Did you know that the population of Florida increases by more than five percent every year during winter? From October to April – with the peak in January – seasonal residents flock to the Sunshine State, earning the nickname of “snowbirds”!
Snowbirds generally are retirees who travel to the Sunshine State to avoid the chill of winter back home. With warmer weather, relaxing beaches, and other inviting attractions, the Tampa Bay and Miami areas are popular snowbird destinations.
But being a snowbird isn’t just a flight of fancy, expenses can add up quickly. In addition to maintaining their permanent residences up north, snowbirds are faced with the decision to buy or rent their second home in Florida. A cost-effective solution – and growing trend in the snowbird community – is to opt for a seasonal vacation rental! But how do you know if a vacation rental home is the right choice for you?
- If this is your first time as a snowbird. Renting a seasonal home makes sense before you commit to a second mortgage. Vacation homes, like those offered by Kong Vacation Homes, allow you to experience different communities and amenities in various cities to find your best fit!
- If you’re nervous about the real estate market. If you think that you might not be able to time a home purchase to your financial benefit or if you are worried about market volatility, it may make more sense to rent.
- If you’re trying to minimize the cost of upkeep. In addition to including furnishings and maintenance as part of the rental agreement, the monthly costs for a vacation rental home are predictable. If you’re a homeowner, you are responsible the costs of upkeep all year long – even when the property is empty!
- If you want to maximize flexibility. You can rent vacation homes almost anywhere, allowing you to experience all that the Sunshine State has to offer. Purchasing a second home locks you into vacation in that location only!
So how do you find that perfect snowbird rental? Property management companies, like Kong Management Group, can help match you with available rentals and offer easily searchable listings. Online sites like Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb have a lot of options for weekly or monthly rentals, helping you narrow down the types of properties you prefer. TripAdvisor also can help give you discover what a particular city might be like and what is nearby. If you have friends who travel for the winter, they might be a great resource for you, too!
Make sure to do your research well in advance of snowbird season, allowing you to book your rental as far in advance as possible. Also, Kong Vacation Homes recommends staying longer in one location to help you save money – typically, a three- to six-month rental will be less expensive than a month-to-month contract.
When you have decided on your timeline and found the perfect place to stay, there are still some more things to consider before you sign the rental contract. Make sure to ask the property owner if there are any additional costs beyond rent, like electricity or Internet. At Kong Vacation Homes, all utilities and Wi-Fi are included in your stay!
Keep in mind that you’ll be packing for an extended time, so make sure your clothes are appropriate for Florida weather (no winter coats needed!) and that you travel with necessary medications, your medical records, and prescription information. If you know you’ll be returning to the same property or area, you may consider storing larger belongings locally – the property manager may have storage space, so make sure to ask!
When it’s time to head south, get into the car instead of flying. Driving on your own make take longer to get to Florida, but it will allow you to bring more of your personal items with you!
If you’re curious about the snowbird lifestyle, Kong Management Group can help you find the right accommodation for you. Contact us at 866-499-9026 or check out our website for more information. Vacation (or winter!) to the fullest with Kong Vacation Homes!