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Old 18-06-2010, 17:04   #1
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Selling the House

I joined this forum just over a year ago. Laid out my plan. Now we're down to six years and haven't made as much progress toward saving for the boat as I had planned.

In short, our house was paid off almost four years ago. I really thought I'd be able to divert all those accelerated mortgage payments to the boat kitty. I had the motivation to pay off the mortgage. What has happened to my boat ambition? I'm perplexed.

It's not like I'm buying the latest gadgets or am enjoying high speed. But lifestyle creep has effected me and I'm surprised by that. Though it mostly all goes to things for the kids. Not material. Piano lessons, orthodics, camp. And after our sailing trip in the BVI I know that our next vacation is going to have a much higher upper limit because lifes like that.

Well, er, I succumbed to house renos too. We bought a fixer upper way back when and last year we clad it in stucco and put a metal roof on. See! I wasted my entire years savings on home improvements. I still believe it was a good long term investment - the siding and roof needed to be replaced in a serious way and we just chose a long lasting replacement. Cost analysis, in the end we'd be ahead. But look what I've done! My kitty hasn't grown.

Our original plan was to keep the house and pay for the boat with savings. This makes sense to me in terms of sense of security and I really really like our house. And if cruising doesn't work out for some reason, the house would still be here for us. I also read that it makes the kids feel more secure.

Now that I'm behind in my saving I've started thinking about our options to finance the boat. Maybe selling the house. We both have defined benefit pension plans. Though I'll be leaving early and deferring mine to avoid the penalties. My husband can retire in six years. And we have our RRSPs. So our cruising kitty is fine. It's the boat fund. Maybe I can make up for the lack of discipline this last year.

Maybe I should just plan to sell the house. It's only a house. We could get the really nice boat that would be our home.

All this to preface my question (I'm really longwinded)...

How many of you cruisers keep the house? How many of you cruisers sell everything?

Certainly selling the house cuts down on alot of headaches related to renting. Not sure I can sever that big land tie though. Does this mean I'm not really serious about cruising? I wonder.

Sorry everybody... I'm here because I don't have anyone to bounce this off of. (And husbands away for G8/G20 support - and I've had two glasses of wine!)

Your thoughts?

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Old 18-06-2010, 17:24   #2
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Originally Posted by NotJustDreaming View Post
How many of you cruisers keep the house? How many of you cruisers sell everything?
We sold everything (mostly), and reinvested half in a boat AND a smaller home overseas for eventual retirement and shore visits.

My advice is sell it all but don't blow it all on the boat & gadgets. Keep it simple and invest the rest.

Mundis Ex Igne Factus Est
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Old 18-06-2010, 17:44   #3
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I agree with Doodles, and from experience. Keep a nice reserve of cash, but not necessarily a house.
We had to sell everything to buy our very first boat, a 40’ ketch, which we lived on for seven years with our two small daughters. Living and cruising on a small boat is not always the happy-go-lucky lifestyle people think it is. We had some difficult times, from the sea and with money, but we knew we had to stick it out, because we had nowhere to go, and we did. It is now an indelible memory, which my daughters teach their own children.
Others who we met, who had kept their land-base often quit and went “home.” What they think now I do not know, because we lost touch with them.
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Old 18-06-2010, 18:18   #4
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My husband and I sold our house that we had designed and built ourselves and bought a small boat to live on, and I will say I was apprehensive (sp) about the whole thing, until we actually moved aboard and I was hooked. We have since moved up to a bigger boat, and I've gotten to do things I never thought I would be capable of in a million years. It's been a challenge, and frustrating, and totally amazing life. I'm looking forward to the day we can put Echo out to sea and head for the Caribbean. It's hard letting go of so many material things at once, and it takes some real soul-searching to finally make the step. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you and your husband do, and may the wind always be in your sails.
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Old 18-06-2010, 18:20   #5
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We sold the house. No regrets. Might buy another one 'someday', might not. After 2 1/2 years living aboard, we rented a house 7 minutes walk from the boat. Now we do half the year by the fireplace and half the year on board. Been thinking about going back aboard full time but it's kinda nice to have a crash pad/laundry/car parking/stuff stowage/sewing room/high speed internet/guest room. These days you're lucky to even be able to sell the house. Next year you'll likely get even less for it IF you can sell it. (but that starts a whole 'nuther thread).

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Old 18-06-2010, 18:34   #6
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Thanks so much for your advice.

Doodles, thanks for the reality check. I spent all the money from the house on the boat in my daydreams. I agree to invest a large chunk. Originally when we contemplated selling the house (to make things easier) we decided that if we did in the end, all the proceeds would be invested.

Jolly Roger, I can see having a home to come back to making it easier to abandon cruising at the first hardship.

Kaykay, thanks for the inspiration. Designing and building your own home must have made it more difficult to leave. I'm kind of embarassed to be so attached to my home.

Cchesley, sounds like you have the best of both worlds then. We live in Ottawa, a government town. The housing market didn't blink here from the bust. Although we didn't have a bubble like in some places. Hopefully I didn't jinx myself.
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Old 18-06-2010, 18:43   #7
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Wow, great to hear from all that have. I'm hoping to sell the house also but the market...well. I hope it changes soon. I do plan to keep a piece of land to park a storage trailer on and to have an option for the future even if it's just an "investment". (Taxes on undeveloped land here are cheaper than renting a little storage locker). A small percentage will go to finnishing up the boat and the rest invested to provide the kitty. The bulk will hopefully remain and be accessable should plans change. I built this place as "my last place" a dozen years ago, increadibly beautiful views on the top of the hill, deer, turkeys and all kinds of wildlife almost every day...but things change. New aspirations-time to get rid of the old so as to be able to make them possible...possibly!
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Old 18-06-2010, 18:52   #8
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we sold the house in 1998 put the equity into a boat. sold the lawnmower too. on those rare moments during the winter storms when I think I might miss owning an honest-to-god fireplace, I consider the fact that then I'd have to buy another lawnmower.

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Old 18-06-2010, 19:03   #9
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we sold the house and slowly but surely have sold everything land based. And as has been stated, it was scary, and hard!!!!!!!!!!! BUT IT WAS THE BEST DECISION WE HAVE EVER MADE!!!!!!!! We are livaboards now and absolutely love the life and the lack of stress. After it was done and the shock wore off, it was extremely up lifting. You don't realize how much those things weigh on you, and tie you down!!!!!!!!!
I feel like I am now a better spouse, parent, and friend now that my focus has changed to living life, and controlling my own destiny.
And best of all, NO MORE GRASS TO MOW
" You can always make more money, You can't make more time!"
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Old 18-06-2010, 19:17   #10
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Damn! I can see the light clearly now! Just finnished my weekly three hour mow. Boy I can't wait! (Anyone know anyone who wants a place in Vt?)
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Old 18-06-2010, 22:36   #11
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I've worked in construction for over 30 years, and most of that time as a licensed contractor. I've worked in all size houses, but I'm always left with same feeling about them. Houses are just above ground caves, and they don't go anywhere. If you're a land person then a house is probably your dream, with all that upgrading and remodeling you can do or have done to fulfill the dream even further. Boats don't even figure into most people's lives, as they like to end the day in their beds not bunks. After all the upgrading and remodeling is done what do you have? You have a really nice above ground cave, that you can impress your friends with but that's about it...and it still doesn't do anything or go anywhere. But many people also see these houses as some form of security, but it's an allusion if the house is never paid off or you get upside down. Even if the house is paid off you still have maintenance and taxes, and you can still lose the house to unpaid taxes. If you look at a house as an investment to make money, then that puts a different light on home ownership in my books...but only in an appreciating market. I've made money on houses in an up market, and lost a lot of that money in down it's a gamble like everything else in life. In the final analysis what do you have? You have a house that costs you a lot of money and time, and it doesn't go anywhere or do just sits there. For me I'd rather have a livable, sea worthy boat that will do something like take me somewhere. Sure it's still going to cost me money, but at least when I'm lying on my death bed reflecting on my life, I'll have all those great memories to relive as the light darkens in my life. To each their own I guess.
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Old 18-06-2010, 23:13   #12
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I sold the house and bought a boat in Grenada as well as a condo in Toronto. I only spend 6 months of the year in the Eastern Caribbean because of OHIP rules. You must spend 6 months a year in Ontario or loose your health coverage. Last year I started my CPP and this year add to it with my Old Age Security Pension. Both of these add to my to my cruising kitty. The summers are hot down south, so I really enjoy being back in Toronto although I spend a great time in Georgian Bay with friends on their boat. In winter they join me in Grenada.

Unlike some people I like having the security blanket of a home base and somewhere to live when I am no longer able to manage a boat.
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Old 19-06-2010, 00:45   #13
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Originally Posted by billyehh View Post
Unlike some people I like having the security blanket of a home base and somewhere to live when I am no longer able to manage a boat.
Hmm, tricky one isn't it. Our current plan is to get rid of the kids and buy a much smaller house/flat. Somwhere nice, hopefully with a view of the sea to do the same as Billyehh. Spending 2 hours each week with the lawn mower isn't my idea of fun. Sadly we are still a decade away from jumping off, I need the security of that pension.

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Old 19-06-2010, 02:08   #14
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Sell the house and buy something that is an easy rental (maintanence & market) and with a view to at least matching the market to keep your return to shore option financially open (even if you never return options bring happiness ). Don't get hung on it being somewhere you would love to live, somewhere you could for sure - at least until you sell. The big plus with property is long term the rental income is index linked (well, more or less) - whilst the purchase price depreciates in real terms.

Long term buy property with a view to keeping it forever, including when you no longer occupy it. Want a new place? Buy another one - when you can afford it. Your grandkids will be happy you did. Trust me
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Old 19-06-2010, 03:27   #15
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Why sell the house?

Hi NotJustDreaming!

I am blown away by so many on this forum who want to sell the house for a boat. A house is an appreciating asset. A boat depreciates. If you sell the house for a boat, you may be stuck with the boat when you physically need to go back to a house because the price differential between an appreciating house and your depreciating boat will be widening each year.

I actually think climbing up and down companionway steps probably keeps old folks limbs moving and prolongs their mobility but none of us knows when it will be that necessity dictates a move back to land. Would it not be a better idea to plan to keep the house for later and still get your boat in 5 or 6 years time as planned. What if you used the equity in your current house which you own to borrow for two more which you rent out. If you buy well & in the right location, maybe you can sell the two investment properties in 5 years time and the increase in value of the investment properties will buy your boat without selling your home. Then go sailing and you can draw on the income from renting out your home while sailing.

Many of us on this forum are working out this sort of a plan while others are saying it can't be done.


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