A MAN has revealed that he will never have to pay rent again after converting an old bus from a scrapyard into a beautiful home.
Luke Whitaker, 37, picked up his new accommodation for just £1,300 and then spent £10,000 to transform it into a cosy property during the first Covid lockdown.
The move was motivated by a desire to protect his father Joe, 63, from the spread of the virus by moving out of the family home.
However, Luke couldn’t afford to rent a place of his own and so they had to find an alternative.
The father-son duo found a BMC Falcon 2001 bus in a breakers yard in Hereford, Herefordshire, for only £1,300.
As the bus had a seized engine, there was never any question of driving it anywhere.
That said, it didn’t leak and the structural elements were solid which made it a great base for a quirky homestead on the farm.
Luke then spent £8,500 on completely stripping and redecorating the interior of the vehicle, learning conversion and DIY skills from YouTube himself.
Living in the bus allowed Luke to continue working and save money for a house of his own, as well as keeping him and his family socially distanced.
He has been able to save £2,000 after living there for two months which worked out as triple as what he could save when he was renting.
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Halfway through the build, Luke met media producer Nikisha McIntosh, 33, on Bumble and the two hit it off.
And Luke’s new home has even impacted his love life with the couple using the bus as a second date spot when pubs were closed.
Nikisha got involved in the final stages of the conversion by choosing the soft furnishings and now stays with Luke in the bus at weekends.
Luke said: “I decided to buy the bus in the first lockdown. It was about saving money to get onto the property ladder.
“I had just moved back to my parent’s house to help save money to buy my own house when lockdown happened and I decided to buy the bus.
“My father was very worried about coronavirus and decided we needed a safer living solution that would allow me to keep saving money and go to work without the risk of bringing the virus home.
“We found the bus at a bus breakers yard. The engine was totally seized so it didn’t drive, but it was completely watertight and structurally sound.
It seemed like a great idea to turn it into a sustainable tiny home. It also meant I could stay on the farm, so it meant I could also have a day-to-day presence on the farm which made it easier on my parents too.
“The bus is very small but as it’s out in nature, I never feel like I need more space.”
Like many people, the couple found that being a first-time buyer and saving to get on the property ladder is not easy.
The Sun speaks to people each week for its My First Home series about how they’ve managed to buy a property.
One woman told how she gave up her dream job so she could save for her house, while another buyer managed to score thousands of pounds worth of freebies to help him get a foot on the ladder.
The couple says the best thing about living on the bus is the outdoor space, being on the farm, and the connection to nature – as well as cleaning the house only taking five minutes.
However, there are downsides including the lack of storage space and the lack of a washing machine meaning trips back into the family home.
“I’ve loved learning all the really useful DIY skills,” added Luke.
“So far, we’ve had to strip the seats and heaters out, put in a new floor, insulate and panel the sides, build the bedroom and fit the kitchen.
“The hardest part was fitting the chimney. I watched loads of YouTube videos first – it was scary making the first cut as if I’d got it wrong we would have been left with a huge hole in the roof.
“I think to help pay for some of the costs we’re planning to Airbnb the bus exclusively for August and afterwards return it to a farm living space.
“Nikisha loves the bus and finds it a lovely and relaxing place to stay. Most people I tell absolutely love the bus and friends ask if they can stay in it.
“It’s had an amazing reaction from friends and on social media with loads of shares from tiny home and bus living Instagram accounts. It’s been really quite overwhelming.
“It’s amazing to see an idea come to reality. I still can’t quite believe we did it.”
Elsewhere, we speak to a couple who bought their £255,000 first home through an auction.
And one family used the snowball method to clear £26,000 of debt so they could afford a home.