“We are at a crossroads, we are struggling to decide whether to sell our house or to keep it. I say we are planning for failure, my wife says we have a place to call home. What did you do and what do you suggest?”
Deciding whether or not to sell you house might be a simple decision for some, but for most this is a difficult and possibly even agonizing decision. There are many factors to consider, the pros and cons can be daunting, and if you have owned your home for a long time, the emotional attachment can be difficult to overcome. We’ve been through this process and here we share our decision-making process with you.
Now, Dan and I pretty much agree on everything 100%, some things we need to discuss more than others, but we are typically on the same page at the end of the day. But whether or not to sell our house was absolutely the most turbulent issue we tackled.
Some days we’d be on the same page, others not at all and it caused friction and a lot of fear on my part. It was insane because neither of us was certain and our thoughts and feelings changed from day to day. It was an emotional decision, especially for me, it was a house we worked really hard for and nearly lost after the dot com bubble burst.
We busted our butts, came back from sheer financial hell, Dan landed a 6-figure income job and we thought that was it. We were done, we became complacent and comfortable, but we never went anywhere or did anything spectacular because Dan had a J.O.B.
So when the RV came into our lives, we were like … VACATION! And then the vacation turned into something we wanted to do on a daily basis … but the mortgage. It meant, working harder and longer hours and Dan so desperately wanted to be free from all that stress and simply enjoy his family.
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How Did We Approach the Decision to Sell or Not?
We talked this one to death. We laid out the pros and cons and discussed it for hours, days and weeks. We argued and argued. It was an emotional decision and a financial decision. It was a big, life-altering decision and a family decision that would have an impact on our kids lives. It was an overwhelming decision at times. But the best thing we did was to evaluate the pros and cons so we could make a good decision.
Pros of Selling Your House
- Eliminate the mortgage payment.
- Eliminate electric, water, sewer and gas bills.
- Eliminate the cost of home maintenance.
- Can choose residency in a state with no income tax.
- You can simplify your life and get rid of all the things you don’t really need.
- If the real estate market is good, you can cash in your equity.
Cons of Selling Your House
- No backup if you need to stop traveling.
- Need a storage unit to store the things we can’t bring with us.
- Need a mail service to handle your mail.
- Need storage for vehicles that you are not bringing with you.
Pros of NOT Selling Your House
- You have a home to return to and a home base for family members.
- You can make money by renting your house, either long-term or short-term.
- You have a safety net if anything goes wrong and you need to stop traveling.
- Peace of mind knowing you still have a home to return to someday or whenever you decide to stop traveling.
Cons of NOT Selling Your House
- You need to maintain mortgage payments, insurance and utilities for a house you don’t live in.
- Need to hire someone to maintain your house and property so you stay in compliance of local ordinances and HOA regulations.
- If you decide to rent, you will need a property manager and renting can be a nightmare.
What Did We Decide?
In the end, we decided to let God decide. We put the house on the market and waited to see what would happen. We weren’t going to act unless God sent us a sign. And then, one day our realtor called us up and said he had an offer. Oh my stomach sank.
And then it sank even further when this guy had the nerve to present to us an offer that was over $150k less than what we owed on the house, let alone what we paid for it. He tried talking us into a short sale, singing it’s praises and how it was a win/win for everyone. Dan’s head nearly exploded. He kicked the realtor out and fired him on the spot.
That was our sign. We took the house off the market and got to work figuring out how we could afford the house and keep traveling. At first we tried renting long term. HUGE mistake, the family was never on time with the rent, they nearly destroyed our home, they left us high and dry on one month’s rent and the water bill for 3 months.
We vowed to never again rent long term. We then tried VRBO … way more trouble than it’s worth. About 40% of the renters we encountered were absolute pains in the butt. They didn’t like white towels, they didn’t like the wildlife, they didn’t like the driveway, they thought they were further/closer to town … the list went on and on and on and we finally had enough of that too.
We then rented to friends of our daughter’s for the summer and this wasn’t too bad, but again, I was not thrilled with the condition of the house upon our return and so last year we said enough of the renting. Enough.
What a saga, no? LOL, no worries though because through all this we learned that renting wasn’t the way to go and that bringing in extra cash was. When we finally turned our focus where it belonged, everything transformed and today I can honestly say I am soooo grateful we did not sell our home.
What is the Right Answer for You?
If this is something you are grappling with, I urge you to do all you can to keep your home as it’s wonderful to have roots, for your kids to have a sense of belonging and home while at the same time, developing a sense of adventure and wanderlust while also cultivating a close family and making unforgettable memories. I mean, if you can give them the best of ALL worlds,why the heck not? Of course, sacrifices have to be made for dreams to be followed, and homes can always be sold and new ones bought, so if this is the difference between travel or no travel, then heck yes, SELL.
But, for us, when we finally chucked the job scene for a kickin life of fun adventure and family bonding, we already had an 18 year old daughter…oh to have started this life when she was 5 … if we get a “regrets” question, this would be it!
Anyway, I tell you this because, eventually she decided she wanted to forge her own path in life and the fact that we had a home in the town she grew up in, meant she had roots to return to. Roots with us and near us and that meant the world to me.
If you have older children who are choosing not to travel with you, having a home base is truly a gift. This home base is where we come together as a family, it’s the location from which they will begin their own journeys while always knowing they have a place to come home to. A home base was a gift I, personally, couldn’t justify taking from them without fighting for it ALL first.
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Thanks so much for your advice about traveling across state lines with a kayak. So, escrow on our house closes tomorrow, we have a truck and a line on a great RV and we are nearly ready to jump ship and travel full-time! The only scenario that worked for us was to sell our house and use the equity to purchase what we needed to RV full-time. At this point I don’t feel nervous, only ready for it to start already! It’s been months of research and selling our possessions and moving, then test driving trucks and looking at RV’s…I’m ready to start the adventure already!
One question I have is: What approach do you take to finding great places to stay, making reservations, etc. I know that some families like to meander around and not stress too much about where they end up sleeping, while other families stick to a strict schedule. I myself have not done much traveling, and from what I can tell, finding places and making reservations is a pretty involved process! Currently, I am trying to find a place to stay for the month of September. In Bend. During peak season. And I’d prefer to not have to sell an organ to pay for it. My husband suggested that I look farther out, to more rural areas, but then there is the issue of making sure he has good service so he can work. And besides that, it took me hours to vet the parks that are in Bend! I’m feeling pretty unsure of myself here, and am wondering if it’s going to be like this with every new area we want to travel to.
So any tips on how your family chooses spots to stay at or how to streamline my searching and find us nice places to stay would be super helpful and much appreciated!
Hi Sarah!!! Congrats, what an exciting time for you and your family!! We figured everything out the hard way … didn’t even know we could pull over at Walmart for an evening while traveling until we were about 9 months in!! LOL. I can tell you I am not a schedule girl or a planner, we pretty much figure things out when we get to where we are going. Some towns and cities are really chill about allowing overnight stays on their streets, others (like all of CA and most of FL) are incredibly strict, so we plan accordingly!! 🙂 Bend, is very RV friendly. We parked by the whitewater park for a few days at a time, spent a few nights in a hotel, and a night in an RV park … Bend is AWESOME!! Makes spending money there fun!! 🙂 As far as campgrounds, I am not fond of private ones, as the sites are literally backed up to one another. I LOVE state parks, there are always trees, and they are clean and the sites are a little more spacious. They are also WAY cheaper!! Feel free to contact us with any other questions!! 🙂 Susie