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Simmonsjn

Nervous but jumping in

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My family is considering living in a rv for a few years before settling down with a brick and mortar home. It my husband  and I plus our two and a half yr old twins plus our two dogs. We plan to have a home base rv park where we pay a monthly lot fee and then travel for three or four weeks every couple of months or so. Anyone out there who has gone that route care to share what your monthly expenses look like? Or anything we might not be considering? Or anything you would have done differently? 

Does anyone regret not investing in a house? Vs as my father puts it "throwing your money down the pit" ?

 

Im excited for the adventures, and the values we will be able to focus on vs what a normal home life brings - but also nervous for the unknown.

 

i should mention we have jobs that allow us to work remotely so we will have our normal monthly income coming in.

Edited by Simmonsjn

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are here to help you and we hope that we can supply at least some of the answers that you are seeking. 

Most of us on these forums are at least partially retired, but there are some participants who are still working from the RV as they travel so help is available In fact, the couple who serve as president of the company/club is an RVing family as was the founding couple who happen to have been his grandparents. The club operates two websites that you will probably find to be helpful, the first is the Escapees RV Club sections for the older of us and the second is the X-scapers which is mostly for those who work and/or have families traveling with them. I suggest that you spend significant time with each one to see what fits you best and to be familiar with the parts of interest in each. 

Another internet site that I believe you will find to be helpful is Families on the Road and also Ditching Suburbia and perhaps the site Newschool Nomads. Since we have passed the parenting stage of life and are now grandparents, I'll leave the family aspects of your advice to those who are living it. On the RV scene, you won't find many places to get better advice about buying, maintaining, and living in an RV than the group who spend time on these forums. You can get solid information about routes, things to see, places to park the RV and all sorts of related information here so please do not hesitate to open a thread on almost any subject on any of the different subject areas. We are happy to have you in our group and we will do our very best to help and support you! 

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There are some serious negatives to owning a house.  That includes property taxes and being tied down if you want to move to a different area for a job.  Not to mention that house prices are outrageously high in most areas right now. And lots of neighborhoods go downhill over the years until they aren't somewhere you'd want to live (and possible decline in property values).  And we haven't even started talking about how poorly built many new homes are.  We are renting a 12 year old house that has numerous leaks on the tile roof. In the two years that we have been here we have seen about half the houses around us replace their roofs. Obviously they weren't built right because the roofs should last longer than that, especially the tile ones.

Anyway, I'm not really against home ownership. I just don't think it is always the correct choice for everyone in every situation. 

 

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You might be interested in rvwanderlust.com. It's a younger couple who have since had a baby after going fulltime. They work in IT, or something similar, on the road while traveling.

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The freedom we feel since selling our last house cannot be measured! No yard work! No need to worry about something breaking while we are vacationing! Etc. Go for it!

Linda Sand

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Let me share my perspective. To me a home is an appreciating asset. Generally,   and this is my experience  , a house will appreciate over time and be worth more than you paid for it. I have lived in 9 houses and have made money on all of them. I paid my mortgage off many years ago and have have paid cash for the last 4 homes. When I had my business I bought a shop usng a line of credit paying interest only. When I sold my business I sold the shop for twice what I paid for it. After calculating interest payments I still made money on it. If I had rented a shop it would have been strictly  a cost to me. We also bought a weekend house in the mountains and used it for many years selling it just recently and sold it for 3 times what we paid for it.

an RV is a depreciating asset. You will never ba able to sell one that makes you money. For this reason I have always refused to borrow money for a depreciating asset and that includes vehicles. If I couldnt pay cash I did without. 

i have workd my but off for what I have but I think I did it the smart way.

I retired debt free with assets and cash in the bank and an income from investments and that to me is the way to do it. It takes sacrifice and hard work.

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2 minutes ago, Jimalberta said:

Let me share my perspective. To me a home is an appreciating asset. Generally,   and this is my experience  , a house will appreciate over time and be worth more than you paid for it.

That was true when you and I were buying houses. But the housing market crashed right after we sold our last one so it is no longer necessarily true. There are many people out there who bought during the bubble who now can afford neither keeping nor selling their houses. The only constant in this world is change.

Linda Sand

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I agree with you to some extent. However my son bought a condo in Vancouver BC a year ago. He just sold it for for $200,000 more than what he paid for it. It is still doable. 

I will add too that we had a mortgage on our home in the early 80s when interest rates rose to almost 20percent. It was a real stretch to even make interest payments. We got through that and that is when I vowed that I will get out of debt and NEVER be under the bankers' power to control my lfe again.

Edited by Jimalberta

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1 minute ago, Jimalberta said:

I agree with you to some extent. However my son bought a condo in Vancouver BC a year ago. He just sold it for for $200,000 more than what he paid for it. It is still doable. 

Some of us have a fat golden thumb . Most of us are lucky to have a little fat on a boney thumb . 

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Not a golden thumb. He saw the bubble coming and took advantage of it. He also works very hard at his profession and makes sacrifices as did I. 

I am not alone in this ...all of my relatives and friends are roughly in the same position. We all started with nothing and built lives for ourselves. It takes some hard work.

Edited by Jimalberta

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I don't want to sound rude but I agree with your father. Grow up, buy an appreciating asset, "a house", settle down and raise the family and last but not least live on one paycheck and save the other. Like most of us have done when the family is on its own then throw the money down the pit and go camping full time. You have the world by the tail but you need to save some serious money for retirement and after you have done that life can be way more enjoyable. The world will still be there to see.Good luck in what you do!

Edited by Dan Johnson

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Thanks guys. My husband and I actually did buy a house when we were 23 and made a good amount off it when we sold it a few months back. We were in the process of buying a new home - because we see the value in real estate investments - but realized that we would rather keep the money we got from selling the house in the bank, to have some savings and not just have to put it all towards another house - and continue to save. The idea of being weighed down by another mortgage just does not appeal to us and we LOVE to travel - so this way we also save money on our trips bc we aren't paying as much for lodging as we normally do. We actually do own our own business that does well, which is why we can work remotely and with any luck - we always have that as an asset (the company is 15 years old and going strong). 

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I am curious about one thing that is none of my business but I will ask anyway. 

Your business is 15 years old. If you went to college to learn how to run that business, you have to me in your late to mid 30s. And you have 2 1/2 year old twins?  I don't know if you are loaded and making tons of money in the Texas oil business, but those twins are going to be college age just after you turn 50. At the same time. So you will have tuition-tuition, dorm-dorm, books-books, food-food, etc-etc. A college that is only decent is right now what, 35k a year? Times 2 in your case? Unless you are in the "hand over fist" category, maybe it would be wise to not travel so much now and start banking, whether you love to travel or not. This is coming from a guy who had to go into the military so he could attend college on the GI Bill because his parents were so poor college was out of the question. As a result, I grew up a certain way where I passed on a lot of things I "loved" to make sure there was money for my kid's needs. 

As I said, not my business, so tell me to shut up if you like.

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Haha Eddie, I don't mind. So while I did go to college - it was not for what I ended up doing as a career. I was with the company for 6 years before buying it from the previous owner. I'm actually only 30 :) We also have an IRA and 429 accounts set up for our kids so money is being put aside for them each month regardless - and THEN we travel and live off of what is left over. And we are currently debt free ;) We bought our first home at 23 and it appreciated in value. We're not going to travel forever, only a few years and then we will likely settle down again. We aren't by any means going broke and throwing away our life savings to travel and buy an RV - we are just missing out on a few years of real estate investment.

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3 hours ago, Simmonsjn said:

We're not going to travel forever, only a few years and then we will likely settle down again. We aren't by any means going broke and throwing away our life savings to travel and buy an RV - we are just missing out on a few years of real estate investment.

It sounds to me like you have a good plan going. We didn't have careers that would let us travel and work from the road, but we were fortunate that I had a job which did allow me to retire at 57, with employer provided health care so we didn't have that major expense to deal with. We married and had a family quite young but the upside of that is that we saw our youngest graduated HS when I was 45 and our sons all went into the Army so we didn't have much college expense. In many ways, I envy you for plans & your courage.

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Some of these posts are overly negative (at least in perceived tone).  I think what you are doing is great!  I have two older kids (14, 13) and a new baby, I will likely go mobile but keep the home base when the 13 year old graduates high school in 5 years.  I can work from the road and the wife will travel nurse. 

Have fun!!

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If you are debt free, have your investments set up, your income stream from your business and your kid's taken care of education wise, then go enjoy.  Save for your Plan B.... the "Oh crap we have to come off the road because of...." and go enjoy.  I built- bought- flipped- houses until the last one I owned.... I bought it at the top right before the bubble popped, remodeled the entire house, lived in it for 6 years and sold it for EXACTLY what I paid for it.... minus the remodel.

As a 30yr old... I had dreams and visions of traveling.  I traveled much as a kid and young adult, then got into the "Normal" routine of the traditional job (slave to the company), a family that you work all week to see on the weekends, houses, cars, boats, all the crap of keeping up with the Joneses....

Wish I had followed the dreams earlier...

Go for it.... Find "Hitch Itch.com and search for families that fulltime and chase your dreams.  You can always stop and be "Normal".

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I regret, to some extent, building a home.  Home ownership isn't what it used to be.  Maybe it was the best investment you could make back in the day, but that's not our experience.

We built a $300k home back in 2002.  We took out an interest only loan so my wife could stay home with the kids.  Plan was to refinance once they were older and the wife found work...only the housing bubble hit and we were so far underwater we couldn't refinance.  So, why not pay extra?  We did for a while until it become clear we were sinking money into a losing proposition (pay money in just to get it back when we sold...maybe).  So we just paid the interest.  We were able to refinance in 2014 and only did that because the payment was about the same.  We lost money on the house.  I mean we got some cash out when we sold it last year but less than our down and significantly less than all the improvements we'd made (and stopped making for the same reason we stopped paying the principle).

So, we're not super concerned about buying a new motorhome to full time in (it cost less than 40% of what our house cost).  We're not concerned about depreciation either.  So what if we "lose" $50k.  Been there, done that.  Now we can live our dreams and spend a whole lot less money doing it.  No regrets :D

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On 7/30/2017 at 4:38 PM, sandsys said:

The freedom we feel since selling our last house cannot be measured! No yard work! No need to worry about something breaking while we are vacationing! Etc. Go for it!

Linda Sand

This sounds so nice 

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It sounds like you have the ability to live in an RV full time and raise the kids.  Personally I think it's a wonderful opportunity to come together as a "family" and not chase "keeping up with the Jones's".  My wife and I are retired and getting ready to sell our home and move into the RV full time.  It allows us to see this great country and meet some wonderful people along the way.  We have discussed it many times and wish we had been able to travel more while the kids were still at home.  What a great education they would have had.  

If you are a YouTube viewer, I would suggest a couple of families that document their travels and expenses while full timing with kids:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2IENUorXc6kRtIiAGPRKZA,  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEhJLsShZt8McryMf_DHLZQ

Good luck on your decision and enjoy the journey!

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Does anyone regret not investing in a house? Vs as my father puts it "throwing your money down the pit" ?

 

The big rebound in housing since the '08 crash is probably coming to an end or at least slowing down. I wouldn't be concerned about being on the sidelines for a period of 2 years as long as I had a solid plan in place. Don't  overlook townhome living as an option. The purchase price is lower compared to a single family home and while folks bemoan HOA fees, they turn out to be less costly than maintaining a yard, trees, asphalt etc. And the insurance purchased as a group works out much less. Ours has many families in it as well as retirees and singles ...very diverse. And no outside work. That saves us precious time and allows us to half-time in the RV. All of that said, HOAs aren't  for everyone.

 

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Over our working years we owned 5 houses, made money on three, lost money on one, broke even on one.  That is if you talk just about purchase price.  No one every considers the amount of money that every homeowner spend EVERY YEAR on all sorts of things.  You don't own a house, it owns you.  Your time is something you never get back and if you spend part of every week 'working' on the house, you have lost precious time that you will never get back.  Regret selling everything, buying an RV, and going fulltime - heavens NO.  It has been a great adventure and we enjoy it.    

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10 hours ago, ToddF said:

Does anyone regret not investing in a house? Vs as my father puts it "throwing your money down the pit" ?

We have lived both ways and each one has its advantages. We bought our first house and the only custom built one when I was 24 and in the Navy. We moved to Denver and bought, then 3 years later bought in Cheyenne, moving to the country 11 years later. After 7 years we sold that and bought in Ft. Worth, where we lived 11 years before selling to go on the road. After 12 years we bought another home as we were unable to find a place to rent that we felt we would be happy in, even though we would have preferred to rent at this stage of life. Who knows what comes next? 

We broke pretty much even on the first, lost just a little on the second, then recovered pretty nicely on each of the others, if you base that strictly on the amount we paid on the principle compared to the cash we received when we sold each one. Add in things like interest, repairs, maintenance, and improvements, and who knows what it actually cost us. When we consider our motorhome for the fulltime period we recovered about 15% of what we paid for it but lost a little money if you deduct all of the maintenance and repair expenses while we lived in it as our only home. I guess we have a funny way of looking at things as we put no value in money beyond what it can supply to us. As long as we are able to fund the next adventure, the size of our bank balance is not important. We do believe in planning ahead, but when we look back we believe that we have had a great life and it was worth every cent it cost us! 

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