For many retirees, making a selection of senior living properties will be one of the most difficult decisions they will ever make. The choice often comes down to keeping the family home close to family, relatives and long-time friends or moving off to a dream home in a sunny or exotic location.
The easy solution is have the best of both worlds - own two homes, one in each place.
Advantages and disadvantages to owning two homes.
Owning two residences means having to pay extra taxes and insurance and maintain and furnish two homes. But for some people, being able to visit and stay at their favorite place, in their own home, is worth the inconveniences.
There will be financial obligations for two residences. Owning more than one home means having to pay higher property taxes. Second residences often do not qualify for homesteader’s exemptions, nor do they qualify for mortgage interest deductions. Purchasing a smaller and/or less expensive second residence, such as a townhouse or condo can help to keep these bills affordable.
Of course, after a new home is purchased, it must be furnished and maintained. Few people realise that the cost of furnishing an entire home can be very expensive. In addition to furniture, a second residence has to have everything from silverware to extra sheets for the beds. Once everything has been bought, it then has to be maintained.
Even when no one is living there, the grass must be mowed and the appliances must be kept operational. This means paying year-round utility bills and probably hiring a lawn service or a property management company to care for the property while they are away.
Recovering some of the costs
In order to defray some of these costs many retirees decide to rent out their senior living properties while they are not using them. Homes in tourist destinations can be easily rented out for short periods of time to tourists who do not want to stay in a hotel.
Even homes in non-tourist areas can be rented out in short-term leases to people who want to experience an area for several weeks or who need a place to stay during extended business.
Renting out a home, of course, comes with its own set of challenges. While property managers can keep track of many of the details, having renters does mean that the owners of a property will have limited the time they can spend in that property. Limiting the number of renters can help, but homeowners who choose to rent out their property will have to deal with some restrictions and the costs of possible damage to their home.
Advantages of having two homes
Of course, one of the advantages to owning a second property is that it gives the owners much more freedom than renting a hotel room or other property when they want to visit an area. By owning a home, retirees don’t have to worry about scheduling their visits around the tourist season or finding a rental property during a special event. Owning a home also means not being subject to the whims of a hotel staff and no lost reservations.
Another great thing about owning a second property is that it is also an investment. By using cash to purchase a second home, any money made from renting it out can be used to finance the lifestyle of the retiree who owns it (after maintenance costs, taxes, and insurance is paid). A home equity line of credit can be taken out against the house to provide retirees with ready access to cash if necessary. This allows retirees the security of knowing that they will still have access to an emergency fund.
Over time, the value of the second home should increase, leaving the homeowner with an appreciating asset that could be sold or remortgaged if needed. Real estate has been considered to be a secure investment for many years.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to owning a second residence for your senior retirement living. So carefully consider all the positives and negatives to see if this is the right option for you and your family.
PS There may also be a number of tax advantages which your senior living properties can offer through choosing not being a tax resident in a jurisdiction which has residence based tax.