If you’re gone for a year, what do you do with the house? There are numerous options, all with good and bad elements:
Sell. Well, in this market, we could sell the house, leave, return, and probably buy two of the same size and quality. No. Actually, that option is sketchy. Besides, selling, moving, storing, buying and moving again seems crazy and daunting. The Realtor expenses add up, too. Plus, once you sell the house (hopefully before you go) you must come up with a temporary place to stay. If it sells after you go, what a mess. The same challenges await you upon your return.
Abandon. No, not like ‘foreclosure,’ but leave it empty and have someone come in every couple weeks to check it over and run the water isn’t a bad idea. Paying insurance, taxes and utilities on an empty building is no fun, however.
Find a house sitter. This can be a good option, but one must do his homework. Good screening or a GREAT referral can be a viable option. But it must accompany a lease. Think about it. You’re in New York and get the call. “I need to move out.” Now you’re in a tough position. Gotta have a contract! A relative or friend seems like a good idea. Right. It SEEMS like a good idea!
Rent. We are leaning this way. We rent five houses now, and have a management company do the work for us. ReSys does our rental management (Yes, that’s product placement), so we are familiar with the rental business. If you love your carpet and paint, this may not be a good option. Even good renters don’t treat the house like you. However, we like the idea of someone keeping the house running and occupied. Subsidizing our trip is a nice benefit, too.
We happen to own a large 53’ old postal trailer where we can store our junk- I mean stuff- that is, our treasured possessions. How it holds up to Vegas summer heat where the inside temp will probably elevate to a hundred fifty degrees or so, remains to be seen. It still requires two moves, and I always said moving is almost as fun as a broken leg. Being my foot is broken, I can with personal experience assure you that moving is almost as fun as a broken foot. It’s just one of the costs and sacrifices of making an epic trip of one year.
5.) Burn the place down. I can’t believe I wrote this. If by some chance the house does burn down, I can see the adjuster saying, “Say, I read on your blog…” Anyway, this is the easiest and most efficient way of dealing with it. Remember to get the dog out. Don’t forget the photos! Use a good accelerant, like alcohol. Gasoline is too easy to detect. Get the place going good before you call the fire department. Oh yes you must call. Stand in the driveway and wave to the truck. Take a good look at your wrists. Estimate the size of handcuffs (I guess they are one size fits all, aren’t they?). Enjoy your trip. Not that one. The other one.