Over the past few years, separately, we’ve been weighing the options of different styles of tiny homes.
The typical answer to this is to build a tiny home on a flat trailer out of the typical building materials that a house uses. These are usually very cool looking and look something like a smaller version of a quaint cabin. The perk of the tiny home is that you get to create a home that is custom fitted to your needs. Also, since it is built like a house its very efficient and solidly built which should last a lifetime. However, building codes in most areas aren’t very applicable to these and as such, it seems that finding a place to park a tiny house is harder than an RV unless you have your own land where your neighbors don’t care. Over time, this problem has been getting better and easier to handle because more people are opening their eyes to these tiny houses but still should be considered in the back of your head if you are considering going this route. The other issue that we still haven’t found a straight answer to and changes depending on where you’re from is insuring such a domicile. Since it’s not technically a house, housing insurance won’t touch it and since it’s technically not an RV, that insurance won’t touch it. What we have heard is that if you can play your cards right and go through all the right channels that you can have it classified as a Custom Trailer and get it insured as that though I am doubting it won’t be for the full amount of money that you spent to build it. But hey, something is better than nothing!
If anyone has any insight, or corrections to this knowledge for Tiny House in the state of OK, feel free to time chime in, we would love to read about success stories in getting tiny houses recognized through the proper channels.
A little more “normal” is finding an Recreational Vehicle that is already outfitted and ready to go for you to take anywhere you want. You don’t have to build anything and everything you need is typically already there for you to live somewhat comfortably. The perks that we can see is that used RVs can be had for relatively cheap and they’re ready to go. Plus you can insure them pretty easily. We’re not a big fan of them though because they aren’t very sturdy, soundproof or efficient.
What we decided is somewhat middle of the road of these but maybe we’re a little biased since we just bought it, a Bus! We have been looking at craigslist for a little while now, off and on, and this guy popped up from a local high school down the road!
Perks of a bus in general
School buses are designated as a commercial vehicle originally but in our state, you can take it down to the DMV and have it re-registered as an RV once you get it converted which means that you can have it insured by pretty much any insurance agency!
Customization. Like the tiny house, you can rip out all the seats and poof (I wish it was that fast. ha) you have a flat floor plan that you can lay out in any crazy way you desire.
Drivetrain. Most of these school busses are designed to carry a busload of kids day in and out. Our bus for example was designed to carry 83 passengers. Lets say it was a middle school bus and lets say that a middle school student weighs 100lbs. That’s 8300 lbs of cabinets, beds, water, solar panels, and the kitchen sink while you’re at to work with. And that’s before you rip out the weight of the heavy seats.
Diesel engines have been known to go a million miles if you treat them right!
Why This Bus
Well first, is cost. This bus was well maintained (inch thick service records) and pretty cheap, plus it was less than 15 miles away which made transporting it to the house a pretty easy endeavour.
Flat front. The flat front/front engine format of this bus means that there is 34feet behind the driver of usable living space in this one. That’s 255sqft of living space! Pretty huge by tiny house standards. This will enable us to have a storage area accessed by the back door for our bikes/camping gear/whatnots.
We had to compromise on one thing, and that was the transmission. While an Allison trans is pretty stout, this one only has 4 gears though it is offset by our rear differential ratio which means that at 65 mph we will be able to keep it around 2200rpm. For diesels, this is maybe a touch high, but doable. Not that you want to see a school bus flying down the interstate at 65-70mph..
If you couldn’t tell, we’re pretty stoked about this bus.