns, etc. Largely about Mexico and Asia.
 
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