Future full-time RVers who own property often wonder: “Should we keep our home or sell it?” If you’re currently pondering that same dilemma we did, I’ll share our story with you and then you can decide if owning a home while full-time RVing is right for you.
Why We Sold Our Home When We Hit the Road
When we were planning to hit the road in 2007, we looked at different ways we could keep our existing home while traveling. The economy hadn’t yet tanked and there was still an optimism in the nation that made us question the logic of selling something that could potentially generate money while we traveled.
We looked at different scenarios that would allow us to keep the house, but when it came down to it we just didn’t want the worry of being an absentee landlord. Since we’d previously owned a rental property, we already knew about the headaches of dealing with tenants and we didn’t want those hassles to impede on our freedom. We sold the home along with our business.
Selling that monster was the best thing we ever did. It allowed us to roam without big worries for two wonderful years. No taxes, no insurance, nobody breathing down your neck wanting something because your name is attached to a mortgage. Total freedom!
After two years, we wanted to park the money we got out of the house sale, and since owning land was our dream we embarked on a search for our mountain dream property. We didn’t have much, but we knew we would pay cash to keep us out of debt. In 2009 we found our ideal little property in the mountains of Northern Colorado.
We dubbed it “Jerry’s Acres” in honor of our hero and wise leader who inspired us to hit the road. It’s 5 acres with trees and a small home that’s 100% ours. We haven’t been here much, but the time we do spend at this location is usually quiet and peaceful.
Last week, a wildfire here in Crystal Lakes ignited less than one mile from our place. We went from eating dinner at 6:45 pm to fleeing with the RV by 8:00 pm. Evacuating was challenging but not as hard as I always imagined. Jim wasn’t there, he went off to see if he could help with the fire. So in the heat of the moment I had to pack up.
In those few minutes I learned how easy it was for me to walk away from mementos and other material crap. Instinctively I only packed just the basics like our computers, dog food and clean underwear. Hell, I even forgot the booze! When Jim returned as darkness fell, we had just enough time to hitch up the RV – in the dark – and while it wasn’t easy, it went off like a miracle among the wail of sirens.
A huge orange glow hung over the vicinity of our property as we drove off into the darkness. It was one of those moments when you really know for sure . . . that nothing is for sure. We had no idea what, if anything, would remain.
After a long sleepless night, we learned Jerry’s Acres was spared and no properties were lost. Forty eight hours later the 20-acre fire was history. But while the danger was gone, my reluctance to keep this property increased exponentially. Here’s why:
Four Reasons Not to Keep a House While Fulltime RVing
- This property is always on my mind. Sometimes we’re away for long periods of time, and there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t wonder if everything’s OK. Like others around here, we’ve paid a home security service to do weekly checks but after a while discovered they weren’t living up to their end of the bargain.
- This property costs more money than I’d like it to. Owning a home outright is low-cost, but we still pay taxes, insurance and make repairs. I hate that we spend anywhere from $300 to $500 a month on something we rarely take time to enjoy.
- This property enables the hoarder in me. I love yard sales and any excuse to try new stuff, cheap. Most of what we have here is just mementos, nothing of monetary value really, but it’s grown larger and it weighs me down. We have way more crap than I’d like.
- It’s the second fire scare we’ve had here. In 2012 the awful High Park Fire burned within 8 miles of here. We’ve just had our second evacuation. I don’t want to be here for the third.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t resent this property at all. After all, it’s the symbol of a larger dream that Jim and I had and successfully achieved and I’m proud of that. We always wanted a place for Jerry to roam when he was alive, and although he never got to enjoy the land, it’s a joy to watch our Wyatt roam off-leash and live it up when we’re here.
I’m so grateful for the fire scare last week. Because ultimately what it helped me to realize was that Jerry’s Acres isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. Jerry will always be a part of us in spirit no matter where we roam. Everywhere is Jerry’s Acres, not just this one parcel in Colorado.
After the fire, Jim knew what was coming. I asked him to get on the same page with me and prepare the property for sale next summer. He’s not thrilled, but he’s willing to do it if we use the proceeds to buy raw land up here. No buildings to worry about or insure, just a place with a septic and water, where we can park the RV for fun and not worry about when we leave. I’m all for that.
At this point in time, I know that I’ll never be happy owning something like this while we’re on the road. I want to get back to that feeling of freedom we had during the only two years of our marriage when the word “homeowner” wasn’t attached to our identities. By this time next summer, I know we’ll be those vagabonding hippies once again.