Should Snowbirds Rent or Buy Vacation Properties?

02/04/2020
Question:

We have been renting a property in Florida every winter for the past 5 years and plan on coming to the same spot for many years to come. Is it cheaper to keep renting or would be better off buying a property in the long run?

Answer:

When it comes to renting vs. buying a vacation property for snowbirds, the rule of thumb is if you spend 4 months or more in the same destination year after year, you’re usually better off financially if you buy, because the carrying costs of owning will be less than renting for 4 to 6 months.

Of course, if you’re looking to buy you’ll either have to have the necessary capital or the means to finance a purchase. Some snowbirds use a line of credit or mortgage on their Canadian home to finance a winter home - or you can finance through a Canadian bank that operates in the U.S.

Ultimately, whether it makes financial sense for you to rent or buy comes down to several factors, including:

  • Do you plan on spending your winters in the same place for several years?
  • How much time do you plan on spending in your winter destination each year?
  • Do you have the means to purchase a property outright or finance the purchase?