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Living in a mobile home on site during house build, with kids - tips?

9 replies

RoughShooting · 25/02/2012 21:52

Have any of you done this? We will be doing the building work ourselves, and as we are trying to keep costs low won't be able to continue renting our current house while we build, so are planning probably two mobile homes linked with a porch/utility room type shed.

Any tips for making it work as well as possible, and being a stress-free experience? Kids are 0, 2 and 6.

OP posts:
PacificDogwood · 25/02/2012 21:56


Don't do it.

fossil97 · 25/02/2012 22:19

er... good luck

I suggest make your temporary accommodation as comfortable and useable as possible because you will be occupying it for a long time, and building work on top of jobs and family is enough to try anyone's nerves/relationships/patience/temper to the limit and beyond! Spend a few £ on decent storage, cooking facilities etc. And take a long hard look at how realistic your budget is and what you could get someone to do.

We are about 5 months into our extension, it's nearly finished but I just feel the children will never get those months back when Mum and Dad were tired, distracted and shouty, there was no bath, no garden, no proper food and not much fun.

DaisySteiner · 25/02/2012 23:10

No tips, but some people we know moved into an arrangement, which by the sounds of it is very like yours, with their 5 (yes, 5) children and 2 dogs while they built their new house. Three years on and they're still living there quite happily (god knows what has happened to their new house but there's no sign of it Shock)

Chippychop · 25/02/2012 23:56

I too had a friend with 4 dc's under 6 they moved into 2 connecting mobile homes and were in them for 2 years. One for living/office the other as bedrooms. Luckily her mum was near and did the washing etc but be prepared for lots of mud, frozen taps and the cold in winter. Hard work but it save them loads and she sold the caravans on. I remember her once saying she was followed around the supermarket by the store detective who thought she was a tinker she was so scruffy!

xmyboys · 26/02/2012 08:17

How long will you plan to stay in them?

AnnawakeFourkiller · 26/02/2012 08:26

Our neighbours are currently doing this (we were lucky that we could stay in our old house during the build) and seem to cope fine. They have a fenced off area round the caravan so dog and kids can stay safe when heavy machinery on site, and have extended the caravan with a porch

if we would have needed to, we'd have done it too.. new house well worth it in the end

PacificDogwood · 26/02/2012 10:37

RoughShooting, I now feel bad to have been so unhelpful with my first post, sorry.

We have gutted/renovated/extented 2 old houses - the first one just as a couple, the second one with 2 DCs (aged 2 and 3 at the time) and me pregnant.
The first time we kind of camped out at a neighbours (eternal gratitude is due to them), the plan was for 10-12 weeks: took 10 months Blush.
The 2nd time we moved into rented accommodation for 1 year.

So, I don't actually have experience of what you are planning on doing, but here are my toptips:

  • Set a realistic budget. No point in planning on doing everything on a shoestring if that is not likely to actually reallly happen. Add contingencies: things can and usually will go pearshaped at some point in a big build like that.

  • Remember your DCs will get older while your in your temporary accommodation; plan for that.

  • If you will be working whilst also doing your own building work, PACE YOURSELVES. It is hard and the initial enthusiasm will give way loooooong before the near-finished project will give you a boos again to the end.

  • Rope in as much help with childcare as you can: nursery, family, friends.

Children love a good building site Smile, ours had their own hard hats and rigger's boots (they were a godsend actually), but do need to be kept safe. We had a couple of non-negotiable rules: NEVER go on site without one of us. NEVER climb scaffolding.

V best of luck. I am well impressed with anybody who is considering to do this or has done this. It's hard enough when NOT living in a caravan, although being on site is certainly a good thing in terms of knowning what's going on... a
RoughShooting · 26/02/2012 11:03

Thanks for all your info (as well as you first tip, PacificDogwood, not offended at all!). I'm not sure how long it will take as we have two sites we are considering buying, one for auction which we would prefer but for obvious reasons don't know if we'll get, and a private sale of a barn to convert which will be our choice if we don't get the auction one.
Both have enough land to easily site the caravans.
The auction one has two sections to the building, so we'd be able to set up a temporary kitchen/living room/playroom in one side while we did the work to the other side - one of the reasons I'm really keen on buying it, as then we wouldn't be spending two years just in caravans!
Dh is a builder, so would be doing all the work himself, but once baby no.3 is a bit bigger I intend to return to work full time, letting dh do nursery/school runs and then work on our build for the rest of the day (and night!), while I bring in the money.
The last time we did this we were kidless except at the very end, and it was still stressful, so I know this is going to be really hard, but hopefully worth it to get our 'final' home that's big enough for all of us, low on bills, and with land - if we can manage not to divorce during the next couple of years!

OP posts:
PacificDogwood · 26/02/2012 19:02

Oh, you've done it all before.
AND you know about caravans Wink.
AND your DH is a builder....

Now I don't feel so worried about you any more Smile.

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