On May 11, 2017, I turned 50 years old. At my age, half a century, I can state that I have never owned my own home. 😦 This is the thing in my life that keeps me from fully being happy.
Renting apartments, half doubles, and houses has become the thing I loathe most in this world–well it is one thing that I loathe, truly. I am not a person who allows room for hate in my heart, not really. With age, I have learned to live in peace and to not hold grudges. However, I really do hate renting a home.
Having said that, I would like to elaborate upon “the life of one who rents a home perpetually”. I believe there are places in this world where renting is the norm and there are wonderful places available for rent that allow individuals to fully enjoy their lives. I am sorry to say that where I have spent the majority of my adult life, renting a home absolutely inhibits fully enjoying life, unless, I suppose, a person is wealthy and renting. I suppose the more a person can afford to spend upon a rental home, the more amenities and freedoms accompany a rental home. I guess. I don’t know for sure. I am not wealthy.
If you’re an average Joe or Josephina, like me, and you are residing in the midwest, surviving on middle class wages, renting a home is fraught with pitfalls and stifles the essence of life. While renting, I always have a landlord figuratively looking over my shoulder, dictating my personal space, dictating who may come in and out of my home and my life, dictating the color of my decor–the ambiance of my personal space, dictating whether or not I may have a furry companion, dictating whether or not I can plant a tree, a bush, or flowers for that matter. Renting is a gamble, regardless how low or how high the rent is, you can never know how concientious a landlord will be until you have signed that contract and are living under the mercy of the owner of the property, who may or may not care if there is water leaking in from above, who may or may not care if there is black mold growing in the basement, who may or may not care if your plumbing works properly. If you get a cheap, unethical landlord, getting things repaired can be a struggle until you give up and move out–and then you hope and pray to see again the hundreds or thousands of dollars you paid up front.
As a home owner–the onus is on me to manage my immediate living environment. As a home owner, I dictate how nice my space is–I decide what colors make me comfortable. I make nearly all the decisions about my personal space. Having said all this, I am happy to announce that finally, I have purchased my own home. I was hoping to get my camper remodeled within a 10 month period, so that I could move into it and use it as a transitional tiny home until I build my tiny home. However, the renovation proved to take much longer than I anticipated. And so I had to develop a better plan to get me out of the rental cunundrum.
Building a tiny home costs a minimum of $25,000 and at age 50 I just do not have the savings or the means to build my own home or buy a modest bungalow. I just cannot stand living in a rental situation any longer and cannot stand having a huge portion of my immediate personal space dictated by another party. I took the plunge. I decided to start looking at mobile homes and as it turns out, where I live, near Dayton, Ohio, there are quite a few nice parks for those 55 and older. I guess I am close enough at age 50 because a nice park manager let me into this lovely mobile home park and sold me a 1974 New Moon mobile home for just $5,000. Wow. Of course, at this price it needs a major remodel; and so my next journey begins.
I will be chronicling my process here. I calculate that this remodel should not cost more than $5,000 and so for $10,000 or less, I will have a “new again” 1974 New Moon 550 square feet mobile home of my own in a lovely small town near a bike path, a lovely river, and an arboreetum for the modest cost of $345 per month plus utilities. It is not the tiny house I have dreamed of…but I am now my own boss, a home owner, and I no longer have to be tortured by a landlord. Besides, my main motivation for dreaming of living in a tiny home has always been cost savings and financial security–in other words, I wanted to reduce my living expenses as much as possible. Done.
All I ever wanted was a place to call my own and now I have it. I am happy. Now, it is time once again to roll up my sleeves and get to work with my tools. As I discover the anatomy of a mobile home and figure out how to polish her up, I hope my process is helpful to others. Tiny on!
Oh, I almost forgot…Daisy Do little, my camper–there is a place for her here as well. She is going on the back burner until I get “Agnes Do little” up to speed. As I see it, this mobile home needs:
All ceilings and walls painted and trimmed
New kitchen floor, some new kitchen cabinets, new gas stove, new kitchen countertop, new kitchen backsplash
New carpet throughout living room, both bedrooms, and the hallway
New light fixtures, a couple built-in shelves and a built-in desk
Power wash on the exterior and new exterior paint plus trim
A new deck and a handrail on the front steps
Some landscaping and more rocks to accentuate the beautiful rock garden out front
Here is Agnes, my modest fixer upper. That front door is to die for… I am in love with her. 🙂