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Utah couple building first home out of school bus to avoid rising housing prices

school bus.jpeg
Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 13:30:00-04

A couple in Utah has decided to get creative with their first official home together.

Nate and Emily Jardine have been renting a place since they were married in January of 2021.

The couple wants to own a place for themselves, but housing prices have skyrocketed, and rent has become too expensive for their budget.

"The market is really difficult to get into a home if it’s your first home," said Nate. "So, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to do an alternate option for a home."

The Jardines saw videos on YouTube and social media showing couples renovating school buses into homes -- so they decided to try it for themselves.

The couple spent $4,500 on a bus and are hoping to spend $10,000 to build their first home.

"Our idea is we’ll live in the bus for a couple of years, then buy a home and keep this as an Airbnb in our backyard," said Nate.

The Jardines plan on renovating the bus next summer.

Something the couple hasn't worked out, though, is where to put their bus-home while they live out of it.

"It shouldn’t be super hard to find someone with a piece of property somewhere who will let us live on it," said Nate.

Jordan Cullimore, the lead attorney for the state of Utah's Office of Property Rights Ombudsman, said each county has different rules on how long a van can be parked out on private property.

"If you’re in a more urban or suburban environment, you’re probably going to locate for a few days but not many more," said Cullimore.

Their office has seen a rise in folks "thinking more creatively" about living, whether it's in a tiny home, a shipping container or even a school bus.

Alex Montandon is one of the many "flipping" a bus into a new mobile home.

"I just decided, 'Hey, I’m going to buy one and build it,'" he said.

Montandon's bus-home will be registered as a mobile home or RV for recreation.

"I want to have it done, painted by next week," he said.

Painting the exterior, adding beds, couches, tinted windows, curtains, carpet, and a bathroom are all on Montandon's to-do list for his new bus-home.

"It's just awesome," he said. "Don't be scared to take on a project like this."