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"Lock and Leave" Apartments - What and Where?
Old 06-30-2021, 11:01 AM   #1
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"Lock and Leave" Apartments - What and Where?

Hi,

I keep on seeing people use this term. Can someone please define it and give examples?

I have to admit, the idea of living in an apartment again is not something I even think about. I love being around people but having to cope with people's noise, smells, habits, peculiarities etc is just too much for me.

But maybe the benefits outweigh the issues I raised above?
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Old 06-30-2021, 11:19 AM   #2
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I have to admit, the idea of living in an apartment again is not something I even think about. I love being around people but having to cope with people's noise, smells, habits, peculiarities etc is just too much for me.
I must agree. My family never owned a home growing up, so we lived in many apartments. Never again! If finances dictated such a move in old age, I’d rather live in a mobile home park than share walls (never mind ceilings!) with others.
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Old 06-30-2021, 11:23 AM   #3
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I must agree. My family never owned a home growing up, so we lived in many apartments. Never again! If finances dictated such a move in old age, I’d rather live in a mobile home park than share walls (never mind ceilings!) with others.
Right, but I think it means an apartment you use for only a few months of the year while you are not traveling.
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Old 06-30-2021, 11:27 AM   #4
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Right, but I think it means an apartment you use for only a few months of the year while you are not traveling.
Not necessarily. It could also mean an apartment you use for 9-10 months of the year, but doesn’t require maintenance if you decide to travel for weeks or months at a time.

Doesn’t seem cost-effective to pay rent for a place that you’d only be occupying for a few months a year.
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:42 PM   #5
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I view our winter condo as lock and leave. While we do more than we really need to, in a pinch we could clean out the fridge of perishables, turn off the water, lock the door and arm the security system and be gone for months.

One could do the same thing with an apartment... in fact I have a friend who snowbirds who plans to do just that... rent an apartment year-round where she plans to be for the summer... then lock and leave it for the winter while she enjoys her condo in Florida. She no longer has need for the big house.
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Old 06-30-2021, 01:06 PM   #6
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We are looking at lock-and-leave condo situation when we get our kids launched and sell our house.

House requires maintenance: especially yard maintenance. We are looking at leaving that behind at some point.

Condo will be lock and go - literally just empty the fridge, *maybe* turn off main water valve to unit. Turn off the lights. Lock the door and leave.

Alan - one of the admins here described it well before he moved back to England. They had an apartment in Texas that allowed them to travel extensively and not worry about the home while they were gone. I think his description of this (probably 5 years ago) was what put the concept on my radar.

I guess you could hire people to take care of all the maintenance for you at a SFR... but that presents it's own problems. (What if they quit while you are away? Do all your plants die?)
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Old 06-30-2021, 01:08 PM   #7
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I consider "lock and leave" anyplace you can relatively immediately pick up and leave without having to worry about things. For example, I live in a midrise condo building. If I got called out of town tomorrow, all my outstanding deliveries get delivered to the front desk where they are held until I return. Therefore, no packages sit on the porch. There is no yard maintenance to worry about, no flowers to water, etc. The unit is secure as nobody can get to my floor without the front desk letting them up which they only do by calling me when visitors arrive. Cars are safe in an underground locked garage.

As far as neighbors and noise our building is solid concrete floors/ceilings and thick insulated walls. I never hear anyone.
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Old 06-30-2021, 01:46 PM   #8
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Being able to come and go with peace of mind is definitely worth it to me. One of our apartments has shared walls for only about 10 feet on one side. The ceiling/floors are pretty thick but the shared wall is thin. Our other apartment (now a rental) only had a shared door on the hallway. You can find apartments or townhomes (in gated communities) that offer similar security and fewer shared walls. There is a service about a block away that will scan through mail, accept packages, check on a car, do an inspection, etc It will also air out the place and stock the fridge for your arrival.
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:01 PM   #9
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Being able to come and go with peace of mind is definitely worth it to me. One of our apartments has shared walls for only about 10 feet on one side. The ceiling/floors are pretty thick but the shared wall is thin. Our other apartment (now a rental) only had a shared door on the hallway. You can find apartments or townhomes (in gated communities) that offer similar security and fewer shared walls. There is a service about a block away that will scan through mail, accept packages, check on a car, do an inspection, etc It will also air out the place and stock the fridge for your arrival.
Do people really allow strangers to access their residence while they’re away? What about private papers/valuables, etc?
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:51 PM   #10
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Condos can be single units, 2, 4 etc.

When I think "lock n go" I think: no yard to mow, no snow to shovel, no landscaping to maintain. Not a target for people looking for snow birder homes to pillage.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:40 PM   #11
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We had a snowbird condo in Arizona. It was a townhome in a 6 unit building in a 30 building gated development. Everything outside of our interior walls was maintained by the HOA. We had no outside maintenance.

We showed up in January and locked and left in April. We did have a service come once a month when we weren't there to check on the place.
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Old 07-01-2021, 01:40 AM   #12
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It worked great for us when we first retired. The complex we rented in consisted of many 2 Storey blocks each containing 6 apartments, all with their front door at street level. We had an apartment on the top floor, with a double garage next to the front door, access to the apartment from either the front door or rear of the garage. The complex had a good gym, swimming pool, recreation area, lake and walking paths.

Every summer we got out of Texas for several months at a time. Just let the front office know and they kept an eye on the place for us. We had a webcam at the top of the stairs looking down at the entry ways and our son would come round periodically to check the mail and take the car for a run.
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Old 07-09-2021, 10:33 AM   #13
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Not necessarily. It could also mean an apartment you use for 9-10 months of the year, but doesn’t require maintenance if you decide to travel for weeks or months at a time.

Doesn’t seem cost-effective to pay rent for a place that you’d only be occupying for a few months a year.
We rent our "apartment" year round though we stay for 3 to 4 months per year. It's "in the family" (we call it the homestead). Family looks after it while we're gone. It's relatively inexpensive. The trade off is it has become "dated" and a bit dilapidated over time. We used to live there full time and had it fixed up just the way we wanted it. Now, wallpaper is beginning to peel off. Appliances are ancient (but functional). It's NOT an ideal location. It has too few windows for DW! So, it's a compromise.

We DID compare the rent to what it would cost to stay in (for instance) an INN SUITES or similar temporary place. Our rent is a bargain by comparison. Also, we get to leave "stuff" and furniture, etc. so it's ready to go as soon as we arrive. A friend takes care of our car. Family makes certain pipes don't freeze. It works for us but it's sort of a rare situation to have family so involved. I doubt it would be easy to find anything similar on the open market. YMMV
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Old 07-09-2021, 11:29 AM   #14
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My lake cabin in east Texas is like that. Paid for outright, no taxes, thank you VA! I bought it when I got back from Iraq in 2006. Moved in with the significant other in 2007, broke up in early 2019, moved back to my house.
I can leave for 20-40 days at a time. My mail goes to the post office box. It’s behind a gate, 5 houses are on the road to my side of the lake, 1 full time person (my buddy below) and 4 part timers(newest ones have owned there for 10 years) so all the cars are known.
I generally keep the refrigerator stocked with dry staples, and go to the grocery store on the way back from the airport.
A good retired friend drives by daily on his way to his cabin and keeps an eye out on it.
The only issue is I have to run the shower to Empty the water heater, as the country water reacts with the anodes in the heater element if they sit more than a week or two.
So I get home turn on the air conditioner and start the shower, and go to the grocery store
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Old 07-09-2021, 02:14 PM   #15
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We bought our "at-some-point" retirement home out of state in 2014. It was a large penthouse condo in which we locked up and go. We spent no more than total of 3 months per year, spread over 3 to 4 trips. The building is all concrete and steel and extremely quiet. It is also all electric and no gas. Our HOA president and our good friends had keys to our home to check on it periodically and also for yearly sprinkler and fire alarm drills. Our friends would flush our toilets every month to ensure they did not run dry as bugs could come up the drain pipes.

Even after we moved here when we retired, we continued with lock and go because we travelled extensively. Finally late last year, we wanted to move back into a single family home and we sold the condo. It was snapped up by a couple from California who would be spending about half a year here.
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