Montana house hack in a 1967 Vintage Camper

1 Reply

Investment Info:

Mobile home other investment in Big Sky.

Purchase price: $4,000
Cash invested: $1,000
Sale price: $5,000

I call Montana home, and I have access to endless open space and public lands where I can mostly live for free. Thus, as a young single male who felt at home in the wilderness, it was a no brainer for me to buy my 1967 Kit Companion Camper as my first real estate investment. At the time of purchase, I spent half the year on the road as a guide/trip developer for a premier American travel company, and the other half I spent personally traveling abroad or planning my next adventure from Montana.

What made you interested in investing in this type of deal?

The average rent in Big Sky is around $750-$1,200/month. The camper paid for itself in 4 months. I've called it my home base for the last four years, saving roughly $48,000 in rent. Airbnb is my primary source of income, and I am keen on what's trending in the short-term rental industry. As a millennial, I know what my peers are looking for while traveling. Alternative rentals such as vintage campers like mine that provide more of an "experience" often fetch a much higher price per night.

How did you find this deal and how did you negotiate it?

I found this camper on craigslist, a college student had purchased it and spent a semester renovating it in his gargae. He was in a pinch to sell it as he was heading back to his homeland of Australia after his final semester at Montana State in Bozeman, Montana. I drive a relatively new Ford F-150 so pulling the camper wasn't a problem directly after purchase.

How did you finance this deal?

I paid for this deal, cash in full.

How did you add value to the deal?

I found creative solutions to find free places to live. There are many campgrounds on the fringe of Big Sky that I utilized to base as my home. Unfortunately, this isn't free, and you can only stay for a maximum of 16 days per site. I had a few secret spots I parked for free at but would have to keep my residence on the down-low while there. During the winter, I parked my home behind a restaurant where I was employed as a server.

What was the outcome?

I had the foresight of buying a condo in Big Sky soon after the purchase of this camper and knew I would most likely never live in the one-bedroom / one-bath condo I was looking to buy. A year later I followed through with buying a condo in Big Sky which I then launched on Airbnb and generated a cash flow too good to ever live there. Thus this camper continues to be my home to this day.

Lessons learned? Challenges?

The environmental elements I endure in the northern rocky mountains of Montana are my biggest challenges. Extreme cold and winter that seemingly lasts forever, most notably makes this life difficult. I pride myself on being self-reliant and for having the ability to live comfortably in uncomfortable circumstances. I don't have running water; I don't have a flushing toilet and I don't have a girlfriend! My living situation, at times, turns into a full-time survial situation.

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