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Snowbirds’ Northern Migration Made Simple

Written By Fox Hollow | 03/12/19 | 4 min read

Taking flight as a snowbird means that you have likely made it to one of aging’s greatest benefits—retirement. No longer subject to the daily grind, you are free to enjoy life, your grandchildren, and with any luck, a relaxing hobby or two.

And while there are many steps to becoming a snowbird, it very well might be worth the effort.

Of course, committing to southern migration to escape the winter doldrums means maintaining two residences, which can be expensive and time-consuming. There’s your warm notch somewhere along the sunbelt, perhaps in Florida or Arizona, and then there’s your primary abode in the chilly northeast where winter hits hard and your family calls home. Someone has to maintain that northern nest while you’re perched in the sun—and, unfortunately, that someone is you.

From making sure the heat keeps pumping so your pipes don’t freeze to clearing the sidewalk of snow and debris, it is enough to disturb your peace of mind and ruin your golf game or that bestseller you’ve been reading. As if the cost of maintaining the property isn’t enough to give you a financial headache, paying property taxes on Long Island is expensive and it’s only going to get worse.

But your family roots run deep and need cultivating. You want to keep those bonds strong—otherwise, you’d miss them terribly, especially the grandchildren. What’s a snowbird to do?

Hit The Market

If the financial burden of home ownership is too much to bear during your retirement years, selling your home is an option you should consider. This solves the property tax problem, while also alleviating the pressures of upkeeping a house you’re not even living in year round. As for preserving family ties, a less permanent living situation might be the answer.

According to the Home Buyer And Seller Generational Trends Report 2017 from the National Association of Realtors, buyers ages 71 to 91 are most likely to have retired or scaled back their work demands, thus having the lowest median household incomes. This reduced income means that paying for all of the expenses associated with homeownership can be a challenge made even more daunting with Long Island’s obscene property tax rates.

Although selling a home that holds so many cherished memories may be difficult to consider, it may make sense in the long run. 

Luxury hotels aren’t merely for travelers passing through or locals attending a wedding. More and more people who identify as snowbirds are utilizing hotels during their visits north, as their southern getaways transition to near-permanent residences.

Although selling a home that holds so many cherished memories may be difficult to consider, it may make sense in the long run. Placing a home on the selling block in favor of a yearly hotel stay means eliminating myriad tasks, such as hiring someone to shovel the snow; constant watering; paying utility bills for an empty house; and, most burdensome, cutting a property tax check. And since you’re only visiting north for a few weeks or months at a time, the savings could be significant.

Of course, the implications of selling your home and downsizing in retirement can be draining— emotionally and physically. Before jumping into such an endeavor, it’s important to do as much research as possible, and maybe even consult a financial planner or real estate agent for some advice for recent retirees.

Hotel Life

Hotels also boast numerous benefits for travelers, no matter how long their stay. The three main advantages are immediately apparent: security, luxury, comfort. Firstly, 24-hour security is the conventional norm. Think of it as a gated community without the exorbitant maintenance costs.

And staying at luxury hotel means having access to the surrounding community—this means golf courses, bridge clubs, high-end shopping, fine dining, and more. And with a reduced amount of expenses to worry about, you’ll have more monetary freedom to enjoy your time.

As for luxury, many hotels feature amenities like fitness centers, daily breakfast, high-speed Wi-Fi, access to an outdoor courtyard, perhaps most lavishly, heated pools and hot tubs. Then there’s the comfort aspect, which includes notes of convenience. Hotel rooms are often graced with kitchenettes and cooktops, Keurig coffee makers, spa robes, slippers, platform beds and, sometimes, computers and living rooms with pull-out couches. Not to mention personalized services—and perhaps the best benefit of all—they do the cleaning for you.

This means that while you’re up north, you can focus on spending quality time with your children, your children’s children, and your friends who will likely be jealous of your snowbird lifestyle.

Isn’t that what retirement is all about?