When considering a place to winter, start with what you are already familiar with. Do you have a favorite vacation spot that could be your new second home? If so, think about it in terms of how it could work to become your new residence in terms of actually spending an extended amount of time there.
If you've never visited an area, but think you may like it, check around for feedback. Look at online reviews, seek your friends' experiences with it. Chances are, it won't be long until you narrow it down.
Snowbirds have many options for housing accommodations, so let's start with the obvious: single family home, condo, RV, mobile home, hotel, high rise and low rise rentals. Each has pros and cons, so here is another opportunity to start with your non-negotiables and then do your research.
Online web sites dedicated to vacation rental housing are the number one method I recommend if you don't already have your housing figured out. There are several reputable web sites that will allow you to search by geography, price, housing type, features, amenities, availability and much more.
House, Condo or RV? Rent or Buy?
Your snowbird accommodations are probably the single most important factor to being happy in your second home. Get it right and you'll have a much better chance of success.
Research your options
Doing your research is essential to knowing what is available, where it is located and pricing.
Personally, I recommend renting before buying in a new area. Yes, you will lose time and money by renting, but what are the emotional and financial costs of buying a property, only to find out it wasn't right for you?
There are many online web sites dedicated to rental housing and properties for sale. Keep in mind, the warmer the climate, the higher the cost will be. If you know you're not the type to be comfortable in a compact space such as a RV or mobile home, this is probably not the time to compromise. Be realistic and check out the options, then give it serious thought as to whether it is a good match for you.
Make a list of your "non-negotiables" and then narrow down the options. As an example, if you have a pet, you need to find a place that accepts the size and type of pet that you own. Some communities allow no pets, others allow only certain dog breeds, yet others allow pets under a certain weight. Don't think you can be sneaky, it's not worth getting evicted over a pet and you could violate fire codes in high rise buildings.
Other deal breakers include property type/size, no view/beach access, limited parking and elevators in the building for your elderly pet or guests. Or being too remote for personal needs, health needs and/or access to services such as shipping/receiving packages, which was a major consideration for relocating our small business.
Finding the perfect place to meet all or most of your needs is difficult, but doing your homework will help with making an informed decision or knowing when it's time to move on to a new place.
Share your experience
Contact me with your own snowbird goals, experiences and stories