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Old 01-13-2017, 09:22 AM
Location: equator
3,429 posts, read 1,527,565 times
Reputation: 8499


I know that many of you retirees have second homes. I'd like to hear how you handle them in your absence. Do you hire a management company to maintain them or have a friend or neighbor do the maintenance? If so, what do you pay for that sort of thing? Are you pleased with the job they are doing?

Do you ever rent it out, or have someone else live there? Do you keep a car there? Do you ever think its just too much hassle?

We're stuck with our property in the States for the time being, so trying to work out maintaining it without breaking the bank. Had a house-sitter last year for the irrigation season but entertaining other ideas.
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Old 01-13-2017, 10:58 AM
Location: WA
5,393 posts, read 21,388,001 times
Reputation: 5884
I have seen only two instances that worked out over a long term and both had the second home occupied and maintained by someone else. In one case a family member moved in but maintained the master suite and vehicle for the owner. In another the home was changed to a two family residence and a lease to one (responsible) occupant included an ongoing maintenance requirement.

Even a management contract won't get you the early response to maintenance issues and security needed in an unoccupied residence.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:36 AM
Location: ☀️ SWFL ⛱ 🌴
2,427 posts, read 1,665,603 times
Reputation: 8643
Our neighbors in NY have homes in NY and FL. They have remodeled both homes and have renters in both year round with separate entrances/kitchens etc. Their tenants help maintain and call if there are problems. They also keep a car in both places and fly to each location. Perfect set up, they have no pets.

We have two homes and while it was fun for a while, it's becoming more of a chore now and we are spending much less time at the one in NY than we thought we would. We have great neighbors on one end and family on the other, with security cameras to keep an eye on things at both places. We have pets and that complicates things for us traveling back and forth. We don't rent either out, seasonal renters would want to rent at the time we are in residence.

Our FL neighbors from the NE have an inherited home from their parents who use to snowbird here. They use it two weeks in autumn and from January to April each year. They totally shut it down when not in use. Their large family in the NE look after their home there and take turns coming down to FL over the winter which works for everyone.

Last edited by jean_ji; 01-13-2017 at 11:59 AM..
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:53 AM
Location: Florida -
8,760 posts, read 10,834,959 times
Reputation: 16632
In Destin (one of the most active U.S. vacation spots in many categories), is filled with second homes and condos. Most advertise on VROB, but are managed by local property management companies who handle (high turnover) rentals, cleaning, repairs and financial management. It can get expensive, but most look at the ROI ratio and pay it! --

Lower traffic areas have a different ratio and cost versus value becomes more of a consideration. We've personally found remote, low traffic property management too stressful as an ongoing investment vehicle. Of course, there are many people who own multiple homes/condos and don't rent them out, but must still see that upkeep and maintenance are done.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:37 PM
Location: New Jersey
120 posts, read 123,182 times
Reputation: 124
A friend of mine purchased a second home at the Jersey shore some years ago. She rents it out most of the year (she does try to save some weeks for herself during the summer) and also has a management company to handle basic care and repairs. It's worked well for her.
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:40 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
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I have multiple living spaces in each home (3 US locations). (cabin, guest house, daylight basement, or apartment above garage)

In some cases I rent out the BIG house and live in the small space, in one case I rent out the auxiliary dwelling / living space. in each case I keep FULL TIME renters / boarders.

My props are all rural, so... wells, septics, water systems, falling trees on wires, driveway clearing (snow)... i.e. more work, and more enjoyment, and more worry, but EZ resale.

I have had house-sitters, but not always successful (They have other interests / flexible schedule, often not very responsible (unless 'rural' home owners themselves)).

Fulltime renter has worked out best since we are gone more than we are home.

Each site has a full list of fix-it people and contacts, and a map of where to turn off what. I have agreements with fix-it people to bill / call / email me. All my tenants get 10% rebate per yr if they are NEVER late, and ALWAYS handle maint issues without disturbing me. Some have stayed 10 yrs+. I also do a capital improvement for tenants every yr. I let them choose what they want from my list of things that will increase my property value and enhance their homes.

Some sites I use a Management company, negotiated 6% instead of 10%, and offer the Management company some benefits too (Share my contractors and own resources).

I keep cars / trucks, tractors, motorcycles, bulldozers / shops in each location, (my stuff is CHEAP... $35 cars that run on cooking oil)
All locations are close to Airport, but that is a hassle, so I still rent a car storage space ($50/month) during the seasons that I fly frequently 1 to 4x / month.

Yes, it is too much hassle to do forever, but... for now (young retiree, still establishing cash flows) I deduct my travel and 1/2 my food and depreciate my $35 car . Eventually EVERYTHING will be sold @ 30% down on owner contract (If rates are favorable for me to do that).

When I am age 80+, I hope to be in a senior cottage community that I may have to BUILD!, and I better find a place I can tolerate yr round, but I have not found that place yet.. Much depends on USA establishing affordable HC (<$500 / month)

I plan to have spare homes in international destinations as well. I will partner with a farmer / camp / retreat center so they can use my residence as staff cabin during high season.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 01-13-2017 at 04:04 PM..
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:29 PM
Location: Las Vegas
24 posts, read 21,510 times
Reputation: 31
We purchased a smaller home in Las Vegas approx 5 years ago during the housing crisis and look at this as one of our best investments ever. We live in the midwest and escape to Las Vegas as often as possible. Getting away in the winters is a must.

During the time we've owned our home we used to rent a car when ever we arrived in town. We recently bought an older vehicle and use that to get around town. We have neighbors look after our place when we are out of town. So far we haven't had any major issues.

Our eventual plan is retire and became permanent Las Vegas residents.
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:43 PM
49 posts, read 36,170 times
Reputation: 112
Brother has a second home in Telluride. They spend 2-3 months there total out of the year. They pay a caretaker service to check on it regularly and maintain but have never had a renter in it.
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:50 PM
Location: Wasilla, AK
7,236 posts, read 4,128,251 times
Reputation: 15595
We have a permanent home in Alaska and a winter home in Arizona. We have neighbors in each area that will call us if there is a problem, but other than that, one or the other is empty. We don't rent out because we don't want the hassles. Besides, no one wants to be in Alaska in the winter or Arizona in the summer. So far wa haven't had any issues other than the irrigation system freezing up and springing a leak in the Arizona home. The neighbor shut the water off and I fixed it a couple of weeks later.

We keep a vehicle at each house permanently and we drive a third vehicle back and forth. The only issue with that is we fly back to Alaska to spend Christmas and New Years there, which means we only have one vehicle between the two of us. But, we manage.
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:08 PM
Location: Midland, MI
505 posts, read 527,212 times
Reputation: 1084
I would love to have a cottage up north but don't think it is ever worth the hassle from what I hear. We can barely keep up with one house!
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