How do you decide whether or not to sell your house to go cruising?
Only you can make the call as to whether or not to sell the house. Like so many things when it comes to cruising, “it depends” is the only one-size-fits-all response. But there are some questions you can answer for yourself to help guide the answer that works for you. Here are 3 of them.
Are you attached to the town, the neighborhood, or (particularly) the house itself, so much so that you would come back in a heartbeat when you are done with your cruise?
Are you a new cruiser with no live aboard or cruising experience under your belt yet?
Are you planning a cruise of a short duration with kids on board OR you’re taking a sabbatical from work with a defined return date?
If the answer to all three of these questions is YES, then the scale is tipped towards the end of “keep the house.” If the answer to all of them is NO? Sell it.
It’s my firm belief that the first question is the most important, followed closely by the second. And the two of them might well swap places for some people.
If you know for sure that you want to come back to the same place, then keeping the house makes some kind of sense. You’re already building memories there, imbuing the place with special energy. You won’t have the worry or concern of finding your way around, sussing out your favorite grocery store or local brewery. Yes, those things change while you’re off chasing the sunset on the boat, but for the most part places remain constant.
If you’re not sure about your return plans but there’s a reason coming back would work well, then you ought to take into consideration the length of your cruise as well as the local real estate market before making this major decision.
Cruise 1: New cruisers leaving from an apartment in Houston, Texas. No kids. We knew we were not moving back to Texas, so keeping the (rented) apartment made no sense. Even if the cruise didn’t work out, we’d be living aboard somewhere else.
Cruise 2: Experienced cruisers sailing with kids on board for a defined 1-year escape. We liked our house and neighborhood, and though we were not sure we’d be happy being so land-locked on return we thought it would be good to keep the options open. Neighborhood prices had risen since we purchased, to the point that there is no way we could have bought in again. We kept the house and rented it out, reasoning that if we wanted to sell it on our return we could. That was 9 years ago and we’re still here.
Cruise 3: Experienced cruisers sailing for an indefinite period of time. As much as we love Charlottesville, it’s too far from the water. We don’t have any idea where we will wind up, but we are almost 100% certain it will not be here. (And if something happens to make us eat our words, we won’t need to be in this lovely kid-friendly neighborhood. A small apartment will work just fine.)
In my opinion, taking into account how likely you are to want to return is question 1. Understanding (and allowing for the possibility) that you might not like cruising and want to be back somewhere familiar is question 2. And the last question is about duration of the cruise. The shorter the time period (and if you are not an experienced cruiser yet, a short duration cruise is a great way to start) the more heavily weighted the answer might be towards the “keep the house” end of the spectrum.
After all is said and done, though? The important thing is that you’re out there. I’m looking forward to sharing an anchorage with you!