van on the road

Converting Vans into Tiny Homes: Do It Yourself or Ask For Help?

Everyone is finding creative ways to live in different states in the US. Some people buy affordable homes in states with low property values, while some are buying old homes to renovate. All of these are viable ways to purchase a residential home. However, some have chosen to live in their personal vehicles, such as a van. These people are not necessarily homeless. It’s more of a lifestyle decision, and considering that prices for real estate are at an all-time high, no one really blames them.

There are many benefits to living inside a van, one of which is that you can move whenever you want. It’s great if you’re chasing after a band that is on tour. It’s also good you have a one-hour commute to work or university. If you’re a seasonal worker and you plan to chase after work in different states, then living in a van for a while can be a wise decision.

Another benefit of living inside a van is that you can save a lot of money compared to renting an apartment. If you want to save up for a home, but don’t want to rent, then living inside a van is a viable option. There is a wide array of benefits in living in the van, and right now, you might be of doing it as it fits your lifestyle. But where to start? One way to start is to actually get yourself a van.

Getting a Van

If you already have a van, then good for you! But if you’re still looking for one, you can always ask a friend or a relative that might know someone who’s selling their van. You can also look around the internet for people selling their vans. Don’t go looking for a new van. That would be a waste since you’re going to convert it, anyway. Look for a cheap van that still has a lot of its parts intact. Make sure it has a good engine and that it’s not too damaged. You can even opt for a restored van. Those always have a rustic look to them. Once you’ve got a van, it’s time to convert it to either your personalized moving home or an actual home that has no plans of going anywhere.

parked green van

Mechanics and Garage Shops

When converting your van into a home, your friend are mechanics, and your favorite place to be will be garage shops. These two things will help you remodel your van into a home in no time. However, it does take a decent amount of money. Depending on your vehicle’s size and model, conversion can cost you $10,000 to $15,000. That’s on top of the cost of buying the van. It can be costly, but it’s cheaper than doing-it-yourself, especially if you already have the necessary equipment in your garage.


While mechanics and garage shops can help you convert your van, you can also choose to do it yourself. If you have the time and space for it, you can work on your van on the weekends until it becomes the mobile home you’ve truly wanted.

To start, you’ll have to buy yourself the equipment for it. One of the essential pieces of equipment for conversions is vehicle lifters. Since vans are heavy, you’ll have to look for one that has two posts. The best places to search for this heavy-duty equipment are machine shops. Your local machine shop should sell a heavy-duty, two-post vehicle lifter. It’s either they have in brand new or secondhand. It’s better to buy it secondhand because it’s cheaper and you’ll probably only use it once in your life. The vehicle lifter will make it easier for you to work under your van, especially when you have to replace the exhaust or change its hydraulics.

Then once you’ve gotten your vehicle lifter and other standard mechanic tools, it’s time to open up your van. Depending on what you need in your van (a bed, a thermal shower, a cooking place, etc.), you’ll have to remove some parts from it. You can remove the backseat from your van to open up space for a bed and a small closet. You can even put a big carpet beneath your bed to make it look rustic. If you’re crafty enough, you can even add some plumbing in your van and get yourself a solar shower. Many guides on the internet can teach you these things, but it does require some automotive experience to pull off. You can always do some trial-and-error for it to work.

There’s no real right way to convert your van. However, if you don’t have the time, it’s beneficial for you to work with professionals. It’s also better to do this if you don’t have the necessary equipment for the job. If you have the time, the equipment, and the know-how for it, you can undoubtedly do-it-yourself. Remember that converting your van into your home doesn’t necessarily need to be extravagant. As long as you can feel comfortable living in it, then it’s fine!

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