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Old 01-02-2009, 09:32 PM   #41
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I bought our condo for 2 reasons - an escape and as a balance to our investments. Its worked out ok for both. I can not stand to be cooped up indoors in Midwestern winters and an Az condo gives me time to spend hiking/biking during the winter. Plus the value of my condo has not depreciated anywhere close to what my portfolio has. Our condo carrying costs for 2008 were $8185. I understand that I could take those $ and just rent a place, but I'm happy with the purchase so far. I may change my mind and sell it when I get old and travel becomes difficult.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:42 AM   #42
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The decision to buy or rent is situation specific. Some condos have covenants that prevent renting. If I wanted a place in the sun in retirement I might buy a condo/small home in my family community which I could rent out and rent a home in a sunny community. If my sunny situation doesn't turn out to be as ideal as I dreamed it would be easy to move on or move back.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:50 PM   #43
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Az condo gives me time to spend hiking/biking during the winter. Plus the value of my condo has not depreciated anywhere close to what my portfolio has. Our condo carrying costs for 2008 were $8185. I understand that I could take those $ and just rent a place, but I'm happy with the purchase so far. I may change my mind and sell it when I get old and travel becomes difficult.
Despite my frequent lament about the AZ summer heat, right now it is just beautiful. I just came back from a walk. It's nice and cool at 65deg.

If you have the dough to park it in a condo, the annual expense of $8K is not too bad in my view. I do not include my houses in the portfolio, but I can see how one can rationalize the 2nd home condo purchase as part of the portfolio, because you can sell and "convert it to food" if you need to.

If you hold it for enjoyment for 10-15 years, and don't expect to make a killing, it's not a bad way to go. In fact, buying at the right time, you may recoup some of the annual cost when selling, if not make some profits. If you really like the locality, want to return year after year, it's the way to go, in my opinion.

Comparing owning to renting, I think it is like staying in a hotel vs in an RV. Some people like a sense of permanency, of sleeping in their own bed every night. Renting to test the water is always prudent of course.

Though the OP talks about staying on the Eastern seaboard, because meadh talked about fractional ownerships I would second that as an option.

Recently, visiting Victoria BC, we stayed at the Westin Bear Mountain. This resort also has fractional ownership condos. As Victoria, and really all of the island, is such a nice place, I found the fractional ownership an intriguing idea for US residents of the SouthWest to seek refuge from the summer heat. Unfortunately, we did not have time to talk to the sales office to see how this fractional ownership works, such as how many weeks one has, and if the time slot is fixed from year to year.

And by the way, I wouldn't mind living in Victoria year round, since the winter normal low is only around freezing. Fractional ownership works better for US citizens, since they kick you out every 6 months anyway. We did look at the window postings at an RE sales office in Sidney, and found that house prices weren't bad compared to places like SanDiego, and are in Canadian dollars yet.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:18 PM   #44
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If fractional ownership is an option be sure to check out re-sales. Years ago several families I knew in Portland went together on a home in central Oregon, one of those 'quarter house' arrangements. As one of the co-owners was an attorney I am sure they dotted all the i's and crossed all t's.

I agree, Victoria is hard to beat in the summer. My parents would talk of Victoria snow birds who migrated to HNL every winter. Cofax is attracting a lot of mainland Canadians as an affordable, temperate, retirement location.
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:13 AM   #45
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We have experienced winters in southern Florida, and thought they were paradise (with too much traffic). We feel like we have a pretty good handle on how much we'd like Florida. Not sure about SC, as we have never been there. Can anyone venture an opinion on how retiree-friendly that state may be? Please use your own definitions of "retiree-friendliness," since I get a lot of benefit from other people's points of view.

By the way, it's interesting to hear from the Pacific Northwest folks. Although I've never been to that region, I know people who have, and their descriptions of the summers make my mouth water. I love greenery and scenery.

Returning to work tomorrow will limit my visits to this forum to weekends and maybe evenings, but I have already learned a lot.

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Old 01-04-2009, 10:07 AM   #46
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If fractional ownership is an option be sure to check out re-sales. Years ago several families I knew in Portland went together on a home in central Oregon, one of those 'quarter house' arrangements. As one of the co-owners was an attorney I am sure they dotted all the i's and crossed all t's.

I agree, Victoria is hard to beat in the summer. My parents would talk of Victoria snow birds who migrated to HNL every winter. Cofax is attracting a lot of mainland Canadians as an affordable, temperate, retirement location.
In 2007, Canadian Business rated Victoria as the best place in Canada to retire and the second best place to live overall.

Canada's best places to live | Lists | MoneySense | Canadian Business Online

This has been a crazy winter and Victoria has been hammered with snow!

Also, property in Victoria is expensive by Canadian standards, though the exchange rate currently favours Americans. British Columbia has had a disproportionate escalation in property prices over the past number of years (a bubble really) and is now declining. Here's a set of charts that are updated monthly. While Victoria is not included, the best proxy for Victoria prices would be Vancouver, which has had a wild spree of speculative condo overbuilding.

Real Estate Price Charts ~ Canadian Housing Price Charts and Real Estate Valuator Blog

With regard to fractional ownership, what an ER needs is the ability to use the property for several months at a time. A 50% share with continuous ownership for 6 months would be ideal. Some schedules are set up so that each owner has a chunk of each season, which means that, to get a month at a time, you would need to buy a 1/3 share. Those schedules are more suited to use as a vacation property, which is what I have. Also bear in mind that there is a price markup in fractional properties, because it's a lot more hassle to sell 6 pieces than to sell one.

Radical idea: Board members form a syndicate and purchase a whole property, than apportioning time by mutual agreement.

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Old 01-04-2009, 03:54 PM   #47
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In 2007, Canadian Business rated Victoria as the best place in Canada to retire and the second best place to live overall.
Didn't surprise me one bit.

I like the Saanich Peninsula a lot for its genteel feel and so relaxing atmosphere. I chatted with some locals, thinking they were American tourists. They were super friendly. We got lost driving around on a narrow country road, and stopped by the shoulder to consult our map and GPS. A man pulled up, stopped side-by-side with our car, and asked to offer help (and I thought it was going to be a stickup). Victoria downtown area was among the cleanest I have seen, although Vancouver wasn't bad for such a crowded city.

And by the way, we were there on Labor Day 2008, and the crowd wasn't what we expected. That told me about the state of the US and Canadian economies.

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While Victoria is not included, the best proxy for Victoria prices would be Vancouver, which has had a wild spree of speculative condo overbuilding.
Out of curiosity, I also picked up some RE pamplets in Vancouver, and found prices to be EXPENSIVE, on the level of San Francisco, while Victoria was not.

Now, I remembered being perplexed by the significantly lower (but not cheap) prices in Victoria, and wonder why it should not be higher, being so close to Vancouver as a market for retirees. My theory is that retirement havens near a metropolis should be expensive, due to attractiveness to people who do not want to leave the area where they grew up and worked in. Think LA and Palm Springs. Retirement havens in AZ high country have held up prices well compared to Phoenix, for example.

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With regard to fractional ownership, what an ER needs is the ability to use the property for several months at a time. A 50% share with continuous ownership for 6 months would be ideal. Some schedules are set up so that each owner has a chunk of each season, which means that, to get a month at a time, you would need to buy a 1/3 share. Those schedules are more suited to use as a vacation property, which is what I have. Also bear in mind that there is a price markup in fractional properties, because it's a lot more hassle to sell 6 pieces than to sell one.

Radical idea: Board members form a syndicate and purchase a whole property, than apportioning time by mutual agreement.

Ah! I would like the 6-month summer please, if it costs the same.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:09 PM   #48
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When I was searching for a residence for my brother I found fractional ownership homes in HI. One advantage of HI is that all months are 'high' season.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:20 PM   #49
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When I was searching for a residence for my brother I found fractional ownership homes in HI. One advantage of HI is that all months are 'high' season.
Yea, but it is a hellava drive.
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:08 PM   #50
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We have had a second house for 10 years (8 of them pre-FIRE). Our primary home is in the midwest and the second home is 1,100 miles away in New England. We use the second home for ten weeks during the summer and one long weekend in the fall. We have no desire to "retire" to either place full time after the kids are gone.

Wife and kids have always traveled back and forth once during the summer. I used to commute most weeks but now we all travel together. Travel has never been a burden, although we cannot suddenly decide to go there for a long weekend.

We have never had a problem with maintenance, emergencies, etc., although the house was only five years old when we bought it. We have a caretaker who visits once a week and takes care of minor repairs.

Financially, not reflecting reduced costs at the primary home while we occupy the secondary one, we could sell the second house today at a depressed price and make about $175,000 (today's value of $1,750,000) after all expenses (interest, taxes, insurance, maintenance, travel, repairs, etc.). Even though the market is terrible now, there has been tremendous appreciation. Two years ago, the $175,000 number would have been $675,000.
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:57 PM   #51
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My! Are you neighbor with the Bush family in Kennebunkport ?
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:36 PM   #52
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If you plan for it, owning two homes is very doable. In our case, renting was out of the question because of pets. We bought our florida home yrs ago and used it as a rental before retiring. As we age, I imagine we will sell and downsize to an over 55 rental community. As far as a hassle in furnishing two homes, it was much fun as we have completely furnished our 2nd home with estate/yard sale finds.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:07 PM   #53
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We have owned two home not counting the full time rentals for five years.

Both are fully paid for. We did not buy the second one until we could pay cash. I know that there are arguments to be made on both sides of this issue but for us not debt has always been are mantra.

Our second home is on a lake about 60 miles from our primary residence so we can use it on short notice and any weekend we want to. We spent over 100 days there last year which was the most ever. The year before we rented it out as a vacation rental and literally had to stop taking rentals to keep taxes under control. Since I am just ESR and work part time I can work from that home just as easily and I actually have about 20% of my clients in that area.

I do all the Maint on both homes and I do occasionally get tired of the work but at my age I need the exercise anyway. This however is just one area of many that two homes can cost you. We do feel it has been a good diversification for our investments and the property is still up considerably in value from what we paid and there are still buyers but I really do not see it primarily as a investment.

We are not planning on keeping both homes once we reach our 60s. at that point we probably will sell our current home and move to the lake full time.

I have run the numbers every way I can think of and the only way we could possibly come out better owning two homes versus investing the money is if we rent it as a vacation rental some. That of course means we cannot use it as much during prime season but knowing we can if needed helps. So for us it comes down to the fact that owning more than one home is a toy and we have to view it as that. I do not think it makes financial sense to own two homes but as long as we can afford it we really do enjoy the toy.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:20 PM   #54
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I do not think it makes financial sense to own two homes but as long as we can afford it we really do enjoy the toy.
Yes, that's the way I view it too. Holding the 2nd home for 10-15 years, if I break even after expenses, I will be happy already. I get some use out of it, and that's enough. Profit, if any, is just gravy.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:01 AM   #55
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Yes, that's the way I view it too. Holding the 2nd home for 10-15 years, if I break even after expenses, I will be happy already. I get some use out of it, and that's enough. Profit, if any, is just gravy.
I think this is key. Some hate having even one home; some would hate 2, and others like you like having 2 homes. Horses for courses.

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Old 01-08-2009, 12:31 AM   #56
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Well, for now, at my first phase of ER.

I can see myself at 70, if I last that long, consolidating to a condo in Seattle where I can just walk down to shops and restaurants at street level. There's an allure to that too, which I like to try at some later time.
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:16 AM   #57
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Well, for now, at my first phase of ER.

I can see myself at 70, if I last that long, consolidating to a condo in Seattle where I can just walk down to shops and restaurants at street level. There's an allure to that too, which I like to try at some later time.
Bring your raincoat.

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Old 01-08-2009, 09:51 AM   #58
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As an Arizonan, I do not have a raincoat. Will buy one in Seattle when I get there.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:09 AM   #59
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We went through an evolution. We owned a timeshare with fixed time and place so it was similar to a cottage with the same neighbors each year (in January). When we retired we would augment the TS with rented weeks. We eventually developed a wider circle of snowbird friends and stayed 12 weeks.

Last year (2007) we bought a condo and sold the TS weeks. We are in the process of nesting for 6 months. We rented our home to a friend until June 1st. Being retired we kind of enjoy the nesting process. It is such a treat to no longer live out of a suitcase for months. Some of our former landlords are now friends because we are now here at the same time.

We employ housekeepers in both places and that helps a lot. But we are still learning.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:11 AM   #60
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As an Arizonan, I do not have a raincoat. Will buy one in Seattle when I get there.
Don't forget the snowboots and shovels!
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