Thanks to the ease of air travel and increased ability to work remotely, growing numbers of people are escaping harsh winters and setting up second homes in southern and south western states.
According to studies from Arizona State University and the University of Florida, each winter, more than 1 million people flock to Florida and Arizona, two of the more popular warm-weather destinations. These so-called snowbirds or snowflakes — those who float back and forth between homes based on the season — have much more to consider than where they lay their beach towels or their next tee time.
If you decide to split time between two states, you’ll need to keep your properties secure while you’re away, understand tax implications and organize your finances. Here are five tips that might help:
1.Try out the trip.
Before renting or purchasing a second home in a warm-weather state, practice traveling there to make sure the trip is convenient. “The first thing you need to think about is the ease of getting to your second home,” says Heidi Steiger, President of the Eastern Region of The Private Client Reserve.
If you’re constantly trapped in the airport by snowstorms or waiting for a delayed flight, you might get fed up with the journey. Steiger, who recently relocated from New York to Florida, spent an entire winter flying to Florida every weekend to make sure the trip went smoothly.
2. Carefully consider the property you plan to purchase.
Once you’ve settled on a particular state, you might steer toward locations and properties that are desirable and marketable, should you decide to sell. “If you change your mind and decide that it’s not for you, you’ll want to be able to easily sell the property,” Steiger says.