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Own two houses?
Old 04-18-2006, 07:55 PM   #1
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Own two houses?

We have kids and grandkids in the midwest whom we would love to see more of. Hope to semi-retire in about 3 years. My DW wonders whether we should downsize here in Tampa (good idea) and then also buy a small condo closer to the kids. I don't think this is a good idea. I'd rather just cough up a couple thousand a year to park ourselves at a Residence Inn or such, then leave it and forget it when we return to our Fla home.

Given that money will be an object, if not a show stopper, anyone done the "two home thing" and care to weigh in? The very thought of it gives me the willies, but maybe I'm being close-minded about it.
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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-18-2006, 09:44 PM   #2
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Re: Own two houses?

If it's a good investment then definitely do it....we have 2 homes --one for the easy commute to work (Sunday - Wed nites) and another as our "main home" Thursday - Sunday.

Pros:
Got lucky - it was a great investment
Nice to be "home" all the time
Didn't have to worry about packing clothes, etc each time

Cons:
No regrets, but it's hard to remember (given that we're in both weekly) what we have in each pantry and what we need to get at the store....need to have 2 sets of everything...we feel guilty going somewhere else for vacation since we don't spend enough time at the other home


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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-18-2006, 09:44 PM   #3
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Re: Own two houses?

If real estate is appreciating, then two (or more) houses is great.

We're down to one house for the first time in 10 years. * When the second house was a real house, then maintenance was a real pain. *When the second house was a condo, maintenance wasn't so bad, but it still seemed like a very expensive hotel (of course, the value doubled about 3 years after we sold that condo).

On the upside, you don't have to pack much because you end up with two of everything. * *And you get a great tax break because you're paying two property taxes.

On the downside, you end up with two of everything and you pay two property taxes.
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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-19-2006, 12:03 AM   #4
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Re: Own two houses?

My parents have two houses and now that they are retiring they are selling one to save money.

My take is that it can be a pleasant lifestyle move if that is truly what you want, but there's no way to justify it economically. It is quite costly... as others have said not only do you have all the payments of two homes, but you spend twice as much on furnishings.

If the money is an issue I would not do it.
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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-19-2006, 12:22 AM   #5
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Re: Own two houses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
We have kids and grandkids in the midwest whom we would love to see more of.
The week after you close on your second home, the kids will get a job transfer of at least one time zone.

You have a lot of flexibility to negotiate vacation condos at extended-stay rates.
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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-19-2006, 07:04 AM   #6
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Re: Own two houses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
The week after you close on your second home, the kids will get a job transfer of at least one time zone.
. Yep, that's why we held off.

Maybe when I FIRE, the new flexibility will make it so much easier to visit that the urge for a second cottage will go away.
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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-19-2006, 07:16 AM   #7
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Re: Own two houses?

I don't know if we'll ever have two homes again. As far as houses per se, we now own a few, but with the exception of our principal residence, they are all rented out. We've decided we're not wealthy enough to enjoy the luxury of a non-income producing piece of real estate.

When we had a second home, the maintenance did become a significant issue ... more so since there was no rental income to offset. We realized that between the maintenance, utilities, insurance, taxes and lost investment income, we were paying out many thousands per year, and the appreciation wasn't making up for it in our case. Based upon our current place in the real estate cycle, I would not be inclined to buy a second home now ... while recognizing my "timing" of any market has always been poor.

Best of luck with your decision.
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:23 AM   #8
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Re: Own two houses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
*And you get a great tax break because you're paying two property taxes.
Hee hee hee hee...... Great one wab!
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:28 AM   #9
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Re: Own two houses?

Or look into rentals of furnished "executive housing" type places. Between extended-stay hotels and executive housing, it seems like you should be able to find a decent place to stay in the midwest for less than $1000 per month.
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Re: Own two houses?
Old 04-19-2006, 08:06 AM   #10
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Re: Own two houses?

We sold our home in the northeast 2 years ago knowing we planned on retiring in 2006. Bought a condo in the same city (both mother's, a son and relatives still live there) and a ranch style home in FL where we plan to snowbird 6 months a year. *Daughter lives a bit north of Atlanta, about a 7 hour drive from our FL home. Will pay off the condo mortgage in June. Have no mortgage on the FL home which we now claim as our principle residence. Monthly expenses for both homes total $1393, which includes taxes, insurance, utilities, cable/satellite, internet and lawn/pool care when we're not in FL. Does not include any improvements. These expenses represent about 27.6% of our expected net income in retirement. Both homes are prettty much set up with furniture and 'things'. We do not rent out either home. FL home has appreciated ~52% in 2 years.

Figure if it becomes too much we'll just sell one or the other, but we may work part time in retirement to keep things going for awhile.
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:18 AM   #11
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Re: Own two houses?

I will echo that it depends on how stable your kids are. If it's likely that they will never move, then it could work out really well. A lakefront home or condo that your kids could also use may have more of a fun vacation feel, and should appreciate well, but would be more expensive (even in the midwest? not sure). Financial calculations aside, there is a pretty sizeable difference in "feel" between a home that you own and a hotel. Houses are pretty cheap in the midwest, maybe you could pitch in 40k-50k and have one of your kids move to a home with either a guest cottage or room for you to stay when you come to visit.

When you retire, have you thought about doing locums at all? I don't know what the opportunities are like for internists. If you combined a second/vacation/family home where your kids live with a 1-2 month per year laid-back/no call/supervisory locums rotation then that could work out nicely. It would make most expenses incurred while you were there tax deductible. It would also allow you to keep up your clinical skills.
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:59 AM   #12
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Re: Own two houses?

We used to have a lake cabin. Amazing how much money can get sucked out maintaining two homes and paying property taxes to two fairly high tax states. We looked at how much time we used it as compared to the cost and decided to sell.

On the other hand, we ended up buying a motorhome, which will depreciate to nothing and gas sure is expensive. We sure love the motorhome though. Think of the temptations--you have your home wherever you go, you can tow your car or motorcycles, you can park in the kids yard or find a more isolated place. . .
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:03 AM   #13
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Re: Own two houses?

I'd vote for an RV over a second house any day! You can live in different parts of the country as fancy strikes you, yet still have your own home!

Oh wait - I don't even have a first house either -

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Old 04-19-2006, 10:06 AM   #14
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Re: Own two houses?

We have never owned two houses at one time but I know lots of people who do/have done.* Most tend not to do it long term as it takes a lot of money and time.*

Friends of ours have a place in Colorado and here in TX.* Both 4000 sq ft, nice houses.* They divide their time (flying) between the two places and entertain family and friends in CO a lot.* It takes a huge amount of personal energy and time to do well - it is not a relaxing lifestyle IMO.* It is also costly in terms of extra vehicles (they have a car each in both places) and household/yard help to say nothing of the double property taxes, utilities etc.*

I believe it's a lifestyle decision as well as a financial one, same as RVing.* There are definite benefits, but don't underestimate the costs.*
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:12 AM   #15
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Re: Own two houses?

I am sometimes tempted, but I really don't have the time given work, kids, etc. Heck, I can hardly keep up with the maintenance on one house, let alone two. The RV thing is even more tempting, but again I am constrained by lack oftime.
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:18 AM   #16
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Re: Own two houses?

We had 2 homes 3000 miles apart. *We were fortunate that one of our sons lived near one of them so could keep an eye on things when we weren't there and take care of yard maintenance, etc. *It was nice to have a place to stay when we visited them but it was costly for the few weeks a year that we travelled there. So after a couple of years, we moved to son's location permanently. We love the area and the weather so it was a good move for us. We sold the other home.

Now that son lives 2000 miles away from where we live now, so it is a good thing that we did not make plans based on him being here. *Our other son lives 2900 miles away! *It is much cheaper to just fly to visit them a couple of times a year. *We are retired, so have the time and the money to do it this way.

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Old 04-19-2006, 10:26 AM   #17
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Re: Own two houses?

i would hold off on downsizing a homesteaded florida residence until the legislature makes the "save our homes" tax rate at least partially portable.

even if i downsized by half (if i could even find that in this area) my taxes would increase almost 6 x's.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:45 AM   #18
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Re: Own two houses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by macdaddy
When you retire, have you thought about doing locums at all? I don't know what the opportunities are like for internists. If you combined a second/vacation/family home where your kids live with a 1-2 month per year laid-back/no call/supervisory locums rotation then that could work out nicely. It would make most expenses incurred while you were there tax deductible. It would also allow you to keep up your clinical skills.
That's a good point - not sure whether I'd look for work while visiting. I guess if there was something part time and I was going to be there long enough it may work out.

I like the idea of a short term "executive" house rental rather than an extended stay hotel. The latter have lots of amenitiies (breakfast, cocktails, pool, housekeeping) but are very expensive. A house might be a better choice.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #19
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Re: Own two houses?

I have a second home in Arizona. It is a 1600 sq ft 2 bedroom. I would love to be able to keep it during my retirement and spend six months in the winter there, but costs of maintaining it are getting really high. My taxes just went from $1650 to over $3,000 (recent re-appraisal of property) Homeowner fees $140 a month, gardner $60 month, utilities, insurance. telephone, tv. Right now I rent it out to winter visitors 2 to 3 months a year to off set some of my expenses of about $8,000 a year, but without renting it out, I don't think I can handle the expense when retired. Hate to give it up though. I really like it.

Today, with real estate values at their peak values, keeping a second home is truly a luxury. Nice if you can do it. My opinion anyway.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:45 PM   #20
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Re: Own two houses?

If you are in the market for a second home, here's an interesting one.
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