Maintaining a home
complicated, but living in two places at once doubles the responsibilities. There are a number of reasons why you may want to live in two homes at once, but sometimes you have no choice. How can you take care of multiple homes and all the responsibilities that come with them?
Paying for both homes is one of the biggest obstacles when living in two locations. Even if you have multiple homes because you are wealthy, you still don't want to spend blindly. Your family and financial situations determine what you can afford on each house. Here are some expenses to consider in addition to the typical home expenses of living in each place individually.
- Travel costs. Whether you need to drive or fly between homes, travelling will cost you time and money. Plane tickets and gas can add up quickly depending on the frequency that you visit your other home.
- Moving services. If you need to move a lot of things between homes, you may need to hire a moving company.
- Taxes. Owning two homes in two cities or provinces means that you have to pay two different property taxes. If you are renting one home and own the other, remember the different things you are required to pay in each situation.
- Driver's license. Living in two provinces? If you are in your second home for a long time, you may need to get a local driver's license, which will take some time and money.
- Provincial insurance. You may also need to have a separate insurance plan if you live in your secondary home for an extended period of time. Contact your provider to clarify.
- Cars. If your homes are separated by a great distance that forces you to travel by plane, you will need to rent or buy a second car to travel locally at your second home.
Make a schedule
Having homes in two cities can provide freedom, but you can make things easier for yourself if you keep your travels and payments scheduled. If you work at one home and your other home is far away, you can regularly schedule your trips to your non-work home over the weekend. This will help you create a routine for laundry, shopping, fueling your car, and paying for rent, mortgage, and utilities.
You should make a calendar schedule for each home that lists all the necessary payments for each place. It can be easy to mix up the rent or utility payment amount and date in one home with the other. Label everything clearly so you know which payment is for which home. You could create separate calendars in each home that only list their own payments and keep the master list that includes them both in your phone.
Mapping out exactly when you will be in which home will also help you if you decide you want to rent out the unused home while you are away.
Depending on the frequency of your travels, you should move a minimal amount of things with you between your homes. Here are some tips to manage this:
- Have a dedicated travel bag. This should contain all of the things that you'll need with you no matter where you are. This can include razors, medications, toothbrushes, phones, and laptops. Having a dedicated bag to bring with you at all times will keep you from losing your necessities.
- Remember the purpose of the second home when choosing what to bring. If you have a work home, you can leave your paperwork and professional clothing there. A hot or cold vacation home should only be stocked with weather-appropriate clothing.
- Don't travel with a lot of food. If you travel between homes frequently, most food should be left in the freezer or the refrigerator.
- Each home should have its own furniture and appliances. Trying to move these items frequently is expensive and difficult.
Stock your homes appropriately
Your work home does not need to be stocked the same as your family home. If one home is more permanent than the other, the things you need should reflect that.
- If you live alone in one home and your family is in the other, keep the solo home sparse since you don't need to share anything.
- If you have something in one home and need it in another, consider waiting to bring it instead of buying a new one for each home.
- Don't pay for premium cable service in a home where you hardly spend any free time.
- Only buy enough groceries for the length of your current stay since you can't transport food easily.
Take care of your other home while you are away
There are several things you can do to make sure your second home is paid for and maintained while you are in another city.
- Rent or sublet your home to someone on short term leases.
- Let the rest of your family take care of it if they stay in one home while you work in the other.
- If the move is long and you have no house-sitters or possible tenants, disconnect utilities, forward mail, store valuable items in self-storage, and make sure the home is locked up tight.