In all of my boundless wisdom, I rented our home on a two-year lease just before we departed on our year of adventure.
Though we called our RV trip our year of adventure, Katie and I had determined that we weren’t going to set an actual timeline on our adventure. We would travel as long as travel felt right, and I thought we would travel longer than a year.
I figured that once we moved into our new travel lifestyle, we wouldn’t want to leave, that we would be compelled to travel for two or three years. I didn’t think that we would travel several years in an RV, but I thought we might move onto a boat, or head overseas, or decide to live in a different city after a year on the road.
In my mind, when I got the prospective tenants to sign a two year lease with a built in 10% increase in rent in year two, I thought we had a fantastic deal.
I thought that a two year lease would give us more options and a greater ability to travel longer since we wouldn’t have to worry about tenant turnover or rental rate decline. As it turns out, I made a bad move with the two-year lease (as Katie could have told you when I signed it.)
When a compelling career opportunity pulled us back home after nine months, Katie and I considered our options for where we would live.
We had the option to move into one of our rental properties in Raleigh, both of which are great houses in great areas. We could serve notice to the tenants at whichever house we wanted to live and then terminate the lease agreement on a date advantageous for us to come off the road. Neither Katie nor I was interested in moving into one of the rental properties though. We could certainly make a home at either one, but we didn’t want to.
We wanted to move back into our home, the one I rented for two years.
To get our home back, I incentivized the tenants to move. I offered them $5,000 cash to move by the end of the year, and they accepted.
If I had only entered into one-year lease, we could have easily waited for the lease to expire and then move into the house. However, I had locked in two years, which effectively locked us out unless we reached a mutual agreement with the tenants to end the lease early.
In retrospect, I should have only signed a one-year lease. Though we would have potentially dealt with tenant turnover at the one year mark if we chose to travel longer, that risk and cost would have been less than the $5,000 I paid to have the tenants move out.