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Old 10-17-2020, 08:59 PM   #1
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The Potential Downside of Not Doing Enough Research

An article making the rounds lately at various outlets:


After living in a converted school bus for a year, a retiree is now $10,000 in debt and selling her schoolie ó hereís the one cost she didnít see coming
https://www.reportdoor.com/after-liv...nt-see-coming/

Any bus must be in tip-top shape to start with before converting it to a place to live. I don't post much, but I read a lot and this is something that I see of a lot of - as soon as the bus is purchased, the conversion begins instead of gong through the bus with a fine tooth comb to make certain that all the mechanicals and rubber are going to go the distance. This takes longer and often forces a huge infusion of cash without anything visible to see or moving any closer to having a place to live.

If one has the time, then one must take the time to fully inspect and ensure that all parts are ready to go (or at least know the expected lifespan and replacement cost/labor cost) and also have a plan of action when (not if) things go south.
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Old 10-17-2020, 10:06 PM   #2
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Don't be a Debbie Downer!! Only Skoolie CHEERLEADERS allowed!

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Old 10-18-2020, 12:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
Don't be a Debbie Downer!! Only Skoolie CHEERLEADERS allowed!

I think some people get excited about the adventure of building and using a skoolie and become somewhat blinded by the apparent low cost to get one to get started. Anything that's been driven in stop and go traffic for years and years is going to show a little wear. I'm leery [sic] of anything with 150k miles or more although my work truck is pushing 190k. I expect normal wear and tear but the essence of the bus has to be sound.
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:43 AM   #4
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Wow, $63,000 for a bus and it does not have a paint job?
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Old 10-18-2020, 03:42 AM   #5
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This article is perfect example why these people jumping into full time and are broke-ass have no options if they incur breakdowns.

I’m her case though she paid a builder which in my opinion is foolish in most cases as for what skoolie builders seem to charge you now have a 15 year old motorhome with 150k miles.. for the same $$ you could’ve bought a very lightly used motorhome...

Again ogle eyes and not enough research first.

Building a bus yourself results in savings of labor and if same amount of $$ was available as she had. The DIY has reserve for repairs..

But also daily life , you have to park someplace. If you don’t own land or rent a plot seems you have to either parking lot surf or move from BM spot to another which costs $$ I’m fuel?

To me from what I’ve been able to research living full time isn’t free
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:19 AM   #6
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Truly though RV life in general is much more expensive than people anticipate and it's why I'm thinking in a year or two the prices of used RVs will be rock-bottom... Because the RV industry has enjoyed a stellar year during COVID as people tried to isolate or vacation while maintaining social distancing and therefore jumped on the RV bandwagon but after learning the costs associated with camping sites, upkeep, then the upcoming winterization and storage fees, they'll be looking to dump that RV on the used market next year or two or whenever things get back to 'normal' and they'd much rather free up that cash to take a normal vacation when that becomes an option again.
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
Truly though RV life in general is much more expensive than people anticipate and it's why I'm thinking in a year or two the prices of used RVs will be rock-bottom... Because the RV industry has enjoyed a stellar year during COVID as people tried to isolate or vacation while maintaining social distancing and therefore jumped on the RV bandwagon but after learning the costs associated with camping sites, upkeep, then the upcoming winterization and storage fees, they'll be looking to dump that RV on the used market next year or two or whenever things get back to 'normal' and they'd much rather free up that cash to take a normal vacation when that becomes an option again.
Yep and Iíll go grab me a nice one then too.. I know this is a skoolie site but for me who adores the mechanical part of busses but absolutely is not into roughing it, and no time to build a fancy skoolie,
a gently used RV will be perfect for me for what I want. My storage unit is full 100% .. I canít even bring my fishbowl home .. lots of shiny new campers that Iím guessing wonít go out much past next year.. CoVID will still be enough factor next year that they will get used but afterwords my guess is they will just sit after. Some nice shiny boats too.. why peeps have boats in Ohio Iíll never know but Iím guessing they will be dusty in a couple yeard
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Old 10-18-2020, 07:09 AM   #8
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Same here in Indiana - so many boats!
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:58 PM   #9
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In explaining to my father in law as to why I bought a bus I explained its something I have to do. if for nothing else the experience of it. Further if I had to sell it I can expect to get half my investment back if at all. I am ok with that. Not needing to do this affords me the luxury of enjoyment of the process not biting my nails worrying as so much depends on my success. when I was young in Mt shasta we all dreamed of log cabins. 98 to 2001 I lived in a rock walled 8x10 "chalet" 2001 to 2003 a historical building of 500 square feet. 2005 to 2011 we live on hans christian 33 sailboat. (true to form nothing more than a beautifully built hole in the water paid 55k pissed 30k in a haul-out and sold in a dump market for 15k after a divorce) 20011 present own a fourplex on guam. There seems to be a reoccurring theme of living arrangements here. I like the ability to distance myself and socialise on my terms. most of what I own I have built or severely changed or repurposed, and sustainable living is always a common thread of my life. In spite of 6+ chevy 6.2s, 2 12v cummins, 1 24v cummins, (all three repurposed aircraft tugs) mercedes 617 jeep yj, and an assortment of yanmar kubota isuzu (and 5 more mercedes engines) somehow I want more?? i scooped up a blue bird at a military auction as was a seabee bus. I figure worst case scenario bosch p pump and gear case is worth what I bid let alone bus body as storage shed. I won the bus at just under 500 and to my surprise they drained all fluids before auction so i had to tow it out. so made a bumperette with tow bar mounts hooked it up to my dodge and drug it home. 4 gallons of oil 5 gallons of atf, and work on throttle linkage and bad ignition switch later, I drove it around for a day. (remarkably as the fluids were drained it had 60 gallon fuel tank FULL. bonus!!) now as stated before I live in guam for last 15 years, this project (as all the rest) is landlocked where it is. (I am presently trapped in san diego for school for remainder of this year hence my time to lurk and post here) I figure it will take 45 to 50 k to do this right and fully well worth it as need to be careful not to put anything on credit. there are a handful of friends who want a caretaker for property so exclusively boondocking is an opportunity. Also intend to purchase raw land and building a skoolie is the way to move onsite enabling me to build a future home. Hopefully removing myself (and my mess er projects) away from my income rentals. If we were to relocate back to the US mainland I anticipate it costing 15kplus to ship. I wonder if it would be worth it, perhaps only if i could pack it full of hard to sell on island trade goods? Container homes sell on island for 20k so even if I pulled the engine and left it on island, it would still have value to the 10 to 20k mark. Any breakdowns are acceptable, given only my present circumstance. As its cheaper to tow a bus than rent a scissor truck service. It would already be to my benefit. Besides I already towed it home myself once already.

My need to do this project needs not extend beyond "I want to" for the learning process and fun of doing so with the side benefit of its eventual end use (which of course divided by which course of action my life takes) but ultimately both to an acceptable end. (or acceptable losses)


My reason for writing this as I am certain many of my circumstances and ideals are a bit unusual, I suspect don't all align with the majority here. That's fine. The thought I want to emphasise is, for anyone considering taking on this project, like a boat it's a steep learning curve. Folks often buy a hull bigger than they can afford to maintain, just because they can. financing a project with debt, compounding this with gambling with livelihood/home, where initial success is paramount is ill advised. The more pressure you have to succeed the harder it is to enjoy the project and or laugh at your mistakes vs agonise. (Ask me how I know of any of the points of this paragraph) Base your purchase criteria around your strengths and what you know, as that the more you hire out the more the cost spikes and lessons lost. Seek knowledge and advise (not you have to follow it) but get cross referenced opinions. Learn from others mistakes before making them yourself.

The road less traveled is often that way for good reason. And is advised to survey the road carefully from others experience, and better yet from parallel paths you have already explored. Further to recap try to be honest with yourself and begin what you can afford, and afford to make expensive mistakes. Only do this if you, your partner, your friends, ect. ENJOY doing so and learning new things best as a group effort with complimenting interests and skills to help one another. in this project you are effectively committing yourself to apprenticing automotive and commercial diesel mechanic, carpenter, electrician metal worker, ect. The same skills you would need to learn as an rv owner to maintain and repair, but in this case learn before hand or during YOU building to reap the Benefit of living In.

Not to be a debbie downer here, but sometimes the grim reality needs to be faced.

With a lifelong thread as a motorhead passionate about sustainable living diesel projects, years of alternative fuel and energy projects, and prefered tiny home-ish situations who enjoys fabrication and problem solving, this just the next logical step in the pattern of my life. I feel compelled to do. So far at this point, my bus any which way (if was to give up on it) would indeed make me money. In spite of that I longingly await returning home to resume this project, enjoy the benefit of hard learned past lessons, and learning from future mistakes. If ever I have to leave island at any point of the future, where I cannot affordably ship projects toys tools ect. I celebrate having the experience to start anew elsewhere. Wiser from the process of living a lifestyle of not hiring out and but learning along the way. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-19-2020, 01:30 PM   #10
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Maybe one ought own a few acres before purchasing a thing to place upon it.
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Native View Post
Wow, $63,000 for a bus and it does not have a paint job?
I had that thought before finishing the articleÖ$45,000 and you couldn't even get it painted? If I had $65K to spend, it wouldn't be on something looking like that!
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:31 PM   #12
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LOTS of suckers out there buying things they know nothing about, then refusing to learn the things necessary.
Its the nature of trends. People see it. Jump in. Find out what it takes. Bail.

I like that this site is more of the DIY crowd.
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:49 PM   #13
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You'd have to be a DIY for many things otherwise it would be cheaper to just buy a used coach/RV. Some things can be farmed out but to buy a bus and hand it over to one trade and then another to finish it for you just doesn't make any financial sense.
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Old Yesterday, 01:36 AM   #14
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You'd have to be a DIY for many things otherwise it would be cheaper to just buy a used coach/RV. Some things can be farmed out but to buy a bus and hand it over to one trade and then another to finish it for you just doesn't make any financial sense.
Hmmm ... I read somewhere on this site someone posting that "it's only money" ...
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Old Yesterday, 09:02 AM   #15
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"Financial sense" being the key word. My farming out will most likely be paint. But for most of those converting on a dime, they need to do as much as they can themselves. Even a nicely converted bus doesn't get anywhere near the amount invested during resale. I still stand behind my mantra that it's only money You certainly can't take it with you once life ends.
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Old Yesterday, 10:00 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
LOTS of suckers out there buying things they know nothing about, then refusing to learn the things necessary.
Its the nature of trends. People see it. Jump in. Find out what it takes. Bail.
April an article ran with the same person/bus like there wasn't a worry in the world:
https://www.insider.com/tour-convert...-bus-tiny-home

Only for it to come to a head in the OP's post:
https://www.insider.com/retiree-scho...-house-2020-10

April THIS YEAR to October THIS YEAR. 6 months. In the original article:
Quote:
She converted the bus for $45,000 with the help of a builder, perfectly combining her goals of living tiny and traveling.
With loans... ugh

I can't find information on the make/model but somehow I doubt she's going to get her asking price, and I'm leaning towards it being 2008-ish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I like that this site is more of the DIY crowd.
Yeah.

BeNimble: Some of your skoolie poo-pooing annoys me, but there's definitely a problem with how bus life is being portrayed/"sold" to people as some rosy lifestyle free of problems. Kudos to you for being willing to push back on that a bit.
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