Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

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mikejuss
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by mikejuss »

Get a P.O. Box. You don't need to own a house you're going to reside in only 30 days out of the year. Just my opinion...
quantAndHold
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by quantAndHold »

AerialWombat wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 8:13 pm
halfnine wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 3:33 pm
aj76er wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:52 pm
AerialWombat wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:14 am
quantAndHold wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:28 am Establish residency in South Dakota, get a PO Box with a mail forwarding service, and rent an AirBNB when you’re in country.
This really is the solution OP is looking for. I did it this way for many years. OP hasn’t responded to any of the comments related to this, however, so I get the feeling they are dismissing this option for some reason.
You can use a PO Box as a mailing address, but not as a residential address for brokerages and banks.

For a legitimate “domicile”, it needs to be a physical address.
There are services that provide a street address instead of a PO Box. Mine has held up so far but institutions are getting sharper at identifying and not allowing them.
A tiny number of states, South Dakota included, allow Private Mail Boxes (PMB) at a Commercial Mail Receiving Agent (CMRA), to serve as your legal residential address. There's a domicile affidavit that you have to file with the state, saying that you don't have another street address. This address was literally the address printed on my driver license, which even had the gold star and met federal RealID requirements. Again, only a few states permit this; everywhere else, it's effectively illegal to be homeless. I had no issues using this address for banks, brokerages, credit cards, and the like.
Loads of full time RVers do exactly this. It’s a well trod path for nomads.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
pseudoiterative
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by pseudoiterative »

letahl wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 8:10 am I bought a two room house a decade ago in new Mexico for $15k from some people I met over a fence in a field.
this thread is the "what frugal thing did you do today" parallel universe version of the usual "can i afford $2m house upgrade" thread.


bit of a tangent, there used to be a small real estate business advertising rural fixer-uppers in ireland. sadly (or perhaps gladly, given the frequent topic of conversation here) the owner has retired from the real estate business. it used to advertise properties with down to earth descriptions such as "House has been empty for decades, and is now a roofless house shaped pile of stones with a hawthorn tree growing inside, and full of brambles." Some of these could be purchased for quite low price. Not sure about the availability or internet or fibre connections. YMMV.
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halivingston
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by halivingston »

Thanks for all your suggestions.

I've heard from a lot of you that I can just get a virtual address and do hotel hopping in the US. It's true, and I've thought about it, but having a tiny home somewhere that is mine may be still something I want.

Another suggestion I'm warming up to is cheap college town homes that can be rented during the school year and I occupy it during summer or something. That may work.

I should also add that this is part of my disaster plan. I always worry and stress over disastrous issues like total loss of everything. And I believe having a roof over my head that is perhaps legally in a different name like an LLC or something would be good.

Lots of replies so thanks I'll report back what I do.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Man made buildings are not designed to be empty for long periods of time. There are numerous articles on why this is. In addition, most localities in the US have regulations for mowing, maintenance and so forth. Some, like where I live send a warning notice; some just start levying fines. As an example, where I live, the county requires that property owners maintain a rat free property. My POA's neighbor died and the home has been vacant for almost a year; she called the children, nothing was done, so she called the county. They sent an inspector who sent a warning letter, nothing was done; so the county got rid of the rats, has a fine against the property and also charged for property clean up. The inspector also cited the property for other violations.

Also, its important to check on what the local government considers a "vacant" structure and what laws apply. Many localities in VA for example, consider by law a structure vacant if it remains unoccupied for more than six months.
“To be a Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Country, and a Benediction from Above.”—Anonymous
JackoC
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by JackoC »

Dottie57 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:20 am
Johndoefire65 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:11 am My cousin is selling his home for 10k-20k in Minnesota. Not sure on internet speeds. Send me a PM if interested.

My friend just bought a nice small rental home in a local town for 25k.
Fairly high tax state. I live here and like it. But I would not want to pay income tax here with SDnext door.
Yeah most posts focus on the mechanics of owned house v rental, amenities of the local area etc. And those things would matter, but needing an address in the US you only live at for 30 days a year it would seem clear you don't want to pay income tax in that state. Often here we have 'non-political' (but actually political) debates about the cost/benefit of state income tax in 'where to retire' threads, but if you're not actually going to be there state income tax is just charity, there's lots of ways to be charitable, and this person isn't asking about how to be more charitable. That said, OP didn't mention where they earn their income, which might be taxable in that state (they also mentioned overseas) as a non-resident, and the nominal state of residence might give a credit for that so that effectively only investment income was taxable there. But we also don't know if OP's investment income (or income in general) is significant enough to worry much about income taxes.

But defaulting to own situation in lieu of better info, I wouldn't consider any state with an income tax as a nominal residence in which I only spent a month a year. I'll leave aside the debate about state income tax in a place you actually live. I would limit consideration to Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming before considering specific communities or properties. I'd also eliminate WA due to their estate tax. NH doesn't tax wage income but it does tax investment income which would kill it for us. I'm sure we could find something workable in a no income/estate tax state for 30 days a year.
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Morgan22
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Morgan22 »

I'll pile onto the get a virtual mailbox theme. We have one now with Traveling Mailbox, but Escapees would be similar. We picked Traveling Mailbox (TM) because of the state we wanted to domicile in (the one we were living in before we took off for full time travel) cannot be accomplished with Escapees. But TM has been great. They scan every envelope that comes in. In most cases I tell them to shred it as I know the contents already. (Some places just won't let you go paperless.) But in some cases I ask them to open and scan if I'm not sure what the contents are. I can have them forward mail to anywhere in the world if needed. And the great thing about TM is that they do not scan any junk mail if received. Or if junk mail gets through, you just mark it as such and it doesn't count towards your monthly allotment. (There are different plans to pick depending on how much mail you expect to receive).
When we are ready to settle down in the future and buy or rent a home again, I think I'll keep the TM just to avoid all of the junk mail that we used to receive. It would be worth the $15 a month that we spend on it. (We actually signed up for a year up front and got 2 months free for doing so.)
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firebirdparts
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by firebirdparts »

coalcracker wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 6:16 am I grew up in a small former coal town in PA. My parents still live there. In the nearby communities, you can still find plenty of small, crappy row homes for under $50k.

Understand you will be living in far away from major cities, the home will not be nice and built 50-100 years ago, and many homes near you may be vacant. But my parents home is decent, their internet is as fast as any big city, and they've never been robbed or shot at :sharebeer
This came up in a thread in Garage journal. I was pretty surprised, but as I started house shopping, just for fun, I found it was true.
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Pyramid44
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Pyramid44 »

Consider the Escapees in Texas.

https://escapees.com/mail-service/

They have down all the things you need to do to establish residency in Texas while traveling around in an RV. They have a mail service that will take in all your mail and then forward things to you as requested.

Depending upon how much personal belongings you have, this may be a useful way to go.
Choose happiness.
cowbman
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by cowbman »

JackoC wrote: Sat Jul 09, 2022 9:47 am
Dottie57 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:20 am
Johndoefire65 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:11 am My cousin is selling his home for 10k-20k in Minnesota. Not sure on internet speeds. Send me a PM if interested.

My friend just bought a nice small rental home in a local town for 25k.
Fairly high tax state. I live here and like it. But I would not want to pay income tax here with SDnext door.
Yeah most posts focus on the mechanics of owned house v rental, amenities of the local area etc. And those things would matter, but needing an address in the US you only live at for 30 days a year it would seem clear you don't want to pay income tax in that state. Often here we have 'non-political' (but actually political) debates about the cost/benefit of state income tax in 'where to retire' threads, but if you're not actually going to be there state income tax is just charity, there's lots of ways to be charitable, and this person isn't asking about how to be more charitable. That said, OP didn't mention where they earn their income, which might be taxable in that state (they also mentioned overseas) as a non-resident, and the nominal state of residence might give a credit for that so that effectively only investment income was taxable there. But we also don't know if OP's investment income (or income in general) is significant enough to worry much about income taxes.

But defaulting to own situation in lieu of better info, I wouldn't consider any state with an income tax as a nominal residence in which I only spent a month a year. I'll leave aside the debate about state income tax in a place you actually live. I would limit consideration to Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming before considering specific communities or properties. I'd also eliminate WA due to their estate tax. NH doesn't tax wage income but it does tax investment income which would kill it for us. I'm sure we could find something workable in a no income/estate tax state for 30 days a year.
I'd also want a low property tax and insurance state, which Texas isn't. Tennessee is a good option, but weather means you need to check on it. Every state has pluses and minuses. Texas desert might fit the bill, or Wyoming.
MrWasabi65
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by MrWasabi65 »

I suspect part of the issue may be that increasingly, the addresses of mail forwarding services such as Escapees, RVMail, etc. are showing up in databases as commercial addresses and these are rejected by many organizations and banks in particular - banks need to report physical residential issues to the govt as part of their anti-terrorism policies, so....they reject these commercial addresses.

A room rental may make more sense. Some RVers buy a cheap piece of land in Nevada (no income tax) and use that address - but of course their RV is the dwelling whenever they go visit their land.
sphinx2020
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by sphinx2020 »

If the OP insists on owning a physical property, why not spend a little more to purchase something that would work as an AirBNB and pay a professional management firm to manage it?

He can live in the property 30 days a year, and have the house occupied and maintained by someone else the other ~335 days a year.
lillycat
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by lillycat »

Ola and side issue. (I know nothing about this lifestyle)
Do nomads pay state and or local income taxes?
If so, how is the official state of residence determined? Six months?
How does this work if nomads don’t live anywhere for over six months?

Should OP be concerned about the state and local tax rates of the modest home she sets up?
Might influence location.
deanmoriarty
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by deanmoriarty »

Morgan22 wrote: Sat Jul 09, 2022 12:27 pm I'll pile onto the get a virtual mailbox theme. We have one now with Traveling Mailbox, but Escapees would be similar. We picked Traveling Mailbox (TM) because of the state we wanted to domicile in (the one we were living in before we took off for full time travel) cannot be accomplished with Escapees. But TM has been great. They scan every envelope that comes in. In most cases I tell them to shred it as I know the contents already. (Some places just won't let you go paperless.) But in some cases I ask them to open and scan if I'm not sure what the contents are. I can have them forward mail to anywhere in the world if needed. And the great thing about TM is that they do not scan any junk mail if received. Or if junk mail gets through, you just mark it as such and it doesn't count towards your monthly allotment. (There are different plans to pick depending on how much mail you expect to receive).
When we are ready to settle down in the future and buy or rent a home again, I think I'll keep the TM just to avoid all of the junk mail that we used to receive. It would be worth the $15 a month that we spend on it. (We actually signed up for a year up front and got 2 months free for doing so.)
Are you using your TM address as the address of residence for your driving license, bank accounts and financial accounts? If yes, have you had any problems with it?
JackoC
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by JackoC »

lillycat wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 10:08 am Ola and side issue. (I know nothing about this lifestyle)
Do nomads pay state and or local income taxes?
If so, how is the official state of residence determined? Six months?
How does this work if nomads don’t live anywhere for over six months?

Should OP be concerned about the state and local tax rates of the modest home she sets up?
Might influence location.
You pay state/local income tax if either the place can claim you as resident (your 'tax domicile' is there) and you can't refute their claim, or if you earn income there whether a resident or not (wages earned there and net rental income from properties there generally; investment income as from stocks, bonds, bank interest etc. isn't considered income from the state where the payor is located, it's as a rule only taxable by the state you live in).

Under the general assumption for the 'nomad' case that you live in various states for <1/2 year each, you don't maintain a residence in one where you used to be a full time resident, and you don't work in any of them, you should be able to avoid any state income tax by simply having a nominal address in SD, FL, etc. even if you're never there. As long as you keep records showing you didn't spend >1/2 yr in any income tax state, and it's not in dispute whether you work in one (and getting audited by a state you've never been a resident of, don't work in and therefore never filed a tax return in is highly unlikely unless you're a big earner/public figure).

The sticky case with regard to where you *live* is where you have been a tax resident of State 1 and now want to shift your tax residence to lower/no tax State 2 but still want to maintain a physical residence in State 1. In that case tax authorities in State 1 might challenge that tax residency change for a variety of reasons even though you now provably spend <1/2 year in State 1 ('you didn't really move your life' as per drivers license, doctors, religious and social org memberships, etc). That case gets discussed a lot here, but shouldn't apply in the typical nomad case of no physical residence in a state that formerly considered you a resident.

OP made no specific mention I saw of where their income is sourced. *That* can potentially be very complicated and involve many states if you work in many states even briefly. For example, big league athletes have to have their accountants file a slew of non-resident state tax returns for the states containing the various stadiums in the league, prorated for games played there. Another complexity especially recently is wrt remote work, eg. a person wants to consider remote work as being for the FL office, but NY authorities note the person showed up in the NY office back when working in person and claim the remote work is still NY source income.
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Morgan22
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Morgan22 »

deanmoriarty wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 11:31 am
Morgan22 wrote: Sat Jul 09, 2022 12:27 pm I'll pile onto the get a virtual mailbox theme. We have one now with Traveling Mailbox, but Escapees would be similar. We picked Traveling Mailbox (TM) because of the state we wanted to domicile in (the one we were living in before we took off for full time travel) cannot be accomplished with Escapees. But TM has been great. They scan every envelope that comes in. In most cases I tell them to shred it as I know the contents already. (Some places just won't let you go paperless.) But in some cases I ask them to open and scan if I'm not sure what the contents are. I can have them forward mail to anywhere in the world if needed. And the great thing about TM is that they do not scan any junk mail if received. Or if junk mail gets through, you just mark it as such and it doesn't count towards your monthly allotment. (There are different plans to pick depending on how much mail you expect to receive).
When we are ready to settle down in the future and buy or rent a home again, I think I'll keep the TM just to avoid all of the junk mail that we used to receive. It would be worth the $15 a month that we spend on it. (We actually signed up for a year up front and got 2 months free for doing so.)
Are you using your TM address as the address of residence for your driving license, bank accounts and financial accounts? If yes, have you had any problems with it?
Yes, we are using the address for drivers license and all financial accounts. One bank and one credit card would only use the address as a mailing address since they recognized it as a PMB and required I added a residential. So added a sibling's address for those. The only other issue we had was voter registration also recognized it as a PMB and asked for a different address. (This is the state of CA.)
deanmoriarty
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by deanmoriarty »

Morgan22 wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 7:04 pm
deanmoriarty wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 11:31 am Are you using your TM address as the address of residence for your driving license, bank accounts and financial accounts? If yes, have you had any problems with it?
Yes, we are using the address for drivers license and all financial accounts. One bank and one credit card would only use the address as a mailing address since they recognized it as a PMB and required I added a residential. So added a sibling's address for those. The only other issue we had was voter registration also recognized it as a PMB and asked for a different address. (This is the state of CA.)
Thanks. Sadly this is how it always goes: "...it works, BUT for this and that account I had to use a family member address...". What if someone doesn't have a family member? Being abroad and having to deal with your brokerage institution suddenly freezing your $5M account because they just found out you were using a commercial address doesn't sound fun at all.

I have to admit the entire situation makes me uncomfortable, to the point where I do not consider completely insane the idea of having a tiny condo just to keep a permanent residential address (clearly in a location that I'd plan to visit at least once a year). I am a naturalized US citizen and first-generation immigrant who will likely retire partially abroad while keeping all my financial accounts and securities in the US (due to the well known crazy taxation laws), and I still haven't figured out how I am going to solve this residential address requirement. I do not have family in the US and do not want to rely on friends, and even that is extremely brittle because they might just ask for a utility bill for such address and then I'm hosed. Escapees won't cut it for many financial institutions with whom I will want to continue maintaining a relationship (heard about BoA and Chase at least from various forums).
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Morgan22
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Morgan22 »

deanmoriarty wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 7:17 pm
Thanks. Sadly this is how it always goes: "...it works, BUT for this and that account I had to use a family member address...". What if someone doesn't have a family member? Being abroad and having to deal with your brokerage institution suddenly freezing your $5M account because they just found out you were using a commercial address doesn't sound fun at all.

I have to admit the entire situation makes me uncomfortable, to the point where I do not consider completely insane the idea of having a tiny condo just to keep a permanent residential address (clearly in a location that I'd plan to visit at least once a year). I am a naturalized US citizen and first-generation immigrant who will likely retire partially abroad while keeping all my financial accounts and securities in the US (due to the well known crazy taxation laws), and I still haven't figured out how I am going to solve this residential address requirement. I do not have family in the US and do not want to rely on friends, and even that is extremely brittle because they might just ask for a utility bill for such address and then I'm hosed. Escapees won't cut it for many financial institutions with whom I will want to continue maintaining a relationship (heard about BoA and Chase at least from various forums).
Fidelity brokerage is fine with using the TM address. They did not require any other address to be provided. Maybe transfer your assets there? I've read you can use them as a one stop shop also.
BofA and CapOne CC were the ones that required an additional address.
I've never been asked for a recent utility bill for anything. (I've never heard of this before either.)

Edited to add:
I've read that Escapees in FL gives you a real address (not PMB or PO BOX) on their property in Florida. Call them and ask about it to verify if that is the case.
deanmoriarty
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by deanmoriarty »

Morgan22 wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 8:23 pm Fidelity brokerage is fine with using the TM address. They did not require any other address to be provided. Maybe transfer your assets there? I've read you can use them as a one stop shop also.
BofA and CapOne CC were the ones that required an additional address.
I've never been asked for a recent utility bill for anything. (I've never heard of this before either.)

Edited to add:
I've read that Escapees in FL gives you a real address (not PMB or PO BOX) on their property in Florida. Call them and ask about it to verify if that is the case.
Thanks, appreciated!
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Sandtrap
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Sandtrap »

halivingston wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 11:24 pm I need to buy a home for two purposes

(1) I need an address where I can get mail
(2) It has a roof, one room with (preferably cheap) utilities, a kitchen and bathroom and high speed internet.

And I'll be a nomad travelling in and outside the United States.

I will need the address for basic mail and registration, and I'll be there probably 30 days (spread out) in a year. So hopefully I won't get shot living those 30 days in a year and my home won't get flooded.

So, it really has to be rock bottom (think sub-$50k).

Does this exist?

EDIT: Added fast home internet requirement, preferably 100mbps+.
to op;

Substantively.... a studio apartment in a building.
Either rent or buy.

Limitations;
30 days per year?
50k is not much?

to op;
What income stream supports this effort?

j
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MrWasabi65
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by MrWasabi65 »

Bob Wells of CheapRVLiving.com bought a cheap piece of land in Arizona ($2K per acre +/-) I think he spent just under $3K altogether.
The land has a physical address. He drives his van there and parks it and stays there sometimes when he is not staying in all the other places he loves out west.

He says all banks and institutions AND vehicle insurer accept this address because it is an actual piece of land, even if undeveloped.
Crazy that the intent is to know where you are, even if the address is someplace you never are, or rarely are.
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crystalbank
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by crystalbank »

sphinx2020 wrote: Sat Jul 09, 2022 3:23 pm If the OP insists on owning a physical property, why not spend a little more to purchase something that would work as an AirBNB and pay a professional management firm to manage it?

He can live in the property 30 days a year, and have the house occupied and maintained by someone else the other ~335 days a year.
This doesn't sound like a terrible idea. Even if he doesn't make any profit on the property it should cover the costs of a professional management firm maintaining it full time while he is away.
MrWasabi65
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by MrWasabi65 »

I was wondering if halivingston or deanmoriarty have any updates to make for this thread? if they have found solutions? thanks
JDave
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by JDave »

halivingston wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:43 am can you explain how they decay? I don't understand. Spiders?
Water (all houses leak sooner or later), wind - blows shingles off roof, blows debris at/on house, extreme heat, extreme cold, animals, bugs, plants, fungus, bacteria, corrosion, ultraviolet radiation, soil movement, burglars, vandals. Houses are entropy magnets!
Tundrama
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Tundrama »

halivingston wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 11:24 pm I need to buy a home for two purposes

(1) I need an address where I can get mail
(2) It has a roof, one room with (preferably cheap) utilities, a kitchen and bathroom and high speed internet.

And I'll be a nomad travelling in and outside the United States.

I will need the address for basic mail and registration, and I'll be there probably 30 days (spread out) in a year. So hopefully I won't get shot living those 30 days in a year and my home won't get flooded.

So, it really has to be rock bottom (think sub-$50k).

Does this exist?

EDIT: Added fast home internet requirement, preferably 100mbps+.
Yes, many small towns in North or South Dakota.
heyyou
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by heyyou »

There are many, many full time RV users, so the solution is known, but maybe not among the group posting here. Yes, there may be fewer ways than before the crackdown by the financial institutions.
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AnnetteLouisan
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

Since you mention this is part of your disaster plan, consider that having an unoccupied or rarely occupied home can add risk to your life rather than reducing it:

1. Invites squatters and worse (people using it as a stash house). This is a very real thing.

2. Invites adverse possession claims, slip and fall lawsuits, hassles from the nosy neighbors in the community and municipal fines.

3. An overflowing mailbox sends a signal that the property is vacant. The taxes and maintenance costs are just draining money from your assets.

4. There are wonderful hotels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnbs all over the country eager to welcome you for far less than the cost of an unoccupied home. Since you don’t know where a disaster will occur, hotels provide a wider range of options.

5. Under what circumstances would you suddenly lose everything?

6. Did anyone mention trailer parks yet? Some are in retirement locations and you can probably ask a neighbor to get your mail for a small fee.

7. Your earlier posts say you already have a home in the US with a mortgage, so why would you need another?
MrWasabi65
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by MrWasabi65 »

There are many, many full time RV users, so the solution is known, but maybe not among the group posting here. Yes, there may be fewer ways than before the crackdown by the financial institutions.

From my read of the RV forums, it seems the least risky route is to have your mail forwarded to a family member or friend who is not nomadic...basically using someone else's address.
3feetpete
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by 3feetpete »

Not quite sub 50K but close. https://www.centuryvillage.com/places/c ... palm-beach Gated Retirement community in Florida. Furnished, cheap taxes and utilities. Lots of amenities and close to several airports.
Point
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Point »

Starlink can meet your needs for high speed internet. The RV version for periodic usage.
Mr. Buzzkill
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Mr. Buzzkill »

halivingston wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 11:24 pm I need to buy a home for two purposes

(1) I need an address where I can get mail
(2) It has a roof, one room with (preferably cheap) utilities, a kitchen and bathroom and high speed internet.

And I'll be a nomad travelling in and outside the United States.

I will need the address for basic mail and registration, and I'll be there probably 30 days (spread out) in a year. So hopefully I won't get shot living those 30 days in a year and my home won't get flooded.

So, it really has to be rock bottom (think sub-$50k).

Does this exist?

EDIT: Added fast home internet requirement, preferably 100mbps+.
If it were me, I’d look into renting a spare room from a friend or family member or maybe even an acquaintance or stranger who has such a house meeting your requirements and doesn’t mind a barely there tenant. Preferably in a state with low or no personal income taxes.
A strategy that works only in bull markets isn’t much of a strategy.
Valuethinker
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Valuethinker »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Tue Jul 19, 2022 7:21 pm Since you mention this is part of your disaster plan, consider that having an unoccupied or rarely occupied home can add risk to your life rather than reducing it:

There is the question of a permanent address.

That aside, wouldn't a cheap condo in Florida (of Phoenix?) be the best option? It has costs, yes, but one can just leave it unoccupied for 6 months at a time - Canadian "snowbirds" arrive in say October-November and depart in April, like clockwork.

Doesn't solve the mail forwarding problem, I concede.
Freetime76
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Freetime76 »

JackoC wrote: Sat Jul 09, 2022 9:47 am
Dottie57 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:20 am
Johndoefire65 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:11 am My cousin is selling his home for 10k-20k in Minnesota. Not sure on internet speeds. Send me a PM if interested.

My friend just bought a nice small rental home in a local town for 25k.
Fairly high tax state. I live here and like it. But I would not want to pay income tax here with SDnext door.
Yeah most posts focus on the mechanics of owned house v rental, amenities of the local area etc. And those things would matter, but needing an address in the US you only live at for 30 days a year it would seem clear you don't want to pay income tax in that state. Often here we have 'non-political' (but actually political) debates about the cost/benefit of state income tax in 'where to retire' threads, but if you're not actually going to be there state income tax is just charity, there's lots of ways to be charitable, and this person isn't asking about how to be more charitable. That said, OP didn't mention where they earn their income, which might be taxable in that state (they also mentioned overseas) as a non-resident, and the nominal state of residence might give a credit for that so that effectively only investment income was taxable there. But we also don't know if OP's investment income (or income in general) is significant enough to worry much about income taxes.

But defaulting to own situation in lieu of better info, I wouldn't consider any state with an income tax as a nominal residence in which I only spent a month a year. I'll leave aside the debate about state income tax in a place you actually live. I would limit consideration to Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming before considering specific communities or properties. I'd also eliminate WA due to their estate tax. NH doesn't tax wage income but it does tax investment income which would kill it for us. I'm sure we could find something workable in a no income/estate tax state for 30 days a year.
Just a few comments about the disaster plan aspect:
1. Do not plan on riding out that sort of event in a college town - students would be one of the least self-sufficient groups, in my opinion. (How much food, water and medical supplies are in the average dorm room?)

2. If this is your possible Bug Out or Bug In location :wink: it adds a whole host of considerations - stability in the area, economics of the state (I.e.my small town police force is under budget, while other areas only are answering violent emergency calls because of no fuel budget)...a whole analysis in and of itself.

3. Keep thinking about what you really want out of this plan. Do you want a home base where you actually will be at times, or if you only want an address for tax purposes or do you want a rental? If disaster strikes, you can’t just kick out a renter.

4. If its a physical building- vacant- it is going to deteriorate or you are going to pay housesitters. If you turn off climate control, you may have mildew (white fuzzy or some moldy stuff) or cracking drywall. Running the water, refilling plumbing traps so nothing nefarious comes in through the drain waste vent pipes, checking for problems, being *present* from time to time. Honestly, you could have squatters for 10 months and not realize it. Also, do not underestimate the amount of damage one squirrel or a family of mice can do ... or just how many ant families and bees come to stay. there’s a reason that people who own vacation cottages/cabins spend half of their supposed vacation tending to it. Or pay someone to do it.

5. Where I live, you can get a house in a small town at auction for $30K; do some cleanup and it’s livable . Or put a camper in somebody’s back yard. Cheap houses exist, but I’d start with an area first and then dig into it - like the $15K over a fence purchase. Not everything is on the internet.
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biscuit5
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by biscuit5 »

AerialWombat wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:14 am
quantAndHold wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:28 am Establish residency in South Dakota, get a PO Box with a mail forwarding service, and rent an AirBNB when you’re in country.
This really is the solution OP is looking for. I did it this way for many years. OP hasn’t responded to any of the comments related to this, however, so I get the feeling they are dismissing this option for some reason.
why South Dakota?
alex_686
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by alex_686 »

biscuit5 wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 9:55 pm
AerialWombat wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:14 am
quantAndHold wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:28 am Establish residency in South Dakota, get a PO Box with a mail forwarding service, and rent an AirBNB when you’re in country.
This really is the solution OP is looking for. I did it this way for many years. OP hasn’t responded to any of the comments related to this, however, so I get the feeling they are dismissing this option for some reason.
why South Dakota?
No state income tax. Plus they have a small local industry that caters to people who are full time transits.
Former brokerage operations & mutual fund accountant. I hate risk, which is why I study and embrace it.
YoungSisyphus
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by YoungSisyphus »

OP, you can be my roommate - just mail me a check :sharebeer :mrgreen:

Kidding aside, this is an interesting thread. I've been looking for land for some time and finding a low cost property is on my list as well - so thanks for asking the question
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AerialWombat
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by AerialWombat »

alex_686 wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 6:51 am
biscuit5 wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 9:55 pm
AerialWombat wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:14 am
quantAndHold wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:28 am Establish residency in South Dakota, get a PO Box with a mail forwarding service, and rent an AirBNB when you’re in country.
This really is the solution OP is looking for. I did it this way for many years. OP hasn’t responded to any of the comments related to this, however, so I get the feeling they are dismissing this option for some reason.
why South Dakota?
No state income tax. Plus they have a small local industry that caters to people who are full time transits.
Also, state laws are favorable to the nomadic folks. Residency declaration requires only a receipt for one night in a hotel or campground, and they are one of just two states left where it’s legal to put a commercial mail receiving agent address (PMB) as the address on your driver license.
This post is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real financial advice is purely coincidental.
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K72
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by K72 »

I have friends who just sold their house and started a 2 year boat trip. They needed a physical address (I don't know the details) and found they could establish that in South Dakota or Florida. The trick was the need to physically go there for one day to register. I think they chose Florida. Others have mentioned that RV'ers do this. You might want to join an RV forum and find out the details.
All we want are the facts...
truenorth418
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by truenorth418 »

AerialWombat wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 9:27 am
alex_686 wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 6:51 am
biscuit5 wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 9:55 pm
AerialWombat wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:14 am
quantAndHold wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:28 am Establish residency in South Dakota, get a PO Box with a mail forwarding service, and rent an AirBNB when you’re in country.
This really is the solution OP is looking for. I did it this way for many years. OP hasn’t responded to any of the comments related to this, however, so I get the feeling they are dismissing this option for some reason.
why South Dakota?
No state income tax. Plus they have a small local industry that caters to people who are full time transits.
Also, state laws are favorable to the nomadic folks. Residency declaration requires only a receipt for one night in a hotel or campground, and they are one of just two states left where it’s legal to put a commercial mail receiving agent address (PMB) as the address on your driver license.
Which is the other state where this is legal?
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AerialWombat
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by AerialWombat »

truenorth418 wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 2:29 pm Which is the other state where this is legal?
I am not a lawyer, but last time I checked it was SD and TX.
This post is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real financial advice is purely coincidental.
Hebell
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by Hebell »

I have spent the last 3 weeks exploring this, as my husband is very close to retirement


We live in Florida now and have domicile in florida, but we want to travel full time in Airbnbs. We had hoped to do this with no homeowners, no renters insurance policy, and get a standalone umbrella policy.

IMPORTANT: using the virtual mail services, and companies like Saint Brendan's Isle in Green cove Florida, works really great if you have an RV or a boat. But in speaking with them a few times, if you plan to use exclusively airbnbs and will not have a home or apartment anywhere, you will no longer be able to register your car in Clay county, where they at.

Obviously when we learned that, our hopes were dashed.

If you have an RV or a boat, that becomes your physical address, and there's even a way to indicate it on a driver's license. But if you have no home (RV or boat) at all, "you have to depend on friends or family". That's straight out of the mouth of the good folks at St Brendan's Isle.

For us bogleheads, this is very important because we need a legitimate physical address in order to gain umbrella insurance (particularly if you're driving that vehicle to go all around the country thereby increasing your chance of lawsuits). I abandoned any further efforts to find standalone umbrella coverage, once I discovered the problem with car registration. Our country is wired to want to have a physical address. Perhaps this will change in another 5 years.

So we are going to get a small apartment in the Midwest near some bike trails, and get the heck out of Florida. We've had it with this place. Once we roam in all directions around our base, using airbnbs, we'll settle down again as we transition from the Go-Go old years to the slow-go old years!
MrWasabi65
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by MrWasabi65 »

So we are going to get a small apartment in the Midwest near some bike trails, and get the heck out of Florida.

Are you considering South Dakota?

It seems the whole situation is made much easier if there is no vehicle involved (such as in other transportation types of nomadic life)
stocknoob4111
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by stocknoob4111 »

I think the general fear is that the cost of housing is increasing at double or triple the rate of inflation. If one wants to return back to the US at some point in the future housing costs would be so expensive that one would be permanently priced out. Buying something locks the price in giving some amount of security, but I do agree that leaving a property unattended for that long is a bad idea.
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halivingston
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by halivingston »

I have an update to share.

After extensive research, I have concluded all US states west of I-29 do not meet my requirements. They are just too expensive and attract significant investment from all over the US and world.

Furthermore, the following mid west states have been ruled out due to property taxes -- MN, ND, SD, WI, MI, IL, OH

North England excluded, Sunbelt excluded because of humidity (this impacts mostly vacant properties).

I am effectively down to IA and IN in the Midwest, and AL, AR, TN in the south and WV.

Special note about IA. IA is actually a very unique situation. It has high property taxes, but severely depressed property prices, and while the major airport Des Moines is nothing great, it has reasonable daily volume of flights.

IN is actually even more interesting. Some parts of IN are significantly cheaper than the rest of the US and the crime rate isn't substantially worse.

MO is moderately interesting because St. Louis is not half bad. But crime ...

AL, AR, TN, WV have low prop taxes and many areas can be low crime.

TN is the only one with no income tax and realistically that will drive me to do something there, but no decision yet.
MrWasabi65
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by MrWasabi65 »

I would think that AL & AR would qualify as sunbelt states = humidity.

TN & WV likely include some low cost areas not tooo far from decent sized airports.

Why did you exclude New England? can't recall. There are economically depressed areas that are not terribly far from larger airports - thinking PA and upstate NY in particular.
phantom0308
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Re: Looking for the cheapest, smallest BUT safe home anywhere in the US

Post by phantom0308 »

If I’ve heard good things about living in a van down by the river
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