Author Topic: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US  (Read 4072 times)

daverobev

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Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« on: April 22, 2017, 06:23:40 AM »
Suggestions on where I could buy a *fairly cheap* (<$100k) house in the US that is within a 12 hour drive of Ottawa, Ontario, safe, and ideally a condo - so I can just walk away without worrying about freezing pipes in the hot water tank.

Oh, and it needs to have clement winter weather. That doesn't mean Florida, but above freezing during the day and little or rare snow.

I don't want to fly, and I don't want to have to drive for two days to get there.

I see Philadelphia is only about 8 hours away, but crime seems high and (on Trulia at least) I couldn't see anything 'high-rise'.

Thoughts/suggestions?

(The other option is to move to the UK and holiday in France, or - if we get to it before Brexit - move to Spain or France).

Abe

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2017, 09:19:30 PM »
Look for somewhere in Maryland or further south based on your weather requirements. Baltimore is really cheap and fairly safe these days as long as you're not into gangs.

SwordGuy

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 10:26:03 PM »
Are you sure you're on the right website?

nick663

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 11:16:30 PM »
Why buy?  My parents priced this out for their retirement "winter home" and figured out it's much cheaper to rent one.

Also, I know you're from Canada so your definition of "little or rare snow" might be different than mine but Philly still gets a decent amount of snow (41.4" annually on average).  For reference, Detroit gets 44" and Chicago 37" on average.

I would like at some of the beach towns on the east coast.  I'd guess they have a lot of rentals that are sitting dormant in the off season and could be rented very reasonably.

Coach Carson

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 11:41:28 PM »
I am thinking like nick663 - why buy? It sounds like you are debating options on either side of the Atlantic anyway. I'd put that $100k into investments and use the earnings to rent wherever I end up. That would give you so much flexibility to change your mind. Plus, it will save you the time you REALLY need to invest studying a market before buying anything - home or investment.

daverobev

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 05:08:17 AM »
"Am I on the right website" - yeah I know. Thing is, I want it to be flexible/short notice - also hence the 'not too far to drive'.

I'm thinking I could buy with a mortgage so putting the money in investments is not the alternative. The alternative is doing nothing.

Apparently Ottawa has ~70 inches of snow a year. 40 still sounds too much!

One option, in terms of rentals, is one extended family member has a rental on the Outer Banks - we could rent that at a reasonable rate at one end of the season or the other, before they close it up for the winter.

Is somewhere I could theoretically spend 3 months of the year actually going to be cheaper to rent? The ideal, of course, is to stay in it during the winter, when most people have gone to Florida or Mexico or whatever, then rent it out in the summer. Not to 'make money' but to offset the costs a bit.

SnackDog

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 05:20:22 AM »
Far cheaper to rent if you are not planning to live there.   Plus, the loonie is near the bottom of a ten year range versus the dollar.  Your US$100,000 condo will cost you C$25,000 more today than a few years ago. 

If you want warmth, go due south 8 hours.  Ocean City NJ has some crappy condos for under U$150k.  If you want cheap, head west toward Michigan/Ohio along the lake.

etselec

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2017, 04:29:35 PM »
You could also look at parts of Virginia outside the DC bubble there are some really low cost of living areas near Harrisonburg/Charlottesville/Staunton. If you get something near-ish to one of the National Parks it could work well as a summer rental.

(No comment on whether buying is a good idea or not just an area to consider.)


etselec

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 09:08:13 PM »
Kelly, there's no need to be rude. Per the tool you linked, median price of condos/coops in that county is around $150k, so it's not unreasonable to think that small condos might be in the OP's price range (and indeed, Zillow is showing 4 condos under $100k right now in Albemarle County).

nick663

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2017, 09:40:37 PM »
Kelly, there's no need to be rude. Per the tool you linked, median price of condos/coops in that county is around $150k, so it's not unreasonable to think that small condos might be in the OP's price range (and indeed, Zillow is showing 4 condos under $100k right now in Albemarle County).
The problem with condos are the HOAs:
https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Albemarle-County-VA/pmf,pf_pt/condo,apartment_duplex,townhouse_type/79026891_zpid/2608_rid/2-_baths/0-125000_price/0-467_mp/0-100_hoa/globalrelevanceex_sort/38.308797,-78.084641,37.690884,-78.963547_rect/9_zm/1_rs/

HOA Fee: $596/mo
    Association Frequency: Monthly

tralfamadorian

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2017, 07:08:29 AM »
Yes, maybe my response was a little snarky but the Charlottesville area is a terrible recommendation for someone looking for a vacation house under 100k.  You could say that's it's a little rude to send the OP on a wild goose chase in an area where lot values average 2x their budget.

As someone who knows the area, yes, it is unreasonable to find a condo in their price range. Charlottesville and the surrounding area have very few condos associations- the average is being pulled down by a handful of C- properties with the highest crime rate in the area- not the kind of place where you want to buy a vacation property.  As for Eagles Landing, it was built as student housing. Those left holding the bag found out that UVA students were unwilling to live that far from grounds. So, it's been slowly slipping into section 8 for the past few years and the condos have lost about 1/2 their resale value.  In addition to their excessive HOA fees.

OP, if you decide to add the Blue Ridge Mountains to your list, I would include Staunton, VA and Lexington, VA. Both are charming little towns where your 100k budget is doable. Also, low crime so a vacation property left vacant for a portion of the year is not the risk it would be in a place like Baltimore.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 07:12:31 AM by kellyincville »

daverobev

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2017, 07:31:59 AM »
OP, if you decide to add the Blue Ridge Mountains to your list, I would include Staunton, VA and Lexington, VA. Both are charming little towns where your 100k budget is doable. Also, low crime so a vacation property left vacant for a portion of the year is not the risk it would be in a place like Baltimore.

Thanks, those are the kinds of suggestions I'm looking for.

Scortius

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2017, 12:01:03 PM »
100k means not near an urban center, but 12h gives you a huge range.  No snow narrows it down a bit more. 

I'd look at central Deleware. I'm not sure you could hit exactly 100k, but you'll be close to some beaches and a reasonable drive away from Philly and Baltimore.  The drive to Ottowa is about 10h and can be done in a day.

waltworks

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2017, 12:41:08 PM »
Good lord just rent a place when you want to leave...

-W

daverobev

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2017, 03:50:03 PM »
Good lord just rent a place when you want to leave...

-W

For two, three months a year?

Edit: Actually, to those that are suggesting renting - can you give me a rough idea how much you think it'd cost, and where I'd go?

Air BnB - do they do long term short term rentals? I guess I'll have a look.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 04:16:25 PM by daverobev »

tralfamadorian

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2017, 06:32:30 PM »
Edit: Actually, to those that are suggesting renting - can you give me a rough idea how much you think it'd cost, and where I'd go?

Air BnB - do they do long term short term rentals? I guess I'll have a look.

The cost could vary widely depending on where you want to go- $600/mo to $8k/mo+.  Renting opens you up to a lot of areas where rents are much lower than purchase price, where taxes are high for property owners and coastal areas where flood insurance can be 2x your mortgage.  Where do you want to go?  The mountains?  The beach?  Culture?  Big city?  Small town?

Yes, you can contact owners on airbnb, vrbo, etc to see what their long term rental prices are.  You can also contact realtors in your target areas

hoping2retire35

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2017, 10:59:21 AM »
You will need to go the upper limit of that 12 hr drive and stay near the coast, but not necessarily ocean front, to not worry about pipes.

Do you just want a condo so you don't have exterior maintence? Why? how big of a city do you want? is some sufficient outdoor activities ok? 20 min to a beach?

daverobev

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2017, 12:10:30 PM »
You will need to go the upper limit of that 12 hr drive and stay near the coast, but not necessarily ocean front, to not worry about pipes.

Do you just want a condo so you don't have exterior maintence? Why? how big of a city do you want? is some sufficient outdoor activities ok? 20 min to a beach?

Condo = leave, shut and lock door, walk/drive away.

House = turn off everything, drain hot water tank, disconnect this, etc, etc.

City size - don't mind. 50k+ would be good. Walking paths good. Mountains good (mountains would be just as good as seafront, actually, as long as there's not 50 feet of snow to go with it). 20 mins to a beach would be awesome.

waltworks

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2017, 12:35:55 PM »
Most condos have their own furnaces/water heaters/utilities. There's really not a big difference in what you'd need to do when leaving.

If you really don't like hassles, you really don't want to own a structure (of any kind) that is unoccupied for most of the year. Crap will go wrong and you won't find out about it for months and months - and by then the black mold has taken hold after a pipe leaked and it'll cost $50k to fix.

I mean, houses/condos/apartments have problems. They *always* have problems. Period. If nobody is around to notice those problems, they can get very bad in a hurry. Squatters can move in, animals can move in, various systems can malfunction and damage things, etc, etc. Those are all easy to deal with if you're there in person all the time ("oh, the faucet is starting to drip, I'll go get a new seal") They are impossible to deal with if you're gone for 9 months a year.

If you are really outdoorsy, and you just need a place to sleep while you have fun in the sun, you really should just be renting a super tiny place (or renting a bedroom on AirBnB). Even a hotel at weekly rates is probably a better plan than buying something. And it leaves you lots of flexibility to try different places/do different things.

-W

ditkanate

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2017, 12:38:52 PM »
This house right by the beach is $4,000 or so to rent from Dec 1st through Feb 28th.  Renting in the winter on the Outer Banks you can get some pretty good deals since that is off season for them.  I'd rather do that than hassle with owning something and trying to rent it out, etc. 

hoping2retire35

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2017, 01:30:36 PM »
You will need to go the upper limit of that 12 hr drive and stay near the coast, but not necessarily ocean front, to not worry about pipes.

Do you just want a condo so you don't have exterior maintence? Why? how big of a city do you want? is some sufficient outdoor activities ok? 20 min to a beach?

Condo = leave, shut and lock door, walk/drive away.

House = turn off everything, drain hot water tank, disconnect this, etc, etc.

City size - don't mind. 50k+ would be good. Walking paths good. Mountains good (mountains would be just as good as seafront, actually, as long as there's not 50 feet of snow to go with it). 20 mins to a beach would be awesome.
Like waltworks said, there is not going to be any real difference. I am not aware of any condos where their is a centralized hot water system. Even where I live I would be wary of taking an extended trip in the middle of january for fear of pipes freezing. (southeastern foothills of appalachia).

no matter what you decide it would be best to rent in several different locales for several winters before "picking the right" spot.

Also, just the wikipedia page of city itsn't reallly accurate~Greenville SC pop. <70k. but Metro area is ~1.3 mil.

daverobev

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2017, 02:43:08 PM »
Ok, fair enough, everyone. It's a bad plan.

The urge to "get the hell out" has diminished a lot as we actually have things coming to life in the garden now.

I just need to work out a way to get away from the 4 months of real winter we get here. That doesn't cost the earth.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2017, 09:47:39 AM »
https://richmond.craigslist.org/search/sub

type virginia beach or some other nearby place from google maps. should be at your 12 hour limit, warm, couple hours drive to the Shanandoah valley.

Boom, done.

ditkanate

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2017, 10:23:17 AM »
This house right by the beach is $4,000 or so to rent from Dec 1st through Feb 28th.  Renting in the winter on the Outer Banks you can get some pretty good deals since that is off season for them.  I'd rather do that than hassle with owning something and trying to rent it out, etc.

Just to clarify.... this is $4,000 total for 3 months, not $4,000 per month.  Seems reasonable to me and way less hassle than buying something. 

Pennycounter

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2017, 10:41:15 AM »
I am sort of obsessed with random Zillow searches for a second home similar to what you mentioned.  I used to live in VA and have lots of family there.  I would note that there is not a huge short term rental demand in Shenandoah Valley unless you are near Luray or Massanutten or something as people just don't seek out the other random corners for vacation. I know because my mom lives on a lake about 30 mins outside Cville and was trying to airbnb a LOVELY and CHEAP rental and there was just no interest because it was 15 mins to any real services but not really isolated. It sounds like you are off buying for the moment but just wanted to comment on short term rentals.

Good luck with your quest!

yyc-phil

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2017, 10:55:28 AM »
I just need to work out a way to get away from the 4 months of real winter we get here. That doesn't cost the earth.

No possibility for you of remote work during that period of the year so you can take off to warmer climes? My job was downgraded to half-time last year. After the initial shock, I realized I could use this setback as an opportunity to negotiate a remote work arrangement. My employer agreed. Spent the summer planning my escape from Dodge, drove to Mexico in September, came back in March (a bit too early, it was -25 last week in Yellowknife). Will be working like a slave -all is relative, all spring and summer, then drive back to Mexico in the fall with wife and cat in tow, with a return to Canada in May. Found a little simple but pretty casita one block from the beach for 7,500 pesos a month, internet included (about $500 CDN), in a little unpretentious beach town. With this arrangement and at 59, I can do this as long as my health is good, and I no longer need to FIRE anytime soon.

MayDay

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2017, 05:21:17 AM »
It's pretty common to rent a winter place for 2-4 months. Price varies wildly of course.

My grandparents ended up buying a condo in FL during the real estate crash for 50k. But it is ~500/month fees. Plus they pay a local guy to stop by weekly and make sure everything looks ok.

Many people in their complex rent their units for the high season (jan-march) but I don't know the cost.

CargoBiker

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2017, 06:04:37 AM »
Edit: Actually, to those that are suggesting renting - can you give me a rough idea how much you think it'd cost, and where I'd go?

Air BnB - do they do long term short term rentals? I guess I'll have a look.

Some Airbnb listings offer deep discounts for monthly.  It's worth looking into.  We slow-travel and do 2-month stays at Airbnbs.

paddedhat

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Re: Winter Getaway/Second Home in the US
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2017, 04:51:07 PM »
I have a good friend who is a lawyer in private practice in the Philadelphia suburbs. She can work remote for long periods, and spends long stretches of each winter in the coastal area north of Myrtle Beach, up to Wilmington NC. Her last escape was five weeks of late winter in a single home with water views. The bill for five weeks was $1100, or $220 a week.  The place is worth $300K and rents for 15X that on a summer holiday week. Yea, like my dad ( a real character and ex. Army combat pilot) used to say, "If it flies, or floats, you're better off renting". I'm thinking vacation homes should be added to his list.