Snowbird FAQs is a forum where we provide answers to some of the most common and interesting questions we receive from Snowbird Advisor members that we feel will be of interest to other members.
We had trouble finding a suitable winter rental this past Fall. When is the best time to start looking for a winter rental property for next season?
With so many people retiring each year, there’s a lot of pressure on the winter rental market across the southern U.S. and some parts of Mexico.
In addition, many owners of rental units give preference to their existing renters for the following year, so you may not even have access to these units if the current renters commit for next season.
With that in mind, its never to early to start seeking out a rental property, but the ideal time to look and book for the following year is in March and April, near the end of the snowbird season.
It’s also important to be aware that landlords usually prefer someone looking for a minimum 3-month rental, so if you’re thinking of just renting for one month, you may have a tough time finding something during peak season.
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?
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?