Winter Home - issues/costs?

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D-Dog
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Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by D-Dog » Wed May 23, 2018 12:51 pm

We live in the northern US where the winters are cold and long. We love living there in the summer, but as I get older I'm finding the winters more unbearable. Once we retire, we are toying around with spending 2-3 month a year in the middle of winter in a warmer location, like AZ or FL, but keeping our house in the north.

My question is, how have other people managed this and what issues and costs might I be missing? For example, do we buy a place in AZ or FL, live there 2-3 months of the year, and then rent it out the remainder of the year? Or do we just rent a place in AZ or FL for the 2-3 months we are there? How do we deal with a house buried in snow in the north when we are not there? It seems we would need someone to check on the house, deal with snow removal, etc. How do we deal with a furnace going out or some other problem? Would health care be an issue? Would we potentially pay taxes in two states? I feel like there may be some issues or costs here that I'm not thinking of, and I want to be sure I consider these things as we plan for this.

For those who have done this, how has it worked out for you?

Thanks!

jebmke
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by jebmke » Wed May 23, 2018 3:05 pm

Even if you believe the long term best approach is to buy a second home I would strongly suggest renting one for a couple of years to give it a live test.

Personally, I would not own two homes. In fact, if I had the choice, I wouldn't own one home.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

daheld
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by daheld » Wed May 23, 2018 3:12 pm

I personally feel like it is much less of a risk and makes more sense to just rent a place for the winter. If you can rent a house for $2,000/month, it will take a LONG time of renting three months every summer to even begin to come close to the price to purchase a place as a winter home. Of course, you will recoup money and potentially make money as an investment when you're renting it out and eventually selling. But you might also find that you can't keep it rented during down months, insurance costs an arm and a leg, it is a pain in the butt to manage when you want to be retired and not working as a landlord, and it might decrease in value if there's a big decline in housing prices.

Like most things, I think it's pretty simple: if money is not an issue whatsoever, but a vacation home. If money is even a tiny consideration, just rent each winter.

runner3081
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by runner3081 » Wed May 23, 2018 3:14 pm

D-Dog wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 12:51 pm
For example, do we buy a place in AZ or FL, live there 2-3 months of the year, and then rent it out the remainder of the year?
Thanks!
It is very hard to rent a house out in AZ during the summer (Mid-May though September). Not enough demand and way too much supply with many snowbirds doing the same.

JoeRetire
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by JoeRetire » Wed May 23, 2018 3:31 pm

D-Dog wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 12:51 pm
My question is, how have other people managed this and what issues and costs might I be missing? For example, do we buy a place in AZ or FL, live there 2-3 months of the year, and then rent it out the remainder of the year? Or do we just rent a place in AZ or FL for the 2-3 months we are there?
I have a home in an over-55 community in the northeast. About 50% of the folks are snowbirds. All of them except for one rent places in FL. One purchased a FL home last year which is not rented out when they are back north.

Are you used to being a long-distance landlord? Being a landlord is a job.
How do we deal with a house buried in snow in the north when we are not there? It seems we would need someone to check on the house, deal with snow removal, etc. How do we deal with a furnace going out or some other problem?
In my community, each snowbird has someone come in periodically to check their empty homes. I check two of them myself.
The HOA deals with snow removal from driveways. I've had to occasionally have snow removed from a roof.
Other problems I would either deal with on behalf of the owner, or call them and ask what they want done. Overall, it's been relatively incident-free over the last 6 years.
Would health care be an issue?
Certainly. You need health care to cover both states. One good plan should suffice - just make sure it has the attributes you need.
Would we potentially pay taxes in two states?
Certainly you would pay real estate taxes in two states.
I feel like there may be some issues or costs here that I'm not thinking of, and I want to be sure I consider these things as we plan for this.
Transportation. Some of the snowbirds drive their cars down to FL. Others have it transported for them. Still others have one car at home and another car in FL.

Insurance. If you purchase a home in AZ or FL, you need to carry insurance on it. Perhaps hurricane and/or flood insurance.

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KSOC
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by KSOC » Wed May 23, 2018 3:41 pm

D-Dog wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 12:51 pm
We live in the northern US where the winters are cold and long. We love living there in the summer, but as I get older I'm finding the winters more unbearable. Once we retire, we are toying around with spending 2-3 month a year in the middle of winter in a warmer location, like AZ or FL, but keeping our house in the north.

My question is, how have other people managed this and what issues and costs might I be missing? For example, do we buy a place in AZ or FL, live there 2-3 months of the year, and then rent it out the remainder of the year? Or do we just rent a place in AZ or FL for the 2-3 months we are there? How do we deal with a house buried in snow in the north when we are not there? It seems we would need someone to check on the house, deal with snow removal, etc. How do we deal with a furnace going out or some other problem? Would health care be an issue? Would we potentially pay taxes in two states? I feel like there may be some issues or costs here that I'm not thinking of, and I want to be sure I consider these things as we plan for this.

For those who have done this, how has it worked out for you?

Thanks!
My wife & I have been having this discussion too, just a little twist. We own a home in Florida. We have lived here 14 years. Kids are raised & gone. Talk now is living here January to June. Then head north for the Summer-Fall-Holidays. Hopefully miss hurricanes & blizzards. She retires in 3 years so I'm just starting to look at different scenarios. We'll like to sell our home here in Florida because of the pool & outside upkeep. I don't want to own 2 places either, but I want to keep Florida as my home. It's more than just weather related. Both of us have a good amount of family still up there, & summer in Central Florida is a PITA. The daily thunderstorms seems to last most of the day here. It should be fun trying to figure out a way to accomplish our goal & keep in budget.
Too soon old, too late smart.

dcdowden
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by dcdowden » Wed May 23, 2018 4:08 pm

When we retired about 15 years ago, we had the same decision to make. I had always just assumed that we would be snowbirds and spend our winters in a second home in Florida, and the balance of the year back up North. My MIL lives in Florida, and my wife wanted to spend time with her each year. We tried short term rentals a couple years in Florida, and wound up buying a timeshare on Pompano Beach where we spend 4 weeks each winter. Timeshares bought resale - not from the developer - are fairly inexpensive to purchase, although you still pay significant maintenance fees and have a long term commitment. Big advantage is not having to worry about maintaining a second home. When we are there, it is like living at a resort. No maintenance tasks or cleaning, or having someone check on the second home while you are gone. There are lots of retired people using timeshare ownership as a winter home for snowbirds. Much less expensive than buying a property that you really only want to use a few months of the year.

A few years later, we decided to buy another timeshare property in Scottsdale where we spend three weeks every March. We enjoy both locations very much, and they both feel like second homes to us at this point. Gradually, we have had a few friends either move or obtain second homes in Scottsdale, so that might ultimately be the place if we ever decided to sell our primary home outside Chicago and spend more than 6 months a year in warmer weather.

We do have to arrange for our landscaper to also do snow removal and for someone to occasionally check our home up North while we are gone. Our two adult children live in Chicago, plus we have a local handyman service that we have used on occasion as well. We have a security system and security cameras to monitor the property as well.

We know others that tend to rent a place for a month or two. That has the big advantage of no long term commitment. Check out the Timeshare User Group for lots of advice on the do's and don't have timeshares. Another advantage of Timeshares, is that if you don't always have to go to the same place year year. One year we used our Arizona timeshare ownership to go to Maui instead.

p14175
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by p14175 » Wed May 23, 2018 4:09 pm

The snowbird season in the Phoenix area lasts from September to April -- give or take. The early birds show up in September to get the good spots even though it's still hot. Of course there are areas of Arizona with less extreme weather than the Phoenix metro area.

TravelGeek
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed May 23, 2018 4:57 pm

D-Dog wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 12:51 pm

For those who have done this, how has it worked out for you?

Thanks!
We haven't done this yet, but I am often thinking about it while shoveling snow. :)

I don't think we would buy a second home. No desire to deal with home ownership and/or rental issues. Also, I like flexibility. I don't know that I would want to be in the same location every winter. It's a big world.

Gardening services in my town switch to snow removal service in the winter, so that would be my choice. There are services that check on your home on a regular basis. I also plan on installing a bunch of home automation features when I find time in ER (water sensors, temperature sensors, cameras, ...).

I will have to look into health insurance coverage. Some of our winter trips might be taking us abroad, so definitely need extended travel insurance (we have 1 year plan, but max trip length is 30 days, I think).

I assume no income tax impact for living a retired life in a hotel / home rental in another state for a couple of months. We would rent a vehicle if needed, so nothing really to tie us to another state.

delamer
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by delamer » Wed May 23, 2018 5:02 pm

dcdowden wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 4:08 pm
When we retired about 15 years ago, we had the same decision to make. I had always just assumed that we would be snowbirds and spend our winters in a second home in Florida, and the balance of the year back up North. My MIL lives in Florida, and my wife wanted to spend time with her each year. We tried short term rentals a couple years in Florida, and wound up buying a timeshare on Pompano Beach where we spend 4 weeks each winter. Timeshares bought resale - not from the developer - are fairly inexpensive to purchase, although you still pay significant maintenance fees and have a long term commitment. Big advantage is not having to worry about maintaining a second home. When we are there, it is like living at a resort. No maintenance tasks or cleaning, or having someone check on the second home while you are gone. There are lots of retired people using timeshare ownership as a winter home for snowbirds. Much less expensive than buying a property that you really only want to use a few months of the year.

A few years later, we decided to buy another timeshare property in Scottsdale where we spend three weeks every March. We enjoy both locations very much, and they both feel like second homes to us at this point. Gradually, we have had a few friends either move or obtain second homes in Scottsdale, so that might ultimately be the place if we ever decided to sell our primary home outside Chicago and spend more than 6 months a year in warmer weather.

We do have to arrange for our landscaper to also do snow removal and for someone to occasionally check our home up North while we are gone. Our two adult children live in Chicago, plus we have a local handyman service that we have used on occasion as well. We have a security system and security cameras to monitor the property as well.

We know others that tend to rent a place for a month or two. That has the big advantage of no long term commitment. Check out the Timeshare User Group for lots of advice on the do's and don't have timeshares. Another advantage of Timeshares, is that if you don't always have to go to the same place year year. One year we used our Arizona timeshare ownership to go to Maui instead.
The timeshare angle is interesting. Can you elaborate on why you decided on that instead of just renting? I do understand the appeal of going to the same place each year, if you found a unit that you like.

One of our concerns with the whole snowbird plan is developing some friends in an area that you are only living in for a couple of months a year.

Anybody have any insight on that?

LoganLot
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by LoganLot » Wed May 23, 2018 5:02 pm

We have a second home in another state. Its not a winter home, but more of a getaway since we're both still working full time. We rented in the same area for several years, so we knew we liked the area before we bought. The reasons we eventually bought were because we wanted more flexibility in using it throughout the year, whenever we wanted, and we wanted a place that felt like our own. Its an entirely different, and better, experience getting away to a place full of your own things and your own style without having to pack everything up ahead of time.

We considered renting it out when we're not using it, but it really didn't make sense for us. The best times to rent it out are the times we want to use it. Other people living in it breaks the experience of our own private getaway. Plus, just the hassle of it all. Obviously the key is that you can afford it while still saving cording to your plan.

I made a deal with a local handy man to check in on it while i'm not there, especially during the winters to make sure the furnaces are working properly and a tree hasn't fallen on the roof. Also, with technology today, you can very easily monitor a home from afar with things like smart thermostats, cameras, locks, water sensors, etc. Many of the home automation technologies have an even more valuable use case for a home that isn't your primary residence.

Carefreeap
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Carefreeap » Wed May 23, 2018 5:48 pm

p14175 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 4:09 pm
The snowbird season in the Phoenix area lasts from September to April -- give or take. The early birds show up in September to get the good spots even though it's still hot. Of course there are areas of Arizona with less extreme weather than the Phoenix metro area.
.

That's interesting. Our experience has been that the snowbirds descend abut mid-January and fly out by May 1. Our house is near the Boulders Resort and there's no mistaking the activity level between the uptick in restaurant queues and all the automobile transport vehicles. The craziest was the trifecta of Westworld, US Open and the Superbowl. Oh and the Barrett Jackson auto auction all the same weekend about three years ago. Not understanding the situation when we set the move out date for January 31 and having rented the place right away, my poor former tenants had to couch surf with separate friends while waiting for their house to close escrow. I drove in from So. CA to do the walk-through at 4pm because I couldn't find reasonable accommodations myself!

While the OP might find someone in the off season to rent such as someone who has sold their house and is doing a gut job remodeling or building, the landlord really becomes a slave to the renter's schedule. Our friends who have done the two house thing gave up on it and just keep their lock and leave homes empty.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed May 23, 2018 6:33 pm

If YOU want to be there, so do other people. So rents will be high and rentals will be scarce.

If you DON'T want to be there, few others will. So it will be hard to rent, and rental yield will be low.

You could try to own only one house in a climate that is OK year round. This is what I do in northern AZ.

dcdowden
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by dcdowden » Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm

We bought the timeshare at an ocean front resort in Pompano Beach that we felt we would like to visit every year. It is hard to find ocean front rentals in the winter because that is when the owners want to use the property as well. Also, many of the condo buildings have restrictions on rentals such as minimum number of months or max number of rentals - the property owners associations often times do not want these buildings to become transient. Of course the timeshare model is more of a resort model which is by definition transient, although in the winter many people come and stay for several weeks at a time. Or they come and stay on the beach for a couple weeks, and then go spend a couple weeks at a golf resort, or go on a cruise for a week, etc. Like going on a cruise or going to resort, it is quite common to meet people that have similar interests and to develop friendships. The resorts generally have some social activities planned, or you meet people in the fitness center, or around the pool, etc.

We have been to some resorts where the property was designed for individuals to own entire units individually, but then the resort manages the rental of the units when the owners are not there. There is usually an owners only locked storage area in the unit, and typically the owner has a guest book where guests write something about their experience. We have seen this typically at ski or golf resorts in the past.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu May 24, 2018 12:48 pm

I know some people who did this. It can work, but owning two homes is costly. In their case, it worked well enough because they eventually sold the northern home and moved south permanently. Personally, having watched it, I wouldn't own two homes unless money was simply no object. I'd rent the home for the winter stay in the south (and arrange it well in advance to ensure a good selection). Expensive, yes, but you'd have to rent for many years to hit the breakeven point with buying.

If you do buy the second home, some things to keep in mind:

*Maintenance - You'll have to have a way to maintain each house when you're not in residence. Everything from maintaining the yard to making sure the HVAC works adequately to having a way to identify and have repaired burst pipes or leaky roofs. This is a bit easier with remote home monitoring and automation, but still a pretty big hassle and expense.

*Service providers - In keeping with the above, you'll need to identify a duplicate set of service providers (yard, plumber, handyman, etc.) for the southern location.

*Definitely helps to have good neighbors in both locations who live there year round and are willing to keep an eye on things for you.

*Decorating and furnishing - You'll have to furnish and decorate a second home. Since you'll be retired, you'll have more time to spend money doing this - could be good or bad...

*Duplicate housewares - You're going to need a full extra set of kitchenware, grill stuff, basic garage things, linens, etc. If you find a new favorite kitchen gadget for your Northern home, you're going to end up buying a duplicate for your Southern home because you won't want to live without it. This can add up.

*Clothing - You'll probably end up deciding to keep a set of basic clothing full-time in the Southern location to help minimize packing. Hence, more duplication.

*Other gear - Same concept for any other gear or hobby stuff. If you like to cycle, will you truck your bikes back and forth, or will you buy duplicate sets? Same for tents, kayaks, hiking gear, fishing gear, etc.

*Closing up and Opening Up the houses - Expect to spend the first week or so in each house getting it "opened up" - doing any cleaning/dusting, moving all your clothes and other transported things in, checking on maintenance issues from the past 6 months, buying basic groceries and household staples, realizing that you forgot to bring your favorite XYZ and need to go buy one, etc. Expect to spend the last week in each house getting it shuttered and packed out - same idea.


From watching, I observed the last point - getting houses opened and closed - caused the most hassle and stress - it's sort of a mini-move each time. If you're the kind that can travel extremely lightly and don't feel the need to have a lot specific "stuff" with you, that might help, but from my observations, the move-in / move-out phase was somewhat taxing. Even if you only move around once a year (i.e., summer up north, winter down south), that's nearly a month that gets eaten up with those friction items.

Renting out the unoccupied place may not make as much as sense as others have noted - low demand in the summer in Florida (swampy) or Arizona (melts your shoes). It would also mean that all of "you stuff" is being used by strangers, and would probably increase the issues involved with being an absentee owner.

While doing a long-term rental doesn't avoid all those problems, I think it cuts down on several of them and it frees up a boatload of money. It also gives you the flexibility to try different areas - maybe one winter you want to live like a local in New Mexico instead of Arizona, etc.

Edit: I apparently don't know how to make a list properly, so I've reformatted...
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu May 24, 2018 12:54 pm

Also, you may need to maintain residency for at least half the year in the state where you get your health care. At least that was the case with the people I knew. Sometimes I'd hear they were in the Northern state for a period just to hit their number of days. I think they were on a state exchange or something, never pried too much. This might not matter for you, I don't know. But, you'd probably want to make sure you're consistently spending the majority of your time in the same state (e.g., always spending more than 6 months in the Northern state) to avoid accidentally flipping residencies each year.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

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deanbrew
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by deanbrew » Thu May 24, 2018 1:03 pm

I watch a neighbor's house when they are away every winter for a couple of months. They shut off the water, and fortunately have electric baseboard heat (which they set at 55 or so), which is about as foolproof and dependable as any heating system could be. I go in about once a week to water a couple of plants and make sure the freezer and fridge are still working. I admit that I dread the thought of their freezer or fridge not working while they are away. I snowblow their streetside sidewalk when I do my own, but I don't bother with their driveway. We live in an extremely crime-free area, so having the house appear to be empty hasn't been a problem.

They have the post office hold their mail, and they gave me a stack of priority mail envelopes (with postage already affixed) addressed to their FL rental. I go to the post office once a week and put their mail in a priority mail envelope and give it back to the postal person.

I know that snowbird winter rentals can be high, but I agree with others that actually buying and maintaining a second home would cost more and be more of a hassle.
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chessknt
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by chessknt » Thu May 24, 2018 1:43 pm

If you install a nest thermostat or other wifi equivalent you can monitor your home's room temperature remotely as long as you still have internet there. If you can't connect or there is an error or the temp is dropping you could call someone to go check it out instead of having somebody randomly go to your house.

mw1739
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by mw1739 » Thu May 24, 2018 2:05 pm

My in-laws have done this for the last 7-8 years. They used to move around year to year in Florida, but they've narrowed it down to one location that they've gone back to for several years now. Their main decision now is buy/rent. For the time being, I've encouraged them to continue renting - the payback period just seems too long to buy.

My wife goes to their home maybe twice a month for a quick check-up. They turn off the water before leaving, and have a security system. I need to set them up with a Wi-Fi thermostat so they can monitor the house temp, but that's not much of an issue with the water off. They have the post office forward their mail to Florida - I want to say there's about a 1 week lag, but I haven't heard of any problems. They do try to take care of any needed healthcare items prior to heading for Florida, but I know they've visited doctors (and veterinarian's) while they're down there.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu May 24, 2018 2:17 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 6:33 pm
If YOU want to be there, so do other people. So rents will be high and rentals will be scarce.

If you DON'T want to be there, few others will. So it will be hard to rent, and rental yield will be low.

You could try to own only one house in a climate that is OK year round. This is what I do in northern AZ.
Yes.
Northern Arizona :D
Surrounded by at least 4 National Forests in your backyard.

mahalo,
j :D

dcdowden
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by dcdowden » Thu May 24, 2018 2:42 pm

One more thing that nobody has mentioned yet. Do you have Pets that you want to take with you in the winter?
We have friends that have two dogs that they wanted to take with them.
That rules out many rental or timeshare options, and caused them to buy a second home in Phoenix.
Apparently, you tend to meet a lot of neighbors out walking your dogs as well.

They found a nice three bedroom attached home in a gated community which they spent several months upgrading. Fortunately, they bought a few years ago when prices were depressed and have now recovered. In general, I would never consider a home an investment, but in this case the appreciation has probably at least paid for their improvements.

delamer
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by delamer » Thu May 24, 2018 3:23 pm

dcdowden wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm
We bought the timeshare at an ocean front resort in Pompano Beach that we felt we would like to visit every year. It is hard to find ocean front rentals in the winter because that is when the owners want to use the property as well. Also, many of the condo buildings have restrictions on rentals such as minimum number of months or max number of rentals - the property owners associations often times do not want these buildings to become transient. Of course the timeshare model is more of a resort model which is by definition transient, although in the winter many people come and stay for several weeks at a time. Or they come and stay on the beach for a couple weeks, and then go spend a couple weeks at a golf resort, or go on a cruise for a week, etc. Like going on a cruise or going to resort, it is quite common to meet people that have similar interests and to develop friendships. The resorts generally have some social activities planned, or you meet people in the fitness center, or around the pool, etc.

We have been to some resorts where the property was designed for individuals to own entire units individually, but then the resort manages the rental of the units when the owners are not there. There is usually an owners only locked storage area in the unit, and typically the owner has a guest book where guests write something about their experience. We have seen this typically at ski or golf resorts in the past.
Thanks very much.

Food for thought. My in-laws have had some not great experiences with timeshares so I don’t think my husband would be amenable to buying one. But I can see the pluses.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by tennisplyr » Thu May 24, 2018 4:20 pm

Used to live in NY and snowbirded/rented in FL for 3 months....great idea! As far as my NY home we had lowered the heat to 55, shut off the water, stopped the mail, had some come in every couple of weeks, had someone shovel whenever it snowed. We loved it so much that we sold our NY place last year and bought in FL...never looked back :happy
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

mouses
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by mouses » Thu May 24, 2018 4:36 pm

My neighbors are away in the winter. They don't have any snow removal done (we don't have sidewalks.) Maybe once a month someone shows up at their house, I assume to check on it. They have an alarm system and outside, at least, video.

The guy who helps me with various things runs a concierge business and one of the things he does is check on houses while people are away.

I don't think I would own two houses, unless I were rolling in money to such an extent that I could hire someone to take care of all the details, probably for both houses.

finite_difference
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by finite_difference » Thu May 24, 2018 4:53 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 3:23 pm
dcdowden wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm
We bought the timeshare at an ocean front resort in Pompano Beach that we felt we would like to visit every year. It is hard to find ocean front rentals in the winter because that is when the owners want to use the property as well. Also, many of the condo buildings have restrictions on rentals such as minimum number of months or max number of rentals - the property owners associations often times do not want these buildings to become transient. Of course the timeshare model is more of a resort model which is by definition transient, although in the winter many people come and stay for several weeks at a time. Or they come and stay on the beach for a couple weeks, and then go spend a couple weeks at a golf resort, or go on a cruise for a week, etc. Like going on a cruise or going to resort, it is quite common to meet people that have similar interests and to develop friendships. The resorts generally have some social activities planned, or you meet people in the fitness center, or around the pool, etc.

We have been to some resorts where the property was designed for individuals to own entire units individually, but then the resort manages the rental of the units when the owners are not there. There is usually an owners only locked storage area in the unit, and typically the owner has a guest book where guests write something about their experience. We have seen this typically at ski or golf resorts in the past.
Thanks very much.

Food for thought. My in-laws have had some not great experiences with timeshares so I don’t think my husband would be amenable to buying one. But I can see the pluses.
What was the problem with timeshares that your in-laws had?

If it’s a reputable resort, I think it can be a decent option. But make sure you do the total cost calculation yourself so you understand it — the sales people are very slick. I second the idea that buying the timeshare secondhand, or buying individual weeks (like booking a hotel) on for example eBay can save a lot of money compared to buying directly from the resort. If you just buy someone’s week for that year on eBay you’re not locked into anything obviously.

Also, you could look at just using AirBNB in different warm places! But you wouldn’t get the resort experience.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

delamer
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by delamer » Thu May 24, 2018 5:05 pm

finite_difference wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 4:53 pm
delamer wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 3:23 pm
dcdowden wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm
We bought the timeshare at an ocean front resort in Pompano Beach that we felt we would like to visit every year. It is hard to find ocean front rentals in the winter because that is when the owners want to use the property as well. Also, many of the condo buildings have restrictions on rentals such as minimum number of months or max number of rentals - the property owners associations often times do not want these buildings to become transient. Of course the timeshare model is more of a resort model which is by definition transient, although in the winter many people come and stay for several weeks at a time. Or they come and stay on the beach for a couple weeks, and then go spend a couple weeks at a golf resort, or go on a cruise for a week, etc. Like going on a cruise or going to resort, it is quite common to meet people that have similar interests and to develop friendships. The resorts generally have some social activities planned, or you meet people in the fitness center, or around the pool, etc.

We have been to some resorts where the property was designed for individuals to own entire units individually, but then the resort manages the rental of the units when the owners are not there. There is usually an owners only locked storage area in the unit, and typically the owner has a guest book where guests write something about their experience. We have seen this typically at ski or golf resorts in the past.
Thanks very much.

Food for thought. My in-laws have had some not great experiences with timeshares so I don’t think my husband would be amenable to buying one. But I can see the pluses.
What was the problem with timeshares that your in-laws had?

If it’s a reputable resort, I think it can be a decent option. But make sure you do the total cost calculation yourself so you understand it — the sales people are very slick. I second the idea that buying the timeshare secondhand, or buying individual weeks (like booking a hotel) on for example eBay can save a lot of money compared to buying directly from the resort. If you just buy someone’s week for that year on eBay you’re not locked into anything obviously.

Also, you could look at just using AirBNB in different warm places! But you wouldn’t get the resort experience.
They bought from the developers and had to take losses to get rid of the units. And of course had to pay the maintenance fees while trying to sell.

They enjoyed their original places and had success in trading their weeks when they wanted some variety.

But financially, it would have been a lot cheaper to rent.

Lilly
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Lilly » Thu May 24, 2018 5:43 pm

We have wintered in Fl for 7 years. We bought a little park model with large finished side porch. We paid $68,000 for it in 2011. It is in a 55 and over park in the village of Estero. Just a bit south of Ft Meyers. My parents had wintered there for 32 years. That is why we learned to love the place and all it has to offer. HOA fees are $225 a month. Covers water and sewer. Lawn care, cable and the use of all the facilities. Insurance and taxes are about $1,200 per year. It costs about $2,500 to rent for a month and most have a 3 month minimum. It is difficult to find a rental in this park. The activities are too many to list. We love owning because we can leave most everything there when we leave. Except the food. It take about 30 minutes to open it up and about 1 hour to close.

Back home in MN, our young neighbors blow the side walk for us. We pay them $100 for the service. Our children stop in once a week to check on things. It's a wonderful life.

Lily

TravelGeek
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 24, 2018 8:08 pm

Lilly wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 5:43 pm
We have wintered in Fl for 7 years. We bought a little park model with large finished side porch. (...)

Back home in MN, our young neighbors blow the side walk for us. We pay them $100 for the service. Our children stop in once a week to check on things. It's a wonderful life.

Lily
Sounds great. Do you drive back and forth, or do you fly?

Lilly
Posts: 205
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Lilly » Thu May 24, 2018 8:44 pm

We are driving back and forth for now. When we get older we will fly. We like seeing different areas on the way home. Works for us.

Lily

kskih
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by kskih » Fri May 25, 2018 8:22 am

We are still working (another 5 years) and have 2 homes. A ski home, and home home (where it's VERY hot). We have had our 2nd home for about 8 years. Since our ski home (someday retirement home), in a resort area, is a town home, all outside maintenance is set. And, since it's a resort area, there are many locals who "watch 2nd homes", so easy to organize.

We have always rented it our nightly when we are not there, about 100 nights/year. We don't profit as much, we use it nearly every high season week and holidays. But it does cover about 75% of all costs, and is great to make a dent in providing a nice place to retire.

We've tossed around for a few years, if we want a beach home also in retirement, in the end, we've decided that it would be easier to just rent or swap with people. Our home is in the mountains, so summers are desirable as well as the winters are great for skiing. We do quite a bit of home swapping in beautiful areas, so for us this made the most sense personally and financially.

So maybe my advice, retire with one home in a really desirable area, gives you the best of all worlds.

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deanbrew
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by deanbrew » Fri May 25, 2018 8:43 am

kskih wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:22 am
We have always rented it our nightly when we are not there, about 100 nights/year. We don't profit as much, we use it nearly every high season week and holidays. But it does cover about 75% of all costs, and is great to make a dent in providing a nice place to retire.

We've tossed around for a few years, if we want a beach home also in retirement, in the end, we've decided that it would be easier to just rent or swap with people. Our home is in the mountains, so summers are desirable as well as the winters are great for skiing. We do quite a bit of home swapping in beautiful areas, so for us this made the most sense personally and financially.

So maybe my advice, retire with one home in a really desirable area, gives you the best of all worlds.
That's a good plan, but my wife says "absolutely not" to the idea of renting out any house that we own for our own use. She doesn't mind staying in someone else's AirBNB or VRBO or timeshare, but she does not want anyone coming to stay in a house we live in. I think your plan makes a lot of fiscal sense, but my wife's germaphobia and reluctance to having strangers stay in our house precludes the idea of a second home for us. If we ever get to the point of wanting to stay somewhere else for a month or several months, we'll have to rent someone else's place.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

TravelGeek
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 25, 2018 9:50 am

deanbrew wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:43 am
That's a good plan, but my wife says "absolutely not" to the idea of renting out any house that we own for our own use. She doesn't mind staying in someone else's AirBNB or VRBO or timeshare, but she does not want anyone coming to stay in a house we live in.
Don’t feel bad. There is no way I would ever rent out my primary residence. I am not a germaphobe, but it simply does not appeal to me at all to have strangers have acccess to my home while I am not there.

Gill
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by Gill » Fri May 25, 2018 10:13 am

One thing that always surprises me a bit, at least in this part of Florida, is the difficulty people have in finding suitable rentals. That was not the case during the real estate slump back ten years ago when plenty of developers had unsold homes they were happy to rent. We have several friends who would like to rent in our area but can't find anything suitable, at least for the period they wish to rent. Most owners only want to rent for the entire Winter season or a minimum of three months. Also, the rents are quite high, in the neighborhood of $10,000 a month for a condominium on the beach in good areas.

Owning is the only way I'd go. My wife and I had a place in Florida and a log home in the Georgia mountains for ten years. It was fun while it lasted but a lot of work and planning as others have pointed out. On the other hand I wouldn't want to rent or to rent out a place I owned. Ever since we've settled in one house in Florida year round I've wondered how we ever dealt with two houses.
Gill

gogleheads.orb
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Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

Post by gogleheads.orb » Fri May 25, 2018 10:37 am

use MarCELL for remote home monitoring.

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