Where to Live When We Are Done – Or for Long-term Stays
I had to really think hard about even starting a page to record these ideas. As I read about journeys others have taken, I find myself interested in RV lots folks have purchased and what they decided to do at the time they stopped traveling fulltime in an RV. Here is 2015, I really have no idea if we would buy an RV lot. Or if our exit strategy would be any more complex beyond traveling until we are sick of it, or get sick. And then where we might want to live and in what. Financially, if makes since to at least plan to have money left in order to be able to afford whatever decision we make. That is why we are leaving a big chunk of the proceeds from selling our house to be used later. And, if we do decide to purchase anything temporary, such as an RV spot to use in winter or trips back home, there must be an option to sell should we change our minds. In other words, I don’t want to lock into a temporary situation that turns permanent because we can’t sell it in a reasonable amount of time.
Found this great forum thread regarding why people left the road.
In 2016 Karen and I met up with a couple that had been on the road for five years. One piece of advice that stuck, was their method in someday deciding how to handle it if one or the other was ready to come off the road. Every six months or so they have a talk and ask the other if they are ready to come off the road. They previously agreed should one want to come off the road they give the other six months notice so they can make plans.
Selling our rig, using the money to help purchase a new home. Part of our financial planning has to do with expected income and assets once we decide to come off the road. For the sake of planning, I’m using six years as a targeted timeframe for our RV travels. We would then sell the truck and trailer. I figured the trailer would be worth a third of what we paid for it and the truck maybe half. If for no other reason, six years is used because I’ll be able to draw social security which increases our income by around a third. I’d not like to have another mortgage, pending payoff when the rig sells, but that might be a possibility. Or maybe we would rent – who knows. To this end, I’m researching what others have done to dispose of their rig. One couple placed theirs on a consignment lot and it’s been a long time with no sale. They tell me they will not lower the price. I’m worried that with the 2014 -2017 trailer sales being up, we would be competing against a lot of other sellers should we ever decide to come off the road and sell out. Another couple has a rig with so many issues they can’t sell it. I’d be 62 at the time so I suppose I could take a temporary job until the rig sells.
Purchase a Kit home and Lot to Build it on: Karen keeps talking about wanting to live on or near a lake. I have experience building homes. With experience one could expect to save about 10% if you act as your own general contractor, especially if you know how to find subcontractors. People who have no experience as a general contractor, however, would most likely not save anything and because of poor decisions might even pay more for a home. Here is a link to various packages at Menards Lumber. Personally, I’d build a small basement under part of it with at least an outside door for storms and to house the furnace and a wall of storage. I’d also set it up to be able to add a single car garage later. These homes would be affordable and easier to sell as a vacation home later. I built the home we live in now (1/8/18) back in 2003. I also built a version of the same home down the street. Saved closer to 18% based off what I was able to sell the other home for. A kit home would require the land, septic/sewer and other utility connections. And of course hiring someone to put it up. I would have to research the cost difference between buying the components separately vs the kit. Years ago even Sears sold kit homes. They were delivered by the railroad. As a subcontractor, we did a lot of work in these old homes. You have to watch for areas they cut costs such as interior walls not having 2×4 studs or poor insulation materials to include windows. I’ve meet a half dozen people who did this. Most negotiated with the company they bought the home from, adding and subtracting components. For example, a drywall contractor will want to purchase his own drywall and not use the kit which will not come in the board lengths he wants. Then again, I’d subcontract the drywall by buying the materials, hiring a hanging crew and a finisher separately. Having an RV to live in during the process helps. One could also consider pre-fabricated construction where the walls are already built. However, I suspect you would want to find someone who can install them at the same time.
RV Lot with Small Attached Cabin or Building: Here is an example from the RV Travels With Karen and Al. This RV lot located in the Georgia mountains at Paradise Valley Rv Resort in Cleveland, Georgia. When reading their blog in 2013 it appears cost for an undeveloped lot was $6,000. Developed lots were as high as $199,000 but even include a truck and RV. Karen and Al rent their lots out when not using them. They also have one in the Florida Keys. Here is a link to a cabin idea from their blog.
Build a Metal Building with a Large Indoor Garage and House Inside: That’s what Kirk and Pam did after spending over 11 years volunteering while on the road. His spot is in Texas and in 2015 he pulls a smaller travel trailer when on the road. Their homestead is located at Bass Lake which is a Christian community. His building is on a 47′ square concrete pad. Check his blog post for other areas they looked at before choosing this one. It’s off topic but I had a discussion with Kirk regarding financial issues with his new home. They had to withdrawal money from their IRA/401K which put them over the $15,400 annual limit for earned income and therefore they lost a chunk of their Social Security benefit that year. When they sold their sticks and bricks home before hitting the road they put the money in a taxable account then drew down on it as needed, rather than taking money out of their IRA/401K when needed. He said he should have taken money out of the IRA/401K in small amounts when needed and left the proceeds from sale of his home alone.
Build An Economical A-Frame House on Lake Lot: I have to add this one because in the 1980’s I had my 30′ travel trailer parked at the lake and really considered buying a lot and building an A-Frame house. There was a pool and miniature golf for fun. We had to pay rent and electric only with full hookups. It cost over $300 a year to rent a storage spot near the lake so for only a few hundred more we were able to rent a spot we could use. We also parked the boat next to the trailer so saved storage on that as well. We got to know the other long-term campers and watched each others places when gone. Sold the camper while it was parked with the rent paid. The spot was at Truman Lake near Warsaw Missouri. Heck of a good fishing lake but not much around for night life. I’ve been a contractor and built a few homes so that would be the avenue I would take. The area I was interested in was in a private subdivision with a road that lead down to the lake. This would be a serious decision to make because I imagine it could still be hard to sell lake property.
Escapees Club and Other Co-Op Parks: Membership entitles you to use a specified lot until you die or sell the membership back to the corporation. Co-Op members share in the financial responsibilities of the SKP Co-Op. Operating expenses are shared equally among the membership by way of an annual maintenance fee. At of 2015 there are 11 Escapee Club Co-Op Parks. Each park is run as an individual corporation. I looked over a few of the locations for pricing and more. It seems like there is a waiting list. Daily, monthly and yearly rates look very reasonable to rent. You have to move out it the Co-Op member returns. Otherwise you can buy-into the Co-Op. As of 2015 one site in Florida suggested average costs are about $10,000 to buy-in and the annual maintenance fees with taxes are $1,200. You are asked to volunteer to help run the park such as being on committees. I’ve heard of other Co-Op opportunities ran by various organizations, some of which are not just specific to RVs. Some purchase a park model home and maintain a smaller RV for travel. Karen says she does not want to “live in a trailer” such as a park model. If she is in a “trailer” she wants it to be for traveling. Here is a post by Living Our Dreams which describes the long waiting list to buy-into an Escapees park as well as their ideas after three years on the road. They would later trade out their motorhome for a fifth wheel because they are more stationary.
Here is a pretty cool example of a creative floor plan. This home is in an RV park where the monthly fees are $85 and annual taxes are $220. Even has a pull-through and small garage for a car. This one is located at Blue Heron RV Resort in Alabama. (6/22/15)
Building a one bedroom casita in southern Texas like Travel with the Whippets. They actually started with a coach house (no bedroom) in their second year of full timing. They parked their motorhome next to the building where they spent winters. After five years they decided this would be the place to set up their home when they decide to come off the road. Their home is at Retima Village located in Mission, Texas. The Village is in on the boarder along the Rio Grande River. I hope they don’t mind that I posted a few pics of their beautiful home! Average temperature in January is low of 47 and high of 70. August 74 to 98.
Here in 2015, at least four years from going fulltime in an RV at 56 years of age. I have a few thoughts about an eventual exit strategy. Suppose it is possible I’ll workamp for six years or so. When I’m 62 years old I could take social security which would more than pay for a spot and building in a similar place as Retima Village. I’d still want the ability to sell it quickly in case we later decide another change is what we wanted. – Just thinking out loud. In 2015 our financial plan includes keeping some of the proceeds from the sale of our current home to be used to build another. I’ve started to research if it would be wise to take some of that money and put it into an RV lot or two which we could rent out when not using. Perhaps one of those lots should be in a place we might want to build a home in the same community. Travel with the Whippets built the one bedroom down the street from their casita. Warning – the local police web site details how to prepare for hurricanes! Just like any place, before you build consider the environmental issues. At Retima you can rent a spot to spend some time checking the area out – to include what kind of neighbors you would have (human and otherwise).
RV Port on concrete I found on the Rob and Me in Our Little RV Blog. Hope they don’t mind me having clipped a picture of it off their web page. This one is Washington State at the Lost Lake Resort. I could see this being a great option for a winter or summer spot.
Buying your child a home you can live in. I heard about this from a full-timer. If you have a relationship with a child who does not mind you living in the same house or next-door this makes sense. Perhaps a home that’s already setup with a mother in-law quarters. You can move some of your furniture and belongings there rather than selling it or putting it in storage. If you are ill you can move there. Then deep the property to them in the event of your deaths. Might be a better place to put money from the sale of your residence before hitting the road. Otherwise it’s just sitting in a bank account to be used to buy a home later or whatever. Here is a list of five good reasons the child might agree to do this. I think another really good reason is initial cost of buying a home. The child may be able to afford a better/larger home up front rather than selling it later to buy another as they have children. Another idea is to build a separate cottage on the property rather than an addition on the main home. Near our current home some neighbors have this same arrangement but in this case, a child lives in the cottage. Now that the father has passed, they are able to help out their mom who lives in the main home.
Another RV Port Site: This one is at Dear Creek RV Resort in Florida. These are large lots where you can also add a large storage shed or two. In this case they ride their gulf carts to the local grocery. Personally, I would only want a lot if we could rent it out when not using it and if it made since to spend all winter there. Karen does not want to “live in a trailer” unless we are traveling. I’ve read many a blog where folks found their winter spots and it made since to go ahead a buy a lot. I’ve also read where people install security cameras on their lots that they can watch over the internet. Really would save on storage costs in the event you were renting one already.