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Thinking of Buying a Motorhome & living in it instead of a traditional home?
Old 01-11-2008, 09:46 PM   #1
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Thinking of Buying a Motorhome & living in it instead of a traditional home?

That probably doesnt sound so weird .... if you are retired! I am in my early 40's,still working and would use it as a primary residence.

My plan is to RV & travel after I retire,I got to thinking, why dont I just buy a nice motorhome now and live in it instead of buying a traditional home? my sales job is based out of a home office, I am totally wireless and mobile (no need for land lines etc) I would need a P.O box but that is easily done.

Couple down falls are I have three vehicles and an ATC and collect and sell old car parts as a sideline, really enjoy older american cars and have no plans of dropping that hobby and/or side income, matter of fact I am planning on getting into it a little more so I would need storage area but could find and work a deal with someone that might have some extra storage in the area.

My accountant said it could be tax deductable if I live in it as a primary residence, although I do not believe the RV lot would be deductable.

So does this sound really stupid ( go easy here dont beat me up too bad, just trying to make early retirement a reality and it would be nice to have a motorhome paid for when I do retire) or might I be on too something? also keep in mind I am not thinking of buying a small little airstream trailer, I am considering a good sized diesel pusher.

Please chime in pros and cons, give your opinions and advice, has anyone else done this and actually lived in it as there primary residence prior to actually retiring?

Thank you,
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:50 PM   #3
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I've got a friend who's brother is dying from, I believe prostate cancer. He bought an approximately $200K motor home new in 2004, and now he has my friend trying to sell it. It's got I think maybe 12K miles on it, and last time I talked to him, it could be had for like $95K. If I was a little closer to ER, I'd probably be looking into it. At that price, I might be persuaded to give living aboard a try. I think it's right at a 40 footer, so plenty big. I heard you can park for 2 nights in a Walmart parking lot before they run you off LOL! There's about 1/2 dozen of them around here, and when you run out of Wally Worlds locally, you just move on to the next town! No need to pay rent anyplace!
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:52 PM   #4
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Welcome to the board. Living in a RV while w*rking is done all the time. There are several members here who have RVs and live in them full time. I have one but only use it 3-5 months of the year. DW is not ready or willing to part with a stick house and live on the road. I would do it in a heartbeat.

Living and still holding down a job that requires "face time" someplace can be done as long as there is a campground nearby or you have a lot for your RV. I know a guy that has 10 acres but no house. He lives out of his 45 footer. He has a barn and a storage shed. He is thinking about building a small casita with a RV garage but says he would rather live in his RV.

Perhaps you could find a nice piece of property and put in a RV pad with septic tank, power and water. That would give you room for your RV and your "toys". That is all you really need to live there for an extended time. Keep in mind a RV is a house on a chassis and like any other house it requires maintenance. The chassis requires a lot of maintenance and it must be moved from time to time to keep the internal parts working properly and the tires in good shape.

Living in a RV might be cheaper than a house if you don't go crazy with the RV. You can spend anywhere from $80k to $1.5 million on a Class A motorhome. I have a Tiffin Allegro Bus and have been very happy with it so far. It is a 42 footer and has plenty of room for the two of us, two dogs and the occasional grandkid or two or three or four. Find one a year or two old and let someone else eat the depreciation.

Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:15 AM   #5
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On the plus side you get to meet a lot of nice people and get to move around and experience a lot of nice places.
Negatives would be the Depreciation,cost of gas. cost of camping spot.
The forums at RV.net can be very informative to such a question.
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:11 AM   #6
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I just can't get my arms around how your hobby will work with RV life.
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:24 AM   #7
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I just can't get my arms around how your hobby will work with RV life.
Well, if you have parts storage place you could take the RV to various auto parts swap meets, great places to buy & sell parts. Sideline income and you can tow your old American iron behind the RV.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
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xtradoe, how far from retirement are you? Will the mobility be an advantage before retirement? Unless the answers is "not long" and "yes", I don't think this makes much sense. You'll be paying off a depreciating asset rather than investing in an appreciating one, and you'll be paying extra mobility you aren't using.

Assuming retirement is at least a few years out, does it make more sense to buy house, and sell it to buy an RV when you retire?

Coach
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:17 AM   #9
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I've got an RV and your plan doesn't seem realistic to me. Check out the costs of ownership, insurance, low mileage, site rental fee and storage closely. Not to mention maintenance of 3 vehicles, initial cost of an RV (even used) and its quick depreciation.

At the very least, have an exit strategy and some mad money close at hand.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:52 AM   #10
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I'm a motorhome owner but not using it to live in full time. Those who mentioned it are correct, depreciation is a big issue. But as Steve R pointed out, that's a two way road as you can get more for your money if you understand the typical depreciation curve of a motorhome and buy used after the downhill slope flattens out a little.

Depreciation for a typical diesel pusher:

Year Depreciation
1 30%
2 10%
3 7%
4 6%
5 6%
6 5%
7 5%
8 4%
9 4%
10 3%
11 3%
12-20 2%/year

If you do the math, it will show you that at the 5-6 year mark the value declines to 50% of the purchase price. (Note that the purchase price is not the sticker price. Typical discounts for a new motorhome are reported to be 25-27% under MSRP.)

Bottom line, it ain't cheap. Like Rich said, have a pile of mad money if you go this route...


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Old 01-12-2008, 10:55 AM   #11
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Perhaps you could find a nice piece of property and put in a RV pad with septic tank, power and water. That would give you room for your RV and your "toys". That is all you really need to live there for an extended time.
Steve, can you talk about this a bit? This has crossed my mind a few times, as I would like a place to get away, but maintaining two houses is way more than I could imagine, especially if they are a couple hours apart. But a chunk of lad with septic, water, and power that you could stock an RV on would be a horse of a different color. Much lower property taxes, keeps your options open with the land (future homesite, resale, etc.), and probably a much lower all-in investment. Know anyone who has done this? I assume that you'd need a shed to keep stuff related to the power, water and septic in.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:37 AM   #12
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brewer, that sort of thing is pretty common in the RV world. In addition to buying a few acres and doing what Steve describes, there are many RV "developments" where you can buy a small plot of land with all the water, electric and sewer services in place. Some are bare bones and some are very upscale. An example of what's available in Colorado: Colorado RV Lot Sales
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:40 AM   #13
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brewer, that sort of thing is pretty common in the RV world. In addition to buying a few acres and doing what Steve describes, there are many RV "developments" where you can buy a small plot of land with all the water, electric and sewer services in place. Some are bare bones and some are very upscale. An example of what's available in Colorado: Colorado RV Lot Sales
And then, there's always Slab City:
slab city
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I just can't get my arms around how your hobby will work with RV life.
Yes this could be a challenge if I didnt find a perfect situation.(storage)

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Originally Posted by Coach View Post
xtradoe, how far from retirement are you? Will the mobility be an advantage before retirement? Unless the answers is "not long" and "yes", I don't think this makes much sense. You'll be paying off a depreciating asset rather than investing in an appreciating one, and you'll be paying extra mobility you aren't using.

Assuming retirement is at least a few years out, does it make more sense to buy house, and sell it to buy an RV when you retire?

Coach
I am 43, would like to retire early (thats why I am here )

The RV would provide mobility and I would use it for vacation trips and long weekends.

Good questions and things to certainly consider.

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
I've got an RV and your plan doesn't seem realistic to me. Check out the costs of ownership, insurance, low mileage, site rental fee and storage closely. Not to mention maintenance of 3 vehicles, initial cost of an RV (even used) and its quick depreciation.

At the very least, have an exit strategy and some mad money close at hand.
Great advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
I'm a motorhome owner but not using it to live in full time. Those who mentioned it are correct, depreciation is a big issue. But as Steve R pointed out, that's a two way road as you can get more for your money if you understand the typical depreciation curve of a motorhome and buy used after the downhill slope flattens out a little.

Depreciation for a typical diesel pusher:

Year Depreciation
1 30%
2 10%
3 7%
4 6%
5 6%
6 5%
7 5%
8 4%
9 4%
10 3%
11 3%
12-20 2%/year

If you do the math, it will show you that at the 5-6 year mark the value declines to 50% of the purchase price. (Note that the purchase price is not the sticker price. Typical discounts for a new motorhome are reported to be 25-27% under MSRP.)


Bottom line, it ain't cheap. Like Rich said, have a pile of mad money if you go this route...

Excellent info!

Thanks all, good comments and questions, I havent went out and bought a motor home, it is just a thought.

Keep it coming!

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Old 01-12-2008, 11:46 AM   #15
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Florida also has ownership RV parks, typically near a golf course or other attraction. The decent ones are anywhere from 50-150k and cost about $3-5k per year in taxes, maintenance etc. You can rent them when not in use and just about offset the expenses, since rental is easy here during the 6-8 month "good" season. No weather worries either since you have nothing to lose but a slab.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:02 PM   #16
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And then, there's always Slab City:
slab city
You can't get much info from that website without paying to register, but Slum Slab City is an abandoned military base in the southern California described this way in Wikipedia: "...a camp in the Colorado Desert in southeastern California, used by recreational vehicle owners and squatters from across North America."

Something tells me it isn't exactly what brewer has in mind...
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:10 PM   #17
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You can't get much info from that website without paying to register, but Slum Slab City is an abandoned military base in the southern California described this way in Wikipedia: "...a camp in the Colorado Desert in southeastern California, used by recreational vehicle owners and squatters from across North America."

Something tells me it isn't exactly what brewer has in mind...
Not exactly, no. What I would really like is a cabin in the catskills or Poconos on 10 acres or better without dealing with an association or HOA. But I canot justify the initial expense plus the hassles of keeping up a house in a remote area in a somewhat harsh climate. But a piece ofland that I could drive the RV to or simply camp on with septic, water and power would be much lower maintenance and expense, and do just about everything I'd want it to.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:24 PM   #18
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But a piece ofland that I could drive the RV to or simply camp on with septic, water and power would be much lower maintenance and expense, and do just about everything I'd want it to.
This is essentially what someone does when they buy land and move in a manufactured home. Except with an RV you don't have the worries of a vacant cabin or mfg. home being vacant for periods of time since you bring it home with you...
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:38 PM   #19
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This is essentially what someone does when they buy land and move in a manufactured home. Except with an RV you don't have the worries of a vacant cabin or mfg. home being vacant for periods of time since you bring it home with you...
Exactly.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:36 AM   #20
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Here is another example of the many benefits of owning a motorhome. If this sport ever catches on in the US, I sure hope they change the "no modifications after sundown" rule...Motorhome Racing
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