I recently attended the awesome Meet Plan and Go event in NYC hosted by @ottsworld and @CareerBreakHQs. At the event, I was able to meet numerous people who want to leave their jobs to travel or who have already done so and felt compelled to tell their story. I’ve been to over 14 different countries, so I didn’t need any convincing that traveling is an awesome and rewarding experience.
Traveling for an extended period of time has been on my bucket list for quite sometime, but work gets in the way and the vacation time is limited. So, the next best option is to leave my job to pursue a life of vagabonding. However, I can’t just quit my job and leave my mortgage obligation. In short, the townhouse is delaying my inevitable departure to venture out in the world.
I was hoping to meet someone that is in a similar situation as I am so that we can share strategies and tips on how we can remove ourselves from our property. Perhaps motivate each other to achieve our goal of getting on a flight to somewhere new and exciting. Unfortunately, none of our name tags displayed our current housing status.
With that said, I want to share my strategies and obstacles homeowners may encounter when they desire to travel for an extended time frame.
The Obvious Solution May Not Be the Best
The most obvious solution is to rent out my townhouse while I partake on this around the world vagabonding adventure. But to do this correctly, the rental income must cover the mortgage payment. In my case, this is not an option because I have rather high monthly mortgage payments.
When I bought my townhouse, I financed 100% of the purchase price. With a 100% financing, it usually involves two mortgages – a first and second mortgage. The sum of these two mortgages is high enough that I am unlikely to find a renter willing to pay my asking price for rent.
Refinancing is definitely an option to sufficiently lower mortgage payments for the rental income cover it. I tried this approach, but the banks would not even consider me because the balance on my mortgage is more than my townhouse is worth. Yeah, that’s the end of this option – Two sentences.
Course of Action
My new goal is to pay down or off my mortgage – a big undertaking, but not impossible.
To make this plan work, I need a lot of money and fast. Since winning the lottery or hitting it big at Foxwoods are unlikely options. I need to be creative. Since I’ve paid for graduate schools by renting out my bedrooms in my townhouse, why should I stop there? Why can’t I pay for my mortgage with the rental income?
With this in mind, my goal is to aggressively pay down my mortgage balance with the rental income from renting out rooms so that I can refinance my mortgage with today’s lower rate, which will effectively lower my monthly mortgage payments. If all goes well, I should be able to rent my townhouse to roommates and be on my merry way abroad.
Close but no Cigar
I never really thought this extended traveling enough to realize that I’ll need a storage unit to store my personal belongings.
If the rental income does entirely cover my mortgage payments, I can look at it this way: The basement of my townhouse can be used as a storage unit for my belongings. Basically, when I travel for an extended period, I’ll have to rent a small storage unit to store my stuff. I might as well use the basement of my townhouse where it’s costing me the same to rent a small unit. Wait…..
There’s an Added Bonus!
Since I’m currently living in my basement while I rent out both rooms in my townhouse, I can simply leave my stuff as is and use it to crash there if I’m ever back in the States visiting for the Holidays.
Essentially, I’ll have storage unit where I can sleep and build equity into. This is precisely a reason why I have not considered selling the townhouse.
This entire plan revolves around paying down my mortgage debt as the ultimate goal. As Rolf Potts mentions in his book, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel “…the best litmus test for measuring your vagabonding gumption is found not in travel but in the process of earning your freedom to travel.”
How aggressively are you pursuing your goals?