Choose what ever works best for you right now given your situation and goals. It will not be the same thing for everyone else. There simply is no single choice that is right for everyone. One of the first questions to ask yourself is “What do I want to accomplish with it right now?” For many the motivating factor is getting out of debt and to a better place financially, and when that is the main goal the smallest and least expensive option available that you can stand to be in for awhile is usually the best choice.
One of the main challenges and considerations is where to keep it. Covert camping (commonly called stealth camping) is the fastest and cheapest way to get out from under mortgage or rent payments. Certain types of shelter work better than others in such cases. Things that blend in and do not draw attention work best, such as work trucks and vans vs a tiny house parked on the street or in a parking lot somewhere. This is one way to do it – though not the only way. Others will prefer RV’s or campers and choose to stay on park land or in Walmart parking lots or where ever else they can find a spot. All such places require moving frequently, often daily or in the case of government parks usually at least every week or two.
Tiny houses tend to draw attention – and they certainly do not blend in. That may or may not be an issue. Just something to be aware of and consider. On the other hand they are highly personal creations and can be made very cozy and comfortable tailored specifically to you needs and wants. Except in the case of the person who wants to live as a Nomad always moving, everyone else will eventually need a piece of land somewhere to call home. Once you have some dirt of your own then your longer term housing choices become easier. Even the Nomad may eventually want a permanent home base somewhere to call home.
I favor the step by step method personally. Get what you can afford right this moment, and use it as a step toward what you really want. For example a person may choose to sell all their crap, and buy or build something small and inexpensive as temporary shelter to use for covert/stealth camping temporarily. That frees up maximum funds to use to eliminate other debts and to save up and buy some dirt. Incidentally the dirt they buy doesn’t have to and probably wont be their dream property – it just needs to be the next step toward it. A paid for place to keep their little home and possessions safely while they save up toward the next step.
Here are a few considerations when it comes to buying a used RV;
- Mobility – don’t go buy a trailer that is so big you can’t safely and easily tow it with your vehicle. Don’t buy an old motor home with mechanical issues either, unless you really know what you are doing and what you are getting into – because they will get worse and leave you stranded.
- Rot – almost all older travel trailers and motor homes have rot and water damage. It is like an iceberg, what you can find and see is only the tip of the problem. Often you cant find the real extent of the damage until you start opening up walls and floors and then it is a real mess – one that is a real pain in the posterior if you fix it yourself and a pain in the wallet if you have it fixed. Inspect every accessible inch carefully – roof, walls inside and out especially corners and around slides, under cabinets, around any water lines or drains and vents.
- Size – the smallest thing that will work is the best choice in most cases. Cheaper to buy, fix, maintain, move and you can get to places other larger RV’s cant.
- Heating – consider the heating system carefully along with the availability and cost of fuel or power. Also consider the insulation of the RV – many are not well suited for winter use in colder climates.
Tiny houses can be a great way to go – if you have a place to put it. They are definitely a good choice if you own land of your own already or can buy some immediately. Its always nicer to work with good materials and to be able to build something new exactly how you want it than it is trying to repair or rebuild and remodel some old dilapidated mold and rot infested junk.
Boats are another choice. Especially small boats say 18 to 21 feet or so which can be easily trailered and towed by almost any truck, van or SUV. Trailerable boats can easily be moved from one lake to another or even across country without having to hire an expensive commercial boat hauler to do it for you. Single engines, especially small outboards are preferable to large inboard motors. Double engines equal double trouble, and a lot of fuel. Sailboats with small outboards are ideal in some areas though powerboats offer more living space in many cases. How much space do you need, and how much do you want? No boat is perfect and they are all a compromise, as are most other little human habitats.
Regardless of what you decide to do their is a wealth of information available at your fingertips both online and through books. Do your homework and get some knowledge about what ever type you choose and then just do it. Dreaming changes nothing – action does, so at some point you have to make a choice and then go do something about it. Unless and until you do nothing in your life will ever change.