Home Buying in 85248>Question Details

J, Home Buyer in Chandler, AZ

Leaving home empty and vacant for a while...

Asked by J, Chandler, AZ Tue May 28, 2013

Hello - I am considering buying a house but am based overseas until later this year. The trouble is, I found a house I like. I can appear for closing but plan to leave the house vacant until I return. It's in a nice area so crime is not a big issue (what would they take anyway) but I am wondering how to proceed: in a nutshell, I would need to leave this house vacant for about 6 months before I can return to the US.

Can I rent it for that short a period? I'll go cheap!
Should I hire a management company? It has a pool too - likely will need maintenance.
Mail? Housesitter?
What do snowbirds do when they leave their place for the summer?

This is a really nice house on a lake/golf course.

Any and all advise appreciated!

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi,I am looking for a temp home for about that time .I can aford $500 per month and will take care of the yard and pool.I used to have a house with a pool.Please give me an address and get in contact with me.I am a landlord myself,so I know what I want in a tenant.coukona@cox.net.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 26, 2013
Short term rentals are generally furnished. You can set up landscaping and pool service, perhaps monthly or twice a month to maintain the property. Have a cleaner come out one week before you come home to make sure it's ready for you. If you choose to rent definitely have a property management company that can ensure the property is taken care of. I can help you set up all of this whether you choose to rent short term or just keep it maintained while you are gone. You can reach me at 480-388-2619.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 1, 2013
Being ex-Navy myself I can sympathize. In your case you could do a short term rental however it wouldn't be my first choice as I wouldn't want to have to come home to "issues" from a renter. However short term rentals can and usually are rented at a higher rate than typical one-year rentals so if the numbers make since you may choose to go this route. Do you know anyone here in the area that you trust to meet with a potential renter? If so they can meet and deal directly with them. Purchasing remotely is as easy as it can be. We can have you sign documents electronically so no printing or faxing needed.

Give me a call sometime to discuss. I would more than willing to assist you with getting a short term renter into your new home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 27, 2013
Hello J,

Keep in mind that depending on the location of this home, there may be other interested buyers, and you may have to make an offer now, if this is truly a house you like. Also, like Juan said, home prices here in the Valley could increase 6-10% in six months, and don't forget about interest rates. If you are financing the home, interest rates have gone up significantly over the last 3 weeks, and that could really affect how much you pay monthly, and over the duration of the loan.

If you are the only buyer who is making an offer, you could put in a closing date that more closely relates to when you will be back in town. Instead of closing in 30-45 days, you could ask for a closing date of August 1 or November 1. This will do two things: 1.) it will avoid you having to make monthly payments for the next three to six months on a vacant home. 2.) You won't have to worry about renting or maintaining the property, as the seller will be required to maintain the property up to the Close of Escrow.

If you choose to buy now, I would recommend a property management company to take care of everything, unless you have local friends here you fee you could trust. There is not one correct answer as to what snowbirds do, because some will rent their homes out themselves, some will have friends look after the property, and some will use property management companies. The choice is really up to you, and what type of risk you are willing to accept, what sort of tax implications there may be, and whether you want or need additional income.

Hopefully this has been a helpful resource for you. Feel free to contact me with any additional questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
It sounds like a great place and you certainly could rent it out for 6 months and have some income in the meantime. What is the best number to reach you at to discuss this?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Hello, if you choose to leave the home vacant, I would recommend hiring a property manager that would go in once a week or so and check the plumbing, flush toilets, etc. You will also need them to maintain the front and back yard and the pool. I work with a wonderful company that provides this service, if you would like their contact information, just let me know. You don't need to be here for the closing as the title company would be able to express mail.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
We can mange your situation, its not unlike what we already do for others.

You are correct that a Pool Maintenance Company is needed, this will run about $85 per month for weekly full service.

Landscapers would be another one to hire so that everything is maintained properly and kept in good condition for you. Varies by property, not sure if you have grass or desert landscaping?

We do checks on houses and have found that a visit every 3 weeks is about right for most, we run water, flush toilets, check all of the doors and windows, check the landscaping and pool etc. The typical charge is $45 per visit.

The above services are generally enough to keep most properties sharp and secure.

Rental is another option to consider, we could target a corporate client that needs a short term rental, screen them for credit, criminal and eviction history and offset your costs that way also.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Is the home located in a gated and/or guarded community. If so, this will help greatly. Because there are a good number of part timers in AZ there are services available for absentee owners in which owners can arrange for a service that brings a security person into the home for inspections periodically.

Renting for a short period, in my opinion, would involve considerable risk. Unless you know the people and feel they are to be trusted to take the same level of care of the home as you would, you may be better of with it being left vacant. Unless you absolutely need the income, leaving it empty with periodic inspections is likely the best route.

Hope this is helpful...

Best wishes with your purchase.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
A short term rental is usually preferred over leaving it vacant. A vacant home is a target for copper theifs. Hire an experienced agent to manage and maintain it. It will save you time, money and preserve the homes value
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Thanks for your reply. The home is in a very nice area and I doubt copper thieves would get very far. It's on a golf course. Plus, it would be empty - no furniture -- nothing. I thought short-term renters need fully furnished places.
Flag Tue May 28, 2013

Yes, a short term lease is doable. I personally wouldn't do a short term lease because I wouldn't want to deal with the possibility of dealing with the potential damage tenants can cause, but that's just my personal preference. Your time out of this home doesn't seem long enough to make a short term lease feasible. You could also turn utilities on and leave the A/C on about 85 to help protect the home and use timers for lights so it doesn't appear completely vacant. A home alarm system runs about $40/month to monitor all windows and doors and can also monitor for fire for a few dollars more. You should hire a landscaping company to maintain the grounds, including the pool. You may have to hire both, a landscaper and a pool person. If you need referral to alram companies, landscapers and/or caretakers, click contact under my picture and send me a note, I'd be happy to help. Best of luck to you!

Shawn Schnoor, Realtor
Dynamic Resource Realty
(480) 313-5758
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Hi J

Yes you can rent it out short term and the rental market is still hot so dont expect to rent it out for less than market rent or even above market rent depending on the property. You can hire a property management company and if you are doing a short term rental I would highly recommend that. Our brokerage American Associates does property management as well as sales.

If you do decide on a house sitter then you do not need a property management company and as for mail you can always have your mail forwarded to your current address or any address you would like.

Snowbirds do all sorts of stuff with their properties when they are gone, some have friends or family or neighbors that will check up on the place from time to time, they also allows friends or family to stay at the place if they are away. There are property management companies that will take care of the property while you are gone as well.

If you truly love the home then go for it. In six months from now the market will continue to go up so the price you see now could go up another 6-10%. As for what they will take you truly need to get with a realtor who understands value, have them send you the comparables, and study the prices in the area from price per square feet, location, condition, list price vs. sales price, etc. Without seeing or knowing what property you are speaking about its hard to say what the seller will accept.

Juan Pesqueira
American Associates Real Estate
Spanish and English speaking Realtor
8930 E. Raintree Drive Suite 200 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Direct 480-458-8007 | Fax 480.767.7200
Email: Pesqueira2@cox.net

TEMPE REALTY CO. http://www.TempeHomesCondos.Com
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TEMPE REAL ESTATE BLOG - http://TempeRealEstateBlog.wordpress.com

“1st Priority Clients Best Interest"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Hi J,
Yes indeed you can do a short term rental (and you don't have to go cheap to do it). I have a great group that I can recommend and I have a great pool guy that can manage it until you get home as well as pick up mail and check on the house. I work with investors out of the country and we do this all the time. The shorter leases are nice for people who are waiting on a short sale, might be waiting for a home to be built or have moved into town and are just not sure where they want to buy. Speaking of buying, I can help with that too. I am working to close one this week where the buyer are out of the country and everything has been done via email docs, a specific power of attorney( so my buyers don't even have to come back for the closing), and wire transfers. If you would like some help or some advice, please don't hesitate to email me at tinasellsazhomes@gmail.com or I can be reached at 480-620-2374 as well as texting anytime. I work early in the am until late in the eve so that my foreign buyers can reach me.

I do hope I can be of service to you!

Tina Sanchez
ProSmart Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Thanks for the reply. I am working with a realtor already (she has shown me dozens of houses) and remember that the house would be completely empty -- no furniture. Still rentable all things considered? If this goes through I may inquire further about the pool though.
Flag Tue May 28, 2013
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