Depends on how you look at it. Fundamentally, I’m looking at the overall condition of the bus (particularly in terms of rust damage), the type and condition of the engine and transmission, and the condition of the tires. The amount and type of rust damage plays a big part in the suitability of a bus. Different types of engines and transmissions are better suited to different things. Mechanical engines are easier to work on than electronically controlled ones. Tires for a bus are expensive.
More superficially, I’m looking for a bus in the 30-35 foot range. I’d prefer a Thomas at this point in time, but I’m somewhat flexible if the right bus comes along. I’m going back and forth between favoring a conventional (dog nose) bus and a flat nose front engine bus. I’d rather have the emergency exit in the rear. Beyond that, I’m fairly flexible still!
I put a lot of thought into this before deciding on a skoolie. For nostalgic reasons, the idea of a skoolie has always appealed to me. On the other hand, both vans and tiny houses have points in their favor. In the end it came down to a few simple rationalizations.
Vans are small
Yes, I’m looking for something “small”, but vans push it a little farther than I’m willing to go at the moment. I’m not looking for something to live out of for a while, this is going to be my permanent home. As such, I want a few creature comforts… like the ability to comfortably stand inside and a traditional shower.
A THOW isn’t self reliant
In my current position, I’m struggling to get the money together to build a bus… let alone buy a trailer, build a house, and then still need to buy a vehicle capable of pulling the trailer. A bus has the advantage of being self-contained.
The price is right
A decent used school bus is cheaper than both a van and a trailer to build a tiny house on. Additionally, being entirely enclosed allows me to build in stages while still living in the bus (once a certain point is reached in the build process).
Vans are more mobile than a bus, but a bus is more mobile than a THOW. Given the other considerations, a bus seems like the right compromise for me.
The laws regarding licensing for a bus depend on your location. In Nebraska, no special license is needed if you aren’t carrying passengers. Additionally, many states consider a bus an RV once it has a toilet installed and the seats removed.
I’m sort of between jobs at the moment. I’m a freelance web developer, but I’m not doing any consistent work at the moment. Hopefully that changes soon!
Yes! I don’t really have a steady home at the moment, so the bus will be home!