Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Our house is a very very fine house

Because this is a big trip and not "going fulltime", we had to decide what to do with our house. Many ideas were kicked around, but we just weren't ready to sell it entirely and decided to see if renting it out was feasible. Spoiler alert: it is!

Getting started is overwhelming!
Here's the overall list of things for getting ready to get on the road:

  1. Because we will not be local to deal with tenants, we decided on a property management company (Key Property Management) to handle the rental aspect of the property.
    • We interviewed 3 different property management companies.
    • The property management rates ranged from either a flat rate to 7-10% of the rent for their monthly fees.
    • The property management's "lease commission/fee" ranged from 70-100% of the first month's rent to a flat rate.
  2. Selling or giving away everything that we can - years of baby stuff, furniture that we don't use, old clothes, old electronics, you name it. I'm trying to minimize as much as possible for what has to go into storage.
    • The sales have been occurring on Craigslist and yardsale groups on Facebook - these have been aggravating with people being interested and then disappearing.
    • My wife prepared a ton of stuff for our local Tot Swap consignment sale. The timing of this was perfect and we were able to take a truck full of stuff to it.
    • We've donated and given away a bunch so far (with much more to go). My daughter's school has a clothing collection box that benefits the school's PTA. I'm also contacting the local women's shelter to see if they can use much of the baby stuff.
    • I've used Freecycle to give away a variety of things that just don't have value, but I can't stand to see go to the dump.
    • And finally, tonight I'm going to the local auction to see how it works. I have an appointment next week to take stuff for them to auction off.
  3. Interviewed moving companies to get an idea of how big of a storage space we need and for help loading the truck.
    • We looked at the various "POD" and "Cube" storage places that deliver and drop off a container outside of your home. We generally cannot do this as our driveway is too short and steep and we have no front yard that isn't landscaped. Given the sizes that we need, we would need multiple containers and this ended up being more expensive than other options.
    • I debated between a self-storage unit and the warehouse container idea. For the size that we'd need, the warehouse container wasn't much more expensive. The downside to a warehouse container is the lack of accessibility from when we send it to the warehouse to when we're done. However, I am struggling with the self-storage concept with pest control and it being completely unattended for 12 months.
    • I even had the wacky and crazy idea of just buying a 40' utility trailer, loading it up and then parking that at a storage facility. I figure I could buy one that's a few years old and resell it at the end. The biggest problem with this is financing it ahead of time and the hassle of buying/selling it.
  4. Getting the house ready for rent:
    • The leasing agent will need a nice tidy & clean house for the listing photos.
    • There are small repairs that need all around- new smoke alarms throughout the house, fixing those faucets & fixtures that were fine for us but now need fixing, etc.
  5. Packing, packing, and more packing (which will lead to more selling, giving away, and donating!).
  6. Tinkering on the camper to get it ready - I'm finally buying a surge protector and tire pressure monitors. We also want to make some tweaks inside of the camper to make it more livable.
    • Removing a sofa from the bunkhouse and putting in bookshelves;
    • Adding a desk in the bedroom for my office;
    • Adding a desk in the bunkhouse for my daughter's schooling;
    • Adding pull out shelves and shelves within shelves to make more usable space.
  7. Exploring what is needed to boost our WiFi and cellular data access so that I can work while this happens. I list this separately because of it's importance to just livability aspects of the camper.
  8. Crash course in home schooling! We've ran the gamut from just enrolling my daughter in online public schooling to buying a ready-made curriculum to developing our own curriculum and finally settling on utilizing a consultant to help us create the curriculum.


  1. Doug and Mandie, I didn't know that you had this or I would have followed it from the start. I'm starting here anyway. It is really exciting knowing that you guys are doing this. You are a truly blessed family and it makes me happy hearing about all of your adventures. Love you all.

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