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Old 01-15-2017, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,431,986 times
Reputation: 15678

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A couple things we've done with two houses:

1) I do leave vehicles at both locations year-round, and drive between the two locations with other vehicles. This hasn't been an issue for us. Remember that your car battery will drain... so hook up something called a "float charger," sometimes called a "battery tender" or "trickle charger." This will keep the battery charged while you're gone. Remember to change the oil & filter once/year even if you haven't put enough miles on the vehicle to justify the change.

2) US Mail has been a problem for us. We've tried the "premium forward" service, and the US Post Office screwed it up losing quite a bit of our mail. We've tried the "seasonal forward" and that also has been a problem where the Post Office screwed it up. We don't have a good solution. We want paper statements rather than doing everything online.

3) We keep all our TurboTax and Quicken records on a computer that travels with us, with appropriate backups. This year's paper files go back and forth with us.
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Old 01-15-2017, 09:17 AM
 
Location: equator
3,429 posts, read 1,527,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
Although I did not do it, I did give serious consideration to having two homes. One in MA (summers) and one in SC (winters). I spent a lot of time looking and talking and decided the best way to do it was to have two small condo/townhomes where the association did all the maintenance so I did not have to concern myself with anything. That was the way we could just walk away from one place to go to the other. This meant selling the large home in MA then buying the two condos. Also one place in SC was golf cart oriented so we would have two cars in MA and only one car plus the golf cart in SC.

Even in a condo, do you need to worry about the temperatures inside, or having someone check inside?
How do you work that? Leave the a/c on low, leave ceiling fans on, etc.? There are mold issues in some areas, like here. In cold areas, I've heard you need to leave your heat on low as houses don't like extreme temperature variations. So someone would need to check these systems that are running....
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Old 01-15-2017, 09:28 AM
 
Location: equator
3,429 posts, read 1,527,565 times
Reputation: 8499
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
A couple things we've done with two houses:

1) I do leave vehicles at both locations year-round, and drive between the two locations with other vehicles. This hasn't been an issue for us. Remember that your car battery will drain... so hook up something called a "float charger," sometimes called a "battery tender" or "trickle charger." This will keep the battery charged while you're gone. Remember to change the oil & filter once/year even if you haven't put enough miles on the vehicle to justify the change.

2) US Mail has been a problem for us. We've tried the "premium forward" service, and the US Post Office screwed it up losing quite a bit of our mail. We've tried the "seasonal forward" and that also has been a problem where the Post Office screwed it up. We don't have a good solution. We want paper statements rather than doing everything online.

3) We keep all our TurboTax and Quicken records on a computer that travels with us, with appropriate backups. This year's paper files go back and forth with us.

Yes, the mail seems to be a big problem for many. Glad you brought that up. Someone in the "Travel" forum was asking how to deal with that when they were living somewhere else for a year. No good answers, as you say. When we would leave every winter (within the U.S.) for months at a time, our mail always got messed up. We finally had to have a neighbor pick it up and go through it, which is a hassle for them---hate to impose like that.


We did get everything online but there are still pesky paper statements that someone has to deal with from medical services, tax statements, always something. My trustworthy sister is handling that for us, scanning stuff and emailing it, but I hate putting her to that trouble. It is a dilemma. The mail should trickle to almost nothing the longer we are gone, I hope. Plus, we ran into a lot of trouble with using "in care of" with many services. They just don't like that on their address line.


Also good about the trickle battery charger. Although I've left cars for over 4 months without one, it is wise to use it.


It has been helpful to hear about other's 2-home experiences....
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Old 01-15-2017, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Idaho
4,621 posts, read 4,460,757 times
Reputation: 9035
Forgive me if this has already been mentioned. So far, I've only read the last page of this thread. Will go back later because it's an interesting thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Even in a condo, do you need to worry about the temperatures inside, or having someone check inside?
How do you work that? Leave the a/c on low, leave ceiling fans on, etc.? There are mold issues in some areas, like here. In cold areas, I've heard you need to leave your heat on low as houses don't like extreme temperature variations. So someone would need to check these systems that are running....
The fellow at work who I'm training to take over for me when I retire showed me his phone one day. On one application, he showed me the temperature at his house thermostat and showed me how he has the ability to adjust the heater or air conditioner temperature.

Sounds like all one has to do, with such an app, is check every so often, then set to the desired temp. Of course, that will only work if both houses have cellular coverage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Yes, the mail seems to be a big problem for many. Glad you brought that up. Someone in the "Travel" forum was asking how to deal with that when they were living somewhere else for a year. No good answers, as you say...
When my ex-wife and her husband retired, (we're all on good terms with each other), they purchased a RV and wandered throughout the country with the seasons for about a decade. I think they've now semi-settled down now to a place outside Kingman, AZ. They never had any problem with mail while traveling. What they did was establish residency in South Dakota, which is reputed to have easy residency requirements and has become know as a place to establish residency for those who live the RV lifestyle.

As such, a cottage industry has grown in SD to take care of the mail requirements of RVers. They are just store-front businesses that receive one's mail and forward it every week or so. System seems to work well. But, I don't have any idea if mail forwarding places exist outside SD.


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Old 01-15-2017, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,431,986 times
Reputation: 15678
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Even in a condo, do you need to worry about the temperatures inside, or having someone check inside?
How do you work that? Leave the a/c on low, leave ceiling fans on, etc.? There are mold issues in some areas, like here. In cold areas, I've heard you need to leave your heat on low as houses don't like extreme temperature variations. So someone would need to check these systems that are running....
A WiFi thermostat does wonders, assuming you keep an internet connection. During cold months when a house is unoccupied, I keep the thermostat at 60-ish, and unoccupied hot months it is at 80. You can just look on the internet to see how your house is doing.

Turning the water off at the main house shut-off in the garage is a good practice. Some water utilities provide WiFi water meters so you can remotely see if the water meter is running which might indicate a landscaping water leak.
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Old 01-15-2017, 10:26 AM
 
14,258 posts, read 23,979,216 times
Reputation: 20051
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
A couple things we've done with two houses:

1) I do leave vehicles at both locations year-round, and drive between the two locations with other vehicles. This hasn't been an issue for us. Remember that your car battery will drain... so hook up something called a "float charger," sometimes called a "battery tender" or "trickle charger." This will keep the battery charged while you're gone. Remember to change the oil & filter once/year even if you haven't put enough miles on the vehicle to justify the change.

2) US Mail has been a problem for us. We've tried the "premium forward" service, and the US Post Office screwed it up losing quite a bit of our mail. We've tried the "seasonal forward" and that also has been a problem where the Post Office screwed it up. We don't have a good solution. We want paper statements rather than doing everything online.

3) We keep all our TurboTax and Quicken records on a computer that travels with us, with appropriate backups. This year's paper files go back and forth with us.

We live in an area where there is a good mix of permanent residents and snowbirds As we are full time residents, we do a lot of things for our neighbors who have two homes.

First, we drive many of our neighbors to the airport and pick them up from the Tucson airport. We use their vehicle and hold the keys while they are gone. In return, they allow us to use their vehicle occasionally in the area and in turn, we start up the vehicle at lease every couple of weeks and make sure that the car is filled and washed prior to their return to this area. For those who don't leave a vehicle behind, a lot of the permanent residents will use their parking space. This keeps potential thieves from identifying which houses are unoccupied for periods of time.

Second, we are the "forwarding service" for two of our neighbors. We pick up the mail a couple times a week, toss the junk mail, hold the periodicals, and forward the 1st class material. In this day and age, the amount of first class is minimal as most people sign up for the "on-line billing"

I would agree with you about the USPS mail forwarding. It was taking two or three weeks for mail from Chicago to reach us in Tucson and I do not think that we ever received all of the mail that we should have.
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Old 01-15-2017, 10:32 AM
 
Location: equator
3,429 posts, read 1,527,565 times
Reputation: 8499
Quote:
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Forgive me if this has already been mentioned. So far, I've only read the last page of this thread. Will go back later because it's an interesting thread.



The fellow at work who I'm training to take over for me when I retire showed me his phone one day. On one application, he showed me the temperature at his house thermostat and showed me how he has the ability to adjust the heater or air conditioner temperature.

Sounds like all one has to do, with such an app, is check every so often, then set to the desired temp. Of course, that will only work if both houses have cellular coverage.



When my ex-wife and her husband retired, (we're all on good terms with each other), they purchased a RV and wandered throughout the country with the seasons for about a decade. I think they've now semi-settled down now to a place outside Kingman, AZ. They never had any problem with mail while traveling. What they did was establish residency in South Dakota, which is reputed to have easy residency requirements and has become know as a place to establish residency for those who live the RV lifestyle.

As such, a cottage industry has grown in SD to take care of the mail requirements of RVers. They are just store-front businesses that receive one's mail and forward it every week or so. System seems to work well. But, I don't have any idea if mail forwarding places exist outside SD.


.

Yes, I had asked what RVers do in another thread. In hindsight, it comes down to the definition of "live". My husband got into this problem with SS as I mentioned in another thread. On the phone, he admitted to SS that we don't "live" at my sister's address where our mail goes. Now we will have problems down the line with SS. I guess the RVers "live" in S. Dakota....


I've heard of those apps but there is no cell coverage at our U.S. home and we are out of the country.
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Northern California
269 posts, read 154,341 times
Reputation: 548
My mom has a second house and she rents it out.

I'd like to have a second home and I think I'd rent it out whenever I wasn't using it on AirBNB or Homeaway.
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Long Neck , DE
4,903 posts, read 3,031,560 times
Reputation: 8025
I live in a vacation/retirement area. Many homes in my area are second homes (over 50 %). Property owner's in my development are forbidden from renting out their property. Some use property for several summer months.Some only weekends. There are several partial retirees offering their service in lawn service and general maintenance. Folks pull their boats out of the marinas and leave them on trailers in their driveways during the winter. Our community has 24/7 security patrols keeping an eye on vacant property.
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,190 posts, read 8,287,258 times
Reputation: 19871
We are in the process of buying a condo in the mountains of NC (not my first or even second choice) and will just close it up when we aren't there.

We don't want to rent it because I don't want to deal with flying with luggage.

We can almost book same day airline tickets on Allegiant for usually less than $100 each.
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