Looking for a Home Base

Q&A  with a Reader

Apparently we just missed your visit in Boquete. We rented in Valle Escondido for 5 months. I loved it, but my husband missed working on his classic cars and drag racing.

We are now considering an RV full time. I think you did that also. What advice do you have?

Also, I am interested in the location of where you keep a home base currently. What are  the advantages/disadvantages of that arrangement?

Thanks for your expertise and advice.

Dawn

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Hi Dawn,

Thanks for taking the time to write. We appreciate that!

Sorry we missed your visit in Boquete, Panama! We visited Valle Escondido several times. What a lovely community.

Yes, we owned a 5th wheel trailer and a 1 ton pickup for several years. We chose a trailer as opposed to having our home be attached to the motor in case there needed to be repairs to the motor, we would still have a home while we dropped the truck off. That may or may not be an issue with you, but we also were able to park the trailer and take the truck into town for groceries, instead of moving the whole RV in and out of town. Or perhaps we wanted to sight-see – we were able to take the truck individually instead of taking the whole rig.

If you still want a one-piece unit, you might consider other modes of transport like bicycles, a moped or towing your car to get you to and from the store for daily supplies or for getting around town.

If you will be living out of an RV, you will probably want a mail service to scan your mail electronically for you. You can then have the service send you your mail to your current location if you like, or shred your mail.

Take your time traveling. Fuel is a huge cost of RV living, and if you can stay in a location, receiving weekly or monthly rates, your transport costs won’t be supersized. Another way to spread out your costs would be to dry camp or to every once in a while, stay in a parking lot or on a neighborhood street.

You might consider reading a book on Fulltiming in an RV – they can be very helpful for all sorts of things you might not think of ahead of time.

We have several places that we consider to be home bases from which we travel, but the only location where we own something is in Arizona.  We enjoy having a Stateside address where we can receive important mail like credit cards – most of our mail is digital at this time, but receiving new credit cards are physical. Also, there might come a time where you need to receive a written check for something. Your mail forwarding service might be able to work this out for you.

Also, our place in the States still has some of our possessions like my grandmother’s china and my mother’s jewelry. Things like that.

I hope this information was useful to you – please feel free to write if you have other questions.

Best of luck. We loved RVing. It’s a great lifestyle and RVers are a very friendly group.

Stay in touch!

Akaisha and Billy

Thanks for your quick reply and thoughtful answers! You have some good points.

Where can you find such affordable housing in Arizona? The link showed a furnished modular unit for $7,000 ?! Where is this community?

Thanks again for your help and advice.

Dawn

Hi Dawn,

RE: a modular home/Park model unit – if you can make a purchase from a previous owner, this is where you will save thousands of dollars. Some communities and RV parks are now implementing an “age limit” to the units that are for sale, in an attempt to modernize the look of the community. Some communities still have the “vintage” units and those can be very affordable.

Two things you must keep in mind — one is if you purchase the property underneath your Park model or modular home, you will have to add a significant amount to the purchase price and be prepared for your insurance and property taxes to be higher than if you were to purchase the unit and lease the land from the community. A park model is considered to be a vehicle, as it can be moved from place to place and initially comes with wheels. This means that you pay a renewable license yearly equivalent to a vehicle license and your property taxes are in the low hundreds of dollars versus the thousands of dollars.

A modular home, on the other hand, is a “real” home and the insurance is figured differently.

The other thing, is that if you purchase used, rather than new, the units are generally fully furnished, down to cleaning supplies, sheets and cookware. The new units you will have to allow money to furnish them completely.

Many of these communities are Active Adult Communities or Snowbird communities. They are located virtually “everywhere” but most of them are in the sun belt of the U.S. including Calif., AZ, NM, TX and FL. If you Google “Active Adult Communities” they will list many to choose from. You could narrow your search to “Active Adult Communities TX” and only get the ones in Texas. Up to you.

The one you saw pictured in the article was in an RV park in AZ owned by Cal-Am.

Be sure to take your time in purchasing a unit. Make sure you like your neighbors, the shopping availability to you, the restaurants nearby, the activities offered by the community and very importantly, the weather.

Hope this helps.

Best to you,

Akaisha

Wow! All good information. It will take me some time to research this.  Thanks for taking the time to give me such a complete and thorough answer.

Dawn

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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