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Old 11-29-2017, 11:27 AM
 
10,372 posts, read 38,218,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post

It would be interesting to hear from people who decided to buy two cheap homes in different places, separated by about 2-3 hours. Not NY/FL snowbirds, because that's not possible to do on the weekend. How did it work out?
I had two homes separated by a 1.5 hour drive (in good weather) ... front range of Colorado at the foothills and a 2nd home in Vail.

The front range house ... 2400 sq ft, typical Denver area tri-level 4bd/2 + 3/4 ba, oversized two car garage, 1/5 acre lot ... was bought new for $67K. The Vail house ... 2400 sq ft, 6 bd/3ba on a 1/2 acre view site with a live stream in the front yard and backed up against the Nat'l Forest ... $156K. Purchased in 1980 and 1982, respectively. Of course, both worth far more today than when I bought them and I've since moved to my Wyoming ranch/farm ... so the Vail house is now 5 hours drive away.

The Vail house is "duplexed"; ie, the garden level 2bd/1ba has it's own entry and patio areas apart from the main house 4 bd/2ba 1 1/2 story house above the garden level walk-out unit. My original intent was to have the main house rented out and have the exclusive use of the garden level for my weekends in Vail. I spent around 40 weekends per year along with mid-week stays throughout the year up there, especially during ski season with short-term rentals/turnovers on the main house. Cash flow for the first 5 years was not carrying the PITI, but I figured that I was getting lodging in the mountains with access to the seasonal activities there, so I could justify the expense.

What I hadn't figured on was all the repairs/upkeep/maintenance on the 2nd home. As the years went by, it was easier to lease out the lower unit and keep the main house for my use ... now married and with 2 kids and their friends for weekend activities. Still, that was a chore to keep that 2nd home up, clean, and functional. Grounds maintenance, hot tub maintenance, Heating system, kitchen appliances, painting, carpet cleaning ... it all takes ongoing work in the mountain weather environment.

More recently, with other priorities taking up my time, my use of the 2nd home dropped off a lot. I've tried leasing the main residence out long term and staying in Vail in rental houses or condo's when I needed to be there (other investment properties in the area required my time) or for recreation. What I found was that when I want to be in Vail for recreation/downtime ... the convenience of the rentals was freedom to enjoy my limited time in the mountains. Such was the discovery of how much of a burden maintaining that 2nd home really was for us.

I've since found that passive investments are much more liberating, so have sold off most of my RE in the area. Perhaps it's the perspective that as the years go by, I don't want to be maintaining another residence ... no matter how charming or how much the "pride of ownership" plays a factor. I simply want to head to the mountains when I can, relax, enjoy, and not feel pressured by the "get the repairs done before it's time to go home" to the ranch which is a constant maintenance and upkeep situation.

Similarly, several good friends in the Denver area had 2nd homes in the Vail or Aspen areas. All of them have sold the SFH's/cabins in that area and moved on to townhomes/condo's which they retain for their exclusive use, not rented out. Yes, the HOA's, housekeeping, maintenance, and management companies come at a cost. But they get to use their places for their recreation/enjoyment rather than working on them every visit.

And for a few others, they rent when they want to be in the area ... with preferred accommodations at several condo's/townhouses secured with little advance notice, they get what they need for a week or two stay on demand. And then they leave without further obligation. For them, it's been a net savings yet they still get to enjoy the mountains when they can get there.

The key factor to having that 2nd home is to realistically assess how much time you'll actually be able to use it for your enjoyment rather than it being a maintenance hog on your discretionary time ... as well as the real costs to have and operate the place. The PITI is only a beginning ... and even for friends who have inherited a mountain cabin not too far from home, the expenses can be staggering; ie, even when you're not using the place in cold weather months, it still has to be kept from freezing or "winterized" which means set up for non-use/systems drained, etc. As well, access to some cabins in the winter can be problematic for folk who aren't there to keep the driveway access cleared or have a plow service in their absence.

For me, the main offset to having kept a 2nd home is the long term appreciation of the asset. Of course, I had no idea at the time I bought it that it would perform this way.

Last edited by sunsprit; 11-29-2017 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:44 PM
 
1,629 posts, read 929,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
$300k is tight if I accepted a job in another area Upstate and the pay is lower. $300k is well within budget if I continue to work downstate. However, I like it less here, living here full-time. That's why I'm wondering if I can have my cake and eat it too. Buy something cheap here, and cheap in the area I want to live, as a weekend getaway where I can fish, hike, kayak, and generally be in a more natural setting.

Renting for the weekend is not feasible. Its way too expensive for the amount of time I want to be there. I'd really like to be out of downstate NY as often as possible, every weekend at a minimum.

I'm even open to working the numbers, say buying $200k nicer condo here and $100k cabin Upstate.

It would be interesting to hear from people who decided to buy two cheap homes in different places, separated by about 2-3 hours. Not NY/FL snowbirds, because that's not possible to do on the weekend. How did it work out?
I would do it. I see no problem with it, and I plan on doing it at some point. It's no different than having two homes in retirement. I kind of wish I had done it now but I probably spent too much on our current home though, as opposed to knocking $100K off the current house, and buying a cheap cabin somewhere. This especially makes sense if you are talking every weekend. Renting that much would be ridiculous and a pain. Maybe you should just rent where you work?
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:16 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
8,603 posts, read 5,928,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
Obviously, I know that this means two roofs and two sets of repair bills. But beyond that, what are the pros and cons? Initially, I was going to buy a house in the Capital Region of NY for $300k and accept a job there. However, my pay would be lower than downstate NY and $300k would be tight.

So, someone advised me to buy 1 small townhouse in downstate NY (most likely Orange or Putnam County, ideally Putnam Valley NY) for $150k, and another get-away home (small, log cabin or A-frame house) in the northern region, 2-3 hours away so I can drive up any weekend and enjoy being in nature.

Any advice on this plan? Anyone currently do this?
We did that in 1990. We bought both sides of a town house; lived in one and rented the other.

Now...... 27 years later, they are both paid for. Since we used 15 year mortgages, they have been generating income for many years, so we moved out in 2002 and now our primary home is paid for, too.

We're retired, and may move back to one of the town houses as a way a scaling back at some time in the future.

The Key:
We took no money out of the townhouses until they were paid for. ZERO! That's important, because unless you have that mindset you will use a 30 year mortgage and that ruins the whole deal. A 30 year mortgage is used to reduce payment so that you have play money today; a 15 year mortgage allows you to pay for the property in reasonable time so that you can become financially independent. And that's what we wanted.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:07 PM
 
10,372 posts, read 38,218,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsteel View Post
I would do it. I see no problem with it, and I plan on doing it at some point. It's no different than having two homes in retirement. I kind of wish I had done it now but I probably spent too much on our current home though, as opposed to knocking $100K off the current house, and buying a cheap cabin somewhere. This especially makes sense if you are talking every weekend. Renting that much would be ridiculous and a pain. Maybe you should just rent where you work?
Where I "work" now is my ranch/farm in Wyoming. The property was bought with no mortgage. We raise sheep, cattle, grow organic vege's in greenhouses, and raise irrigated alfalfa. Along with the ranch/farm equipment and infrastructure, residence ... I have two workshops, an older 40x70 barn and a new 24x36 insulated/heated fully equipped automotive repair facility.

My home office is where I do most of my manufacturer's rep biz ... take-offs, BID proposals, etc ... for industrial products. I used to travel the region extensively in a Class B RV or via my airplane, but have dropped the product lines that required so much cold calling/travel.

My investment real estate properties have long been paid for. NO mortgages, the cash flow is what it is for an above average income by itself.

I'm well past normal retirement age but have no desire to quit working as long as my health remains good enough to do so ... which it currently is. Planning on continuing to fly and ranch for another 20 years ... we'll see how that works out.

So, for my current situation ... renting when I travel to Vail is a better deal for me. Taking the cash out and investing in passive investments beats the heck out of the active real estate investments and time commitments that the houses required.

Curious if you have investigated what the cash requirement would be for a 2nd home mortgage? It may be quite different than your primary residence for down payment and interest rate.

PS: FWIW ... $100K wouldn't cover a down payment on 2nd home properties such as mine in Vail.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:22 PM
Status: "Kimo crack corn. Ainokea." (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Big Island of Hawaii
1,641 posts, read 513,884 times
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If you live in one and rent out the other, it might be a great idea. But having one vacant most of the time could lead to vandalism and theft, even more expense.

My uncle had a cabin in the mountains; someone stole the entire cabin; apparently, they dismantled and hauled it away.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:23 PM
 
4,244 posts, read 7,219,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
I'm even open to working the numbers, say buying $200k nicer condo here and $100k cabin Upstate.
The only person who has to deal with the consequences of this decision is....... you. What is good for someone else, might not be good for you. Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:13 PM
 
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Not an expert, but isn't the interest rate higher on second homes (assuming you'd be getting a mortgage)? If so, you might only be able to do a $150K home and a $125K home or something like that.

How long do you plan on staying in the primary home? More specifically, do you plan on having kids in that house? Don't know the local market but not sure what kind of house/school district you'd get for that $150K.
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Old 11-30-2017, 03:04 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
1,583 posts, read 647,303 times
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In some respects, a home ceases to be an asset if it is too nice that you would never rent it out.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:35 AM
 
1,565 posts, read 1,036,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
Obviously, I know that this means two roofs and two sets of repair bills. But beyond that, what are the pros and cons? Initially, I was going to buy a house in the Capital Region of NY for $300k and accept a job there. However, my pay would be lower than downstate NY and $300k would be tight.

So, someone advised me to buy 1 small townhouse in downstate NY (most likely Orange or Putnam County, ideally Putnam Valley NY) for $150k, and another get-away home (small, log cabin or A-frame house) in the northern region, 2-3 hours away so I can drive up any weekend and enjoy being in nature.

Any advice on this plan? Anyone currently do this?
Have you looked at listings in Orange and Putnam in that price range? Both are NYC bedroom community counties and that price is on the low side, unless they are in less desirable areas. Property taxes are high in both those counties due to their commuting distance to the city, so be sure there are no surprises with that. If 300k is a stretch, maintaining two places is probably not a good idea unless you also have hefty savings to handle emergencies x two.

You may be better off taking less pay in the Capital district. You can find a cabin further north, while not competing with the many people from NYC and surrounding areas also looking for an inexpensive weekend country getaway in your 2-3 hour drive from downstate.

Last edited by jean_ji; 11-30-2017 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:25 PM
 
5,104 posts, read 5,900,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
Renting for the weekend is not feasible. Its way too expensive for the amount of time I want to be there. I'd really like to be out of downstate NY as often as possible, every weekend at a minimum.
If you truly feel that strongly about not being in downstate NY, then I think you should neither buy property nor work there. Even if it means a lower salary. You'll have no quality of life living for the weekend high tailing it out of town every Friday.

Gas and wear and tear on the car alone probably counteract a good chunk of the salary difference.
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