The Work House


| 6/12/2013 5:19:37 PM


Tags: Work space, farm business, canning, quilting, renovations, Suzanne Cox,

In the summer of 2011 when Andrew and I first found the property we now call home our biggest concern was how to make the payment. The land was beautiful; the ponds clean and full, with a nice big barn on the back and even a little office. On the front of the property on the road were two small singlewide trailers. We had originally been looking for five acres where we could build a home. Our house plans were already picked out, our down payment secure in the bank, all that was missing was the land. This property however was 24 acres and significantly more than we had designated for our land budget. After much thought and prayer, and many late nights spent bent over a notepad and calculator we decided the best decision for our family was to purchase this property and move a doublewide onto it for our family until we could afford to build that house. The land was much more important to us than the living arrangements, and this way we could use the rental income from the trailers to pay the land payment. Works in theory, but seldom does real life adhere to the rules set forth by my pen and paper!  

The first few months after we moved things went smoothly. Just as we had planned, the rental income covered our farm payment. Then things began to go south. One of our renters had stopped paying the rent, and the other was causing us weekly grief with the police for their domestic arguments. So round #1 of renters didn’t work out so well, they were all evicted and the homes were made ready for new tenants. Round #2 of renters didn’t go much better, and after $2000 in repairs and $3200 in un-paid rent they were also evicted. By this time we were pretty discouraged! In fact, we were so aggravated by the whole thing that we simply sold off one of the trailers.  Porches, poles and all it was sold and gone in two weeks. The sale of the trailer helped us recover much of our loss, and we once again started making improvements on the remaining trailer. Our next tenant went a little more smoothly, but after seven months they were gone as well. Our initial plan of being landlords was NOT going as planned! 

Andrew and I love farming. We really enjoy being together with the kids as a family and spending our time outdoors working. This experience showed us that one thing we did NOT enjoy was being a landlord! So, the last few weeks we have taken a serious look at our goals, finances, and the direction in which we wanted to proceed with this empty trailer.  

 Work House 

When we first relocated, our family of four fit tightly but comfortably into our 1150 sq ft home. Now however, we have three young children in two small bedrooms with very little work space and non-existent storage. With home schooling, quilting, canning, and freezers full of homegrown meats we are busting at the seams! So a new idea struck us. Instead of spending our time, trouble, and efforts on renters why not use the space ourselves?  

For the first time since moving, I am now excited and smile when I look at that trailer! What had become a money pit and area of concern is now going to be transformed into an income opportunity!  

paulajeromeg
4/29/2014 9:43:16 PM

Hey Suzanne great job making lemonade from lemons. I love your quilts too. I will keep an eye on your ventures for ideas and sales. Good Luck!


suzanne cox
6/18/2013 4:36:41 PM

Zendelle, it may be old and not pretty on the outside, but the renovations inside really aren't that expensive since we are doing it all ourselves. :) We will get far more out of it in the long run using it ourselves rather than having it removed. We have talked about using it for the next 5 years or so, and then building a small work space up there and removing it. Just make sure yours is structurally sound. That's the important thing. Beyond that, you can probably yard sale or shop used ad's online for much of what you would need to fix the inside. Good luck with your future homestead!


zendelle bouchard
6/18/2013 11:00:20 AM

Wow - what a great way, or should I say ways, to use a trailer! On our future homestead, there is a trailer in bad shape. I was thinking of having it hauled out of there, but now maybe I will see if it can be fixed up. You have got me thinking!


suzanne cox
6/14/2013 8:01:01 PM

Dave you are so right, even if we never make $1 up there it will still be worth it just so I don't have to deal with tenants! My nerves were shot, we were making so many trips to the court house filing judgements, trying to find people who were running from debt, dealing with the police and even the shelters and rescue groups for all the pets they weren't allowed to have but then abandoned when they left... WHEW! This plan is WAY better for my health and sanity!


nebraska dave
6/14/2013 2:30:01 PM

Suzanne, it sounds like you and Andrew are well on the way through a transition toward acquiring your goal. I too would not like trying to manage rental properties. It would be too difficult for me to be that confrontational with problem tenets. The plans you have now sound much better for the nerves than trying to find good renters. Good luck with all your future ventures. Have a great excited day planning your expansion into the new work house.





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