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'We sold our £130k home to move into abandoned caravan park and live mortgage-free'

Mirror logo Mirror 15/08/2022 Rosaleen Fenton

When Jon and Emilie James visited a local caravan park up for sale, they realised the opportunity it could offer them. Despite living in a cosy home, the 33-year-old's who are both wedding photographers and videographers, were open to the idea of uprooting in a bid to live mortgage-free.

But while many people might simply downsize or choose to live in a cheaper area - the determined pair had other ideas. They sold their house and bought an abandoned caravan park for £90,000 after falling in love with it on the first visit. Jon and Emilie James, both 33, bought the old caravan park near Llanelli, Wales, in June, and hope to bring it back to life.

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Jon working on the caravan © Camp Out West@Youtube / SWNS Jon working on the caravan

The couple decided they wanted to live debt free and sold up their first home and belongings for £132,000 through Instagram.

After paying off their mortgage they had £79,000 left and used another £11,000 in savings to pay for the caravan park – leaving them with just £500 in the bank.

The pair decided they wanted to live a simple, mortgage free life, and thought the caravan park was the perfect fit.

They moved onto the land eight weeks ago and are living in a small touring caravan - which they have also done up - while they renovate the park.

Jon and Emilie James bought the abandoned caravan park for £90,000 © Camp Out West@Youtube / SWNS Jon and Emilie James bought the abandoned caravan park for £90,000

Emilie said they will do all the work themselves in a bid to save money and are not afraid to learn new things along the way.

Emilie said: "We heard that the land was for sale back in 2020 and when I mentioned it to Jon, asking if he knew where it was, he replied 'no way are we buying that'.

"Jon knew exactly where it was, as we used to pass it every-time we went to visit his grandad.

"A year passed and it was still for sale so in August 2021 we thought we might as well go and look at it. As soon as we walked around, we feel in love and we put in our offer the next day.

The caravan now © Camp Out West@Youtube / SWNS The caravan now

"The sale took eight months to complete, and at points we thought it might never happen. When we finally got the confirmation that it had gone through, there were a lot of happy tears.

"We literally wake up everyday and say we can't believe it's ours. We feel grateful we were able to pay off our mortgage and now own the land outright, without any debt.

"It's always been important to us to live within our means, so we really wanted to buy something affordable, without being in loads of debt or having a big mortgage.

Jon and Emilie James bought the abandoned caravan park for £90,000 © Camp Out West@Youtube / SWNS Jon and Emilie James bought the abandoned caravan park for £90,000

“We really didn't have a big budget which meant our options were limited to what we could buy.

“The caravan park was in our budget and would allow us to live simply, in a place we love, debt free, so this just seems like the perfect fit for us.”

Emilie said the old miners caravan park has been in steady decline since the coal mine closed back in 1989 and left to become completely overgrown.

Before photos © Camp Out West@Youtube / SWNS Before photos

She said: "The abandoned caravans were completely rotten and past the point of repair.

"We are living in a small touring caravan on the land, while we clear the land. We are planning to bring the park back to life.

"After the coal mine closed back in 1989, the old coal miners caravan park has been in a steady decline, with little use or love, and left to become completely overgrown.

"We are planning to tidy up the land, remove the old, rotten caravans that have been here for decades and replace with more modern ones.

"We aren't afraid of a challenge and love how many new skills we will get to learn along the way.

"As we spent all our money on the land purchase, we don't really have the budget to hire people to do work for us.

"We are just renovating it month by month ourselves, as we get paid from our jobs. We are really excited to see where we will be this time next year.

"This is the least amount of money we have ever had in our bank account. But we are very easily pleased and don't need much to be happy, so we are just taking it day by day.

"We spent all our money from our house sale and savings so we could buy the land outright, which left us with £500 in our bank.

"It's a slow process as we start saving up our money each month from our day jobs, but it's really important to us to do what we can afford.”

The couple are documenting their journey on YouTube here.


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