Author Topic: What do snowbirds do with their houses?  (Read 2951 times)

MMMdude

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What do snowbirds do with their houses?
« on: January 12, 2014, 03:21:39 PM »
In Canada, it is a pretty common phenomenon whereby retiree's go down to FL or AZ, whatever for 4 to 6 months and escape the winter.  They are referred to as snowbirds.  I am curious as to what they do with their house while away.  Do they rent it out, or conversely pay someone to housesit/visit?  I would presume that one could easily rent a fully furnished home for a few months at abit below market value due to the short term type arrangement.  That could then fund travels.  Then again, one would have a stranger in their home for a few months.    Anyone know what is typically done during these long absences?

KingCoin

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Re: What do snowbirds do with their houses?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 03:34:14 PM »
Actually, short term rentals typically go for a premium over long term rentals (just look at the pricing structure on AirBnB).

I suspect most "snowbirds" leave their properties vacant and perhaps even pay for a house-sitter of some sort.

I guess it's partially a function of demand for the area. If you live in a primo urban condo, or near a major ski resort, it's probably more than worthwhile to hire a management company to rent the place out while you're gone.

Is there a reason you're interested?

MMMdude

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Re: What do snowbirds do with their houses?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 03:37:48 PM »
Interested because we are starting to look into taking longer vacations.  Possibly 2 months at a time - just wondering what others in this situation do.  My home could likely rent for $1500 a month here and that would certainly help with travel costs and alleviate need for a sitter.

arebelspy

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Re: What do snowbirds do with their houses?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 03:52:21 PM »
Actually, short term rentals typically go for a premium over long term rentals (just look at the pricing structure on AirBnB).

That's because they need to make up for the empty times.  One could think of it as giving a "discount" to those willing to rent it for longer (a month, a year).

The term you are looking for is "vacation rentals" - start your research there and you'll find lots of info that will help.

It's generally done to get the benefit of using the property itself, at the expense of better returns.  I typically recommend someone buy better rental property and use the proceeds from that to fund their vacations.

Example discussion of this in this thread:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/real-estate-and-landlording/vacation-rentals-i-e-ski-condo/
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 03:54:09 PM by arebelspy »
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KingCoin

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Re: What do snowbirds do with their houses?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 04:47:12 PM »
Interested because we are starting to look into taking longer vacations.  Possibly 2 months at a time - just wondering what others in this situation do.  My home could likely rent for $1500 a month here and that would certainly help with travel costs and alleviate need for a sitter.

AirBnB and HomeAway are good options, though you'll need someone local to manage "tenants" if you can't rent a big time block. Good old Craigslist (or your local equivalent) usually works well if you price the place right. I did a month in Europe, and found someone who wanted a short term place while he found a permanent place in the city. You might consider a home swap if you plan on staying in one location.

Be aware of local laws though. I know one guy who rented for more than a month, which in New York constitutes a legal lease. The guy refused to leave and a lengthy eviction process ensued. Not a probablr scenario, but scary enough that it's probably worth running a background check, even for a couple months.