The biggest part of deciding whether or not downsizing to become a full-time RVer was feasible for me was figuring out the money. Did I have enough to purchase a rig and all that goes with it? Would I have enough in savings to not work, at least until I got my RV legs firmly under me? As I shared my idea, many suggested the smart move would be for me to keep my house and rent it out. But after weighing the options, I decided not to keep it. Here are the three reasons why I decided to sell my house.
1.I have loved living in Alaska but each winter I loathe the dark days a little bit more than the winter before. And even though I have heard story after story of Alaskans who leave only to come back, I am 99% certain that will not be my story. I don’t think I will ever call Alaska home again.
To me, that feels like fear. Fear that the decision might be the wrong one. Keeping the house feels like my “just in case.” A net. A crutch
I’m a play-it-safe kind of person, so the act of becoming a full-time RVer remains an anomaly. Far outside my norm. Far outside my comfort zone. That said, I am fully committed to it. Right or wrong, I want nothing holding me back.
I am “all in” on this RV thing and selling the house is like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence.
2.I don’t want to deal with a rental property and all that comes with it. I know people who handle their own rental property and I know people who hire a management company to do so. From a distance, it wouldn’t make any sense to try to manage tenants and tenant needs from afar.
You could make the case that hiring a reputable property manager would take the burden off my shoulders. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But I have worst-case-scenario images in my head. For example, I purchased all new appliances when I bought the house, making them all 10 years old. Useful life of appliances? Yep, 10 years. What if I had to replace them all at the same time?
All of this to say: see Reason #1.
Then, presumably, at some point in the future I would sell the house. Wouldn’t I have to plan to be in Alaska for a couple of months to deal with everything? Or, I could hire someone to do everything. I know people do it all the time, but I struggle to envision how that works from a distance where you don’t end up paying and arm and leg for someone else to coordinate it all for you.
3.Although the two above played a role in my decision, the reality is the single biggest reason I decided to sell my house was I wanted the cash. I could’ve made things work without the proceeds from the sale of the house but I wouldn’t have afforded the luxury of the first three years of my adventure without having to earn income.
And not selling the house would’ve affected my rig choice. It was hard enough for me to decide and to justify a $60,000 rig. I just don’t think I could’ve done it had I not intended to sell the house. At this point I’m so happy with my rig choice it’s hard to visualize ending up in a different one.
A Few Side Notes
Three years ago when I started planning for a traveling life I had to decide if I would sell my house or not. One of the first considerations for me was whether or not I could sell it tax-free. Because if I had to pay a capital gains tax, my decision might have been different. In case you are making the same decision, I’ll share what a quick internet search taught me. This applies only to house sells in the US.
If you have lived in your house two of the five years before the sale, then up to $250,000 in profit is tax-free. I did another internet search before I listed my house to make sure the law hadn’t changed. It hadn’t. You’d want to do the same. Just to be sure. Or, better yet, seek professional tax advice.
The other thing I did before I listed my house was to look up housing market projections in my area for the next few years. From last year to this year, housing prices were flat. And projections are for the market to remain flat for the next three years.
Knowing that waiting a few years to sell would offer no financial benefit (beyond the additional paid principle) was final confirmation. I feel confident I made the right decision in selling my house.
Like every aspect of becoming a full-time RVer, the decision to sell my house was what was best for me to give me what I want from the adventure. Deciding to sell doesn’t mean that someone who goes the other way is making a bad or a wrong decision. There is so much to consider with every decision that must be made. And each person’s pros and cons list will look different.
Would love to hear your thoughts on what you would do…or will do if you are in the throes of planning for a full-time RV life.