Living in an RV on Your Own Land

Living in an RV is a concept that more and more people are researching. Whether you just want to simplify your life or enjoy the ability to travel and spend more time outdoors, there are plenty of reasons to choose to live in an RV. However, when you choose to live in a camper on your own land as opposed to an RV park, there are plenty of considerations that should guide your decision.

Zoning Laws

It may seem pretty straight forward–after all, the RV is yours and the land is yours, so you should be able to set it up there.  When it comes to living in recreational vehicles, there are zoning laws that may prohibit you from living in an RV regardless of whether the land is yours or not.

First check the zoning laws in your state as well as county and local regulations. This is a crucial step before you can start living in an RV on your land.  If you find that your property is zoned for recreational vehicle living, then you need to secure a permit for your RV. The zoning regulations will stipulate the requirements you need to meet in terms of sanitation, neighborhood issues, and related aspects. You can always get a real estate lawyer to help you navigate through legal issues.

Access to Basic Utilities

Before you can start living in an RV on your land, you will need to have basic utilities in place. These are the main considerations you can use to determine if your land is RV ready.

  • Do you have access to potable water on your land?
  • Will the ground support a sanitation system?
  • Do you have access to public water and sewer on your land?
  • Does your land have access to electricity?
  • Can you get access to internet and phone services?

These are some of the basic necessities that you will need to have access to in order to live comfortably in an RV on your land. If these utilities are not in place, first make sure you can get access to them.

Location

Location determines your safety, ease of access to basic services such as healthcare, schools, and the ability to work. Picking the right location goes beyond ensuring that you can legally live in a motorhome. You need to have access to basic services, including healthcare, grocery stores and a safe secure environment to enjoy living in your RV.

Safety is an especially important consideration as you could be more vulnerable since it does not come with the added protection you get behind the walls of a house. You need to be careful about protecting yourself and your belongings.

Some safety precautions you can take include having a dog on your premises. Dogs are a powerful deterrent for would-be thieves and having some on your land can boost your safety. It is also important to get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors so that you become a part of the community. 

Homeowners Associations

Your land may very well be within the zoning laws for living in an RV, but you may still have to contend with a homeowners’ association’s (HOA’s) regulations in your area, including  prohibiting RV living within their community.  Make sure you are aware of any restrictions in the community before you start living in an RV on your land. Some homeowners’ associations will have regulations against certain classes of motorhomes and not others. Finding out this information ahead of time will save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Accessibility and Land Clearing

Before you start living in an RV on your land, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does your land have access to the road?
  • Can you level the land to create a parking spot for your RV?

While the notion of living a private life in the middle of nowhere may appeal to some people, you will still need access to the rest of the world and having an access road is important to help you get to and from your property.

If your land does not have an access road, check to see if you need a permit to put in a driveway. Being able to park your RV on level land is also key, so make sure that if your land is not level, you are in a position to level it to create an appropriate parking space for your RV.

Important Tips for Living in an RV in Your Own Land

  • A cement pad and patio will keep the environment around your RV clean. Taking time to build one will be well worth the effort in the long run.
  • Position your RV as close as possible to your utility outlets for easy hookups.
  • If possible, install more than one hook-up for electricity, sewer, and water. This will enable you to have your friends and family to come to visit and stay on your land with their own RVs or campers.
  • In most cases, if your land is located close to town or within city limits, it will be easier for you to access basic services such as electricity, internet, and water connections. On the other hand, country living does come with its own perks, so you should evaluate whether the trade-off is worth it.
  • No matter how big your RV is, it will still have less room than a house and you will need to simplify and declutter to successfully move into your RV. Plan your move carefully and start downsizing on the things that are not essential.
  • If you find that you have things you are not willing to let go of yet, rent a storage unit. This will allow you to keep more stuff without worrying about cluttering your RV living space.
  • If you have chosen to live in an RV on your own land, take time to make it homey. RVs can be sterile looking, but adding a few personal touches will help make it feel more like home. You can use potted plants or any unique pieces to make your space feel homey.
  • Think about your outdoor space. Living in an RV on your own land gives you a lot more time to spend outdoors and you will want to invest some time making your outdoor space comfortable. Hammocks and folding chairs can give you more living space. Having a grill, patio lights and outside decorations will also help you enjoy your outdoor living space more.

Maintaining Your RV

Maintaining your RV will be part of a comfortable life. You don’t want a leaking roof or a faulty fridge to ruin your living experience. Naturally, living full time in an RV will put more wear and tear on it than camping out in it a few times a year. This means that you will need to be vigilant about maintenance and keeping your RV in good condition.

1. Regular RV Roof Maintenance

One of the biggest problems for a person living in an RV is a leaking roof. Regularly checking your roof will help you notice any trouble spots early enough to get them fixed. Clean your roof at least once every three months.

Most roofing leaks occur when rainwater or melted snow seeps through a seam in your roofing. This can lead to insulation problems and damaged wall problems. The cost of repairing these can be huge so if you are planning to live in an RV, be sure to keep your roof well maintained.

2. Maintaining the Septic System

Keep your septic system functional with regular maintenance to avoid clogs and build up. Just like in a regular house, you will need to make sure that your plumbing system is well-maintained and regularly checked to avoid expensive repairs in the future.

3. Awning Maintenance

You will often need your RV’s awning to shade your outdoor space. You, therefore, need to keep this part of your RV in good condition. It is important to check your awning regularly for holes and tears because they tend to get larger with time if they go unrepaired.

Clean your awning regularly to avoid build-up of dirt as well as mold. Small branches and twigs can get rolled up in the awning which would, in turn, cause tears in the fabric.

4. Major Appliances

Living in an RV on your own land means that you will be fully reliant on the appliances in your RV. Things like refrigerators, water heaters, and stovetops need to be regularly checked and maintained so that you have functional utilities at all times. Always have qualified technicians check any major appliances that are not working to avoid electrical hazards or further damage.

Remember your RV is now your living space and you will need to be able to cook, eat, work and sleep in it comfortably. Without the right appliances, life can get rough and make RV living an unpleasant experience.

5. Clean Seals and Slide-outs

Regularly clean your window seals and door seals to avoid dirt build-up. Lubricating the slider mechanisms will ensure that they do not wear out the motors. You also do not want to constantly deal with squeaky sliders and windows that keep getting stuck.

Summary

With a bit of careful planning and research, you can start living in an RV on your own land. Not only is it a good way to simplify your life, but it may also ultimately be cheaper to live in an RV than in a house. However, laying the right groundwork and ensuring you have all the right utilities is an essential part of the process. For those who have managed to make the transition to living in an RV on their own land, proper planning made it a successful and relatively painless move.