Moving into an RV full time is an enormous change that comes with tons of big decisions. You’ve got to think about the type of RV that works for you, how you’re going to find work if you plan to travel often, and what to keep or toss out.
On top of these things, homeowners also have to decide whether they will hold onto their home and use it as a home base, rent the house out while not using it, or jump in feet-first and sell the house outright.
Not sure what the pros and cons of these options might be? Below are some things to consider.
In the beginning, hitting the road full time can feel very overwhelming. Besides that, full time RV living isn’t for everyone. This adds an element of fear as you head into the unknown, wondering whether this venture will pan out for your family.
Because making the switch is so full of such big feelings, many people are much more comfortable holding onto their home, their belongings, and their address. This ensures they have a place to return to if something should go wrong. It also makes sense for those who only plan to be full time for a short period of time and would like to return to the same home when they finish.
Pros of Keeping a Home Base
- No need to purge things. Everything can stay as-is for when you return.
- You’ll have a familiar place to return to when you finish traveling, or even if you just need a break. This is especially good if you really love your house.
- Keep your same mailing address. No need to pay for a mailing service or deal with changing your address.
Cons of Keeping a Home Base
- Cost. Unless your house is completely paid off, you will need to continue to pay your mortgage every month in addition to any bills related to the RV and travel.
- Upkeep is another big con. Even though you won’t be staying in your house, a certain level of upkeep is required. Who will mow the lawn, get the mail, and check on the house after a storm?
- Because the house will be empty most of the time, theft is much more likely, making a good security system a must.
For some, the cost of holding onto the house as a home base is just too much, but actually selling the house is something they aren’t quite ready for. In these cases, renting is often the best option.
Renting your house while you’re away allows you to hold onto your beloved family home without dumping money into it. In fact, if you’re smart about it, you can even make a small income on your house while you’re gone.
You will still need to go through and get rid of things, and some upkeep will still be on you to handle. Additionally, getting mail at your home address probably won’t be an option, and returning to the house will require some pre-planning.
Pros of Renting Your House
- Hold onto your home and your investment. This is especially nice if you love your home and know you’ll want to return to it.
- Potentially make some extra income through renting your house.
- If you choose to rent the house through a peer-to-peer house sharing service such as Airbnb, returning occasionally will be an option and keeping the majority of your furniture in the house shouldn’t be a problem.
Cons of Renting Your House
- You will likely still need to find a mail forwarding service and switch your address.
- Ultimately, you will still be responsible for paying your mortgage, meaning if a renter flakes out, you will be out some money.
- Upkeep is still something to consider here. While you can probably worry less about theft thanks to your tenants, as a landlord you will still need someone to deal with maintenance. This is an especially daunting task should you rent via Airbnb rather than renting month-to-month.
- Speaking of, deciding to rent month-to-month will leave you needing to get rid of most everything or pay for a storage facility unless you rent as a “fully furnished” home.
- There is the potential for renters to cause damage to the home and anything in it.
Finally, there is the option to cut all ties and sell the house outright. This option is ideal if you aren’t especially fond of your home and know you don’t want to return. It’s also the best option for those who don’t want the stress, hassle, and cost of keeping up with a house while on the road.
All that said, selling can feel really intimidating when first jumping into the RV lifestyle. Selling can also hold you back if you’re stuck waiting for the house to sell before you can hit the road and start seeing the world.
Pros of Selling Your House
- Likely to come with a chunk of money to start your fulltime life with.
- None of the additional costs or responsibilities tied to owning a home to worry about while traveling.
- Nothing pulling you back to your launch point, leaving you free to explore and even pushing you to work your way through the tougher times RVing sometimes throws your way.
Cons of Selling Your House
- No “home” to return to when you are finished traveling.
- You will need to purge almost everything you own or pay for a storage unit.
- Finding and paying for a mail forwarding service will be a must unless you have a friend or family member willing to take your mail.
- If your home takes a while to sell, you may find yourself stuck in limbo before you can start traveling.
All of these options are perfectly legitimate, and deciding on one is a very personal matter. Obviously, it’s extremely important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option—as well as your individual situation—in order to make the decision that’s best for you and your family in the long run.
Just remember that nothing is permanent. If you decide to sell, you can always buy another home, and if you decide to keep the house, you can always sell later!
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