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Old 15-02-2016, 09:30   #16
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

Empty houses in Florida deteriorate fast if the air conditioning isn't on 24/7/365 - according to a friend that lives a bit North of Tampa.

If you aren't there, how long before anything that isn't nailed down, disappears?

If you aren't there, how long is it before anything that IS nailed down, disappears?

I think your partner has the right idea tbh. It'll be a constant worry otherwise.

There's also the point that trespassers may be able to sue you for damages if they get injured while stealing things from your house.
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:31   #17
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

I would seal up the house with painted plywood over all doors and windows, turn of the utilities and set off bug bombs in all rooms. If you ever need to come home you will have one.
my 2 cents
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:33   #18
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

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Originally Posted by carlheintz View Post

Personally: the Admiral would NEVER allow me to sell all the accumulated valuable(?) treasures we have. If I was so lucky as to convince her to go on cruise semi permanently, well we'd be storing a ton of stuff and renting out the house.
This is us. I have convinced the wife to be part-time liveaboards/cruisers. She is adamant that she WILL have a home-base, period. So we are looking for something smaller, probably a townhome or small house, that we can have as a base.

I have read of more people doing this, to be able to go home for the holidays, site out hurricane season, work, etc. This is probably the best plan of action for us.
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:36   #19
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

We kept the farm in the 80s when we took off to sail around the world with our four month old daughter. The structure was a borderline "scraper" with a great location in the Puget Sound area. We heavily discounted the rent and installed a carpenter/tenant who agreed to never call us with complaints, to add value to the property through his efforts and to be ready to vacate on short notice lest we returned earlier than expected.

After four and a half years and many long passages the boat began to feel more and more like a prison cell and we felt as though we were just doing time. I know sacrilegious but true. To have a place to move into on our return was invaluable. Our daughter was four and a half on our return to the NW and couldn't believe how easy it was to flush a house toilet.

We owned the property free and clear which is a huge factor. Our voyage could have been cut short by disaster many many times and to have this fallback was very reassuring.

Of the four couples who were sailing the same basic route as we and who became life long friends, we were the only ones who owned a home aside from our boat and we were the only ones who didn't get divorced within a year of our return.
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:38   #20
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

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Originally Posted by ShackAttack View Post
We are working on our Great Escape. We are setting priorities for boat selection, creating budgets, and educating ourselves AMAP. So far we've been pretty much on the same page wrt enthusiasm, timeline to launch etc. But we have different views on what to do with an older home we just bought near our home marina.

I want to fix it up and create a home base. We can use it while we get the boat ready, and afterward to store our stuff, and for visits home for friends, family, doctors etc. Maybe sit out hurricane season while the boat is on the hard. Or if we find we're not coming home much we can make it a furnished rental and help feed the sailing kitty.

But my partner thinks it will be simpler to sell all our stuff, bulldoze the house and save the hassles associated with upkeep, utilities, insurance, renters etc. he says we can stay in hotels when we visit, travel during storm seasons and when we return build a house where ever the spirit strikes.

I know there is no perfect answer but I wondered what experience has taught those of you out there cruising? What did you do with your home base? Has the idea evolved? Would you do it differently in hindsight?
I'm with your partner. Sold house and stored some heirlooms. After paying storage for 6 yrs gave the stuff to family. You can always get stuff.
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:38   #21
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

Speaking as someone with CONSIDERABLE experience managing rentals (in a "low rent district") I can tell you that being a COMPETENT "slum lord" takes a certain knack that is NOT inate. It's very much a learned skill, so before you decide to rent out your house, give that some really serious thought. How will you impose tenant discipline so your property will not be destroyed? How will you deal with non-payment of rent while you are away? How will you deal with the consequences of apparently respectable people setting up a methamphetamine lab?

Be careful if you employ a "realtor" to "manage" the rental. Be aware that NO "realtor"'s fundamental interest in the management contract is congruent with yours. Do you KNOW how to monitor and supervise a "realtor"? Is your local legislation such that it will permit you to do so effectively - even as principal in a principal-agent (old fashioned: "master-servant") relationship?

If, as is often the case here, the house has negligible value compared with the land it sits on, then your best bet may be to raze the house but keep the land for future use, but obviously the footage construction cost for a new house when you return will then have to be provided for in your long term planning and budget. Will you be as eligible for a construction loan/mortgage when you return as you are now?

Lots to think about and to nail down before you commit to a plan :-)

All the best!

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Old 15-02-2016, 09:42   #22
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

Not sure if it applies where you live but in Colorado, they penalize you in property taxes for vacant land. In our case, it is cheaper to keep the abandoned trailer house on the property than to tear it down!
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:51   #23
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

Keep the house, winterize it or rent it. Heck, just pay a broker to rent it for you. If it's truly near the marina etc, I wonder if there is a service who could do vacation rentals with it?
Nice to have a place to come stay for hurricane season sometimes. keep one car. Put your car insurance in "suspension" this keeps you out of the category of "no prior insurance"!


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Old 15-02-2016, 09:55   #24
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

If you live your life always with a safety net to catch you...aren't you already planning to fall?
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Old 15-02-2016, 09:56   #25
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

I'm with your partner. We sold the house and appliances, off-loaded any worn out furniture, and put everything else into long-term storage with a big moving & storage company (it's a whole lot cheaper than self-storage). Our thinking was that we'd be more committed to full-time living aboard if we didn't have a ready refuge as a crutch. We also figured that operating and maintaining a live-aboard boat would pretty much be a full-time job, and we didn't want to have a house to distract us from that. Our thinking has worked well for us so far.
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Old 15-02-2016, 10:05   #26
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

I bet once you start cruising that it will feel good to have a place to come home to if you want to! When we retired my wife was committed for full time cruising for at least 3 years, so we sold 2 cars and some other stuff! However we kept the 3 family rental moneymaker and our weekend place on the water, so happy we did. Now it has been 13 years of cruising in the Caribbean but now we go home for 6 months to spend the summer with grandkids etc. and she is still happy! I think it depends on the area where your property is, can you expect to fix it up and find good tenants? If so it makes sense. With the Internet it is much easier to deal with rentals etc., our tenants pay rent electronically and we rarely have a problem


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Old 15-02-2016, 10:06   #27
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

We left in June 2014. Kept the house because my husband wasn't sure if it was really what he wanted to do and the real estate market had tanked. We still owe a very small amount to the bank. We rented it out to a friend for less than we could get from a stranger (for a lot of reasons that aren't pertinent here). It has worked out OK for us but we haven't had ANY problems from him. He's getting to the point now where assisted living may be in his future and we will have to re-rent at a higher amount to a stranger, or sell - and the market is way down still.

If we do decide to sell we'll walk away with a bit (actually more than I paid for it 25 years ago) but I think my husband will still have problems selling where his family have lived for 4 generations and he knows everyone in town.

Two decisions for all of us. Financial and emotional. No one can tell you what to do. They can only tell you what worked or didn't for them. If you have no ties to the area then it's a simpler financial decision. If you have already tried the cruising full time lifestyle on and are comfortable with it, have no apron strings drawing you back, then you can sell, rent or demolish as you please. Just remember that life may dictate your return to shore and have a plan. Good luck!
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Old 15-02-2016, 10:11   #28
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

Keeping two worlds is like keeping two girlfriends -- neither will be satisfied with your vagueness and rogue. Sell the damng house and move on.
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Old 15-02-2016, 10:28   #29
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

I think, when money no object, it makes some sense to keep some kind of property. If it is big enough, you can use some space up as your 'base' storage and rent out the rest to have a better cruising kitty (only if this counts to you).

The exception is when you do not want to come back to the place where you started from.

The other exception is when the home IS what you can sell to get the funds to go sailing.

We sold everything. This made the transition basically a month in the boat doing some minor preparation and then we set off for the big adventure. It worked for us. We worked fast as we knew there was now plan B.

In retrospective, I think it would have been great to keep that small apartment we had and rent it out to generate a more or less steady cash flow towards our sailing life. Alas, it is only a theoretical assumption as we were not in the financial position to keep that apartment - keeping it would imply NOT going sailing.

So back to square A1 - no answers, one must try to envision a couple of possible scenarios and then either hedge (keep the stuff) or else jump (sell the stuff).

To sum up: if you can, keep it. You can always sell it later. If the money in the house is your only option to get your cruising budget NOW and go, and if you think you must go now, then sell the house, pocket the cash and go sailing.

You can always build or buy another home later.

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Old 15-02-2016, 10:35   #30
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Re: Newbies ask the Old Salts : did you "Sell everything" OR "Keep a home Base" ?

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Two decisions for all of us. Financial and emotional. No one can tell you what to do. They can only tell you what worked or didn't for them.
Very astute. And everyone's different. So all the OP can get out of this is what they asked when they started this thread: here's what others did, now, we still have to make up our own minds. Will be interesting to find out what they did and why, once they do decide.

Good luck.
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