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Winter long distance condo - purchase or rent?
Old 09-21-2020, 09:49 AM   #1
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Winter long distance condo - purchase or rent?

I'm looking for opinions from this incredible group of smart and common sense people.

I want to spend January through March in Austin, Texas. I will soon have a grandchild there and want to spend time with her as she grows up. I am not ready to permanently leave my current home in Illinois.

In 2021 I will spend January through May in Texas for baby-sitting. I haven't committed to full-time babysitting past the Covid-19 situation. One parent is a teacher, so leaving in May is set and I don't want to live there in the summer.

Choice 1: A short-term rental is looking to be about $1,600 per month for the area I want. I'll have to bring or come up with some basics (bed, couch, kitchen wares, etc.). I'll have to come-up with furnishings each winter. A furnished place might be available, but not easy to find in this area.

Choice 2: A small 1970's condo goes for about $175k, with monthly expenses of roughly $420. This can be an all-cash purchase. Once furnished, I won't have to worry about it in future years.

Choice 3: A small newer (>2017) condo goes for about $325k or more, with monthly expenses of roughly $700. This can be an all-cash purchase. Once furnished, I won't have to worry about it in future years.


I have cash flow to cover the extra expenses, which will include snow removal and other absentee homeowner expenses in Illinois.

I have some cash available and I could liquidate some equities for a cash real estate purchase or I could finance.

Thanks for helping me churn these or other options over in my mind.
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:52 AM   #2
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Also consider extended stay hotels, which are of course furnished. After 30 days you don't pay tax on the rental.
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:55 AM   #3
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Bless you for helping your family and caring for your DGkids. It is wonderful, but can be exhausting (at least I am worn out after a day caring for mine).
How permanent is the kids life in Texas? Any chance of them moving sometime in the future?
I would vote for renting for now, until you get a feel for the whole situation.
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:58 AM   #4
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I would rent for a while to make sure Austin is what you want before purchasing anything. If you have some possessions to store you can either rent a storage unit or leave them at your son's or daughter's place.

Is there a reason that you are not staying with them since you will be babysitting for them?
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:09 AM   #5
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I would rent in 2021 for a few reasons.

Mainly that this situation may change a lot after 2021 for a number of reasons (parents move, other grandparent wants involvement, babysitter only available yearly, turns out not needed much, etc) and you don't want to be stuck with a condo bought quickly.

After living there for months in 2021, it will give OP a deep feeling for the area(s) and allow a better (best) choice in condo or even deciding not to purchase but do short rentals at different times in succeeding years, allowing interaction spread over the year.

Liquidating securities will invoke a higher than normal taxation, so this should be considered as part of the cost of the action.
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:44 AM   #6
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Rent. Rent a furnished apt or condo if possible.
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:59 AM   #7
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Pay the extra to rent a furnished place. There are agencies that will furnish for you.

(Given the uncertainty, rental wins hands down.)
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:01 AM   #8
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I would rent this upcoming season, and use the time to look around the area and view a few of the potential condos for next year +

You could ikea-furnish the place to be "good enough" for this year, and then move those items to your new perma-condo before you leave in May. Or if you change your mind and don't find anywhere, then donate them.
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:37 AM   #9
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Rent, and you can also rent the furniture you need.
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:55 AM   #10
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I would rent at least one year. Research the area in detail, evaluate your personal situation again, and if you find that you would favor a purchase over rental next year or after, then pull the trigger and buy a place.
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:59 AM   #11
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Also consider extended stay hotels, which are of course furnished. After 30 days you don't pay tax on the rental.
Seams very reasonable to me, considering full kitchen, maid, breakfast all utilities paid locations multiple to pick in Austin;
Extended Stay America
Austin - Northwest/Arboretum
10100 N. Capital of Texas Hwy.
Austin, TX 78759
+1-512-231-1520

check-in: 10/5/2020
check-out: 3/31/2021
rooms: 1
adults: 1 children: 0
room: Studio Suite
type: 1 Queen Bed
preference: non smoking
rate plan: extended plus program


DATE RANGE:
10/5/2020 - 3/31/2021
ROOMS NIGHTS RATE TOTAL
1 177 $42.00 $7434.00

*estimated taxes:$1263.78


GRAND TOTAL: $8697.78
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Old 09-21-2020, 02:51 PM   #12
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Our plan is...

Part of year near sunny beach, (HER)
Past of year near snowy mountains, (HIM)
Part of year bouncing back to "mother ship" (BOTH) for family style events...(and/or inviting fam to sunny beach, or snowy mountains for special occasions).

Seems like the life to me. Only problem is not enough dough lol. It's just a time variable for us... 129 more months of w*rk.

I invite you to find your best plan...the above might change in those 129 months in front of us, who knows...in between we will raise kids.
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unfurnished rental option
Old 09-21-2020, 02:53 PM   #13
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unfurnished rental option

We are Canadians who were thinking about doing something similar in the winter in Myrells Inlet, SC. My thought was that we could do a 6 month rental in a new unfurnished apartment for I think $1000/month. Furnished rentals in season would cost the same 6K for 3 months. We considered doing the 6 mth rental and furnishing with Craigslist stuff. Covid has kind of squashed that plan for now, maybe some day.
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Old 09-21-2020, 02:58 PM   #14
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You have my sympathy for planning to help with babysitting of your granddaughter. I did same thing for my grandsons but not full time lately, they live 20min from us. In regard to your question, I would check the average Real Estate prices over the past decade. If you have growth of prices, then it is an investment opportunity. On the other hand if the prices are stagnant, you better rent or use a Hotel room, whatever has better appeal to you.
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Old 09-21-2020, 03:02 PM   #15
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Check AirBNB. I have done this in the past when I wanted to rent for several months--I find a place I like and then contact the owner to see what kind of discount I can get. Sometimes you can get up to a 75% discount on an AirBnB rental which makes it affordable. The Airbnb rental will be fully furnished.
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Old 09-21-2020, 03:32 PM   #16
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Check AirBNB. I have done this in the past when I wanted to rent for several months--I find a place I like and then contact the owner to see what kind of discount I can get. Sometimes you can get up to a 75% discount on an AirBnB rental which makes it affordable. The Airbnb rental will be fully furnished.
Or even do a few AirBnB's in different areas of Austin, back to back month-longs. Sure you'll have to pack your stuff every month, but like Harllee mentions these will all be furnished, and most landlords should cut you a break for a longer stay.

That way you can really get the feel of different neighborhoods - what's traffic like, which one is close to a walkable market, or convenient for the best parks, etc.

You could make this first long-visit into a lot of fun if you treat it like an exploration as well as the family visit thing.
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Old 09-21-2020, 05:55 PM   #17
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Or even do a few AirBnB's in different areas of Austin, back to back month-longs. Sure you'll have to pack your stuff every month, but like Harllee mentions these will all be furnished, and most landlords should cut you a break for a longer stay.



That way you can really get the feel of different neighborhoods - what's traffic like, which one is close to a walkable market, or convenient for the best parks, etc.



You could make this first long-visit into a lot of fun if you treat it like an exploration as well as the family visit thing.

We’re talking Austin here. No need to test traffic. It’s bad EVERYWHERE. Otherwise, I agree.
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:12 PM   #18
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We downsized, sold our house, and travelled for seven months.

We thought we knew where in the city (12 year residents) we wanted to buy and what type of property we wanted to buy.

Travel plus a three month furnished rental when we came back made us realize that our original plans would not fly. Four years in a rental condo confirmed it again.

Ended up buying in a different area, different property than we had envisioned. So glad we decided to delay our purchase.


Take your time. Rent for the first two seasons. Get a handle on what you want, where you want to be, and the market in general. Don't rush into anything. Keep your powder dry!
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Winter long distance condo - purchase or rent?
Old 09-21-2020, 06:26 PM   #19
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Winter long distance condo - purchase or rent?

Doribe - Are you living my life? My Dh and I are planning almost the exact same thing! Our first grandchild will be born in Austin in January. We live in Michigan and want to be able to visit frequently (and in our own bubble) but aren’t ready to commit to a permanent residence. We are considering “Landings “ - Beautiful apartments, fully furnished, available by the month.
Anyone else on here have experience with them?
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:29 PM   #20
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Also consider extended stay hotels, which are of course furnished. After 30 days you don't pay tax on the rental.
If you go this route, consider getting a loyalty account number and maybe a co-branded credit card and earn some points for your stays.

Austin’s not cheap.
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