Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sell your house!

One of the reasons we are able to get by on so little money is that we don't own a house. Owning a house is a very expensive proposition, especially if it's not going up in value.

But of course you need somewhere to live. If your life circumstances aren't set up for full time travel,  then renting is a much more logical option.

Even if your house is bought and paid for, look at the money that still goes out the door...

Property taxes. Of course they vary depending on your location, but when we sold our house 6 years ago we were paying $200 a month in property taxes.

Maintenance and upkeep. There's always something expensive that needs to be fixed or replaced. New garage door, new furnace, new roof, new fencing...always something. Always.

Decorating. Many people spend a fortune on decorating. Especially if you have to pay someone to do it for you. Not so bad if you're doing it yourself, but then it's very time consuming.

Here's our house that we sold in 2007...

Hey, there's the little blue car!

We used to own all of that "stuff". I don't miss it at all.

Of course if you're independently wealthy, then none of this makes any difference to you. But if you're one of the millions of people working day to day just to pay the bills, then you maybe want to reconsider this home ownership thing.

Many people think homes will continue to go up in value as they have done on a regular basis since the early 1960's. Of course the U.S. housing "crisis" made many people rethink this trend, but now people are getting complacent again because prices have temporarily stabilized and are some regions are starting to to rise.

I believe this will be a very temporary thing. Did you know that housing prices in Japan have been going down for the last 20 years? Sure there have been a few annual blips of rising prices, but the general trend is down. Have a look at this for a reality check...


This chart shows Japanese house prices since they peaked in 1991. That's the red line. The blue line shows American house prices, about six years after they peaked in 2006. And the black line is Australian house prices since they peaked in mid 2010.

Our generation has never lived through housing deflation. They think houses only go up in price, never down.

Many people were shocked when their houses went down in value. I don't think the shock is over yet.

21 comments:

  1. We agree with you too. Sold ours in 2006 for a very top dollar and it soon needed new flooring , new furnace, new hot water tank and a new roof. We don't miss it either, does allow us to live a very comfortable fulltiming experience. Profit from the house that was paid for and some investments have been our only income, but now getting some Canada pension and old age pension from the government, almost a enough for us to live on without touching the investments.

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  2. We don't miss owning a house either. We did really like our house, and it was a great place to raise our kids. Now, however, we have no need for a house and never plan to own another one! Who needs that headache :)

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  3. You are not wrong about the cost of owning a house. We bought our little home over a year ago and have not regretted it...yet. One of our daughters lives here in Ohio. There are very few campgrounds even remotely close to our family that don't charge an arm and a leg. We only stayed one month in years past, and Kelly wasn't too happy about that. A simple month's rent here is anywhere between $600-$1000 for virtually a driveway, some grass and little privacy. We are paying way less per month for our house than the campground. Now we stay five months, have a great yard, can have all the friends over we want, and lots and lots of privacy for all those parties that we throw. Taxes...yes, upkeep...yes but we will now have something to spend our later years in. Unlike many others, we won't be traveling much past 70. No interest in selling. We will leave that to the girls.

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  4. We sold our house 22 years ago, We were going on the road for 2 years then evaluating the situation, well 22 years I am still evaluating it and the answer is always the same, stay on the road. So many places to go and so many wonderful people to meet.

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  5. Well this is timely. I just now came in from sweating for a couple hours in the "garden". (more like a patch of weeds if you ask me)
    Sure glad our place is paid for, that's all I'll say. There's always something to replace or repair, that's also for sure.
    I think I'd miss my shop if we sold it, truth be told. And I know there are retirement communities that have woodworking shops and all that. Not for me, thanks.
    Owning a house is certainly not for everyone. We were initially disappointed that Daughter Number Two and Hubby moved from here to an apartment, but there's no way they could afford a house, nor do they have the desire to look after one. They have an underground garage, their snow will get plowed or shoveled etc. They have a flight of stairs to climb to get to their place, but they're still young enough that it doesn't matter. That wouldn't work for us.
    The only thing I missed about living in an apartment in Vienna (apart from our house and my shop) was not having a driveway.
    I just missed having the car in the driveway, to wash it, load it up, that kind of thing. Other than that, we quite enjoyed the apartment.

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  6. HI Folks, Thanks for this blog. I have listed my condo and plan to buy a motor home. Although a condo is less expensive than a house, ther are other issues. I'd sooner live in a motor home and be able to travel.

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  7. What a timely post as I put our house on Craigslist yesterday hoping for a bite. Another increase in the garbage bill did it on top of the recent increase in our property taxes, the huge increase in homeowners insurance, the high base water bills even if we don't use a drop of water, and so on. It's just not worth it. Living in a motor home gives you almost total control over what you want to spend each month because you can decide whether to stay in a fancy campground, a national park, free camp on BLM land, Walmart or whatever. Owning a home gives you no control over expenses.

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  8. Hey guys, I am new to your blog, I have bought a Minni Winnie and we were planing on going to Mexico. Have you done a cost analysis of driving the RV against driving a car (I get 22 miles per gallon in the caddy)and staying in hotels? I am 73 years old and driving in a compact just about tears me up after 2 hours. The Caddy works. It seems slightly more expensive to go in the Minnie Winnie, however the last trip we were right on the beach and it was nice. I live on the Straits of Juan De Fuca in Washington State and have many campgrounds within 2 hours that we are testing the RV at.

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  9. I agree with you guys. I can't wait to sell the house. We aren't living in a sellers market right now though. One good thing is our property tax is $120 a year, electric is $60 a month peak season, and we can afford to have things repaired because of less expensive labor and we don't have all those ridiculous laws about this and that and the other. OTOH, you get what you pay for.

    Someday soon, we will follow in your footsteps.

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  10. Mr Sft and I wonder whether living in a RV rather than owning a house works for people in the UK?

    There are certainly a lot of people driving RVs around Cornwall at the moment.

    Sft x

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    1. Sft X, We met quite a few Europeans living in their motor homes when we were over there 2011 in ours. Our average monthly costs were actually less in Europe than in the US because of all the free or lost cost Aires and Stellplatz (RV parking) in so many towns on Europe's mainland. We never went to the UK but I understand it's much harder to free camp there. Check out http://www.magbaztravels.com/. This British couple has been living in a motor home for several years and has a wealth of information on their website.

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    2. Thanks Evelyn. That is so helpful. I will check out their website.

      Sft x

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  11. We are one of those that owe more than the house is worth so we are stuck unless we short sale. Renting where we live is significantly more expensive for the same size place as owning, including property taxes. My house would rent for about $500.00 more than we pay in mortgage. In the end it doesn't matter, we're stuck...

    I'm missing my first house, payment was less, it's worth even in these times twice what I paid for it... nuts.

    Erik

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    1. Could you rent your house out for a profit and move into an RV?

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  12. i would sell in a New York minute if I could get enough to pay it off and have some left over to by a small condo. with all the new housing around us, older homes are a tough sell. we still are keeping our fingers crossed that the new highway will turn our
    side of road commercial. boy someone pays 60 a month for electric?
    ours in summer runs around 350.00 and taxes are almost as much as the house mortgage.

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  13. We sold our house in 2011 after having it on the market for six months. Living in our RV is much more budget friendly. And there is no lawn to cut unless we get crazy like you and go and manage a campground... :cD

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    1. Cutting the lawn becomes much less of a chore when you're getting paid to do it!

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  14. Love your header photo. I cycled toured Cape Breton and that photo brought back some great memories. Great discussion on home owner ship. My husband and I are talking about selling and down sizing after I retire at 55. I'm actually taking a year off soon to practice retirement and travel to Baja. It will be a test for us to really see what do you actually need.

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  15. Hello Guys and thank you for your blog. We love it. (Please thank you for be lenient with our English ..as we are french speaking in the day to day life). Me and my wife sold everything last year and we are now free as birds. And ... we love it. Selleing properties was like open the door of the cage. We live annually on a $1250. per month budget .. and we hope to never see snow again for the next 20 years. Reading you and comments is so interesting!

    Fernand & Helen, Drummondville Qeuebec Canada
    www.les2moineauxonthego.com

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    1. Congratulations! So glad you are enjoying the life. We try to live on that amount or less per month as well but these last 5 months have been much more than we had planned on but we sure did do and see a lot this winter. We should be getting back to our normal monthly budget soon.

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