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Old 02-06-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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I posted this in the general forum without much luck. Didn't realize there was a retirement forum, which might be more appropriate. Hopefully, there will be some feedback here, and thanks in advance:

Iíve been toying with the idea of buying a house in one location, and renting in another, with an emphasis on not breaking the bank. The idea is to buy a nice house in one of the less expensive states, like the Midwest, then rent somewhere sunny during the bulk of the winter, say three to four months. I donít want to own two properties, and Iím not really into RVíing, so Iíd like to be able to rent a decent house or condo for a fairly reasonable price, like say $1500 or so per month, but only for 3 to 4 months a year.

Seems like it would be neat to have a change of pace like that and not have to fork out so much money for those unreasonably high home prices in good-weather-all-year locations like the So. California coast.

Has anybody else done this successfully? Were you able to do it on a continuous basis, or did it get old quickly? Also, is it easy to find rentals in that price range in sunny, winter locations? Iíve looked at some ďvacationĒ rentals, and the prices are too high, like $1500 a week.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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Don't know about CA but a ton of the snow birds who come to FL for Jan-Apr rent and then go back to the house they own up North. There are plenty of monthly rentals at affordable rates....
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:17 PM
 
171 posts, read 533,080 times
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Yeah, I guess that's what I'm talking about, being a "snowbird". Just wanted to get some feedback from those who do it.

I'll have to look closer at FL. The rates I looked at on Craigslist for rentals in Phoenix were very high.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I lived in Phoenix and am familar with the choices for snowbirds. The big problem is renting for just a few months. Most nicer rentals - houses or apartments - will require a lease and full time rental expense. The rentals for snowbirds were quite expensive during the winter season and basically were just run down motels. During the summer the rentals were cheap and there were lots of vacant rooms. Basically you will end up paying for the cost of maintaining the property year around.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
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Yes, in theory it sounds great, but I think you'll find a seasonal rental in any of the "warm weather" destinations will be much higher than what you want to spend. You're basically looking for a normal year-round monthly rate, but don't want to lock into a year-round rental. Even if you reversed the scenario (buying in FL, renting in the Midwest), I think the problem will be the same with a short-term rental.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:16 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,847 posts, read 19,954,681 times
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We've been doing it for 5 years and it works well for us.
One difference for higher vacation rental prices is that everything is furnished.
Spend time online and suitable places can be found for reasonable prices.

We have paid $1500 (inclusive) maximum for single family houses and now have pretty much settled into one of those 'old people communities' and re-rent the same place.
The house and/or location aren't as luxurious as the first two years but much easier to make friends and develop relationships.

Another advantage is being able to spend time in different areas until you find one you're really happy with.
There are some disadvantages but for us they've been outweighed by the benefits since we just don't want another property to be responsible for at this point.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Central Fl
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Many people do this.
I own a rental home and a full time home.....one in NY and one in Florida. My intent is to sell my NY home in a few years and move full time to my Florida home.

I and many others use the VRBO website. VRBO stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner.

Contrary to what others have posted, most homes are not run down. In my case, this is my future full time home, and I put the best into it. Flat screen TV's, golf cart, etc. I turn away over 100 couples a year, and those are the folks who do not notice the rental calendar to see if it is already rented for the months they want.

I have a friend of mine who also does this. His home is beautiful. He and his wife do missionary work during the winter months and rent the home out when they are gone.

Good luck! There are many other folks who do what you are thinking every year.

Frank
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,785,979 times
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We looked at similar scenarios with some complications due to having two dogs in our family. In general, I found rentals in snowbird locations available in the $1500 price range, although many were higher priced in nicer areas, sans dogs. Pets can be problematic as it drastically limits the number of rentals available. As noted, there is a huge established snowbird market in the FL, AZ, NM, etc. areas, just Google it and go from there.

You might want to broaden your search to include foreign countries as well if your comfortable with that option. We maintain the main house in Maryland and become quasi snowbirds by renting a month or two in Costa Rica every year and mix that up with RVing during the winter months. This is our third year down here. We farm out the dogs to family members back home and do Costa Rica for the worst of the Maryland winter period.

I'm writing this as I'm having my coffee on the patio of our 1 bedroom 400 sq.' casita in the mountains above Grecia Costa Rica. Its in the low 60s here at 8AM and the high will be mid 80s. Our prior rental, an 1100 sq.' casita ($750/month) was booked so we're here for $400/month. There are efficiency units nearby that rent for $350/month. These are all fully furnished rentals. Costa Rica has a large ex-pat community that commonly build a casita (a smallish one bedroom or efficiency house) to live in while their main house is being built. They then rent the casita to folks like us, there is a wide variety of rentals available. The snowbird market is fairly well established in Costa Rica.

Give a shout if you'd like more information on Costa Rica.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,411 posts, read 5,939,783 times
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Well, that's a great deal, if you can get a short-term FL rental in high-season for $1500/mo. I looked at several sites including VRBO, using The Villages and Bradenton as an example. There were a few in Bradenton, but I'd have to check the location as Bradenton can have some sketchy areas. I'm sure research pays off. Costa Rica sounds beautiful, and affordable, but what about cost of airfare and a car...? I LOVE the RV idea...just being able to sightsee around the country....but I'd need a man to do all that towing and potty hook-up stuff! :-)
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Central Fl
2,903 posts, read 10,962,199 times
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I understand about the pet thing.
It does limit the amount of available rentals. My wife and I love dogs, but out of courtesy to renters who might have allergies, we do not allow any pets. My VRBO website states that, but I still get folks who insist that their pet is "allergy free" , "better then kids", etc,etc........

I feel bad for them, but life is all about choices, and if one decides to be a snowbird and have pets, then they must understand that it may be more difficult to find a place to rent. As I said before, with the amount of folks who contact me to rent, I can afford to be picky.

Frank
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