Own a houseboat or RV rather than a McMansion

Instead of building a waterfront McMansion with a boat slip, buy a boat or a RV instead:

But once in the channel, you see a new vista: On the north side there are at least a half-dozen, arrow-straight canals lined with houses. Most of the houses are large, but few are McMansions. Most have docks for their boat, or boats. And most are worth at least $1 million, not counting their nautical toys. If you’ve got the money, owning one of these places would be the start of a great retirement…

So let’s ask a question: Is there a reasonable substitute? Is there a way we can have the same kind of experiences of water, nature and easy living without the very large financial footprint of an expensive house with its monthly operating costs and taxes?…

Take the boat I chartered. At 33 feet, a couple could live on the San Souci. The cost: Maybe $25,000 for the used boat and about $600 a month for the rental slip. A larger powerboat would have more room and wider appeal. The slip for a 36-foot Grand Banks trawler is about $700 a month. You can buy them used for under $100,000. Keep the diesel engine in good shape and you can relocate at will…

Is living on a boat too eccentric for you? Not to worry. Walk up the street and try an RV. The Seabreeze RV and Mobile Home Park is less than a half-mile from Treasure Harbor Marina. Its 7.5 acres are right on the ocean — something you can’t get in a canal home that costs a mere million. Some of the RVs and park models are on the water. (Park models are RVs built to travel just once. They look like beach cabins.) And you can dock your fishing boat on site.

The RV or boat certainly offers less space and lower financial commitment compared to a McMansion. At the same time, McMansions tend to offer some land, a lot more space, and usually a facade intended to impress visitors.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues here is less about the size or financial commitment but about mobility. McMansions can’t really be moved, regardless of their price. In contrast, RVs, boats, and many tiny houses can be moved rather quickly. Mobility allows the owner to move to chase jobs. Mobility allows for a change of scenery – perhaps someone doesn’t want to live along the water forever. Of course, all three options require somewhere to park the habitat and this can cost a decent sum of money. But, if you don’t like the deal or financial circumstances change, the move is relatively easy compared to selling and buying a house.

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