By Jacob Moore
HALIFAX (CTV Network) — Some Maritimers are finding creative solutions in order to buy their first home.
Luke Chiasson and his partner were paying $1,500 a month to live in a one-bedroom apartment in Dartmouth, but making those monthly payments didn’t qualify them for a mortgage, they were told.
Chiasson said he knows people with mortgages half that cost. So the couple “took matters into their own hands” and converted an old school bus into a mobile apartment.
“We’ve gone from paying $1,500 a month to paying nothing a month, except for food and water,” Chiasson said.
Now that Chiasson and his partner don’t have to pay rent, they’re saving their money to eventually put a down payment on a home, hopefully by next fall, he said.
It took a lot of work and a lot of money to convert the bus, though. Chiasson said he and his partner were broke for a year, putting all their money into the project.
‘WE’RE MAKING SOMEBODY ELSE RICH’
“But it was because we knew the clock was ticking. We said we can’t be spending our savings on rent. It’s just going into a pit. We’re making somebody else rich.”
While the couple worked on the bus, they stored it on a friend’s property. Chiasson said he would work all day and then head over to work on the bus.
“I was pulling 18-hour days, you know?” he said.
First, the couple had to gut the bus, take out the seats and strip it to the bare metal. Then, they painted on rust paint. They build a subfloor and a wooden frame on top of that to make all the surfaces the same plane, Chiasson said.
“Once we sort of had our floor plan, we just started, you know, throwing cabinets in, picking our walls.”
Now that winter has arrived, they heat the bus’s main room with a wood stove and the bedroom with a diesel heater, Chiasson said.
They have a propane and electric water heater for external use only, he said, but they have running water in the bus.
FREEDOM TO TRAVEL
One of the advantages of the mobile home is the couple can travel, Chiasson said.
Typically, they try and stick to safe, private places, usually big pieces of land owned by friends or family. But they also like to stay on the go, and if they wanted a vacation, Chiasson said, they could go south any time and chase the warm weather.
“It’s pretty comfortable, you know? Just like a little apartment, right?” he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Paul DeWitT
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