Wednesday, November 30, 2022


RVing home base dilemma: Give up RV or give up home base?


Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkWe are 3/4 timers. We go back to our home base once a year to maintain our property, work on our rig and see friends and family. My husband wants to stop traveling because he says it is too hard to winterize and wrap our home up every season. I say we should just go full-time and we wouldn’t have to do any of it.  

I know people have bigger problems than we do, but it is getting harder to own a home and still travel as we age. Any comments? —Skipping Town in Tumwater

Dear Skipping:
The first response that comes to mind is compromising. Go home each year, but don’t move into the house. Live in your RV in the driveway. Better yet, rent the house with the understanding that  you can come home for a few months a year and use the utilities. This would work out best if you had a good-sized lot with some privacy for you and your tenants.

Another suggestion would be to streamline your place to make firing it up and shutting it down easier. Perhaps a few plumbing changes to make winterizing simple.

You might want to consider downsizing to a more convenient property that would still allow you to do the things you enjoy, yet eliminate much of the work like landscaping, painting, cleaning and repair.

We have a simple place to return to each year which allows us to do precautionary maintenance on our rig, enjoy the solitude of our property, invite friends to visit with their RV, and enjoy the area for a couple months.

We live in our motorhome and use the house for guests. Being a landlord does not appeal to us, but it could be a great way to earn extra income and keep the property occupied for those who would not mind dealing with renting.

All the things your husband seems to be tiring of can get old after awhile. You both have to sit down and decide what your next move will be. Hopefully you can come up with a solution that makes you both happy and healthy. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink


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6 years ago

A critical factor not mentioned to date: how old are you and how are both of your health issues now, going forward and those hereditary genes doing for you here?
Health is one of the major undo variables after retirement. Just look up the stats of easterners that head to Florida after they retire; the average male has passed away within five [5] years was the last stat I saw a few years back, which is a most sobering fact.

Jerry X Shea
6 years ago

“Everybody has to be from someplace.” Even 12 month a year FTer’s need to have a home base. Your driver’s license, place to vote – you have to be from someplace. We spent our first 8 years renting out our house. Finally, in 2014 we realized we had no desire to ever want to move back into a 4 bedroom house. We sold it, and purchased a “Park Model RV” in a senior (55+) park in Pismo Beach, California. No “winterizing” needed. That is our home base and the place we are from when asked. When the day comes that we can no longer RV (you know, around 98, 99) we have a home to go home to. Because we sold our big home, we also traded in our 2004 MH for a new 2014. We are set for the next 10-15 years of RVing and have a small home base. My advice, sell your home, downsize to a very small one in a southern state (no winterizing) and travel. Go visit relatives (up north) in the summer time and head South for the winter. You can always fly north for the holidays while you park your RV without winterizing concerns. Happy travels.

6 years ago

You can always sell the house and go full-time. Then rent a spot near your old home to visit with family and friends for a few months. If traveling is getting tiring make each stop at least a months stay. When you want to stop traveling you can just park your RV in a nice campground and call that home or rent a small apartment somewhere. Less maintenance and ease of living.

6 years ago

We started 3/4th’s RVing in 2008. In 2010 we rented our home to a friend, built an RV pad and stayed there when home. In 2016, early spring, we sold the house and became full timers. Nothing has changed much other than we have a few more dollars and need a plan for the 3 extra months. Have been asked several times for a physical address. We have given the old address … But will need to figure out a new one.

6 years ago

I want to ask if you help with the driving. I am a woman who also drives the rig. In our case it makes a big difference to lessen road and travel fatigue when it isn’t up to that one person to constantly face the stresses of the road. Just a thought.

6 years ago
Reply to  Storm

Very astute observation. Doing ALL the driving can be VERY tiring. BUT being comfortable with your other half doing the driving is IMPERATIVE. If that means getting some professional instruction then so be it.

Sue and Jim
6 years ago

We were 3/4 timers for 10 years and it was a hassle worrying about our house. Fortunately, nothing bad happened but it was $$$ down the drain. When we realized we didn’t need a house the housing market crashed. We waited it out but should have sold it back in 2008 instead of 2014. We have been full-timing 2+ years now and enjoy the freedom and no worry about a house. We are always looking at various states and communities for “the future” when we do buy another house. Our only regret is buying that house in 2004 and not going full time right away when we retired. Good luck!

6 years ago

Or rent it. Keep on RV’ING with the cash. Buy a better RV after a year or a few; buy one that meets your aging needs. With skype, text, and email, you can always connect with family.

With a realtor in between, your tenant won’t bother you. If your husband won’t want to RV too much, use the rental income to build a cabin or rent a vacation condo here and there. Everyone wins! Selling is good too, but you may lose in a soft market, and God forbid, the dollar crashes in 10 years, and you now have a pool of worthless cash! Sell to buy another, but not to live off the cash. You rather keep the house with a reponsible tenant and realtor management firm. If you live 30 more years, you will see many ups and downs in the market, but will keep value in the home if well maintained, just save 1/2 the rent as a cushion for repairs in the first few years. Or buy home repair insurance.

Anyway, that’s my 2cents.

Terri Foxx-Wishert
6 years ago
Reply to  Rashid

WE too rent out your home, and are currently full-timing it. We use a realtor, and still try to make it back once/year. We also have a landscaping company that is supposed to be maintaining the 2/3 acre of ground. We don’t make much money on this, and the break on our taxes has been useful.

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