Homeless college student - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-02-2017, 06:27 PM   #1
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Name: Luis
Trailer: Trying to Purchase 13ft
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Homeless college student

I refuse to pay someone's mortgage, instead I want to invest in a camper then buy property on the west coast to build my own home. PLEASE FELLOW CAMPERS HELP
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:57 PM   #2
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Well I guess a little more information from you might be helpful. Are you looking for something to live in while you finish college? Fiberglass molded trailers hold their value well in comparison to stick built conventional trailers so for the same square foot size trailer you will pay a lot more usually for a fiberglass variety. One thing is you might check with where you plan to buy property and find out about their local laws and ordinances. I believe some places frown on full timing in travel trailers on private property, some places you can't even park them in your driveway. Craigslist is a good place to look for one but be careful there are some very common re-occuring scams on there all over the country, just use common sense. Leggit ones go quickly to buyers with cash in hand, very, very quickly in most cases. Also, find Ian G's buyers guide here on the forum to help you with what to look for when you find one. Be prepared to walk away if it turns out to have major problems unless you are skilled and/or financially able to fix any issues. I admire you determination from what is sounds like to not go in debt in pursuit of the dream home...plan ahead as much as possible.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:21 AM   #3
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Name: Luis
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Sir, thank you for the response. I will look for the guide you mentioned, also this week I am looking online for property up for grabs at and auction near the college I will be attending in San Diego, Ca for marine biology. I'm going to looking into the laws for the area and I was also considering buying a cargo container after i make a purchase to kinda upgrade from the 13ft trailer if allowed. I'll hit Craigslist again this time with more confidence and search hard. I can deff rebuild a small camper if actually prefer that, but unfortunately my fiancé trust in me only goes so far. LOL so I usually stick to sometime that has at least a solid base and floors with minimal damage.
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Old 02-03-2017, 02:00 AM   #4
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Sir, thank you for the response. I will look for the guide you mentioned, also this week I am looking online for property up for grabs at and auction near the college I will be attending in San Diego, Ca for marine biology. I'm going to looking into the laws for the area and I was also considering buying a cargo container after i make a purchase to kinda upgrade from the 13ft trailer if allowed. I'll hit Craigslist again this time with more confidence and search hard. I can deff rebuild a small camper if actually prefer that, but unfortunately my fiancé trust in me only goes so far. LOL so I usually stick to sometime that has at least a solid base and floors with minimal damage.
Luis, just a little FYI from a long time SoCal resident. Before you jump in and buy any raw property, check into the county codes for what you have in mind to build and the permit costs. Cargo containers aren't "legally" allowed residential property. I have no idea what kind of hoops you'd have to go through in your state for doing what you have in mind but......California rules don't always make sense unfortunately.
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:56 AM   #5
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What is your tow vehicle? That will have a bearing on the size of trailer you should be considering. Also, you might post which institution in San Diego has accepted you. Someone local may be able to tell you if your plan makes sense from a real estate perspective.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:03 AM   #6
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Ian's Boler checklist and another buyer guide are available in the Document Center. Go to the top of the page and click on the More tab, Document Center.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:04 AM   #7
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My suggestion is to download and print out the Buyers Checklist from the Document Center and use it for every trailer and every brand you view. Most items apply to any travel trailer.

Best of luck in your endeavor!
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:34 AM   #8
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Name: Luis
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Thank you guy very much . I will read over the buyers checklist asap to further educate myself . I will be attending San Diego state university and will be towing with a very small Mazda 2 . I'm going to buy and airbag kit for the rear so my car doesn't sag when weight is added. I need something like 13ft or no more that 2000 lbs
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:04 AM   #9
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...I will be attending San Diego state university and will be towing with a very small Mazda 2 . I'm going to buy and airbag kit for the rear so my car doesn't sag when weight is added. I need something like 13ft or no more that 2000 lbs
Check your owner's manual. I'd be very surprised if a Mazda 2 is rated to tow anything at all. Airbags won't change that. Tow ratings are based on capabilities of the frame, suspension, steering, brakes, engine, transmission, cooling, and electrical system to manage the demands of a trailer. It's not worth the potential risk and liability, in my opinion.

San Diego has a fairly active RV market. I'm going to suggest you get there first, look for a place within commuting distance of SDSU to legally set up an RV (doubtful in my mind, and the freeways in that area are a nightmare!), then shop for a trailer. On the whole, finding a trailer seems to me the easiest part of your plan.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:27 AM   #10
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You may also want to check private RV parks in the area, some give discounted weekly or monthly rates. Heck some may even give you a student discount (doesn't hurt to ask). It may be cheaper to do this than rent something (apartment/house etc) as usually it includes water, sewer, electric, cable and most have some kind of amenities like a pool. Overall this may be a lot simpler and affordable to accomplish with a college student schedule.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:37 AM   #11
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Check your owner's manual. I'd be very surprised if a Mazda 2 is rated to tow anything at all. An airbag doesn't change that. Tow ratings are based on capabilities of the frame, engine, transmission, electrical system, steering, and brakes to manage the weight of a trailer.

San Diego has a fairly active RV market. I'm going to suggest you get there first, look for a place within commuting distance of SDSU to legally set up an RV (doubtful in my mind, and the freeways in that area are a nightmare!), then shop for a trailer. On the whole, finding a trailer seems to me the easiest part of your plan.


Jon I think you are 100% correct . I'm considering that idea . What do you exactly mean by the freeways are a nightmare?!? Btw I check my owners manual and it said towing is not recommended at all. But I think 1500 lbs isn't too bad
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:39 AM   #12
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I lived out of my camper all last summer and it's not easy. The only reason I managed it in a fairly populated area is because I've lived in this town for 13 years and have a LOT of contacts. I couldn't imagine doing it in a new town, and couldn't imagine doing it in California.

As a college student surrounded by other students and that culture, you might have more luck, but you'll need to make friends first. My friends are all adults and have families, so a guy living in a camper in the yard long-term ain't happening. So I moved every week. One person's driveway one week, a friends back-alley parking the next week (complete with neighbors calling the cops on me), another friends yard off and on, then a lot of house sitting, getting me out of the trailer for periods.

Making friends who will give you space will require being clean looking, with a clean vehicle and camper, and a very nice, understanding attitude. Talking to homeowners who are themselves trying to figure out how to make ends meet, and throwing out statements like "I refuse to pay someone else's mortgage" will only close doors to you. Everybody is just trying to get by and owning rental property is tough. A statement more like "I'm trying to be as frugal as I can to stay out of debt so I'm trying to pay no or very little rent", may open more doors than an insult.

And yeah, a lot of land will still have rules about what kind of structure is allowed, including a minimum square footage. Many specifically prohibit living in a camper.

Aside from all that, I wish you good luck! With no sarcasm. I in some ways have the same goals as you, so I get it. Our society is not set up for what you're trying to do, so you need to expect hurdles every direction you turn, and people who are paying local taxes and towing the line to look at you with a bit of a sneer and possibly try to get you out of their neighborhood. With legitimate reasons. I have friends who don't agree with what I'm doing, and I get it. Living within the confines of society is a completely acceptable thing. If you want community and safety, you have to compromise some things.

But there are also a lot of people who are more or less playing by the rules who for some reason will go out of their way to help you continue to break them, so if you can find those people and not offend them, you may just get hooked up. I have a friend in town who right away ran into a guy who owns an old nursery on 100 acres of land, and allows a very limited number of people to live out of small campers, vans or tents for $100 a month. I ran into people living out of their camper, traveling around, who ran into a guy in a desert town who gave them both a job and a place on his property to park their camper and live in it, for free.

So it can happen.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:34 AM   #13
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Jon I think you are 100% correct . I'm considering that idea . What do you exactly mean by the freeways are a nightmare?!? Btw I check my owners manual and it said towing is not recommended at all. But I think 1500 lbs isn't too bad
Not recommended means zero. I will tell you I overheated the transmission on a V6 Toyota Sienna towing a 13' Scamp over the mountains into San Diego on our first trip. It isn't just about the weight. Frontal area and headwinds (35+ mph) also factor in. Without the tow package our Sienna was rated for 2000 pounds, and we were within that. Then you've also got to be able to stop. What's going to happen when a small car pulls right in front of you and brakes hard to make the next exit ramp? That's exactly what happened to me in... where was it?... oh, yeah... San Diego. Brakes on our current vehicle, a Honda Pilot, and on the trailer averted an accident. If something does go wrong and you are towing with a vehicle not recommended for towing, consider what the lawyers will do with that!

As to freeways, SDSU is not far from the junctions of I-8, I-15, and the 805. It's a very congested area from every direction, sandwiched between San Diego itself and the populous eastern suburbs of La Mesa and El Cajon. If, as I suspect, you have to look further out for a place to park your trailer, you could end up with a nightmare commute.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:47 AM   #14
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San Diego and living in an RV. That particular city is not going to put up with your plans. They had a HUGE problem with people living on the streets in RVs because the climate was so mild that it was easy living for it. So now they have put a total ban on the practice.

My son bought an RV, a new airstream and his friend in the San Diego area, just outside of town on an acearage, invited him to come and stay there for a while. It worked for a few weeks and then his friend ended up with all kinds of fines from the county for them being there and their friend had to go to court over it as well.

So basically I don't think your are going to be successful with your plan. You can live in a legal RV park but they are expensive. But you might find a work trade for some of the rent value.

Another alternative is you might be able to find a night watchman situation where you are permitted to have a trailer on that person's business zoned property. There are a few little loopholes here and there in the law such as permitting an onsite security travel trailer to be there full time for a resident guard. Of course you will get to have access to their indoor bathroom for such an arrangement. But you will have to do some research on the permit situation. Still such a thing would be pretty nice work for a student in exchange for a place to put a trailer. It is the kind of thing you could approach a business owner about if you see that they have an enclosed parking lot with business vehicles in it since you would be reducing chances of theft and vandalism for them. A selling point for approaching them with your proposal is that having such a guard might even make their insurance premiums go down.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:02 PM   #15
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Hi--Have you thought this out??
Electricity, power, sewage, water?
Legally parking somewhere?

Sounds like a great plan. Do your homework. Most of southern California
will not allow you to live permanently in a trailer anywhere.

We live 60 miles from your campus.San Diego County and Orange county are high density populated areas.

We pay $150 a month for trailer storage in a nearby facility. No we cannot live in the trailer.They were very specific.

Look up towing regs as well. You will need a brake controller, proper hitch and brakes on the trailer.

The good news is that any trailer under 16 feet will get you a "permanent" plate in California.
That means a renewal every 5 years instead of annually. We just upgraded our travel trailer and were surprised to find out the jump in our trailer registration.


Don't know where you are looking for property this part of the country has some of the most expensive property in the U.S.

Best of luck in your endeavors.

CarolynandSteve
San Clemente, CA
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:45 PM   #16
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Btw I check my owners manual and it said towing is not recommended at all. But I think 1500 lbs isn't too bad
As they say, "no means no." You need to go to plan B.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:48 PM   #17
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As they say, "no means no." You need to go to plan B.


Big thumbs up to that. I'm actually looking for another car , I'm gonna trade in
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:51 PM   #18
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As they say, "no means no." You need to go to plan B.
What is the manufactures recommended towing capacity of a motorcycle? None. Yet I see them towing. Hmmm.

That is not to say that this is a good idea, (I have no experience with a Mazda 2) just that it is not as black and white as implied.

Also, it should be noted that 1500 is very light, even for most 13' trailers. Perhaps a Compact or Compact II.
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Old 02-03-2017, 01:59 PM   #19
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What is the manufactures recommended towing capacity of a motorcycle? None. Yet I see them towing. Hmmm.

That is not to say that this is a good idea, (I have no experience with a Mazda 2) just that it is not as black and white as implied.

Also, it should be noted that 1500 is very light, even for most 13' trailers. Perhaps a Compact or Compact II.
There is always one in every crowd, lol at least this time it's not ME!
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Old 02-03-2017, 02:15 PM   #20
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What is the manufactures recommended towing capacity of a motorcycle? None. Yet I see them towing. Hmmm...
A Mazda 2 is a subcompact with an engine about the same size as a larger cycle... LOL. If we were talking about a motorcycle-sized tent trailer under 500 pounds, we might have something to discuss.

Good call, Luis! I didn't say it before, but I wish you the best in your studies at SDSU.
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