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Snowbirds on the forum? Splitting time between cities?
Old 07-30-2013, 12:29 AM   #1
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Snowbirds on the forum? Splitting time between cities?

Was wondering if there are any snowbirds on this forum?

Ideally in retirement I'd like to split my time between three cities- San Diego in the summer, San Francisco in the fall, and Phoenix/Scottsdale in the winter. My primary residence would be in Phoenix/Scottsdale but I'd want to rent an apartment or condo in both cities for a period of 3 or 4 months each the rest of the year. Feasible? Has anyone switched between multiple cities in retirement? Expense wise how much would something like this cost?
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:48 AM   #2
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Was wondering if there are any snowbirds on this forum?

Ideally in retirement I'd like to split my time between three cities- San Diego in the summer, San Francisco in the fall, and Phoenix/Scottsdale in the winter. My primary residence would be in Phoenix/Scottsdale but I'd want to rent an apartment or condo in both cities for a period of 3 or 4 months each the rest of the year. Feasible? Has anyone switched between multiple cities in retirement? Expense wise how much would something like this cost?
We've been snowbirds this last 4 years but have not been fixed on which cities to live in, apart from our primary home in Texas where we leave for the summer months (5 - 7 months). Usually we don't rent a place longer than a month but in 2011 we did rent a place in England for 7 months.

We plan on doing the summer nomad thing for another couple of years (next year, "down under") but then settle down and rent an unfurnished place in England year round but only spend the summers there.

As to expenses you'll have to do your own homework on this.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:10 AM   #3
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DW and I have thought about it but, if we were to snowbird it, we would like a place on or close walking distance to the beach, with lots of restaurants and good bike riding. Seasonal rentals in such areas tend to be very pricey.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:28 AM   #4
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We've been bouncing between suburban Chicago (house) and Scottsdale (condo) since 2002. We have yet to stay in Az longer than 2 weeks at a time due to DW's work. That will change soon.

Your plan sounds feasible to me. I cant address expenses in San Diego or San Francisco, but our condo ownership/utilities in Scottsdale is running about 7k a year.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:52 AM   #5
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DW and I have thought about it but, if we were to snowbird it, we would like a place on or close walking distance to the beach, with lots of restaurants and good bike riding. Seasonal rentals in such areas tend to be very pricey.
Sounds like home. Winter is nice but we look for places a little cooler in the summer like Maine or Nova Scotia.

Cheers!
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:53 AM   #6
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Snow birding is our plan. We have place in Wisconsin and Florida all set to go.

Anyone know any good snow birding forums? We have a ton of questions.

- What tare the requirements for residency? We would like fl. but will only be there 4 months out of the year.

- How does this effect where you buy heal;th insurance (I will have to buy for 5 years)

- How do you handle mail?

- Do you have a house sitter for both places?

- I there an issue with insuring an empty house? (we have heard opinions both ways.............................
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:11 AM   #7
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I used to spend summer and winter at my main residence, and fall and spring at another place. I rented for awhile, and hated apartment life so much that I bought a small house, knowing I'd be doing this for another 5 years at the time. Plus my kid stayed with me part of the time so I liked a bit more stability.

For 3-4 month rentals you probably are looking at corporate housing or extended stay hotels, which I imagine is more expensive than a regular leased apartment. If you wanted to go cheap you could probably search the want ads and craigslist for someone renting out rooms. I personally wouldn't want to go through that every few months.

You can't really expect anyone to tell you what this costs when you don't give any indication of whether you are looking for a flophouse or a penthouse or where in between, plus you can do your own searching.

The kind of extra expenses you might face are application fees, deposits that you might not get back, any start-up charges utilities may charge, and off-season storage if you can't or don't want to haul everything in your car. Or if you decide to rent or own places year around, you'll pay for utilities and insurance. You'd also have to worry more about break-ins, because it can be obvious that you're away for some time. I always had a neighbor pick up any flyers left on my door.

Mail forwarding was a bit of a pain. It should have been easy enough but for some reason it didn't always go smoothly. I also found it tough to get settled in at my primary residence. I started doing this as soon as I moved in there so it was years before I got fully unpacked and got everything done like hanging blinds, pictures, etc. Social life wasn't easy either, because you can't expect people to keep track of your schedule so you just don't get included in things.

Other than that it was pretty fun to change things up every few months and be in a place during prime season.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:55 AM   #8
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Six months Colorado, six month Arizona. Splitting three different cities would be doable although it is not something that I have considered. If/when we tire of one of our two places we just go on vacation for a couple of weeks.

I'm sure you could find places furnished to rent for three months at a stretch on sites like Homeaway.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:27 AM   #9
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DW and I been doing it for 3 years now. We have a house at each place.

It is just too expensive with having a duplicate of everything - including car. Service Utilities are running at both places even if we are not there. Travels between the 2 places are expensive - at least 4 times a year.

Then, you have to worry about somebody breaking in the house if you are not there.

And while you are on one house, you are planning your next trip- scheduling airlines, airport transfers, what to bring and what maintenance you have to do.

If it is just up to me, and I have to do it all over again, I wouldn't.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:55 AM   #10
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Six months Colorado, six month Arizona. Splitting three different cities would be doable although it is not something that I have considered. If/when we tire of one of our two places we just go on vacation for a couple of weeks.

I'm sure you could find places furnished to rent for three months at a stretch on sites like Homeaway.
Nice website. I have always said I would like to spend in month in a cooler climate during August. Too busy this year but hope to do so next summer. Perhaps in Colorado.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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My wife and I were faced with the same conundrum and decided to go the RV route. We have a motorhome that comfortably takes us anywhere we want to go and then offers us the comforts of home. With four slideouts we have abundant room and we carry all our needs. We tow our car behind us so we have that to use when we reach our destination. We can change locations easily, stay as long as we like, and move about if weather, neighbors, etc., get on our nerves. RV parks are abundant and RV'ers in general are a friendly, helpful bunch. We really like the independence it gives us.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jack_Pine View Post
Snow birding is our plan. We have place in Wisconsin and Florida all set to go.

Anyone know any good snow birding forums? We have a ton of questions.

- What tare the requirements for residency? We would like fl. but will only be there 4 months out of the year.

- How does this effect where you buy heal;th insurance (I will have to buy for 5 years)

- How do you handle mail?

- Do you have a house sitter for both places?

- I there an issue with insuring an empty house? (we have heard opinions both ways.............................
Residency requirements vary by state. How much time you spend in each state, where you vote, where your cars are titled, mail received, billing addresses, etc.

I would buy healthcare in whatever state you consider yourself to be a resident of.

We have our mail forwarded by USPS and it works pretty well. We change all magazine subscriptions addresses as USPS usually won't forward. We get most bills electronically which really cuts down on forwarded mail. There are also mail forwarding services that you can use.

House sitter in one place. Other is in gated community and we have landscapers, pool guy, bug guy that keep an eye on it. Both have alarm systems.

No issue with insuring a second home that I am aware of. Use the same company as other home although had to buy it from an agent in city of second home.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #13
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DW and I been doing it for 3 years now. We have a house at each place.

It is just too expensive with having a duplicate of everything - including car. Service Utilities are running at both places even if we are not there. Travels between the 2 places are expensive - at least 4 times a year.

Then, you have to worry about somebody breaking in the house if you are not there.

And while you are on one house, you are planning your next trip- scheduling airlines, airport transfers, what to bring and what maintenance you have to do.

If it is just up to me, and I have to do it all over again, I wouldn't.
KingB lists many of the reasons folks like Bob Adams (and us) choose to go the RV route. We aren't exactly snowbirds, more the reverse as we usually spend a month or so in the mountains of NM and/or CO in the summer. We'll be heading out in about three weeks to do just that...
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:24 AM   #14
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Residency requirements vary by state. How much time you spend in each state, where you vote, where your cars are titled, mail received, billing addresses, etc.

I would buy healthcare in whatever state you consider yourself to be a resident of.

We have our mail forwarded by USPS and it works pretty well. We change all magazine subscriptions addresses as USPS usually won't forward. We get most bills electronically which really cuts down on forwarded mail. There are also mail forwarding services that you can use.

House sitter in one place. Other is in gated community and we have landscapers, pool guy, bug guy that keep an eye on it. Both have alarm systems.

No issue with insuring a second home that I am aware of. Use the same company as other home although had to buy it from an agent in city of second home.
Thanks, our FL place is gated as well. We will have to get house sitter for WI place.

The residency question is the biggest. (a lot of the other decisions will follow that) I would prefer FL but not sure we can do that spending only 4 months there. Will see.

Actually we are going to mix in the RV thing as well. We will sell TT and get a class A. That will allow us to take a week or two to get from house to house with dogs in tow. Also do some camping at each place.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:47 AM   #15
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Florida residency is not really an issue for a retired person. The state does not define minimum requirements, so it takes little more than a local address, drivers license, domicile of financial accounts, voting registration. The bigger challenge can be the other state accepting that one is not a resident.

Back to the original topic, spending time in multiple locations each year is not for the faint of heart, but can be fun. We spend or time between two locations. I like the way Alan does it and can see the advantages of an RV as well. Whatever one chooses, i would strongly suggest testing it for a couple of years before making any financial commitments.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:28 AM   #16
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In 2010 we bought a place in La Quinta Ca and have been spending about 6 there and 6 in Oregon. Thought there would be massive utility savings by spending time only in the temperate seasons in each place, which hasn't really worked - a pool down south means substantial electric bills there year round, we leave gas billing and shut off the valve at the meter so we can have hot water fast whenever we arrive N or S. We shut off the expensive water and winterize N, which is a pain. Have a pool guy S and a yard guy N while we are away.

Changing mail forwarding with USPS is fairly workable, magazines & papers are a problem, as are some bank statements. A big gotcha happened this year: since we are down S during tax time we had requested that a number of places send the annual interest statements to us down south so we could have them in hand for our records and to put together for the tax prep person. State of California decided to put it's hand out to me for resident state taxes for 2010, I think based on those statements being sent to me in California. We now will retrieve all statements online, and show Oregon as our residence, but I look forward to another couple years of beating back the California tax man.

I had fantasies of having duplicates of everything at both places and moving back and forth with a change of socks and toothbrush for the trip; in fact we load the Family Truckster to the swamping point before wallowing N&S.

Did get our house broken into down south while we were away, which was irritating.

Healthcare is a bit of a problem, we have Kaiser Permanente and had to sign up on the California KP plan when issues cropped up down south - the care was there, but the billing is confusing though I've confidence it will get sorted out. Dentists & hygenists N&S, emailing x-rays back and forth.

5-6 days on the road at a minimum driving back and forth with a cat who is None Too Pleased, working out accommodations that suit Hoteliers and Her.

All that said, we enjoy both places and are pleased to be where we are when we are there.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:39 AM   #17
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rv.net has a snowbird forum. While it is for snowbirds who rv, we don't snowbird in an rv and I've found lots on helpful general snowbird information on that forum.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:45 AM   #18
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vrbo.com, as well as homeaway.com, have monthly rentals. Sometimes owners will rent on a monthly basis even if not listed on the site. Don't know about your areas, but where we rent (in the off season) are half or less than 4 weekly rentals. Be sure to negotiate for a good price. If you prefer, check for local rental agencies who manage properties in the area.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:50 AM   #19
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rv.net has a snowbird forum. While it is for snowbirds who rv, we don't snowbird in an rv and I've found lots on helpful general snowbird information on that forum.
Good thought, I belong there and will check it out.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:51 AM   #20
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Once DW retires, the plan is to have a home base (house) in the Southeast US and spend some time every year in Europe (condo) and in San Francisco (rental or condo, TBD). Expenses can vary widely depending on location and the level of luxury you seek in accommodations, so you'll have to do your homework.
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