Looking for help from Snowbirds?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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statsguy
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Looking for help from Snowbirds?

Post by statsguy » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:32 am

OK first, is that the right term? I think snowbirds are people who spend their winters in warm places and their summers in cool places. We are considering being snowbirds... living in Colorado during the summers and Florida in the Winters. This is because there is no "perfect" place to live year-round.

So can this work if we have regular houses in both locations? I keep telling Statsgal we should buy a highrise apartment so we can just turn the lights out, hand the keys to the doorman, and head to nicer weather. She wants to buy your typical three or four bedroom house with an acre or so.. it seems to me that this will add problems.

I retire in two years and then will work six-months a year for another five. The plan is to buy our Summer house near Boulder and live in our current house (southern California) during the mild-winters. Statsgal thinks we should buy house in Boulder and leave it empty six-months of the year... and then buy a high-rise apartment in Florida (but it really sounds like she wants a house in Florida too).

Anyway... I understand that I should do what Statsgal wants but... I really am interested in what other Snowbirds are doing or have done.

Thanks
Stats

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englishgirl
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Post by englishgirl » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:59 am

Why does she want Florida, if I may ask? If you already live somewhere with warm winters, why not just keep your current house as your winter house? You'd still be able to see friends and will know the location, so I like your idea better of keeping your current place. Of course, southern California is expensive, so I can see moving to free up the cash or if she especially loves FL, but I'm just wondering. It also seems like it'd be a lot easier to travel between So. Cal. and Colorado than Colorado and Florida. I mean, sure you can just fly anywhere, but if you are going for 6 months, you'll probably want to take a lot of stuff, so flying may not be so convenient.

Anyway, as someone who lives year round in a place with a lot of snowbirds, regular houses CAN easily be used. You'd probably have to put the hurricane shutters up when you leave, which screams "empty house" to all and sundry, or make sure it has wind resistant windows, or hire a company to go and put shutters up if a storm is approaching (knowing that this isn't ideal as they may not have the manpower to put up enough shutters on different houses quickly enough). You'd probably have to hire a landscaping company anyway, possibly a pool guy, and a bug company (at least to spray outside the house), and possibly a cleaning company. Empty houses in FL attract bugs and other nasties quickly in the summer!
Sarah

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norookie
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Post by norookie » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:01 pm

FWIW consider renting in the location you'll stay the shortest period of time. Over time youll learn where the rental deals are and it'll be maintence free! Maintaining 2 properties costs alot you know. JMO

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FrugalInvestor
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Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:03 pm

A house in both places can certainly work, but it introduces more complexity. Being away from both homes for extended periods of time means you need to arrange for regular maintenance and protection (i.e. from freezing) and be prepared to deal with unexpected problems from long-distance. To the extent one or both of the homes have "built-in" maintenance (e.g. condo) some of that complexity is removed.

My wife and I seriously considered the purchase of a second home but after accounting for the expense and "worry factor" decided to rent. Renting also provides us the option of changing locations anytime we choose or to eliminate the expense altogether if/when it seems prudent.

justcurious
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Post by justcurious » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:49 pm

Most Mid-west and Canada snowbirds go to Arizona in their winter months.
I have no idea if they rent, buy a house/condo but i do know a lot live in Trailer parks.
You can't beat Arizona weather in Oct,Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb Mar.
the other months it gradually gets hot.(June,july, august the worse)

Plenty of things to do to occupy your time. Its not far from Calif or Colorado. Golf, Resturants,shopping galore.
Suggest renting a condo or ? for 3 to 6 months to check it out.

Wayyyyyyyyy better than Florida and hurricanes/humitity.
Arizona...Mostly Sunny year round, very little rain...lots of lakes
Suggest Prescott Valley or even some where in the vicinity.

neverknow
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Post by neverknow » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:05 pm

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Last edited by neverknow on Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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murfields
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Post by murfields » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:39 pm

justcurious wrote:Most Mid-west and Canada snowbirds go to Arizona in their winter months.
I have no idea if they rent, buy a house/condo but i do know a lot live in Trailer parks.
You can't beat Arizona weather in Oct,Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb Mar.
the other months it gradually gets hot.(June,July, august the worse)

Plenty of things to do to occupy your time. Its not far from Calif or Colorado. Golf, Restaurants,shopping galore.
Suggest renting a condo or ? for 3 to 6 months to check it out.

Wayyyyyyyyy better than Florida and hurricanes/humidity.
Arizona...Mostly Sunny year round, very little rain...lots of lakes
Suggest Prescott Valley or even some where in the vicinity.

Correct summation by Justcurious. I have told you several times previously the best retirement situation with two homes is winter in Phoenix or Scottsdale and summers in Prescott or Flagstaff. Idea weather 12 months a year. We maintain two small home completely furnished home in closed-gated communities and a little traveling time door to door. There is no problems in our situation with doctors appointment or home problems all year around.

Why don't you keep the California home and try renting a furnished home home in Prescott or Flagstaff until a decision is made. That's is what we did the first year. It is sure nice to drive in a little more than a hour door to door and be in cooler temperatures. Neighbors are watch-dogs while we are gone.

California has low humidity even next to the ocean. Florida has the second highest humidity next to Houston in the U.S. I can't stand high humidity; can you if you have a choice?

A great surplus of high rise condos have been built in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area the last two years. Today you can buy for half price or lower. Some are in foreclosure. We are now considering a high-rise as we are now in our mid-eighties

Murfields
"Nobody wants to have in his cash holdings a definite number of pieces of money; he wants to keep a cash holdings of a definite amount of purchasing power"

statsguy
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Post by statsguy » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:09 pm

We are looking forward to leaving California and its air pollution. I hate the air quality where we live... today the air is rated unhealthy. The current budget problems and future taxes are also incentive to leave.

Arizona... I love it but Statsgal... and my brother lives in Florida so we are thinking of living near Sarasota.

I say Boudler because it is well-known... we plan to begin our search in Louisville, Laffyete, Broomfield... also will rent a year or so before buying. First extended trip will be this coming April. We are considering a furnished apartment in Louisville.

Thanks for the comments so far.
Stats

Wagnerjb
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Post by Wagnerjb » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:17 pm

murfields wrote: Correct summation by Justcurious. I have told you several times previously the best retirement situation with two homes is winter in Phoenix or Scottsdale and summers in Prescott or Flagstaff. Idea weather 12 months a year. We maintain two small home completely furnished home in closed-gated communities and a little traveling time door to door. There is no problems in our situation with doctors appointment or home problems all year around.
My wife and I are not retired, but we aren't too many years away. We have an arrangement like the one Murfields describes. A house in Houston and a condo (basically a townhouse) three hours away in Austin.

Advantages:

a) Can go back and forth easily.
b) The condo is fully furnished with our stuff (not so if you rent)
c) Close enough to make regular visits to check on the place
d) No maintenance on the condo; the HOA cuts the grass and maintains the common areas, including roofing.
e) Different terrain (condo near a lake in Austin, in the hills)

Disadvantages:

e) Not enough difference in climate to be a true snowbird situation
f) Had a water leak that sat for 6 weeks in summer - made an ugly mess. Would have been worse if it sat for 6 months, but this is a risk of ownership without regular oversight.

While I would like my second home to be in a different climate (to spend summers up north), I am very concerned with the maintenance issues. Without an arrangement for regular checkups - by a relative, a child who lives there, a real estate manager, etc. - I would be leery of leaving a home unoccupied for six months. Just too much risk of a break-in, vandalism, water leaks, etc.

Best wishes.
Andy

tjwolf
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Post by tjwolf » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:49 pm

Minnesota here:

Have farm as home and lake property within one hour of home. Make it up to the lake nearly every week --- during the mid-week when all is quiet. Also have a motorhome and toad for travel around the Midwest in the spring and fall when the crowds are gone.

Tried the Florida route for several years. Ms. Wolf did not like the "bugs, snakes, humidity, and 'New Yukers'". Says there were two types of critters, ones that bite you (bugs, snakes, etc. ). and those you couldn't understand (New Yukers). Sorry, but the East Coasters are a different "breed" of people!

Now travel to Arizona (Lake Havasu City) in the winter. We rent a hi-rise condo on the water for one to three months. Rent is around $1800 monthly for all of the normal amenities. Houses can be/are much cheaper. Would not want to be there in the summer. Our rent is much less than the cost of ownership. HOA fees alone for these units are above $600 a month. Upon arrival, we can pick up the key, and on departure return it in without any further thought or responsibility.

Works for us!
Tom

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Post by flowerbuyer » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:02 pm

Hi:
We have been "snowbirds" for ten years, much of that was part-time as we wound down to retirement. We have homes in Washington (yeah, it rains a lot here) and in Palm Desert (near Palm Springs) CA.

Our snowbird home the first two years was a nice condo on a golf course in a gated community. The big advantage was all exterior maintenance, both building and landscaping, was the responsibility of the HOA.
Then Husband decided he wanted to own all four walls. So we sold, and bought a small home in another gated golf course community. (We now spend almost 6 months per year there). We are responsible for all maintenance, because it is a free-standing home.

In the Coachella Valley, you want to be in a gated community if you are a snowbird, and leave your home unattended for months at a time.

FYI:
The annual cost for our second home, including yard maintenance while we are gone, utilities, taxes, and HOA dues runs about $9,000 per year. This could be less if we turned off phone and internet completely. As far as it being an investment? We never looked at it like that, but even with the huge hit in the real estate market, our home is actually worth more than when we bought it 8 years ago. (And we netted a $60,000 profit on the sale of the condo we owned for less than two years).

If you don't want to buy a second home, you can still enjoy being a snowbird by renting. Nicely furnished homes/condos run $2000 per month and up.

It also helps that we have many friends who have also become snowbirds, and have either bought homes or condos in the area, or park their RV's in nearby RV "country clubs".

btenny
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Post by btenny » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:06 pm

We have a home in Phoenix for the warm winters and big city stuff. We are residents there so we pay Az taxes and so forth. We also have a home in the northern California mountains for the cool summers and some great snow skiing in the winter. The two places are a long day drive apart so we travel back and forth multiple times per year and never leave either place unused for more than 2-3 months. Both houses have inside water shutoff valves separate from the lawn water. We pay two lawn services to keep up landscaping year round (I have a brown thumb so this is a good investment). We also have friends or relatives to stop by both places to check on things every 4 weeks or so when we are gone. We do not shut down the houses that much when we are not there.

Many snow birds I know have a small home or condo or mobile home in Arizona and a big home or ranch or farm back home in the mid west or Canada. They find it almost as cheap to keep a Arizona second home in leiu of paying winter utilities for their main home. These people close up their Az homes and leave them completely closed up and unused for 6-8 months. But they do special things to allow them to leave for long periods. These houses have steel window shutters and house water shutoffs and gardeners and they empty refrigerators etc, each time they leave for the summer.

Bill

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Post by MWCA » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:01 am

If you have the money then do it. No downside except costing more to maintain.

Sotol
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lawn in arizona??

Post by Sotol » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:54 pm

Sorry- our water situation is critical and people who come from greener pastures don't understand this is no place for lawns. watering while you are gone makes things even worse as you aren't even there to enjoy the view, weird as it is with all the cactus.

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Post by mike_slc » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:12 am

I'm 32 and I've been a "snowbird" for five years now. This year I'm leaving Salt Lake Oct 1 for the winter. I'll be back Apr 1. Not really sure what you want to know. It's a great lifestyle - I love it. I don't own two places, I prefer to rent for the winter. More flexibility, less commitment to one area. I can pick a different place every winter if I want. It's easy to get a lease on a house for as short as 3-4 months, I've never had a problem. I own my place in Salt Lake and I have friends that check on it and get my mail while I'm gone. My work is all virtual so I can work from anywhere within a few time zones of my customers. I'm a climber and I follow the weather so I can climb year round. Endless summer. It's great.

Beth
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Haven't seen anyone mention

Post by Beth » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:47 am

the property tax angle in FL. Only those who claim FL residency are protected against dramatic increases in property taxes. FL has a system like the one you are familiar with in CA. Now could be a good time to buy in FL and then you can establish residency before the market recovers there and property taxes start shooting up again. Be careful what you buy on the coast; be sure the structure/location will qualify you to purchase reasonably priced fire/windstorm coverage from reliable carriers. Enviable position to be in whatever you choose. Regards, Beth

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Post by greetje » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:41 am

Been snowbirds for 6 years. Live in Wis. and spend 3 months in Gulf Shores Ala. Love it!
Owned hom on lake in Wis till last fall. Sold it and now rent year around. Always worried about pipes freezing or breakins from snowmobilers that travelled the lakeshore. Never happened but I worried about that all the time. So last fall we sold the lakehome and now rent year around.
We find Gulf Shores Al. is not as crowded and more reasonable. Rent for condo's at Gulfg Shores run from about $1000 to $1800. If you look for a place at VRBO (vacation rental by owner) you can can get some ideas. If you want Florida just punch that in as well as Sarasota.
I very much recommend renting. Brother has trailer and needs to clean up mold every year and has had problems with breakins. That is in Clearwater
Florida. We just pick up key, everything is included. No hidden fees. We pay $850 for 2 bedroom 2 bath at a complex that has 7 outdoor pools, 1 indoor, 3 hot tubs, tennis, on beach. Can't beat it.

HearDoc
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Post by HearDoc » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:05 pm

justcurious wrote: Canada snowbirds go to Arizona in their winter months.
.
Care to validate that remark ? It's not my recollection.

HearDoc
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Re: Haven't seen anyone mention

Post by HearDoc » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:07 pm

Beth wrote:the property tax angle in FL. Only those who claim FL residency are protected against dramatic increases in property taxes.
Other than the $50k Homestead exemption, how are FL residents protected from the same increases as non-residents ?

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HueyLD
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Post by HueyLD » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:13 pm

I think Florida and Arizona are the two most popular states for snowbirds. AFAIK, FL tends to attract snowbirds from the northeast and eastern part of Canada. Meanwhile, AZ tends to draw snowbirds from the upper midwest, west and the western part of Canada.

Another factor in Arizona's favor: low humidity! Our friends and relatives in New England still associate retiring in AZ as something for those with asthma and arthritis. :)

northend
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Post by northend » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:34 pm

We have Canadian relatives, Alberta, that go to Arizona in the Winter.

They tow a trailer to Arizona and maintain a house in Alberta.

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DiscoBunny1979
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Post by DiscoBunny1979 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:41 pm

HueyLD wrote:I think Florida and Arizona are the two most popular states for snowbirds. AFAIK, FL tends to attract snowbirds from the northeast and eastern part of Canada. Meanwhile, AZ tends to draw snowbirds from the upper midwest, west and the western part of Canada.
--------------

Another popular location for snowbirds is the Palm Springs area in Southern CA. You know the snow birds are in town because the Trader Joes Parking lot in Palm Desert is full from Oct-March . . . but empty during summer. Of course, the out of state and Canadian license plates are dead giveaway on the roads.

But I caution anyone considering living 6 months somewhere and another 6 months somewhere else in terms of Health Insurance. Not all health insurance is portable over state lines, and while emergency services might be available . . . many insurance requires a Primary Care Physician to refer to a specialist. Do you need a Primary Care Physician in both locations? How do snowbirds handle the health care issues - especially the ones that have medical conditions that require monitoring by blood tests and office visits? How do snowbirds handle receiving their medications if they participate in a mailorder situation?

HearDoc
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Post by HearDoc » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:46 pm

DiscoBunny1979 wrote:
HueyLD wrote:I think Florida and Arizona are the two most popular states for snowbirds. AFAIK, FL tends to attract snowbirds from the northeast and eastern part of Canada. Meanwhile, AZ tends to draw snowbirds from the upper midwest, west and the western part of Canada.
--------------
But I caution anyone considering living 6 months somewhere and another 6 months somewhere else in terms of Health Insurance. Not all health insurance is portable over state lines, and while emergency services might be available . . . many insurance requires a Primary Care Physician to refer to a specialist.
An issue I researched before retiring. My Insurer has contracted with a national PPO (provider network) which has participating providers and hospitals all over the US. I can go to their website and find primary care and specialists all over the place. Same with my Dental insurer. I made sure that this was the case before snow-birding. When I fell off my bike in Florida (just a nasty contusion) I found a covered , open Saturday evening facility a mile away. Just paid a $10 co-pay. The plan has no gatekeeper for specialists. In less than a year I'll qualify for Tri-care, so no worries here.

greenthumb
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Post by greenthumb » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:16 pm

I know a few people who have tried doing the same thing going to cool places during summer and warmer places during winter. a good option is to get a mobile home for one of the locations. it really has a lot of pros if you consider heating and electricity bills as they are reduced significantly when compared to normal houses. the new modern designs really improve on heat loss so this translates to savings immediately. also, you will have the option just taking it on the road if you ever get tired of one place

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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Haven't seen anyone mention

Post by Mel Lindauer » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:33 pm

HearDoc wrote:
Beth wrote:the property tax angle in FL. Only those who claim FL residency are protected against dramatic increases in property taxes.
Other than the $50k Homestead exemption, how are FL residents protected from the same increases as non-residents ?
In addition to the $50k Homestead Exemption, the assessed value of a FL resident's home cannot be increased by more than 3% or the CPI per year, whichever is LOWER. Non-resident's assessment goes to market value each year. During the recent boom, those increases sometimes amounted to 20-30% or more per year.

And there is no state income tax in FL either.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

S&L1940
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Re: Haven't seen anyone mention

Post by S&L1940 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:58 pm

Mel Lindauer wrote:
HearDoc wrote:
Beth wrote:the property tax angle in FL. Only those who claim FL residency are protected against dramatic increases in property taxes.
Other than the $50k Homestead exemption, how are FL residents protected from the same increases as non-residents ?
In addition to the $50k Homestead Exemption, the assessed value of a FL resident's home cannot be increased by more than 3% or the CPI per year, whichever is LOWER. Non-resident's assessment goes to market value each year. During the recent boom, those increases sometimes amounted to 20-30% or more per year.

And there is no state income tax in FL either.
Mel
tell them about the high humidity and tough insurance policies and crowded roads. I think Arizona can use more snowbirds. we already soak the ones we have to support our restaurants and beaches and tax needs year round. let AZ fill up their deserts...

be well
Rich

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TxAg
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Post by TxAg » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:06 pm

mike_slc wrote:I'm 32 and I've been a "snowbird" for five years now. This year I'm leaving Salt Lake Oct 1 for the winter. I'll be back Apr 1. Not really sure what you want to know. It's a great lifestyle - I love it. I don't own two places, I prefer to rent for the winter. More flexibility, less commitment to one area. I can pick a different place every winter if I want. It's easy to get a lease on a house for as short as 3-4 months, I've never had a problem. I own my place in Salt Lake and I have friends that check on it and get my mail while I'm gone. My work is all virtual so I can work from anywhere within a few time zones of my customers. I'm a climber and I follow the weather so I can climb year round. Endless summer. It's great.
That is awesome!

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bottlecap
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Post by bottlecap » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:07 pm

I second renting in a few places one summer. My Mom and Dad rented one summer and had the seed planted for when they retired. They moved down just before my father's death, purchasing a trailer (not the kind with wheels...) in a 55 and older community. She was a snow bird for a few years until she sold the place up North.

She remarried and they purchased a home. She just loves it in Florida, although the property taxes and insurance costs are high.

Renting before buying worked very well for her/them. Ultimately, I'd be with statsgal, but that's a matter of personal taste.

HearDoc
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Re: Haven't seen anyone mention

Post by HearDoc » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:03 pm

1530jesup wrote:
Mel Lindauer wrote:
HearDoc wrote:
Beth wrote:the property tax angle in FL. Only those who claim FL residency are protected against dramatic increases in property taxes.
Other than the $50k Homestead exemption, how are FL residents protected from the same increases as non-residents ?
In addition to the $50k Homestead Exemption, the assessed value of a FL resident's home cannot be increased by more than 3% or the CPI per year, whichever is LOWER. Non-resident's assessment goes to market value each year. During the recent boom, those increases sometimes amounted to 20-30% or more per year.

And there is no state income tax in FL either.
Mel
tell them about the high humidity and tough insurance policies and crowded roads. I think Arizona can use more snowbirds. we already soak the ones we have to support our restaurants and beaches and tax needs year round. let AZ fill up their deserts...
Rich
I think I'm gonna adopt a couple dozen kids just to send them to the local schools to get my tax dollars revenge. Then maybe I'll drive up and down Military Trail with my studded snow tires till I wear a groove in the damn road.

S&L1940
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Re: Haven't seen anyone mention

Post by S&L1940 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:11 pm

HearDoc wrote:
1530jesup wrote:
Mel Lindauer wrote:
HearDoc wrote:
Beth wrote:the property tax angle in FL. Only those who claim FL residency are protected against dramatic increases in property taxes.
Other than the $50k Homestead exemption, how are FL residents protected from the same increases as non-residents ?
In addition to the $50k Homestead Exemption, the assessed value of a FL resident's home cannot be increased by more than 3% or the CPI per year, whichever is LOWER. Non-resident's assessment goes to market value each year. During the recent boom, those increases sometimes amounted to 20-30% or more per year.

And there is no state income tax in FL either.
Mel
tell them about the high humidity and tough insurance policies and crowded roads. I think Arizona can use more snowbirds. we already soak the ones we have to support our restaurants and beaches and tax needs year round. let AZ fill up their deserts...
Rich
I think I'm gonna adopt a couple dozen kids just to send them to the local schools to get my tax dollars revenge. Then maybe I'll drive up and down Military Trail with my studded snow tires till I wear a groove in the damn road.
I think I saw your car coming off the auto carrier. do not forget to take a run up Jog and Congress but watch out for the q-tips. those tiny old folks doing 24 MPH in the left hand lane (with their right blinker on) whose heads barely show up above the headrest...

I have been in Florida for five years now and for a guy that never wanted to visit much less live here - I am loving it. come on down
Rich

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poisonivvy
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Post by poisonivvy » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:12 am

I'd caution against leaving a home unattended in Boulder during the winter, unless you have a dedicated care taker or a neighbor willing to call you when the college kids or stoned yuppies go crazy and riot--setting their couches on fire (why they now don't allow couches on outside front porches).

If you buy in the city--are there HOA ordinances about snow removal? Do you get fined if you're in city limits if you haven't shoveled your walks within X hours after the snow stops?

Who will check in on your home? Will you wait until summer to come out--when the pipes burst back in October and flooded the home because the sprinklers weren't blown out or hosed not unplugged from the house?

Who will pay electricity/utilities? Surely you'll have some expenses to keep the house secure or heated to a minimal level.

I live in Colorado and freak out leaving my house for a 10 day vacation in the winter. Perhaps I'm just a nervous Nelly though. :oops:

I love Boulder for visiting--just not enough to live near it and pay it's enormous taxes and cost of living.

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bottlecap
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Post by bottlecap » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:47 am

bottlecap wrote:I second renting in a few places one summer. My Mom and Dad rented one summer and had the seed planted for when they retired. They moved down just before my father's death, purchasing a trailer (not the kind with wheels...) in a 55 and older community. She was a snow bird for a few years until she sold the place up North.

She remarried and they purchased a home. She just loves it in Florida, although the property taxes and insurance costs are high.

Renting before buying worked very well for her/them. Ultimately, I'd be with statsgal, but that's a matter of personal taste.
By the way - I meant winter, rent in the winter!

aszutu
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Post by aszutu » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:25 pm

Something in between a single family home and a high rise condo is a home in a gated communty. Like a house, you can own all four walls plus land (albeit likely a very small lot). Meanwhile like a high rise the homeowners assocation can take care of maintenace such as mowing, landscaping, exterior wall maintenance, security, etc.

In FL, one does need to be concerned with window protection during hurricane threats and pests such as ants so even in a gated community one might need someone to periodically come in to check the house.

I have had a high rise condo, and I currently have a home in a gated community as my winter home. There are pros and cons to each. Think it through. I think you are doing a very smart thing in asking the opinions of others.

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praxis
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Post by praxis » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:35 pm

There sure are a lot of options available for you. Your case is unique to you, of course. We've owned several second homes including live aboard boats and rented too. Sometimes we've tried to make the decision with a chart that lists big issues and how we prioritize them. For instance, the second home might use up too much of a travel budget for a couple that likes to take trips, so a cheaper rental is better. Security on the other place can be a biggie. Freezing pipes and break-ins.

We have a mountain cabin with another couple now. So far it's great. We enjoy time together with the other family at the cabin, but mostly we use it independently. All the bills are split. I do most of the work around the place but I would if I owned it alone. I got the idea from a guy that actually shares his Louisiana home with two other couples that let them use theirs in other states. Wierd, I thought. But I saved the idea until 5 years ago and an old friend took me up on building a cabin together.

The good news is that if you buy right, you can probably change your minds without a lot of pain, and you've had an adventure.

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stratton
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Location: Puget Sound

Post by stratton » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:14 pm

poisonivvy wrote:I'd caution against leaving a home unattended in Boulder during the winter, unless you have a dedicated care taker or a neighbor willing to call you when the college kids or stoned yuppies go crazy and riot--setting their couches on fire (why they now don't allow couches on outside front porches).
I had a small job as a teenager to check a neighbors house once a week while they were in Arizona during the winter. Basically keep an eye on pipes, watch for mice etc. The house was winterized before they left.

Paul

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