Living in a House that cost $200 as a Teenager

Kristin Rowan
4 min readDec 9, 2016
$200 house

When I was in middle school all three of my parents got laid off. Also in middle school my mom and stepdad bought a fixer-upper mobile home. The price they offered was $200 and it was accepted. We also had to pay rent on the lot, but the house itself was $200.

When we first bought the house we had the money to fix it up properly. Once everyone got laid off we couldn’t afford it anymore, but we also couldn’t afford to move anywhere else. The old interior of the house had been gutted, leaving only the framework covered by a leaky roof. We fixed up the master bedroom and bathroom of the mobile home so it was livable and my mom, stepdad, and brother lived in that room along with our cat Simba and three gerbils. Once our gerbils died we replaced them with a dog Lycos(named after the search engine).

We did not have a sink; only a shower. We had a microwave, a mini refrigerator, and a single burner. The bathroom doubled as a kitchen. We did not have cable so we borrowed lots of videos from the library.

We got unemployment money and I got free lunches at school. My mom applied to tons of jobs, but many said no because she has a Master’s degree.

My dad lived in a one-bedroom apartment a few minutes away. It’s lucky my divorced parents still get along so well because we would take our dirty clothes and do laundry at his apartment. My brother and I would also hang out with him frequently on the weekends. It was not a particularly nice apartment, but the build quality was a lot higher than the mobile home.

We always had a lot of laundry to do because one of the ways we made any money was selling clothes on eBay. We would go to the Goodwill bins and search mostly for good quality children’s clothes and then we would sell them. It was like a game. We would buy fifty pounds worth of clothes at a time because it got cheaper when you bought more. Then we would take very detailed pictures of them. One of the unfinished bedrooms in the mobile home was turned into a pseudo photo studio for photographing and then storing all the clothes.

When we weren’t at the mobile home or at my dad’s apartment we were at my dad’s girlfriend’s house. She was beyond rich compared to us. She lived in a three bedroom house by herself. The build quality on…