Author Topic: Would you downsize?  (Read 1319 times)


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 122
Would you downsize?
« on: September 26, 2016, 03:24:39 PM »
My wife and I are in a strange position with a lot of unknowns.
We moved to Colorado almost 2 years ago and as of today our house is worth about 100k more than when we bought it. The house does need a lot of working coming up in a few years and it is more house than we need. Currently worth 350-400k

Here is what we are considering:
We are looking at a property that has 4X more land in a rural area that comes with a 1200sqft pole barn and an airstream trailer. The land has a well and electric but we would have to have septic installed.
Asking price is 220k but given how long land sits here it's likely we can talk that down.

The quote to have a septic system installed is 20k.

Now the story: We would sell our house and move into the airstream while I got to build out the pole barn into a living space for us (which is something we would LOVE). If we could keep our building costs under 80k we could reduce our housing costs by 100k, and have more land for our chickens, greenhouse, and alpacas. Currently we are 10 minutes outside of downtown Estes Park and the move would be 25 minutes outside of town.
Our fear is the unknowns:
  • Unknown construction costs could kill the cost savings really fast
  • Life in an 30ft airstream for 6 months to a year could get interesting with the wife
  • Just the general stress of a build
  • Major benefit after we have the build, we live in a very desirable vacation destination and the airstream would be a huge revenue generator once we have our own place.

Looking for any feedback and thoughts from the outside; what would you do? What crazy expenses have you seen that I'm anticipating?
Anything is appreciated.


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 222
Re: Would you downsize?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 07:56:21 PM »
Is the current home worth 350-400 as is, or with the work? If you do the work, what will the estimated value be? What is the condition of the airstream? Do you both work full time, or would you be able to work on the barn conversion full time? Renovations generally take twice as long as expected, so I would anticipate living in the airstream for at least a year. Can your relationship handle that? Is your spouse on board? Have you had an inspection on the pole barn and a consultation with a contractor/architect if you need help with permits? What will happen to your taxes once it's changed to a living space? Will you downsize your stuff to fit in the airstream, or need to rent storage? Do you have the tools to do the work yourself, or will you have to buy/rent? Have you done a project anywhere near this scale before? There are more questions than just the cost, but it sounds to me like you won't be making enough money on the sale to cover your costs unless they come way down on the price.