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20 Year Old High School Sweethearts Buy & Reno RV for $12K (CASH)

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High school sweethearts Alicia and Daniel decided it didn’t make sense to work full-time while in college to pay rent in two different places, so instead they pooled their money and purchased a used RV for $8,000 cash, and put another $4,000 into renovations (including an unforseen mold issue that ate up a lot of time and money).

The couple, now engaged, are living in an RV park while doing their college coursework and building a life together. They did a wonderful job with their renovation, including creating a special office workspace where they can both do schoolwork. There’s a daybed/couch in their living area, and an awesome coffee cabinet!

Enjoy the video interview with Tiny Home Tours below!

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Conquering Mold, Leaks, and College in their RV Reno

Notice their awesome office space since they’re both students.

They added a daybed instead of a couch so they could have guests over.

They discovered a mold issue behind the bed, and had to rip it all out and re-do that.

VIDEO: College Students Gorgeous RV Renovation


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Our big thanks to Allison for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Karen
    December 29, 2020, 6:12 pm

    They are adorable and their home is really beautiful. Well thought out. Dan gave me food for thought in that RVs were made for camping, not living full time so some things need to change in them. You forget that these days considering that so many people are opting to live in them full time.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 31, 2020, 1:48 pm

      Yes I think they probably hold up best for full-time living in more temperate climates. But it could also be a good option for transitional living — for example, living in the RV while you save up for a tiny house, etc.

  • Diana
    December 30, 2020, 1:12 am

    Where do I start? First of all, well done. Love what you did and the blue cabinets just make it! Your amazing young people and you give me hope! Such maturity and warmth, very down to earth and obviously bright and ambitious. Don’t lose what you have together in the future no matter how much you accomplish! Stay centered and grounded and keep inspiring the people who you encounter. Thank you. Namaste.

  • Maria Kentala
    December 30, 2020, 7:29 am

    Well done! Since the Tiny Home builders are now asking way to much for a THOW this is the way to go. I can buy a camper with a bedroom.bathroom, kitchen,living area and have a closet for clothes for under 20,000.00.

    • James D.
      December 30, 2020, 3:44 pm

      Well, it’s more a issue with what people want to have rather than what the builders are asking to provide it. Costs just depends on what people want to end up with and how they go about doing it. The general trend has just been more people wanting higher end homes and an increasing number of families who push for even larger homes, which are among the factors that increase costs from the more minimal homes that were mostly DIY built for singles and couples. So there’s actually quite a range of what they can cost and it really comes down to people choices.

      Mind, most builders are custom builders and thus just providing what their clients ask them to build. In actuality, most tiny home builders charge less and earn less than they would in the traditional housing market, especially for anything custom built… For example, even in the RV industry custom doesn’t really start until you get into the over $100K range and they can go up to over $3 million on the high end. Even something just nicely built, like an Airstream, can cost more new than your typical custom built tiny house, even though RV’s are much more minimally built than houses and you won’t see anything equivalent, like thick walls with good insulation, until you start getting over $100K range in the RV industry.

      Everything just has trade offs…

      RV’s are ideal if you don’t need anything permanent, don’t want to be heavily invested in it, and prefer to be nomadic. They typically will depreciate rapidly because they are much more minimally built, generally will require more maintenance and repairs that won’t always be easy for the owner to do themselves, will generally have more issues like mold, leaks, etc, won’t handle climate and weather extremes very well without constant heating and cooling, and tend to not be that durable or consistently comfortable to live in year round. But that does mean they can be acquired much more easily at low cost and can work for those who can deal with the negatives and still fits their needs…

      While tiny houses are built like houses and thus are much heavier and won’t be aerodynamic, making them much harder to tow, are not ideal to use for nomadic lifestyle and is more ideal to stay in one location for long periods, and as they’re meant to be homes they will usually require a larger investment than something that would be used only for a short period of time. But, a house is going to be more durable, can require much less maintenance and be easier to maintain and repair, will be better designed to handle extreme climates and weather, and can last a lifetime or longer with more possible benefits when properly tailored to the home owners needs.

      Long term, a Tiny House can cost a lot less than a RV because of these differences but RV’s can be much cheaper to get into to start… Among other differences, like you can make a Tiny House an ADU but that will generally not be an option for an RV. It’s even possible to place a Tiny House on a foundation and treat it like real estate in some places. While it’s easier to find parking for an RV, for at least short stays, and you can usually go places that may not be easily reached with a Tiny House…

      Again, everything has trade offs and every choice has a consequence… Monetary differences are just one of many things to consider…

  • Comet
    January 19, 2021, 9:44 am

    Plenty of people live work and travel in RV’s in all sorts of climates. Yes, many ARE under insulated (which is bad for both summer and winter, to maintain a comfortable temp). Using a few easy solutions can make this much more comfortable. Roll of Rerlectix- avail at Lowes etc. Silver coated bubble wrap, cut to fit a bit larger than windows, fit in between either the valances or the edges. For day use when you wa t su light you can lightly mist windows and place clear bubble wrap on them, less insulating but again it helps. You can also use Reflectix OR rigid foam insulation cut to fit wall sections, or windows you don’t need, such as in a bink room. Closets, side walls, around your water systems, bays that need to stay warm, etc. Use a large sheet of Reflectix on front windshield & smaller pieces for side windows, use Painter Tape to place them if you can’t wedge them in. Space heaters are essential!! Electric ones won’t have the drawbacks that propane does, such as tons of extra moisture and poss poisoning.

    We turn on our furnace to get it warm, then use small electric heaters to keep it warm throughout. Many people also get an under sheet heater pad, or an electric blanket, just make sure you have things plugged into diff circuits.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      January 20, 2021, 2:47 pm

      Love all this advice Comet! Thank you for sharing.

  • Yo Mama
    February 26, 2021, 8:24 pm

    at 73, I am planning to do this exact thing ; ) I will work full time for another 5 years ( flex company ) and I am saving to buy a big truck and a winterized RV – here in Colorado there are fully insulated, used RV’s for about $30,000, and then I will do what these inspiring folks have done – new floors paint, curtains, new bathroom. I plan to drive around the country and stay for a couple of weeks in friend’s driveways ; ) I have already rented a driveway in the mountains ( so someone else doesn’t snap it up ) where I can stop and rest, or enjoy the Colorado mountains with electricity and water available. Then off to the next adventure! My grandfather worked full time until 97, so I have some years left ; ) I don’t need a tiny home, as I will be zipping around – just something easy to attach to my truck and off I go! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 27, 2021, 10:51 am

      Wow I absolutely love your plan!! You will have some wonderful years!

  • Linda Vegliacich
    September 17, 2021, 11:50 am

    Very impressed. The work is beautiful! Nice to see a young couple being so mature, thinking ahead.
    My husband and I bought a 38 ft camper, gutted it, ( I could not stand the closed in feeling, with all the cabinets everywhere you looked. Bought full size fridge and dishwasher. Made front bunk bed bedroom into laundry room/closet, pantry., which enlarged our living room about 4 feet.has 22 ft slide out in LR.
    LR came with sliding patio door, which gives us so much light.
    Removed all cabinets in bedroom, put in regular full size bed, and another sliding door. We love the open space, and light.
    Have it in Mobile, Al , permanently, with two camping sights. Full 38 foot screened porch.
    Built 3 level decks. This has been a great way to enjoy our retirement, to travel with our truck slide on, pulling our pontoon boat. Wonderful lifestyle.
    Congratulations to both of you, it’s so good to see a young couple doing this!
    Good luck to you! We too, were high school sweethearts, retired in 2012…had a great retirement as full time rv Rs…

    • Natalie C. McKee
      September 18, 2021, 6:06 am

      Linda we would LOVE to see your renovated RV!

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