Saturday, December 12, 2020

Snowbird Life Style: How To Own Two Houses

Wow! You are retired...that day is finally here when you wake up in the morning as late as you want and do what you want all day. The reality of this life will slowly settle in and you will establish a routine that works for you. 

This is that time that you can make all those dreams come true. And, in many cases, that dream includes some changes. For example, some of you have always dreamed of travel or selling your house so that you can live full time in an RV. And some of you have dreamed of having a second home in a warmer place for your winters. That is what I am going to talk to you about today...a vacation home.

The life that you live in retirement can progress through many stages. I want you to see that the life you might choose in the beginning will probably not be the same life you choose to as the years go by. I call it growing up in retirement...infancy, adolescence and finally, full adulthood. There are many stages even as you grow older.

So lets suppose you have progressed through all of those stages moving from travel to several month in some southern location or you are the type of person that simply wants to settle into a home right from the beginning. You want a second home in Florida or Mississippi or California or Arizona. But, the reality is you think you cannot not afford a second home without being house poor. I cannot tell you what to do but I can tell you what we have done that made owning a second house...on a golf course...possible.

  • We began in an RV and traveled for about 6 weeks a year. 
  • Then our "second home" life changed to a life in an RV resort in a motorhome.
  •  With the purchase of a 600 square foot "park model" we began staying for 6 months in our home in Oregon and then 6 months in Arizona.  The park models are very inexpensive. We bought ours for less than  $17,000. A park model is a trailer of sorts with wheels underneath but no tongue in the front. It sits on rented space in a resort with amenities like a pool, pickle ball and bocce ball. Most have a room added on the side that will be called an Arizona room or a Florida room or even a lanai. In truth a tiny house is really all that a person needs. 
  • We then sold that park model and bought a townhouse that needed a lot of love. We painted, updated the master bathroom, restored the back patio and added a front patio seating area and bought furniture at second hand consignment stores. We finished with the restoration and sold the property at a considerable profit. We were in our 4th winter season in the home when we sold. 
  • Then we bought the golf course home.

So where did the money come from?

We managed to own the park model debt free. It was a stretch to begin with but we always live on what we have and purchase very carefully. 

Because we were on the upswing in the real estate market, we were able to refinance the home in Oregon at a lower interest rate and take the money out of it to buy the town house. Our payments on the Oregon home remained essentially the same. We own the town house debt free. 

That gave us a big head start when we came into this market of 2020. The interest rates are the lowest ever and the housing market is in the seller's favor. Hard negotiating and a wonderful real estate agent that worked for us let us do what we wanted. Our home on the golf course is waiting for us.

State # 1...a purchase of a park model. We lived in the RV resort for many years before we need a change. The people surrounding us aged out of the location and we wanted to be around children and neighbors that worked and were younger.

We bought this park model, repainted the exterior and added trim.

We added this porch so we could also dine outside.
Arizona is perfect for that.

I took advantage of exterior space to plant winter blooming flowers.
It had a lot of "curb appeal".
We updated the bedroom with fresh paint and a simple Walmart bedspread.

My husband added this Arizona room.

Stage #2...we sold the park model and moved to a town home near to walking trails, a grocery and Home Depot.

We bought this townhouse and this is how it looked when we purchased. It was ok but needed some big time love. The floors were beautiful and all. of the asbestos ceiling had been removed and it had been repainted.


Kitchen after cabinets were painter and pulls added.

The out door area looked like this when we bought it.
We replaced the fence and my husband updated the brick patio space. 


The cabinets across the living room wall were very worn and dingy looking.

We repainted them and moved the TV. It may have been what sold the town home. Notice the small fireplace in the middle. It is electric and stays when we go.

Stage #3...We purchased this single family dwelling with no HOA costs. It is across from a school, which we love and the city owns the streets and maintains them. The market was right and the negotiating worked out for us. We will be at home here after Jan. 15, 2021. Timing, it turns out, is everything.

Entry of our new home...1800 square feet with 4 bedrooms.

All tile floors carpeting.

Beautiful view of the 5th hole at Rolling Hills Golf Course. 
This is where my husband plays several times a week.

Now, we can finally invite our family to come in bigger groups. We are very happy about that.

It has been a process that we love. We have many friends here in the Tucson area that we have made over the years. And the creative process is fun for both of us. If you have any questions thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment. 



  1. This is wonderful! Congrats! We are contemplating a move to a warmer climate. You've given us some great ideas and much to think about it. Thanks!

  2. This is wonderful! Congrats! We are contemplating a move to a warmer climate. You've given us some great ideas and much to think about it. Thanks!

  3. We are still in the Tucson park model we bought six years ago, in a retirement community. We're six months here and six months at home in Seattle. This summer we remodeled the daylight basement in Seattle and now have an apartment with an open floor plan and no stairs. The upstairs is rented out to one of our kids and his family.

    1. I have watched your remodel looks beautiful!


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