Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How it started ...

It all started as a joke, actually

... Since last summer, I had been feeling this nagging tug ... something telling me "it's time to move".

I kept quiet and watched as homes that went on the market quickly left the market days, sometimes hours, after being listed for sale.

Then the nagging tug became more of a stern voice (not really, but you know what I mean). I mentioned the idea of moving to Gary a few times ... and his response was always "but where would we go?" He had a point. Selling high in an up market made zero sense if we were just going to turn around and buy in an up market.

Months passed ... and every time I brought it up, I was quickly frustrated because I knew we were being told to move, but I had no solution for the question of 'where'.

And then it happened. The stern voice became a scream and I felt like I was being hit over the head.

Less than 2 weeks ago, I texted Gary and told him we were supposed to move. And that we would find somewhere to rent (and save money) until the market came back down and we could buy at the right time. He agreed.

I went to visit my brother on Friday night, while Gary was on shift. I told my family that we were most likely moving and would be putting our house on the market soon. And that's when everything started to make sense.

"I might have a buyer for your house ..." my brother said.

A few months ago, my brother recruited his dear friend and old mission companion to come work for him. His friend and their family had sold their home in Colorado and were renting an apartment here while they looked for a home to buy. Just days before, his friend had given notice to their apartment complex that they were moving. They had given themselves 60 days.

So. As I sat at my brother's house and talked with him and my Dad ... someone threw out a joke about living in an RV. Something Gary had jokingly texted earlier in the day and I had dismissed as complete nonsense. Only this time, I didn't dismiss the idea. I listened as my Dad (who is heavily entrenched in the RV business) talked about the simple, unbelievably inexpensive life that awaited. And I quickly started to calculate the amount of money that could be saved if we were to make this bonkers idea a reality. So we began to do the math.

The sale of our home meant that we would make a substantial amount of money. Not using realtors to broker the deal meant that it truly was all profit. And the amount we would make would pay off absolutely every shred of debt we have anywhere. And then some. That alone makes it tempting to just walk away and purchase our next home. But. 'Why sell high only to buy high?'

We decided that we were indeed selling our home. I spent the week cleaning out every closet, every cupboard, every attic, and every room. Massive amounts of 'stuff' left our home in preparation for our one shot at a zero realtor showing ... and it. paid. off. The buyers were in.

So, we headed to my Dad's RV dealership (more like Disneyland for RVers) in Lewisville ( We toured several RV's. And later decided on a floor plan that is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, with a kitchen, living, and dining area. Our bed is king size, which means we can take our Tempurpedic mattress and maybe, for 8 hours each night, it will be like we never left. All for what we think (at least it's looking that way right now) will cost us a total of $350/month. And if we can tap into the sewer line that runs under the property we want to park it on, it will also include our utilities in that price (they might be marginally more).

So, I came home and did my homework. And no. There is NOWHERE that a family of 4 can live for $350/month. The tiniest little home in a far out suburb is listed for $1,500/month and apartments aren't any better. And then we would spend another $300-500/month on utilities.

And now for the budget ... When you couple both mine and Gary's incomes (especially when I start teaching in the ISD in August), we can save $60-80k every year that we stay in the RV. For now, I'm mentally preparing for one year, but Gary is hoping that we will love the simple life of no chores, no yard work, and zero up keep ... and maybe stay for 2 years. And hopefully by then, the market will have come down a little where we can justify building/buying a home. We will move back to the same area we left. Only, we will be doing it with absolutely no debt and an admirable bank account in tow.

There are lots of factors that make this adventure feasible for our family:

1. We only have 2 children, who are unbelievably excited -- I can't even tell you
2. I will be teaching in an ISD that allows me to bring my kids to work ... making our choice of where to park our 'home' irrelevant
3. The kids and I will be gone the bulk of the week M-F
4. We plan to make a bucket list of places to visit every Saturday during our adventure
5. We are hoping that our awesome bishop will allow us to continue to attend church in the Prosper area, instead of switching locations to another building ... afterall, we don't actually have a residence

And there you have it!

So, our family's motto is 'We Can Do Hard Things' ... and we are going to choose to do the hard things first. Live like no one else will, so we can live like no one else can. You're welcome to join us on the journey ... come what may, it will be an adventure with lots of memories that we will surely cherish.