We went through the same thing when we went fulltime. At first we said we’d start out with a trailer that our truck would pull, then we started looking at small 5th wheels, then we thought about buying a truck and 5th wheel, then we ended up with our first motorhome, a 37′ gas engine 1996 Fleetwood Southwind.
Our first criteria for a home never wavered, it must have zero outside maintenance required of the owner so we can travel anytime we want. For this reason we first searched for condos — but guess what? The VA will only finance select condos. It has something to do with owner occupancy rates vs. investors and also the financial health of the condo association. Good things to know, and this caused us to look more broadly at homes that functioned like condos without being them.
We looked at a town home that we thought we would like, but with Chris’s knee replacement, and the other knee not doing great, we quickly eliminated anything with stairs. Then we discovered the “villa”. The best way I can explain it is
- A villa is duplex home on a single level…
- owned completely including the land it’s built on…
- but with the homeowners association doing all routine maintenance of roof, walls, and grounds (exception of glass breakage and storm damage)
We found a nice 2 bedroom villa in the West Meadows community of New Tampa. Unfortunately it was a short sale, but we made an offer anyway and waited. Then, as we were preparing to take our trip to Texas I saw a villa that I loved in another community. We debated having me fly back to see it and make an offer, but we decided that if it was supposed to be ours it would happen. We’d wait until we returned from Texas to see it.