As I await my second Covid shot next week, I am still living my life as something of a shut in. If the weather was warmer and the snow had melted from the fairways, I would be out on the golf course here in Connecticut but, for now, most of my days are spent where I am sitting at this very moment – at a rolltop desk in front of my laptop, either writing something related to golf or doing my research for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. When I tire of the writing and research, I head to the man cave to watch an episode or two of some British mystery series. (A couple of weeks ago, I finished binge-watching five seasons of a quirky New Zealand detective series, The Brokenwood Mysteries, that I enjoyed.)
Simply put, I have time on my hands and I spend a lot of it writing. In November I published Glorious Back Nine: How to Find Your Dream Golf Home, my first ever book. Apparently, I can’t help myself because another one is on the way in April or May, also aimed at the Baby Boomer golfer. I am co-authoring this one with Brad Chambers, who is the impresario of ShootingYourAge.com, a blog site dedicated – as its name implies – to sharing information to help the senior golfer play the best he or she can. Brad is also the author of the book Think Better, Play Smarter and Manage Your Way to Better Golf Scores.
In the new book, whose working title is Playing Through Your Golden Years, we cover some of the territory in Glorious Back Nine but with some updates and a fresh spin or two. Brad is contributing a lot about the golf game itself, which I ignored in my book because it was focused primarily on golf communities and the golfing lifestyles of retirees.
One of the questions I receive often enough to warrant some consideration is about the possibility of using your home as a rental to help generate some income and defray expenses. An excerpt on that topic from the upcoming book follows.
Renting Out Your Home: Landlord Beware
You may be wondering “Can’t I rent out my condo or home when I am not using it?” Yes, you can but, no, you won’t, in most cases. Imagine, for the moment, that your winter home is a condo in Sarasota, FL, which you won’t use for the six months from May through October. Daytime summer temperatures in Sarasota are relentlessly in the low 90s. The golf courses tend to empty out except for the few brave souls who are heat resistant (or can snag the 7 a.m. tee times). There is virtually no market for rentals in Florida in the summer. Also, if you are going to rent out your place to strangers, you will likely not furnish your home in the way you want it, fearful others might not take proper care. (Think golfing buddies far from home, or families with young children.)
Still, in locations near a beach and other summertime activities, some people do make a go of renting their seasonal home in what, for them, is the off season. A couple of thousand dollars per week can go a long way in paying the taxes and dues you are on the hook for even when not in residence. But be aware there are some traps in renting your place out for more than two weeks a year, the limit the law permits to qualify for advantageous tax treatment. You will have to compete with others renting out their units, and that will mean spending money on marketing. You must also engage a local cleaning service to restore your unit or home to its condition prior to a re-rental. Marketing and housekeeping can be handled by a local real estate or management company on your behalf, but expect to pay up to 40% of your rental income in management fees.
One final note: By-laws in many golf communities do not permit short-term rentals, defined as under six months. This could put a crimp in your plans, especially if you plan to officially live in, say, Florida, six months and a day each year in order to pay no state income tax (as a Florida resident). If you are contemplating getting into the landlord business with your second home, the strong advice here is to visit a tax accountant first.