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Second Property for Winter
Old 02-28-2008, 11:09 AM   #1
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Second Property for Winter

I have been thinking about buying a second place to live in the winter months. I currently live in central Ohio (Dublin) and I am thinking about FL. I recently moved (coming on 3 years) from FL to OH. Yesterday a good friend who still lives down there called and said he and DW had been scouting some Condos around their place just to get an idea of what happened to pricing. We lived there (Orange Park, FL) for 20 years and we have a Granddaughter still there. The prices, he says, are really down, like 100K-110K for a new Condo Townhouse with 2 BR 2 BA. Just the basics but a place to live for little money. We would buy cash and winterize the current Condo with a Daughter here to look after it. We would go down there from about Nov-Mar. Anyone do this and, if so, we would be interested in hearing about how it works out for you and any pitfalls and other things to look out for.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:40 AM   #2
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I won't dive into the generic expense and issues surrounding owning two homes, but if you do go that route, think about whether you could stay here 6 months (or at least make a plausible argument to that effect). You'll have no state income tax to pay.

My sense is that the insurance thing is gradually coming under control down here, as are the homestead and tax-cap issues. However, they are still under discussion and subject to change, so do your homework on them.

Man, what a great time to buy - great prices on very nice property if you search carefully. We really like living down here.
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
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The local paper wrote an article about how Canadians are finding Arizona cheap and are buying property. My BIL has a timeshare down here for the NASCAR race.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:47 PM   #4
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i'm starting to scout foreclosures for when the inherited house sells. if portability goes through i might buy something in the $160k range (that price factors in how much save our home (soh) value i might be able to transfer), rent it out at first and then put my house up for sale. i'd have up to two years to transfer homestead so i wouldn't be rushed to sell mine.

have been checking towns along the st. john river. looks real nice. you can put a good sized sailboat as far south as orange park (even a bit farther south actually, but i think the last good deepwater marina is in orange park--south of that is a bridge with only 45-foot clearance). looks to be an area convenient to highways for heading out on roadtrips as well.

i agree with doc that you might consider 6 months residency in florida not only for income tax benefits but also to declare homestead on your property (unless you've a similar program to protect yourself in your current homestate). soh could bring you valuable savings into your retired future here.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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My sister has a house in Oregon and one in New York because she remarried late in life and both she and her SO had a house.

The bother and expense of this is unbelievable! It's like moving every six months. Stuff is always at the other house. Two sets of vehicles, double the property tax, twice as much homeowner hassle. You couldn't pay me to do that.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:03 PM   #6
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I've been doing it for about 7 years, in my last year of it now before I settle into one place. I actually move each season, so I move every 2-4 months.

The obvious advantage is that if you like both places, just not the entire year, you can get the best of each place. It's like going on vacation, only instead of getting away for a week or two, you're away for months. And just when I'm starting to get bored or annoyed at things like traffic in one place, it's time to go to the other one.

Also both properties have appreciated pretty well.

Disadvantages are many, but I've lived with them. I drive back and forth. It's a long boring drive, but loading up the SUV elminates some of the duplicate stuff. You have to be real organized so you have what you need when you move. You don't want to have to travel back just to get your passport or tax records or things like that. If you have someone at each end who can get into your house, it helps. Obviously having them able to check on the vacant house/condo is a big help, so you don't come back to a disaster.

Plus I feel like I'm always in disarray. I always feel like I'm either settling back in or starting to pack again. I knew one house would be temporary so I've only focused on improvements for resale, but at the other place I've never been able to do all of the things I want to do with the house.

I've had very few problems with the vacant houses. One frozen/burst pipe that made me really happy I shut the water off. Both my dishwasher and disposal froze up, and I learned how to turn them manually to get them going again. The battery on my Miata I keep at one place went dead. I think that's it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:52 PM   #7
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We've been considering the two-place snobird shuffle. Our cunning plan involves selling a low-rent multi-unit and doing a 1031-exchange into a single family, renting it out for a year or so, then moving in and having it as a residence for 5 years - thus avoiding capital-gains tax on the sale of the multi unit. Figure it could save us the tax on about $150k in profit, or about $6k/year over a 6 year period plus any appreciation the property might earn over six years. Thinking of the crispy-rocks area of southern California - like Joshua Tree. Kinda like the idea of being in green Oregon during our wonderful late spring-early fall, and in the hotlands come soggy cold time up here. 'Course we have to be able to sell something up here and find something staid and befitting our station in life down there. This caught my eye, though it's pretty mucho spendy... Homes for Sale in South Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree, California $575,000

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Old 02-29-2008, 05:44 AM   #8
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I've been commuting to my Az condo almost monthly for the last 7 years. DW cant get away from work for more than a week at one time, so I go myself a lot. As we RE, we'll have less trips but stay longer. Probably stay all winter in the future. Its great to get away to a place where its 40 degrees warmer.

There are some issues in maintaining two places. I have a housesitting service to inspect the condo twice a month to make sure air/heat is on, no plumbing problems, etc. I spend about $7k yearly in HOA dues, utilities, etc. Plus about $5k yearly in airfare/parking/shuttles. This will decrease a lot with lesser trips. I have no mail in Az. I turn off water heater and adjust heat to 50 or air to 85 when I leave. Not much else since its a small condo where the HOA takes care of almost everything.

I need to develop a plan for watching our Illinois house when we leave for longer periods. I do shut off water, stop mail etc.

Its great that you have a daughter to watch your Ohio place. The house watching is a big issue along with the fixed expenses. I do believe that now is the best time to buy.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:58 AM   #9
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We built on a small lake 2.5 hours from home. 1031 exchanged into the land 5 years ago ... then developed the land 2 years ago. Been here all week (kids are out of school for mid winter break) skiing, tubing, snow shoeing, ice fishing. Might skate if I can clear a foot of snow off the ice.

Place rents "ok" ... pulled around 15k last year. Hoping to get to 20k this year as we build a decent customer base. But this is not for the faint heart ... spent 4 days here riding out "no heat" (used the wood stove). Neighbor also called saying the door was open (tenants?)! And the septic alarm rang for 2 days (float was hung up). Otherwise it's a piece of cake.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:51 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone who responded. Sort of what I expected and nice to confirm my thinking. I do not like to go by air any longer and will drive all of the time (about a 900 mile trip one way). Not significant if we only do it once a year. Now have to head down there and find something, small but nice and close enough to Granddaughters father so he can keep an eye on it in the summer.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:16 AM   #11
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Oh yeah, mail. You have to do temporary changes of address with the post office so you'll need to know when you're coming back in advance. I used to change my address each time with my bank and other places I get bills from, but that got to be too much work and some vary about how quickly they update.

It used to go pretty well for me, now the USPS has gotten terrible about it. I ran into my carrier not long ago and he said they had changed their system and it's not working well. I got 3 Christmas cards in early February, for example. I gave up all magazine subscriptions long ago. You definitely want to put bills on autopay so you aren't late with them.
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