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How many of you have 2 houses?
Old 01-18-2011, 12:07 PM   #1
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How many of you have 2 houses?

Just curious. I'm 61 and my wife is 56. We have a very nice house in Florida and a smaller but very nice house in the NC mountains. The Fl house has a relatively small mortgage that will be gone in about 5 years. The NC house has no mortgage. There is lots of equity in both houses.

My current thoughts are that sooner or later, we, or whichever one of us lives the longest, will certainly want to get rid of one of the houses, probably NC and maybe downsize the Fl house. I mean, when you're 80 or so, do you really want to deal with a couple of older houses?

We have enought to live on, according to the FIRE calculator, but are trying to clear up a couple of uncertainties in our financial picture.

If you own 2 homes, how do you figure that into your retirement plans?

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Old 01-18-2011, 12:45 PM   #2
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DW and I are both 54. We are FI but not RE. We own a house in Michigan on Lake Michigan free and clear that will never be sold. We also lease an apartment in downtown Chicago that will be retained (as a leasehold) until we retire. The leased apartment is necessary because I work out of Chicago.

We do not yet own but plan to buy a second house in the south -- probably in Florida. The contents of the second house are kept in storage in Michigan and also would include, I suppose, the contents of our apartment, although it is possible that for a while we will have three residences rather than two.

If this sounds complicated, my answer is that DW is officially "the property manager" among us. Her sole responsibility is to manage all our property not committed to a financial advisor. My responsibility is to earn the necessary income.

Our plan is to become snowbirds in ER starting no later than age 60 and to maintain that lifestyle as long as we physically are able to do so and find it appealing. Although I say the Michigan house will never be sold, it has been my experience that sometimes people decide they like "the other" residence more than the "main" one, so I don't rule that out for us. In other words, we might not live in two locations at age 80, but I have no clear view about which location we will choose. Probably the one nearest to the best medical care.

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Old 01-18-2011, 12:50 PM   #3
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I do not won two homes yet however I see what you are getting at. On the asset side I would estimate how much $$ you would expect to recieve by selling and downsizing and when you expect to revieve the $$. Then take the estimated dollor amount and under the protfolio changes in fire calc enter in when and the amount. Then also calculate the st annual cost reduction of not owning 2 and the downsizing . You can then enter this other income and spending tab of fire calculator on the bottom click on Pension income (off chart cost reduction) and enter the annual expected savings. Hope that helps. Fidelity also has a calculator that allows for asset adds and spend changes.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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We own 3 places. A condo in Toronto, a lake house 2hours north of Toronto, and a house in Canmore Alberta in the mountains. No debt. 60 years old and retired 4 years. Owning 3 places complicates things but we love all 3 and we enjoy moving around. Obviously it increases our expenses but is within our means. Could afford a nice place in Arizona but am resisting as I think 4 places would be too much to handle and would reduce our useage of the other 3 places. Also travel out of the country about 60-70 days per year. Not sure if this life style would appeal as much to us once we get older, but for now it is working well. We certainly don't get bored.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:55 PM   #5
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We own two house both free and clear. One has been our primary home for 17 years and the other is our Lake house about 60 miles away. We plan to sell the primary house in 13 years or less and move to the lake house. We just recently traded our old lake house for the new one which is plenty big to be our primary residence whenever I can get DW to move. That probably will not be for a few more years at least and that is fine with me as it is only an hour away and we use it regularly.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:56 PM   #6
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I assume with the rest of your comment that you mean to ask...

How many of you own and LIVE in two houses

There are plenty of people on this board that own at least two... but rent all but one out...
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:10 PM   #7
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We have two: a town house on Capitol Hill in DC and a weekend place on the tidal Potomac. Both mortgages are paid off. We will likely sell the weekend house in 10 years or so unless the kids/grandkids start to take a lot of advantage of it and step up to the plate on maintenance.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:18 PM   #8
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One house is plenty to be able to afford and maintain for me.

I like to rent OPCs (other people's condos) when traveling.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:25 PM   #9
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One here, thought about another in the mountains to escape those mild east Texas summers.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:37 PM   #10
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We own 2 houses, both small beach cottages in Mission Beach (San Diego) California. Previously vacation rentals when I was working, but now retired we live in one and continue to rent the other. We plan to live here as long as we are comfortable and/or able and if the day comes when we must move for health or other considerations then we will again rent both. We hope to leave them to our kids.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:43 PM   #11
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We own two. One in town and one lakefront about 1/2 hour away. The lake house will probably get sold as we get closer or perhaps after retirement. In today's market we don't have a set timeline. Even though we do not have a mortgage on either, I do not factor equity into my retirement assets. Neither generates any revenue and selling one would lower our annual housing costs considerably.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:56 PM   #12
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We own 2- both paid for and about the same size. They are about 200 miles apart. Our lake home is where we will spend most of our retirment time. We have our plan set up assuming we will keep both homes, and presumably our daughter will inherit them. If in our mid 80's she and her DH appear to have no interest in the lake home, then we would sell it. We also know that this provides us some room to raise cash if needed. Somewhere down the line, we might start passing ownership to her to avoid nursing home getting it, time will tell. In the meantime, we have a separate line item in our budget for expenses related to the second home.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:07 PM   #13
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We own 2 SF homes, one in Chicago, the other 7 miles north. One is paid for and other has a mortgage. When we get tired of shoveling snow, we drive to the other one to shovel again! The chicago house is for sale/rent, but we plan on rolling the $ from it to pay down this mortgage. Really don't want to be a landlord, but will take what the market allows us to do.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:10 PM   #14
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I have been tempted to buy a second house in Missouri, an 11.5 hour drive from here, in cash. But I haven't done so, and the reason is the hassle of upkeep and maintenance from a distance. I barely keep up with the one house that I live in, as it is.

With my luck hooligans would break into it, camp out in it, and create mayhem while I was gone. Or a tree would fall through the roof, the pipes would freeze, and it would catch fire.

The only satisfactory way I could figure out to own a second home, is to hire a property management company to check on the house frequently. And what if they were not reliable? I would probably still worry.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:30 PM   #15
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Own three. Wish I owned zero. They are one of the few sources of stress in my life.

Many years ago I knew a well-off guy in his 50s. "If I had it to do over again," he said, "I would rent everything." Amen to that.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:30 PM   #16
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We have our primary home in Indiana with about 25% equity. We also have a condo in Cozumel, MX that we own free and clear. We rent the condo out and that looks like it will cover our monthly expenses for now. If the economy ever really picks up we might even generate a profit from it. Plan to FIRE in 7 years and then move to Cozumel. Will sell the house and add proceeds to cash reserves. May rent an apartment here in the states but that will depend upon where the three kids end up.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:53 PM   #17
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Own two, hope to be down to one this year. We upsized about 12 years ago and kept our "starter home" as a rental. We've decided to move back into the smaller home and sell the place we're living in now. The small home is all fixed up now and we're starting to fix up this place for sale. Spent all day today painting. DH and I are well known at Lowes, Home Depot and the local Sears Hardware stores.

Don't think I'd consider going back to two homes - even if one was in an area we like to vacation, like the Outer Banks. Would rather rent and not deal with the hassle of ownership not to mention the risk from an investment perspective.

Some people think we're nuts for wanting to go back to the small place. Thing is, it's got a lot of charm, sits on two acres of land, and is inexpensive to live in. Plus, we think our current home will move more quickly. Both places are within 25 miles of DC and 8 miles of my soon to be 80 year old mom -our only surviving parent.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:55 PM   #18
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We were happily living in one central Oahu home in summer 2000 when spouse found our "dream house" a few miles north, being given away at a huge discount by desperate sellers. (Even after a decade's decline, the real estate market sucked particularly badly that year.) We were both on active duty at the time and overwhelmed with the idea of selling one to buy the other, so we bought the other and rented out the first. Military bases & tenants are pretty thick on the ground around here so we weren't losing money. Navy Federal didn't know when we were leaving active duty so they were happy to let us mortgage both places to the hilt.

Spouse's parents caught wind of our situation and declared that they'd like to live in our rental and watch their only granddaughter grow up. That phase lasted for nearly six long years. Losing money on a rental is painful enough. Losing money on a rental because your PILs are squatting in it is even more painful, especially when the prospect of long-term care is coming over the horizon. Luckily our daughter grew up and my PILs never acculterated to Hawaii so we got the property back in late 2006, more than four years after I'd ER'd.

We promptly rented to another military tenant and spent the next couple years fixing up the place (PILs refused to "let" us spend money on it during their tenure). We also did a series of refinancings over the years, so cash flow finally turned around last year and now things look pretty decent-- a cash-on-cash return of 3-4%. This has been an unexpected bonus in the ER budget, although it comes after years of red ink.

The rental has a small yard and an age-in-place-friendly floorplan, so it's easier living than our current dream home. However we can make our dream home just as age-in-place friendly and hire out the yardwork. There's the remote possibility that our daughter will someday want our grandkids going to high school in this dream home's neighborhood, so we're probably going to hold on to both places for the next couple decades. I've been hoping to find an exit excuse but one has not presented itself.

The "good" thing about owning the same place for 20+ years is that we have a long-term maintenance plan and there are no surprises. The "not so good" thing is dealing with the typical hassles of tenants, maintenance, and repairs. We enjoy home-improvement projects, but when spouse and I go to open houses we usually realize right away that we're not ready to tackle yet another property.

I can't imagine the responsibility of owning a vacation home. The insurance, care of vacant property, and other issues would drive me nuts. As another poster mentioned, rental condos are cheap & ubiquitous.

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Old 01-18-2011, 03:01 PM   #19
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We're down to 1, sold our condo (in a city 400 miles away) about a year ago.

Maintenance seems to increase every day since both our kids bought houses this year (one 4 hours away) and "Dad's Reno's" seems to be the contractor of choice.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:04 PM   #20
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I have the two. A summer house and a winter house.

I also have the out-house:

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