Every year more and more people decide to migrate from colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny locations such as right here in Mesa Arizona and other sunbelt states. These are what most people refer to as snowbirds, those who seasonally migrate every year to enjoy warmer weather all year long. This gives them an opportunity to maintain their ties to family, friends, and familiar places that they love well while also enjoying a change of scenery and feeling like they are living the coveted vacation lifestyle of southern locations. Many Americans in their retirement years have taken on this lifestyle to enjoy summer all year long.
Before you jump into this seemingly perfect way of living there are some things to consider.
The location you choose to live in during what is considered winter can be a smaller home, a condo, or even a mobile home. In addition to the cost of buying a second property, there will need to be a budget considered for the cost of making this second dwelling livable such as purchasing appliances, dishes, furniture, and the like. You will also need to make sure both homes are covered with plenty of insurance keeping in mind that the insurance rate on a second home could increase seeing that many times a second home is left empty for an extended period of time.
Some snowbirds use the method of long-term rentals to help them afford living in the second location every year. This also allows the person to change their winter location each year to find a spot they really love before purchasing a second home. There’s also the transportation to think about if you plan to fly from one location to another. You will either want to rent a car or purchase a second car or maybe find a location that is easily walkable.
If you own your second home you will need to pay property taxes on both homes. You may even end up paying income taxes in both states depending on how much time you decide to stay in both locations. Each state has its own set of rules on residency and estate inheritance taxes which is something well worth looking into.
Living in two separate places every year will require you to make sure you have your mail service sent to the right spot. Some people prefer to set up auto pay or electronic pay for their bills to help out with mail confusion. There are several options for forwarding your mail including using the postal service forwarding system or a third-party forwarding system or even having a neighbor help you forward mail in batches to your second location.
While you are not living in one of your homes you will more than likely not want to pay utility bills while you are not living there. You may want to turn off services like cable, Internet, and phone service during the months that you are in a different place. Stopping these services for just a certain portion of the year can be tricky.
Even though you are not living in one of your homes and it is not receiving the wear and tear of continual use, a home will need maintenance while you are not in it. Some people choose to combat this issue by having someone come and check on the home they are not currently in every couple of weeks or they also choose to rent out the property they will not be in for a long term or several short-term vacations stays to other people. Regardless of what you choose you will need someone to oversee the maintenance of the home you are not currently occupying this can include things like landscaping, pool maintenance, and just generally making sure everything is in good shape and working condition.
If you are over the age of 65 and using Medicare it is a good idea to make sure you can obtain a great level of medical care wherever you are planning to live. If you are using private health insurance it is a good idea to research if there are doctors and hospitals within a good distance from your new location that will be within your healthcare network. You will want to make sure that the new area where you plan to live part-time can smoothly meet your health care needs without any hiccups. So in other words, in addition to having a second home you will want a second primary care physician to take care of you while you are living in your second destination.
Living the snowbird lifestyle can be a fabulous way to enjoy the best years of your life especially when you are living that lifestyle here in Mesa Arizona. You may just find some great people who are like-minded and do that very same thing to become friends with. With the right preparation and set up you can enjoy this summer lifestyle all year long.
For more information on Mesa Arizona real estate and surrounding areas please contact me anytime. For information on the many great retirement communities in and around Mesa Arizona or even just great properties to use as a part-time home please contact me anytime.
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