Your Homestead

Even in Houston, which does not implement citywide zoning laws, living in a tent (or a shipping container without utilities) on your property will not fly. Whatever structure is used as a primary residence has to be legally sited on the property. Although we opted to build from the ground up, we had researched various ways of getting a shelter in place quickly at the beginning of our journey. Something that would give us a shell, a covering, under which we could then build out the inside. If the thought of starting from scratch is intimidating, then one of these might be a good alternative:

House Moving
Rather than demolish old houses built on piers to build something new, there are companies that specialize in structural relocation; they raise houses off their foundation and can drive them to a new location. If the house doesn’t have an immediate new home, the company will keep them on lots where you can tour them before purchasing. 
Prefabricated Houses
There are now an assortment of companies designing prefab houses that aren’t the standard double-wide trailer set-up. They are modern, made with sustainable materials, energy efficient, and delivered as pre-manufactured parts installed on site.
Container Houses
We were very interested in container homes. Two or three 40 ft. containers can be arranged as structural anchors for a home, complete with a common space in the middle. A flexible layout solution and, depending on the size of your property, can be easily expanded or altered.
Industrial Metal Buildings
There are also companies that assemble industrial metal building in various standard sizes, such as 40 x 60 ft. or 20 x 30 ft. Once a concrete slab is poured, a crew is set out to erect a steel I-Beam skeleton over which corrugated metal is then attached. The project can include windows, doors (roll-up and/or standard), insulation, and gutters. Since Houston has a no-zoning policy, you can stick this anywhere, unless there are neighborhood deed restrictions or a home owners association.