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ceciltguitar

Where can one buy property and live in an RV?

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Does anyone here know of counties where it is legal to buy 1 - 5 acres and use it as a RV home base?  By home base, I mean build storage sheds / garage, put in septic and electricity, and live there in an RV as much or as little as one desires to do so?  My understanding is that zoning laws usually prohibit living this way.

Thank you!

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Be more specific about location.  What State?  What part of that State?

Texas has 254 counties, I'm pretty sure you can do that in parts of all of those counties.

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Maybe google for current for-sale rv pads or property and look for bare land in those areas if you don't want something already built?

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Chirakawa, you might want to amend that to say except for counties surrounding metro area like Dallas, Denton, Harris, Tarrant, etc.

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I live in a County East of Dallas and can do whatever I want. If you live in a city, maybe different, but I don't. No zoning laws in the county. This isn't Kalifornia.

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34 minutes ago, avvidclif said:

I live in a County East of Dallas and can do whatever I want. If you live in a city, maybe different, but I don't. No zoning laws in the county. This isn't Kalifornia.

I bet there are zoning requirements in the county, just not enforced and most people don't know about it.   As long as no one complains, no inspectors go out, etc.    Laws are often used when it becomes apparent that something like a drug house has been established as a way to get a warrant to go in and make initial observations. 

 

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48 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

Chirakawa, you might want to amend that to say except for counties surrounding metro area like Dallas, Denton, Harris, Tarrant, etc.

You may be right.  I was basing my answer on a lifetime of living in Texas.  Most building restrictions are either city or deed development based.  There may be some counties which also have building restrictions, but I'm not familiar with them.  Those counties you named still have rural properties available where one could buy 1 to 5 acres.

That's why I asked that the OP be more specific. 

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White Bird, Idaho, has no zoning restrictions but I'm not sure there's any land available in that small community. I think my brother-in-law bought the last piece.

Linda Sand

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There are many states and counties that allow use of land as you describe.  Generally, they will be quite rural or in less populated states.  Some may still come with modest restrictions, like septic requirements, etc., but that is a good thing IMO. You just need to narrow down where you'd like to be and contact realtors in those areas - they will likely be able to help.

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Linda, I'd bet that even that small town (and the county it is in) have a few requirements, like soil passing a perk test for septic systems, depth of pipes for municipal water (or the depth at which wells have to be drilled), the electric company will also have requirements.  And if near a stream that flows towards any river, there will be even more requirements.   None of these are necessarily bad, but they do need to be researched before just plopping down.

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9 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

Linda, I'd bet that even that small town (and the county it is in) have a few requirements, like soil passing a perk test for septic systems, depth of pipes for municipal water (or the depth at which wells have to be drilled), the electric company will also have requirements.  And if near a stream that flows towards any river, there will be even more requirements.   None of these are necessarily bad, but they do need to be researched before just plopping down.

In Texas, counties are responsible for enforcing compliance with State and Federal laws regarding construction and land improvements in unincorporated areas.  So, if you buy a piece of land and want to install a septic system, water well, electrical service pole, driveway, foundation, or structure, you would need to get permits from the county.  The county should do inspections to insure compliance. 

That being said, whether you park an RV on that improved property and live in it is typically a matter of zoning standards imposed by cities or occupancy restrictions included in the deed covenants.  I'm not aware of any counties which impose such zoning standards on their own.  Harris county, for example, has been criticized in the past for not imposing zoning restrictions.

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1 hour ago, chirakawa said:

  I'm not aware of any counties which impose such zoning standards on their own.  Harris county, for example, has been criticized in the past for not imposing zoning restrictions.

You are quite right and I believe that Barb is from Tyler, county-seat of Smith Co., TX. I just checked the Smith County website under Ordinances and Policies. I found this information:

Quote

Other than subdivision regulations, Smith County has no other local building policies for construction in unincorporated areas of the county at this time.

 

The TCEQ regulates things like water supplies and septic systems and those regulations must be dealt with.

Edited by Kirk Wood

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6 hours ago, ceciltguitar said:

Does anyone here know of counties where it is legal to buy 1 - 5 acres and use it as a RV home base?

I suggest that you contact the county commission of any county that you wish to do this in. Most counties that have rural land in Texas will not be a problem as long as you meet the requirements of the TCEQ. The same is likely true for the majority of the western states if away from the larger cities. We live in a co-op community in a rural area of Smith County, Texas and we do deal with TCEQ but on construction rules and codes, we must enforce any that we expect compliance with, ourselves as the county has no code enforcement employees.

Edited by Kirk Wood

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You might as well just buy a house. With what you are talking about, $50,000-$100,000 to buy land, install a road and pad, well and septic, power. Then pay taxes and insurance. What is the point?

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6 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

I bet there are zoning requirements in the county, just not enforced and most people don't know about it.   As long as no one complains, no inspectors go out, etc.    Laws are often used when it becomes apparent that something like a drug house has been established as a way to get a warrant to go in and make initial observations. 

 

You would lose money on that bet Barbara. Like chirakawa said as long as you have a permit to install the utilities and are not in an established subdivision with deed restrictions you can do what you want with your land. Harris County (Houston) still has tons of rural land and until the city annexes it, it is all fair game. I live full time on a piece of private property about 2 miles outside the city limits. 

Edited by Big5er

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Times are changing fast. Many local municipalities up date their codes by referencing the National Building Maintenance book. Then such as camping or sleeping is prohibited.

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I will amend my reply to indicate that I have to follow the rules regarding septic systems other than that, Nothing. Van Zandt County.

Kaufman Co which borders Dallas Co does have a county law that you can't target practice on your property unless you have 10 AC min. That's thanks to a nutcase (certified) who likes to target practice all the time. He has 8AC.

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We could be a lot more helpful if we knew a little more about what sort of land and where you are hoping to find it?

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Thank you all for your answers so far!

Todd, good observation about "why not just build a house?"  The reason to NOT build a house would be to save money both on construction AND on the ongoing annual tax bill.   Perspectives on this approach are appreciated.

As to location, our current "possibilities short list" includes Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas.  That mix covers the bases of family locations, climate, costs, income taxes (I am retired Navy).

We lived full time in a converted 1990 MCI bus for almost 7 years, and have been back in a townhouse 1 mile from grandchildren since 2013, right after our 1st granddaughter was born, which coincided with our 2 younger boys reaching their teenage years.  My wife enjoys  2 days a week babysitting our granddaughters. In 3-5 years the granddaughters will be in school and our youngest son will probably be on his own.

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Thank you all for your answers so far!

Todd, good observation about "why not just build a house?"  The reason to NOT build a house would be to save money both on construction AND on the ongoing annual tax bill.   Perspectives on this approach are appreciated.

As to location, our current "possibilities short list" includes Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas.  That mix covers the bases of family locations, climate, costs, income taxes (I am retired Navy).

We lived full time in a converted 1990 MCI bus for almost 7 years, and have been back in a townhouse 1 mile from grandchildren since 2013, right after our 1st granddaughter was born, which coincided with our 2 younger boys reaching their teenage years.  My wife enjoys  2 days a week babysitting our granddaughters. In 3-5 years the granddaughters will be in school and our youngest son will probably be on his own.

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Maybe look at buying a deeded lot in a park? Pine County MN would probably  allow living in an RV on land. Property taxes are low here in MN. The vacant lot when you are gone will be at risk for vandalism or theft. Sheds, toys, etc would be "sitting ducks". Must also look at resale. If situation changes, want something you can sell easily and at least get your investment back.

Edited by ToddF

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 I live in No.Florida , many rural , small cracker counties will have many people living in RVs . Some have ordinances against this but zero  enforcement . Five acres can be had for ten to twenty thousand dollars , maybe 40 miles to Wal-Mart . We bought five acres outside Monticello Fl for 18 K , well and septic another 8 K.. If serious about Florida look in the  Panhandle , away from the coast . Good hunting , fishing . We shop in Tallahassee , Valdosta or Thomasville Ga. , all about 40 miles .

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A growing trend is for towns to establish nets of prospective areas to eventually become annexed into their city limits.  Usually, an arrangement with the counties involved includes requirements that any new development, whether individual or by a developer, meet the existing zoning regulations of that town.  This quietly imposes limitations outside of the city limits which can impact "freestyle" living.

Another common approach is to quietly rezone agriculturally zoned areas into more formal zoning designations while they are still being operated as farms. Whenever that use changes, these areas automatically become zoned as was predesignated with all of the limitations and constraints suddenly applied.  It is a matter of local authorities choosing when to start enforcing them. People have been forced off of land that had been family farms for generations before the local powers decided to start enforcing the rezoning.

In North Carolina, there is a community called Lake Royal, near Bunn, NC, east of Raleigh/Wake Forest area, which has properties where you can purchase then use however you want. However, the property sizes are quite small. There is another such area down near Southern Pines, NC.

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