Staying Out Of The Housing Trap

Many people are deciding that this is home.

Many people are deciding that this is home.

Consistently the single largest expense in household budgets is housing. A house payment and now rent have ballooned to take up nearly 40% of your combined income. And still people line up, like lambs to the slaughter, to buy a house that’s bigger than they need and costs more than they can afford. And they do that thinking they’re savvy investors. They talk about building equity as if mortgages aren’t set up specifically so that banks get their money first and your equity doesn’t amount to much of anything for nearly a decade and then only if you put 20% down. I realize that sounds cynical but even that harsh assessment falls short of the true burden or dismal housing options put on people.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to an actual rich person who made a fortune in real estate.

My House Has Wheels grew out of my quest to find options to that giant expense people pretend is an asset. I spent months researching alternative housing options. In hindsight I’m not sure exactly where in that learning quest I ran across RV living but it was fairly early in the process. The more I read about RV living, the more I was convinced it was the right living solution for us. My wife was more of a reluctant passenger, particularly when I told her she’d have to get rid of a walk-in closet full of clothes and at least three big boxes of shoes. You’d think I was asking her for a kidney the way she went on.

RV Living Crushes Traditional Housing

If you can manage with less space, you can save yourself a whole lot of money. At the same time you’ll be avoiding the most common housing problems and complaints. When we were nailed to the ground, inevitably our biggest annoyances were the neighbors. Not all of them, but definitely the family one street over who used to have loud, drunken parties that involved shooting fireworks at the home of the African-American family next door. And the neighbor on the other side who built an above ground pool deck right up against our privacy fence. And the guy who staged motocross races at an unlicensed motorcycle dirt track…you get the idea.

water_thing

This is called a Camco Water Bandit which is a totally not fair name because this $4 gadget can save you a lot of headaches. If you ever run across a water connector that’s stripped, you can use a Water Bandit to attach your water hose. Use a small spring clamp for better security. These are awesome to have in your RV toolkit.

RV parks would tolerate none of the bad behavior you find in almost any suburban neighborhood. There are no street basketball hoops, loud parties are over before quiet time, which starts at 9 or 10 pm in most places. I’ve never been in an RV park that allowed fireworks, shooting or loud music. If you’re obnoxious and the neighbors complain, the park will ask you to move down the road. If you like being loud and obnoxious, that’s your right but you’ll have to go way out in the twigs.

Finding Your Place

Not only can you avoid obnoxious people but you can also move around until you find a park populated with people you like. That happens a lot. In many parks it’s the same group of people coming back year after year, maybe keeping in touch on Facebook in between. It can become very much like an extended family or social group. Some of these groups have been RVing together for decades and parks will frequently block out big sections of spaces for their regular customers.

Mobile living has its downsides but the low cost, freedom of association and liberating mobility absolutely crushes traditional housing options. RV living is much more in harmony with modern life and not steeped in decades of institutional inertia stemming from the combination of Realtors, regulators and big Wall Street banks.

We need better housing options. Until we get them, RV living is still the option I’ve found.

Get the book, it's only $2.99. It helps me keep the lights on here at MHHW.

Get the book, it’s only $2.99. It helps me keep the lights on here at MHHW.

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