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Old 01-20-2011, 09:50 PM   #21
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My wife and I have given thought to the 2nd home possibility for some time now, especially since I retired last September. After much consideration we’ve decided to try a long term rental for a home we intend to use perhaps four (or a bit more) months a year. We live on Cape Cod in a paid off home in a very pleasant and desirable area. May through November is wonderful. Winter isn’t. So, our goal is to get away to a nice warm spot during the cold months of the year. After much looking we found an area south of Tucson that is quite nice (Green Valley). Winter rentals are around $2,500 dollars a month (for a home that would cost around $250,000~$300,000 to buy). We found that we can rent an unfurnished place there for around $1,000~$1,200 dollars a month for a similar place. Very small difference in total cost. No ownership headaches (maintenance, taxes, etc.). If we find renting is not for us we can then look to buying a place. Just seems like a prudent thing to do.


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Old 01-21-2011, 09:16 AM   #22
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Sounds like a good plan Rich. We may rent a place in Scottsdale for a month or two next year. A really nice condo or gated community house with pool. Thinking maybe March or April. When we go there now we usually stay at the Phoenician which is quite expensive, although much less now than in 2007.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:34 PM   #23
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I'll muse aloud on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Posters here such as Michael are gently persuading me that a condo in Florida might suit DW and me better than a SFH. It will need to be a comfortable condo, as we will be sleeping in it, once we retire, 183+ nights per year. . . .

I'm wondering whether central Florida (Orlando and environs) have significantly lower hurricane insurance, flood insurance and maintenance costs than the Tampa Bay area or down Sarasota way, being remote from salt air (and, most of the time, salt water). Does anyone know?

The main drawback with Orlando, as I see it, is that it's overwhelmingly a suburban venue, hence not a "high-rise condo" place. (I know there are exceptions, but they are only that -- exceptions.) This is far from a drawback for SFH dwellers, but again I'm thinking that it's probably a condo we will want to buy.

This combination of factors will drive us, I think, to a condo on the Gulf. The adult children in Winter Park and Windermere might just have to get in their cars to come visit us there for weekend relaxation (theirs). (I'll be relaxing EVERY day.)

Maybe renting one place for one winter, then another for another winter, while "commuting" to work "during the week" in Chicago, is the answer. "Try before you buy," right? Seems like January and February would be the best two months for such an experiment, starting in 2011. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:02 PM   #24
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Maybe renting one place for one winter, then another for another winter, while "commuting" to work "during the week" in Chicago, is the answer. "Try before you buy," right? Seems like January and February would be the best two months for such an experiment, starting in 2011. Any thoughts?
That is a great idea. Airfares are inexpensive enough that you can enjoy every weekend in the sun, while DW stays in FL for 2 months. And you can live in your own house during the week.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:13 PM   #25
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Maybe renting one place for one winter, then another for another winter, while "commuting" to work "during the week" in Chicago, is the answer. "Try before you buy," right? Seems like January and February would be the best two months for such an experiment, starting in 2011. Any thoughts?

Starting in 2011? If you are looking at Orlando area perhaps check out timeshares or sites like vrbo.com for weekly rentals. Some reasonable deals out there for weekly rentals or extended stays especially if u r trying to scout areas out this and next month. If you think timeshares is of PM me as I can give additional input. p.s. rent only from owners, never buy from the developers.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:56 AM   #26
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Condo, townhome and SFH are personal lifestyle choices. I'm not trying to influence the choice , just highlighting aspects (for non-resident owners) that aren't obvious. Florida has many good options and the idea of renting makes a lot of sense. The real estate markets here are not rebounding any time soon and getting to know the geography helps. It also makes it much easier to find the right community and HOA.

One unexpected aspect of our choice - we have had more houseguests and visitors in Florida than anywhere else by a large margin. We enjoy the visits and fortunately have a place that accommodates guests, but that was not part of our decision criteria and could have ended poorly.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:43 PM   #27
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Why not just rent where you want to go and enjoy life? Why make things so complicated? Wouldn't it be better to take advantage of all the people who rent out their places to make the economics make any kind of sense at all? Do you really want to go off to just one place year after year?

Just some thoughts and feeling a bit contrary . Not saying it's wrong to get a second home but one nice one is plenty for me.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:02 PM   #28
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Condo, townhome and SFH are personal lifestyle choices. I'm not trying to influence the choice , just highlighting aspects (for non-resident owners) that aren't obvious. Florida has many good options and the idea of renting makes a lot of sense. The real estate markets here are not rebounding any time soon and getting to know the geography helps. It also makes it much easier to find the right community and HOA.

One unexpected aspect of our choice - we have had more houseguests and visitors in Florida than anywhere else by a large margin. We enjoy the visits and fortunately have a place that accommodates guests, but that was not part of our decision criteria and could have ended poorly.
Another thoughtful post, Michael. DW and I have decided that we will try this staring in 2012 (my earlier "2011" mention was a typo). Five weeks or so the first year, six the next, seven the next, then it will be time to buy, and the following winter we will be age 59, so. . . . retirement will loom.

We figure DW can drive down and set up housekeeping in the rental and that I can "visit" on weekends -- maybe take a week or two "in the middle" for vacation or working out of the residence or (if need be) a nearby office. And we think it likely that adult children will decide to visit, so DW won't be lonely.

I like the idea of being very close to a major airport, so as to minimize my "commute." Two early candidates for this experiment are Harbour Island in Tampa and Lake Nona adjoining Orlando International. Would we need to be so "close" when actually retired? Probably not, but these look like good staging areas for exploration to me, and each has features that appeal to us (apart from location).

I must say that I am "annoyed at myself" for keeping what amounts to a three-bedroom house in storage while this is sorted out. One lobe of my brain is tempted to buy a residence in Florida simply to put all our extra stuff there. But then I do the math and realize that it's a dumb idea. Still, paying $3K a year to store furnishings worth maybe $30K is not a terrific long-term proposition.

I'm happy to have found a board -- this one -- where a lot of experienced people share their learning so freely. Feedback on my evolving plan certainly would be very welcome.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:13 PM   #29
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Why not just rent where you want to go and enjoy life? Why make things so complicated? Wouldn't it be better to take advantage of all the people who rent out their places to make the economics make any kind of sense at all? Do you really want to go off to just one place year after year?
We will definitely rent to start, as indicated in my last post.

A problem we have that is perhaps unusual is that we have a lot of "stuff" that needs to go somewhere. This is stuff that formerly occupied a house in the suburbs and currently occupies a storage unit. It's really good stuff, too -- not the sort that we care to give away, sell, or whatnot.

And, yes, we do like the idea of going to the same place again and again, where we can be with our stuff and visit our friends in the neighborhood.

A "simple living" maven would say, "Just sell your stuff, Loop Lawyer. Or give it away." We think about this but are disinclined to comply. Currently we have an apartment and a house. We used to have two houses. There exist two-house (and even three-house or four-house) people, and I'm thinking that that's what we are.

Of course, YMMV!
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:42 PM   #30
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I "rented" my furniture to a realtor to stage his listed home(s) in Minneapolis when I first moved from Chicago. We rented an apt for just over a year as we didn't know how long we were staying. It saved a bit and recovered the cost of relocating the furniture.

The realtor I was using to find a place connected me to a realtor that did this.

Just an idea. YMMV

It also depends on if you are open to some one using your furniture.
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A problem we have that is perhaps unusual is that we have a lot of "stuff" that needs to go somewhere. This is stuff that formerly occupied a house in the suburbs and currently occupies a storage unit. It's really good stuff, too -- not the sort that we care to give away, sell, or whatnot.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:26 PM   #31
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We will definitely rent to start, as indicated in my last post.

A problem we have that is perhaps unusual is that we have a lot of "stuff" that needs to go somewhere. This is stuff that formerly occupied a house in the suburbs and currently occupies a storage unit. It's really good stuff, too -- not the sort that we care to give away, sell, or whatnot.

And, yes, we do like the idea of going to the same place again and again, where we can be with our stuff and visit our friends in the neighborhood.
Stuff. The anchor that weighs us all down. We kept our stuff in storage for 4 years. DW wanted to take it out when we rented but I thought differently. We got by with a few inexpensive furnishings that we then gave to the kids. I had no intention of moving the stuff around multiple times while we decided what we were going to do.

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A "simple living" maven would say, "Just sell your stuff, Loop Lawyer. Or give it away." We think about this but are disinclined to comply. Currently we have an apartment and a house. We used to have two houses. There exist two-house (and even three-house or four-house) people, and I'm thinking that that's what we are.
Some folks confuse second homes with vacation properties. Not the same. Second homes are more like - hey, let's go to Chicago next week, and stay 'till we get bored. At least through Ravinia. And when you get there, you're home, and your stuff is there. And then it gets cold and the Cubs drop out of contention so you say, hey - hurricane season is over, let's go to Florida and get some sun, and when you get there, you're also home. Not LBYM, but a lifestyle that attracts some. Much different than renting a vacation home for a month or two. Not judging, just explaining.

Another aspect of 2 location lifestyles - it is more challenging to build and maintain a social circle and active relationships. Harder to keep the one you have and harder to build a new one where you move to. It is less difficult, though, if done where there are other part-year residents. Forums help too.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:51 PM   #32
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You people that are looking at Florida for renting or buying have some great opportunities down here. House prices continue to fall. You can buy 3/2 or 4/2.5 homes for probably $150,000 to maybe $200,000. They might even be less in the Port St. Lucie area or in SW Florida. Condo prices in SoFl, according to the paper, are starting to pick up a bit, but are still available for $100 sf or less.

The traffic in and around Orlando is horrible.

Loop, you will find more midwesterners on the west coast and more north easterners on the east coast of Florida.

I'm from here, but if I were looking, I would look at one of the beach areas that aren't so popular. Melbourne/Indialantic/Satellite Beach are very laid back and very cheap compared to other areas. Port Salerno is pretty reasonable.

We've been doing what Loop suggests. I was in the NC house about 5 weeks last year and my wife was there closer to 7 weeks. This year, I will probably be there 5 or 6 weeks and she might be there a few weeks more. Next year, I'm hoping to cut way back on work and spend about half the time from early May to late October up there. We just have to see how it goes.

The financial part hasn't been an issue. We had some extra inherited money that wasn't part of the long term retirement plan and we converted it to a second home with no mortgage. It costs peanuts to maintain because it is new and we like going up there and working around the house and property. Someday it may get old, but for now, we are enjoying it!
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