Are you thinking about purchasing a second home? Maybe a vacation property, or even something closer to work? How about something to rent to earn extra income? Whatever the reason, there are definitely pros and cons of managing two houses! Today I’m going to share a bit of insight and talk about our experience.
We bought our second home just under 2 years ago (when our second baby was born). The main reason we bought a second home was to be closer to the Husband’s business. It was about a 2-hour drive away from our main house, so not something you’d want to do every day!
In the past, the Husband would drive to work early on a Monday morning and come back late Thursday evening. Luckily he only works those four days, so it wasn’t too bad to be away. He would either stay at his parent’s house (about 45 minutes away from his work) or sometimes even sleep in his office.
After I “left the traditional workforce” and had our first baby (almost 4 years ago), the time apart was more of an issue. I do freelance design work from home, but I could do that anywhere. So I started driving to work with the Husband once Zachary was getting older. This time, we’d started staying at his parent’s “camp”, which is really just their second home.
Buying Our Second Home
I was helping out with the Husband’s business more steadily, we enrolled Zachary in daycare, and we started slowly getting used to life in this other town. It was around January 2018 that we decided to look into buying a second house there, and by Spring we had found one that could work.
Of course, it needed a lot of work (mostly because we decided to make a second apartment to offset our mortgage costs). We stayed in the upstairs of the house while the basement was being worked on. And finally, by summer 2019, we were able to move into the basement and rent out the upstairs long-term.
We lived in the basement for a few months before it was time for me to have another baby. I stayed with the kids at our main house for around 2 months and only started coming back around mid-January. We now had to get used to having 5 of us in our 2-bedroom apartment.
Our Weekly Schedule (ish)
For the past few months, we have essentially been “living out of a suitcase”. It was easier to drive together in one vehicle, but sometimes we had appointments that would cause our schedule to shift a bit. Normally, we’d head to the rental home during the week for work, then pack up everything and go back to our main house for the weekends. We’d do laundry, visit with friends, run errands in town, etc.
We also setup the apartment for weekend rentals on Airbnb. So, if we had someone coming in, I’d deep clean everything, take out our personal effects (not much anyways) and get everything ready for our guests.
If you’ve tried cleaning with little ones around, you know it’s tricky!
Anyways, hopefully all my jibber-jabbering has given you a bit more insight into how we handle our two houses. But let’s get to the list of pros and cons of managing two houses (or more!).
Pros of Owning Multiple Homes
- The ability to earn extra income from renting
- Somewhere to go/vacation spot (great if you get bored at one house!)
- May provide a place to stay for guests who visit
- You learn what you need to live (ie: minimalist lifestyle)
- Building home equity/net worth
- Shipping costs/speed (this one sounds weird, but I order a lot of things online and sometimes it’s cheaper/quicker to send them to one location vs. another)
Cons of Owning Multiple Homes
- Money money money (from downpayments to mortgages, utilities, furniture, etc.)
- Seasonal upkeep is nearly impossible (snow shovelling, mowing the lawn)
- Possibly having to deal with bad tenants
- Security/not being around if something happens
- Normal upkeep/cleaning of houses could fall short
We’ve found the hardest things to be the seasonal upkeep. Where we live, there is a LOT of snow, and it’s not fun to have to shovel two driveways all the time. Well, it’s the worse when you drive to one house, only to be greeted by a foot of snow you need to shovel before you can unpack. (Thankfully our neighbours have been super awesome!).
Oh, and it’s never fun to have to pay for utilities when you’re not using them (I’m looking at you phone/internet bill!).
While our multiple home situation is unique, I’m also sharing links to more stories so you can see how it works for others:
Other Bloggers’ Who Own Multiple Properties
- Young House Love with a vacation beach house and rental duplex
- Rambling Renovators with a vacation home
- The Grit and Polish who own multiple properties for rent
- Yellow Brick Home with a vacation home/rental and upcoming duplex
For us, it’s been tricky (especially as we added more members to our family). AND we have a big milestone coming up, so we needed to take a hard look at how we’ve been living.
Our oldest is turning 4 this year and will be going to school in September. We either had to a) enrol him in a school near our main house or b) enrol him in a school near our rental house/work. Option A would mean that we wouldn’t see the Husband during the week, and Option B would mean that we really wouldn’t visit our main house as much.
So, we did what any
sensible crazy person would do…
And bought another house!
Seriously. (Oh, and can I say that the last couple of weeks have been crazy all over, but definitely for trying to buy a house).
Where We’re Going From Here
So we bought our newest/third house near where we work/have our rental home. We plan to to sell the main house and keep our rental home going. The upstairs is rented to the same long-term tenants, and we’re going to see how the basement apartment does as a full-time Airbnb.
Obviously, with the recent world events and all the craziness that’s happening, we have NO idea how the next few weeks/months will look. We were planning on slowly moving our stuff over to the new house (since there wasn’t a rush and I figured it would be easier with our young kids). We would list our main house around May/June – and I’m hoping that it’s still a viable plan.
Next week I’ll be sharing a photo and video tour of the new house (we closed just a few days ago!). And, I’ll be keeping everyone updated on how the move is going, when our house is listed, etc.
PS: If you’re signed up for my email newsletter, you would have gotten all the house buying details as they happened :)