A recent survey co-sponsored by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch reported that 64% of people in retirement believe they are likely to move at least one time during retirement (27% are future anticipation and 37% of them have already made a move).
Consider the following:
Keep an eye toward the lifestyle you would like to live in retirement. What types of activities would you like to spend your time doing... If you start there, then you can work to find the best match for you where the location is closely aligned to your lifestyle desires.
Decide how long you see yourself living that way. If you find yourself being drawn to more variety and the opportunity to experience a diverse type of things, renting may be a better route for you to allow the flexibility to spend a few years at a time in each location. If the thought of moving your belongings around sounds like punishment, they establishing one or two fixed residences may be a better path for you.
Rent it out. If you can't part with your northern home, consider renting out one or both locations while you are not using the property. In SW Florida, there are many property management companies that will take care of the day-to-day matters of the rental property so as not to burden you with that responsibility. That can also serve as a good way to offset the cost of ownership. If you plan do to this, make sure you let your realtor know as many homes in the area will have restrictions on how often and for what lengths of time you can rent out property. Be conservative and make sure that you can afford both properties without rental because there is never a guarantee that your place will be rented. You also need to talk to a qualified account to assess the tax implications if you will be renting property with rental income and mortgage interest deductions.
Look at the full cost. When deciding whether to keep two or more homes, make sure you are not only looking at the mortgage costs but all the recurring and one-time costs associated with property ownership... taxes, utilities, maintenance, furnishing, etc.
Don't assume you have a tax advantage just by owning in Florida. Many people find Florida attractive because there is not state income tax. However, you will want to talk to a qualified accountant to make sure that your situation would be eligible. If you own property in another state, there are considerations in both states that determine your tax standing, including Homestead property tax exemptions.
Consider your motivations. Carefully think about the underlying reasons for owning at one or more location. If financials are tight, you may want to consider other alternatives that would still allow you to accomplish your goals and desires.
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