Living in a recreational vehicle (RV) and traveling the country has become increasingly popular, not only with retirees but with millennials too.
Minimalist living is being promoted as a way to combat the stress of owning and managing too many things in a consumerist culture and combined with the opportunity to travel and explore, there’s a growing attraction to this kind of living.
In addition, Covid19 has also restricted international travel and there’s been a resurgence in the desire to travel within the States. According to a report by Reuters in July 2020, ‘Eager to travel - but wary of hotels, airplanes and restaurants - more Americans are taking their homes with them everywhere they go, reviving a recreational vehicle business that had been devastated by shutdowns earlier this year.
Wholesale shipments of RVs posted their highest monthly total in June since October 2018, according to the RV Industry Association.’
While many people don’t plan on giving up their primary residence to live in an RV, there are up to one-million Americans who do live in an RV full-time, according to the Washington Post.
If the allure of travel has you considering selling your home to live in an RV full-time, there are some important things to bear in mind.
The major difference between owning a home or an RV is that the home is an asset which will continue to grow in value, while the opposite is true of an RV. It’s a vehicle and its value will depreciate over time. Once you’ve sold your home it may also be difficult to get back into the market if you change your mind, depending on your financial situation.
Some of the pros of living in an RV full-time include:
the ability to move to a better climate and visit new places without having to pack and unpack.
not having to pay property taxes (unless your RV is parked on your own land).
not having to pay for sewerage and water.
potential savings on electricity.
campgrounds that offer free facilities for residents like swimming pools, clubhouses and weight rooms,
meeting new people and making new friends as you travel.
Not having to spend money on accumulating unnecessary things, as you have limited storage space
Some of the cons of living in an RV full-time include:
very limited living space.
having to clean out your motorhome’s toilet.
having to do dishes by hand.
Having to pay for fuel to travel from place to place.
fees like monthly RV payments, insurance and camping fees.
The need for RV maintenance and repairs over time, which can be costly.
the lack of privacy at popular campgrounds.
not being near to your old friends and your family.
RV enthusiast Sondra Rochelle who has more than 50 years experience in ‘owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles’ explains why she’d caution prospective full-timers to make careful consideration before selling everything you own and buying an RV:
‘One of the most important [issues to take into consideration before selling] is the financial problems you can avoid by keeping your home.
Many people do not adapt well to RV living.
They tell themselves, "Well, if things don't work out, we'll just buy another house", but financially, that is not quite so easy to do as the average person imagines because the majority of the money they have spent to purchase an RV will be gone due to depreciation, time, wear and tear.
If they also have retired prior to spending the initial amount, it may be more difficult to qualify for a home loan because their income status may have changed,’ says Sondra.
Instead of selling your home to live in an RV full-time, you could consider alternatives like selling your house and buying a condominium, so that you have a place to go to when you get tired of, or get too old for, the van life.
Another option is to rent an RV if you don’t plan to live in one full-time.
Those who own both a home and an RV – which they keep in storage when not in use – may find that this turns out to be more expensive than renting an RV for a few weeks in a year.
No matter what you decide, it’s important to do proper research and then give RV living a try for a few months at a time before fully committing to the lifestyle and selling your only home and all of your belongings.
However, if you’ve already made the decision to sell your home and take up the nomadic lifestyle, I’ll be happy to assist you in getting the best deal on your house.
If on the other hand, you’re sick of living on the road and are looking for a place to settle down, I can help you find your dream home too.