Author Topic: RV lifers -- advice/resources  (Read 819 times)

Lichen

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RV lifers -- advice/resources
« on: May 03, 2019, 09:57:17 AM »
Frankly, I'm overwhelmed by the huge variety of information/fora available on this topic and would simply appreciate some recommendations from others familiar with the topic. I included an overkill of details below for those interested :)

I'm not new to medium term RV dwelling. From ages birth to 17 I spent at least three months every year living in a 28 ft travel trailer with my parents and sister (well, dad was only there on weekends), parked for the entire time at a lake two states from our "real" house (camp host parent), and I did some car/tent dwelling for months at a time in my early 20s when I was single. We have a major life change coming up and within two years our life will likely require lots of mobility for at least half the year if all goes even remotely close to plan. And to be honest, we are in our late thirties/early forties, rarely break $30-35K a year, and really don't want to jump back into home ownership once our current house sells. It's been like a chain holding us to a single location, and we aren't really the type to put down deep roots.

STATS
It will be us and our 14 yo son (who is 100% on board with the idea). 0-

We have shed most of our belongings, and we tend toward minimalism anyway. Currently, we were planning to move with the smallest Uhaul truck available. If we do the RV thing, we wouldn't even need that, since most of the stuff being moved is furniture.

We have lived in small spaces (although not this small). We were in a 400 square foot townhome for many, many moons with two kids.

No debt once the house sells. About 12K in savings currently. Expecting there to be more once we sell (bought when the market bottomed out here in in 2009, market is hot right now. Hot as in the last two houses on our block that sold in April did so above asking price and before they were officially listed).

Spouses job is 100% mobile and self contained in that it only needs her computer. Job loss on her end is not a serious concern, as her client base is both international and well diversified. I'm a student on grants and scholarships. After tuition, fees, and estimated book costs are taken from my awards, I will be bringing in $11-14k a year for the next two years (as long as I maintain my GPA). Yes, this overage goes to me to cover living expenses.

We'd likely park dwell for  8-9 months of the year for the first two years, at least. I have contacted a few recommended parks in the area to get an idea of the RV restrictions (size, type, age, etc) as well as costs. I was very, very impressed with the low cost and the fact that most utilities, including Wifi, are included at many of the parks. Long term stays do need to be in a deeded park due to RV dwelling restrictions in the county.

We'd likely buy used on the dry side of the state, simply because prices are lower this side of the Cascade crest and I have a gut feeling that moisture and mold issues might be less around here.

We will not be rushing into this. I have a couple of months here to research, then we have a long term stay arrangement for up to 2 months when we get to the west side so we can do on the ground research.

FallenTimber

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Re: RV lifers -- advice/resources
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2019, 07:49:06 AM »
Itís an exciting move and I wish you and your family all the best.

My wife and I (along with our 18 month old and dog) spend about 120-150 nights per year in our camper. We rent our house out on AirBnB for those nights, which brings in about $30k of passive income during those 6 months. That way we retain (and build) equity, and make decent money doing it. That may not be an option (or a desire) for you, but I thought Iíd throw it out there.

As for full timing in an RV, there are a lot of helpful Facebook groups like Fulltime Families that are a network of families who are either stationary or traveling, and allows the kids to connect with each other and develop friendships. Parents too of course!

Some folks are able to save money going the RV route, but it depends on the cost of living that youíre coming from. Staying stationary will certainly help from a financial standpoint, but (personally) I would struggle in a mobile home park. I prefer to mix boondocking (14 night maximum in most places) with the occasional campground or RV Park. I find the atmosphere in long-term mobile home or RV parks to be a bit depressing, as many folks are there because they have no choice in the matter. There are many great folks to be found of course, but the overall attitude is one of a constant struggle and a victim mindset.

In contrast, I find shorter term RV parks and campgrounds to be filled with excitement, more families, more upbeat and happier personalities. More expensive, but if you boondock as well, you can average the cost out a bit.

Having said that, if youíve found some parks that have a positive atmosphere, then the stability of staying in one place certainly has its benefits too.

One last note: Verizonís hot spot combined with a pre-paid plan gets you truly unlimited data for $65 per month. RV Park WiFi is quite a joke (aside from checking email), so youíll likely want to look into the hot spot.

Lichen

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Re: RV lifers -- advice/resources
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2019, 08:50:56 AM »
@FallenTimber thank you for your reply!

Unfortunately, being stationary most of the time during the school year is a must at this stage as I wrap up my degree, but traveling more often is the goal in two years once I graduate (for both work and pleasure)! The good news is that the area is a major vacation/wilderness destination, so many of the long term parks we have looked at are marketed toward snowbirds and long time vacationers, as well as retired fulltimers that need to be stationary now for one reason or another. Some of the RVs in these places cost more than my house! We've passed by the sad, rundown down-and-out parks. I am sure some are still wonderful, but, as you pointed out, not really something we want to find out the hard way. The good news is since it is a month to month situation, we can simply move if we don't like the neighbors. I've also seen quite a few ads for RV sites with full hookups for rent on acreage around the city, so that is something we may explore as well.

I especially appreciate the advice on wifi. I figured as much, and I know it will be a case-by-case, park-by-park situation, but decent connectivity is a must so my partner can work. Plus, the quickest way to lose a teen boys' support is to cut off the wifi :)