Have you ever wondered if you can live in an RV on your property? You aren’t alone. Some RVers don’t travel full-time, but opt out of living in a house or apartment due to finances or illness. Others RV full-time, but like having the option of having a home base without the responsibility of maintaining an actual stick and bricks home.
Whatever the reason, living in your RV on your property is doable. Here is our story of how we went from full-time RVing without a home base to full-time RVing with an RV homestead.
Why we Wanted Land
In 2018, after RVing full-time for 1 year, we decided to purchase a piece of land in North Florida to build an RV Homestead. We wanted to travel but we also wanted to have a place of our own without the overhead of a house. We wanted to be able to come and go when we wanted with little to maintain in a place that could be left alone for months at a time without a caretaker.
Having our own space allows us to have the freedom to travel and the ability to maintain our privacy. Little did we know how convenient this decision would be once the country was thrown into turmoil and travel restrictions had become the norm. We had a safe place without having to worry about where we would sleep at night.
Is it Legal?
While it is not easy to RV camp on private land due to local codes and regulations, it can be done with a bit of research.
Every County in the state has different code regulations that dictate if you can occupy an RV. Most municipalities do not allow residential living in RVs.
Once we found an area that allowed us to reside in an RV we also had to look at the deed restrictions of each individual property that we were interested in. Even when we had found a property that was not located in a neighborhood that has a homeowners association, we would find that there were Deed restrictions that dictated no recreational vehicles or had a minimum square footage for buildings on the property.
What about Utilities?
When you are looking to live in your RV on your property, you need to consider available utilities.
After we found a suitable area for our search, we started looking for properties that already had well, septic, and possibly power in place. We also looked for properties that have a run-down mobile home on them that we could have removed.
If the property didn’t have utilities we had to consider the cost to add power, well, and septic.
If the property was in a flood zone we found that there may be additional requirements and costs to add a septic tank. In the area we chose we would have to have an environmental study done, an elevation map drawn up, and the septic tank would need to be above the 100-year flood elevation. That means we would have a large dirt mound covering an above ground tank and drain field.
In the end, we decided to purchase a property that already had septic in place so that we could avoid the red tape of the local government.
While searching for properties we also looked at local infrastructure like roads and bridges. Are there low bridges on the way in? If there is a dirt road who is responsible for maintaining and grading that dirt road? Are there train tracks nearby that will keep us up at night? Is there an industrial chicken farm nearby that will make your property smell like hot garbage in the summer? You probably laughed at that, but we did miss a smaller chicken farm nearby and you can smell it when the wind is right on a warm night!
Our Perfect Property
After searching for months, we finally found the perfect property and we got started right away getting it set up for our RV. Our 7.36 acre property had a septic tank, two wells and no power.
With a chainsaw, a machete and a pole saw we cleared a space for our RV. For two winters we hauled in water from a nearby family member and used a combination of solar and a generator for electricity.
Prepping the Property for our RV Homestead
Our property already had a well and septic. During the third winter, we installed power and put a new pump in the well.
We opted to install our own power with the help of a friend who is an electrician. We had to go to the county to get permits and have everything inspected. Once we passed inspection, the power company came out and ran the line into the underground conduit we had installed. Let there be light!
Since we had to rent a 7500-pound mini excavator to install our power, we used it to carve out a new RV spot, dig a burn pit and clear out some more living space. While it is satisfying to clear your land with a machete and a chainsaw, it’s a lot faster with an excavator! Renting one for a week was only $800 and I would definitely recommend it!
Our 4th Season on Our Land
Little by little, we have added to our property each winter. The 2020-2021 winter is our fourth season here and we upgraded our RV spot and one of our driveways with lime rock.
We like doing most projects ourselves, but sometimes it makes more sense to outsource. When it came to the driveway and culvert, we did not have the equipment, the skill, or the resources so we paid someone to do it. We handed over the reins for the driveway and beautiful level RV spot but we tackled building a 12 foot by 12-foot hoop greenhouse ourselves!
What we Love about Our Choice
One of the most common things you hear from RVers is that they are happy to ditch the yard work. I’ve come to the conclusion that I hated yard work when I lived in a community where I had to keep my landscaping up for code enforcement or nosy neighbors. Out here on our RV Homestead, all the work we do is because we want to do it and it’s very satisfying. We can work as hard as want or play in the local springs.
I love that we can have our RV friends and family come stay with us for a day, a week, or a month. There is no one riding around on a golf cart telling us that it’s past quiet time and we don’t wake up to new neighbors every day that we may or may not like. It takes away most of the things we didn’t like about RVing and still allows us to maintain our snowbird lifestyle. Our goal is to have multiple properties like this one across the Country. The less we can stay in campgrounds or public lands, the better!
You Can Live in an RV on Your Property!
I hope this blog post helped you as you plan your RV journey. Living in an RV on your property is not only possible, but can exactly what works for you and your needs. You can find out more about setting up your own RV homestead or advice on purchasing your own land by joining my RV Homesteading – RV Living on your own land Facebook group!
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