Whether you're an active senior or have a mobile job, heading to warmer climes in the winter, or cooler temperatures in the summer offers unique challenges and advantages. Buying a second home in your favorite locale, rather than living in an RV or rental, could be the perfect decision for you.
Be close to family
When your adult children take jobs that move them across the country, looking for a second home to spend time nearby—to see those grandchildren, for example—for holidays, the summers, and other special times makes perfect sense. After all, just because you want to be close by sometimes doesn’t mean you want to be there full-time.
Eventually, however, you may want to relocate near to family permanently as you age and find travel between your homes cumbersome. If you purchase your snowbird home with the future in mind—being mindful of stairs, access to exceptional healthcare and other age-related issues—your transition to living there full time will be smoother.
Be fiscally astute
Second homes in tax-advantaged areas—states that do not have an income tax—may reduce your tax liability. Several states including Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming fall into this category. In addition to income tax savings, some areas have a lower property tax than others. The savings on property tax in one state might offset its income tax and vice versa. Before buying property in one of these states for tax advantages, speak with a qualified tax consultant about how it might affect your bottom line.
Be investment wise
One question you may have about a second home is “Can I earn income with it when I’m not using it?” The answer is “yes” and “no.” Online rental portals make the idea of a holiday rental more attractive than when you marketed it with a For Rent sign in the window. But, they don’t always make enough to pay for themselves. Coveted rentals in holiday destinations have high seasons, low seasons, inclement weather, and generally off years and the cost of maintenance and turnover between renters, general repairs and damages might outweigh the value. Unless you intend to rent out your property during the high season, which means you can’t use it then for yourself, you might make enough to break even, but most experts warn that your holiday rental income may not cover your mortgage. If you decide to rent your snowbird home, don't rely on the property to pay for itself.
If you've seriously considered buying a second home and wonder about the advantages and disadvantages, consult a local real estate expert for information on second homes in your desired location.