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Renting vacant homes in college towns in the summer?
Old 06-28-2009, 02:43 PM   #1
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Renting vacant homes in college towns in the summer?

My wife and I were talking about our long-term plans yesterday in relation to what we fix on the house. Part of the discussion is around how long we plan to stay here. Part of us would like to spend our lives here, but... the summers are so bad that a lifetime of them seems unbearable. We wouldn't want to spend a lot of money on upgrades that don't add to resale value if we can only take it a few more years.

So then I had a thought, especially since my wife will have summers off in the new job and I can telecommute. What if we rented a place in a cooler climate during the summer?

My first thought was a vacation rental but those can cost $2000-3000 a month or more. Then I had another thought: there must be a lot of vacancies in cooler-weather college towns during the summer, and some property owners (or renters with subletting options) may be looking for tenants to pay the rent for a couple of months from (say) mid-June to Mid-August. I'm not talking about college dorms but things like condos and apartments off campus.

We also know people locally here (largely college students coming home for the summer) who could watch the house or even live in it (the ones we trust, anyway) while we're away. Basically they could get free rent, paying only utilities and such.

Has anyone done anything like this or know anyone who has? It seems like it has the potential to allow us to enjoy the 7-8 months a year that are very nice here, only force us to endure a month of summer on each side of the dog days. If we could pull something like that off, it seems like it would be easier to commit to living here for a long time.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:51 PM   #2
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Ziggy29, I know there are a number of home exchange boards on the net as I've read about them in Kiplinger's and Money magazines. You can even do this internationally if that's your thing.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:59 PM   #3
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Another place to look for reasonable summer rentals are ski resorts .
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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ziggy, the Ohio town DW and I went to college in had tons of summer sublets going begging every year. I have little doubt you could pull exactly this off and you could go to a different town every year if you wanted to.
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:04 PM   #5
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I know our city has plenty of sublets too. But it would be your typical low to mid-range apartments and townhomes for the most part. Based on recollection of being a student, rent may be moderately discounted and utilities may be included. It could work out pretty well if you weren't too picky on accommodations. I imagine there is also a market consisting of teachers and professors that are looking to sublet their place or at a minimum find a house-sitter for the summer.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:49 AM   #6
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Ziggy
You have a good strategy. We live in a college town in SE Wash. and are landlords here as well. The standard rental agreements are all for one year so nearly all student tenants will have an interest in summer sublets-typically at very reasonable cost. I suggest you look for townhouse/condo arrangement so you do not get stuck mowing lawn etc. We have great summers but the winters in Jan and Feb particularly can be a real bear--we are looking for a similar option but probably won't find the college choice workable given most college schedules.
Let us know how your strategy works out.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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A summer vacation rental near a ski resort would be ideal. Ours rents well because it's water front. But most people are giving them away ... lots of FL retirees come north to escape the heat and take advantage of the cheap rentals.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:22 AM   #8
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Do a Google search on House sitters or House carers and you'll find plenty of opportunities.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:52 PM   #9
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Just make sure you go a little farther north than Texas A&M. Summers in College Station are miserably hot.

Rents in College Station were MUCH lower in the summer than during the rest of the year, for obvious reasons.

Why not start making a list of potential retirement locations, if you think you might move? Checking out a potential ER location would give you something to do while you enjoy the cool temperatures. Summer rentals might be easily available in these locations, too.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Why not start making a list of potential retirement locations, if you think you might move? Checking out a potential ER location would give you something to do while you enjoy the cool temperatures. Summer rentals might be easily available in these locations, too.
Well, part of the thinking is that we do want to retire in place right where we are, IF we can arrange for summertime relief. We'd be like the retired Northeasterners "wintering" in Florida, except we'd be doing the opposite -- "summering" in various northern cities across the country. Going this route seems more economical (and flexible) than buying a second home in a cooler place.

We really like it here, except for the brutal summers. Find a coping mechanism for that and we're not going anywhere.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:22 PM   #11
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Well, part of the thinking is that we do want to retire in place right where we are, IF we can arrange for summertime relief. We'd be like the retired Northeasterners "wintering" in Florida, except we'd be doing the opposite -- "summering" in various northern cities across the country. Going this route seems more economical (and flexible) than buying a second home in a cooler place.

We really like it here, except for the brutal summers. Find a coping mechanism for that and we're not going anywhere.
Do you have room for a pool, with a cabana, wet bar, and lots of shade? It would be a lot cheaper to have a pool put in, than to vacation elsewhere every summer. Ah, for a dip in the pool, an icy cold drink, and sitting in the shade in my wet swimsuit with an outdoor ceiling fan cooling me off! Even Texas summers might seem OK that way.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:28 PM   #12
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sub-letting apartments in the summer in isla vista
(the student ghetto of UC Santa barbara)
used to be pretty cheap. I used to use the school newspaper
to find good deals but these days maybe craigslist?

And it's pretty hard to beat as a summer location..
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:37 PM   #13
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sub-letting apartments in the summer in isla vista
(the student ghetto of UC Santa barbara)
used to be pretty cheap. I used to use the school newspaper
to find good deals but these days maybe craigslist?

And it's pretty hard to beat as a summer location..
Pretty nice in the winter too. I got married in Goleta. I have to look into this; how I would love a few summers by the ocean where the ocean isn't so damn cold!

I might even be able to sublet here, Seattle has very nice summers too.

Ha
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