Looking to escape those freezing cold northern winters, but not get overheated in a blazing hot southern summer either? Perhaps, you should consider becoming a “snowbird.”
And while Florida, Southern California, and South Texas might get more attention in the news headlines, Arizona has numerous advantages and scenic delights to offer that none of these other states can match.
But before you pack up your bags and head south, you’ll want to get some helpful “snowbirding tips” drawn out of the experience of those who’ve done it successfully for years:
1. Fly And Bring Your Car
You don’t have to choose between enduring a long, trying overland journey over unfamiliar territory and going without your vehicle the whole time you’re down in Arizona. You can fly and still bring your car. How?
Ever consider professional auto shipping services? You can easily schedule to ship your car to Phoenix, for example, from practically anywhere in the US. And if you are driving down in an RV but don’t want to tow your car behind you, you can arrange to ship your vehicle to near Arizona’s most popular RV parks, like those in East Mesa and Apache Junction.
2. Rent Out Your Second Home
If you stay at an RV park or prefer to just rent an apartment, condo, or mobile home during your stay, this won’t apply to you. But if you can afford to buy a smaller, second home in Arizona, this can work to your advantage.
First, you’ll save money because you’re not renting. Second, you can turn around and rent out your winter home when you’re not using it. That not only gets you an extra income stream, but insurance on your second home will be lower if it’s not left empty for half or more of the year.
3. Get Your Taxes Ready Early
When you live for months on end in a second state, you may have to pay taxes to both states (depending in which two states they are and other relevant details.)
Check out residency rules and tax issues ahead of time. And get your taxes done as early as possible. Many snowbirds return from Arizona to up north in April, and that makes it easy to accidentally forget the 15 April IRS deadline. Don’t let that happen to you!
4. Arrange To Forward Mail
Today, you can pay many bills over the Internet – and set them up for autopay, in fact. And you’ll get email reminders of when bills are due as well. And of course, you don’t really want anyone to forward your “junk mail to you.”
Nonetheless, there will at least be a few potential pieces of important mail that you’ll want forwarded to Arizona. You can arrange that with the USPS or a 3rd-party mail forwarding service. Or, you may be able to have a friend, family member, or neighbor you trust take care of it for you.
5. Think Home Maintenance
A “house-sitter” or at least a friend or relative who can check on the place now and again is a must when you’re away for extended time periods. You may need someone to monitor your heater to ensure your pipes don’t freeze in your first home while you relax in the sun at your second home.
And there could be other things to watch after, like a home pool or the lawn in late Fall early Spring. Plus, you’ll need a house-sitter, or a property manager if you rent the place out, in Arizona as well.
Of course, there are other concerns to consider, such as prescription meds and medical care while away, but these 5 tips should get you started on the right “wing” as you enter the life of a “snowbird.”