'I bought a damp caravan for £500 on Facebook Marketplace to turn into my little dream home'

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Hayley Rubery in front of her caravan -Credit:Hayley Rubery© SWNS

A woman has bought a bargain caravan on Facebook Market place for just £500 and plans to transform it into her tiny dream home. Hayley Rubery, 33, and her partner, Ben, 40, had always loved the idea of van life but couldn't afford to spend £30,000 on a big van renovation.

Instead, they spotted a 30-year-old caravan on Facebook and managed to bargain the seller down to £500 from £1.5k after they discovered damp. They have set a budget of just £500 to renovate the caravan, and so far have spent £300 taking out the damp wood and redoing the kitchen.

The couple are transforming the home all themselves by "winging it". Hayley, who works as a full-time influencer and lives in Norfolk, said: "We've always loved the idea of van life. The dream is to own a van but it costs £30k. It's not feasible at the moment."

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She explained. "It's a 30 year old caravan. We expected a bit of damp. We didn't let it put us off. It's to give us the experience of van life for the price of £1k rather than £30k."

Hayley and Ben, who works in recruitment, moved to Norfolk three years ago and have slowly been renovating their house. She said: "It's a massive renovation project. We're having to do it quite slowly because of the cost of everything."

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The caravan when the couple bought it -Credit:No credit

The cost of their house project didn't leave much wiggle room to buy a tiny home to holiday in but the couple decided to go for it went they spotted a caravan on Facebook in February 2024.

Hayley said: "It was originally on for £1.5k. I messaged asking if they would accept £1k. Then they said 'there is a little bit of damp - we're happy to do it for £500'."

The pair set themselves a tight £500 budget and started by refilling the outside to stop any further damp. They then removed any damp wood and bought new wood from a timber yard for £5 per piece of plywood.

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The former kitchen -Credit:Hayley Rubery© SWNS

Hayley upcycled the kitchen around £60 - by using budget hacks such as stick on tiles costing £11.89 and using left over paint from previous renovations.

She has also bought vinyl adhesive flooring for £20 - which she will lay down last. She sources decorations from budget shops such as The Range and Matalan.

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Hayley working on her caravan -Credit:Hayley Rubery© SWNS

Hayley said: "Everything we could keep, we have kept. We only replaced what we had to." She will tackle the bathroom next and is planning to use a waterproof adhesive to decorate.

"It's surprising what a difference you can make on a small budget," she added. "I've just been winging it. We're the kind of people that give it a go. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole thing finished."

The pair also have the bedroom and living area to reinsulate but hope to complete the project in time for their summer road trip to Scotland in August.

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The kitchen after the transformation -Credit:No credit

She said: "I want to put a mini projector in and have all the home comforts. I love a country vibe. Caravans get a bad reputation sometimes but I don't think it's a waste of money. I hope we can get a few summers out of it."

You can follow Hayley's journey on TikTok @hayleyrubery_.