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Old 09-08-2015, 05:47 PM   #1
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Orange County CA- housing alternative?

Hi everyone, new guy here. Looking for some guidance. Short version of a long boring story is that we had a house in MO, I had an opportunity in Southern California and so we loaded up the truck and moved to (not) Beverly. Actually more like Orange County.

Lived in executive housing 6 months while looking for a house. Lived in a rental house now for 6 months. Now have to move in 6 months when the rental I'm in will be sold. Spending 3x my previous house payment for less than half the house I had in MO without any equity. I cannot bring myself to spend $2000+ on an apartment in which I have to also rent a storage unit. No bueno.

So, now my wife and I are kicking around the idea of rather than spending $500K+ on a bottom of the barrel house we're considering buying a motorcoach and renting a spot near Disney or something. (seriously. 30+ year old 3 bedrooms within 1 hour of work for both of us in a neighborhood I don't expect to be COMING SOON ON COPS! start around $600K)

We've always wanted to do the RV thing, and have driven cross country several times (in cars, trucks, and UHauls and loved it). It's just the two of us and one eventual dog (one day, again). Based on back of napkin calculations, at 5% loan with a 20K down payment x 15 years we can afford a $300K coach for alot less than our current house payment. I can't possibly see spending that, but it makes the idea really attractive. We don't have a ton of "stuff" to start with, but we'd definitely have to continue downsizing significantly. Also, we're pretty much boring people. No kids, no parties, no legal concerns, no drama, keep to ourselves except for close friends. We love it that way.

We'd still have the 2 cars, still work 5+ days a week, but at least we'd be able to take a weekend and drive... whereever. And it seems to be significantly less expensive than a house.

So, a couple of questions for the experienced folks.

-anyone in So California doing the same thing? (worth asking I guess)

-has anyone lived in one full time and worked full time? Like not nearly retired?

-am I as weird as my wife thinks I am?

-any specific guidance on things to think about?

-Is it strange that I see a class A as a more entry level ride coming from a house?

-is the class a vs b vs 5th wheel concern a thing, or is it pretty much cut and dried? I see that once you get a decked out 5th wheel you may as well go A or B, but not sure.

-anything else I should be doing to make an educated decision?

Thanks everyone, really enjoying reading the forums.

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Old 09-08-2015, 07:15 PM   #2
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Hmm - I think it would be quite doable. For me anyway. Not sure what your expectations and ideals are.

IMO you could take some time at a dealers lot and after ditching the salesmen sit in a few coaches. Now I would play the game of "what if". What if we moved into the layout we are sitting in.

Do we have the space to relax and do things? Dont forget much of your living can be done outside, grill, patio furniture, lounge chairs, etc.

There are some good used coaches out there that can give you what you want within limits. Anything from entry level to some custom buses that are quite glitzy.

Things I would wish for:
- all electric
- bath 1/2
- stacked washer dryer
- residential fridge
- aqua hot
- comfortable chairs and lounge (I prefer a higher back)
- quiet air conditioning

Good luck with your search and possible purchase.

Gordon and Janet
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:24 PM   #3
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Checkout Orangeland.com
They are $400 a week and say contact manager for monthly rate.

Not sure what the max length stay is st these kinds of places.

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Old 09-08-2015, 07:33 PM   #4
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I did just the opposite. Transferred to KCMO and lived in my 26 foot Winnie from January 1991 to June 1991. Kids got out of school in Virginia and we sold the house and bought one in KC and the family joined me.

You never lived until you spent a mid west winter in a motorhome. I would not have a problem living again in my motorhome but wife is not ready for full timing. Hope this works out for you.
Tom and Gloria
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:03 AM   #5
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I lived in So Cal mid 80s to mid 90s........

The very first thing I would do is try to find a "campground" that would allow you to be a full time "resident camper" before you do anything else. I have a feeling that you might not like what you find out.

The other thing I think you would find is that if you get set up as a "resident camper" that you'll be pretty much stuck in place and not going anywhere. Not to mention, driving an RV during a weekend is S. Cal would not be any fun, just drive up to Arrowhead in your car on a Friday afternoon if you want to experience misery at its best.......

The only other thing to consider is your financial calculations. A 15 year old RV is going to depreciate significantly over the finance term and you'll proably be upside down for a significant portion of term on top of that. So you'd proably be better off financially just renting.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:12 AM   #6
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Look for a rental unit in a mobile home park.

Try it before buying one that is instantly portable.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:06 PM   #7
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There are many motorhome and 5th Wheel fulltimers living in Orange County and Los Angeles County for that matter. Many are linemen, or construction specialists, or even oil rig divers, and many recently divorced folks re-establishing themselves.

The lowdown is that it's not cheap. If you need to finance the RV, your monthly expense will be virtually the same as renting an apartment.

You will pay anywhere from $900, (inland) to $2,100, (near the beach) a month for long-term, (monthly rate), RV parking in Southern California depending on where you stay. The only consolation is that the more pricy spots include electricity, (Huntington by The Sea, for example).

Yes, you may occasionally find fulltime non-advertised RV spots, (in very ancient RVParks in Orange and LA Counties that are not listed on the internet or guide books), for as little as $300 to $900/month. But they are not really appropriate if you have children, JMO.

The bad thing for fulltiming monthly rates is that Southern California is a tourist area. The monthly rates at the places you will find appealing, are also where tourists want to stay, so the rent goes up during the Spring/Summer, and then they drop for the Fall/Winter.
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:54 PM   #8
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My wife and I did the same thing last year. I transferred out to San Diego with the Navy after living in the Baltimore area and commuting to the Quantico VA area (83 miles one way) for over 17 years. We originally intended on buying a 5th wheel toyhauler and living in Virginia to stop the madness of driving such a long distance each day, bought a Ram dually and orderd our 5th wheel. My orders came to report to San Diego, the RV dealer kept sliding my delivery date sideways (over 9 weeks delay) and I had to cancel the RV order. Moved to San Diego, wife came up with the idea of a manufactured home purchase, and we decided to go that route. Bought a nice clean unit, 1350 sq ft unit, central air, gated community, and its only 8 miles to work one way. Price of house $45k. Monthly lot rent $805 plus utilities (avg $250/mnth). The inland RV park I had long term reservations in was also $800/mnth + utilities but the miles were 27 miles from work in a hotter inland region of San Diego. While I still own the Dually, our RV plans are on hold, but we could not have made out better if we tried. We didn't have to sell any possessions, have lots of space in a clean, secure, well maintained community and can plan for a future date for our RV purchase without being rushed.

The average price of a 2 bedroom apartment down here is $2500, 1bdrm $1500. Our total cost is $1k to $1050 a month.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:15 PM   #9
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We did the same thing ( manufactured home / mobile home ) back in the late 80's when we first got married. We did it for the reason we didn't want the apartment life. Bought a used 15 year old unit for $6500 (12' x 65' with 8' x 15' expando). Lot rent at the time was $140 a month and included water. Saved enough to pay cash for a house 4 years later and sold the unit for $11,000.

I loved it, had a nice covered porch, nice garden, small shed. Parked two cars out front. Only 1/2 mile to my job.

Now this was not Orange County and it was 87' to 91'. I still visit people in that park, and lot rent is now $290 and metered water. I would do it all over again in a heart beat.

We were able to get a good deal ($6500) because the couple needed fast cash for a down payment on a house, and just happened to have it.

So Cal. is just plain $$$$$ 2 bedroom apartments here run $600 - $650 range in so so neighborhoods.
Jim, Diane & Robert ~ NE. OH.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:27 PM   #10
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Don't buy in So Cal, go to Phoenix more bang for your buck. License any where but Ca.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:58 AM   #11
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As others have mentioned, one significant difference between an RV and a home is that a home in Southern California will appreciate -- potentially significantly -- over time. So much depends on how long you plan on staying in the area. If the answer is "10 years" then honestly, you'd be silly not to buy. Yes, it's a big payment, but it's on an appreciating asset.

Take my childhood home, which is located in a not-massively glamourous but not "COPS" neighborhood. 14 years ago my folks sold it for $275,000. Earlier this year, it sold for $520,000. And that's not an uncommon story; if anything, the modest appreciation (by California standards) is related to the neighborhood.

I know it's anathema on an RV board, but if you are going to live in California for a while, a home is by far the way to go, financially.

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Old 09-10-2015, 06:38 AM   #12
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Move farther inland and commute, just like all the rest who work in Orange county seem to do.i
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:50 AM   #13
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Living in ca

Many people do this in so Cal. Key is to find a decent park with decent pricing and not too far of commute. Best bet would be to buy used RV without a large payment.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:15 AM   #14
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One can't expect a $500k home purchase to be worth $750k in a few years. I watch many of those home shows where a piece of crap fix-r-upper brings $350k. My area it would be $10k....

At some point the madness of overly inflated real-state can't continue. The same $450k SoCal ranch is $50k here in NE. Ohio.

Even if the OP'er bought a $400k basic home and sold it 5 or 10 years later, most of his mortgage would be interest. It's just a hard pill to swallow, knowing your betting ones future on homes prices to balloon to the clouds. If they don't, then what?

Jim, Diane & Robert ~ NE. OH.
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