Jun 262013
 
Geese-on-lake
Finding a rental home for our second snowbird winter


The sun warms my face, the grass is green, flowers are blooming, and daylight extends to almost ten o’clock in the evening. Summer in Manitoba. So why am I thinking about winter?

My husband and I have made rental arrangements for our second winter as snowbirds. Like last winter, we plan to spend the coming winter in Mesa, Arizona. But we have chosen a different type of accommodation and experience. Last winter, we were in a patio home in a small, gated, non age-restricted community. This coming winter we will be in a 55-plus community of manufactured homes.

There are similarities to last year’s choice. We will be in the same general location and have again rented a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home. But there are differences. The community has a clubhouse, games room, fitness centre, and many organized activities. Although the house has a patio, there is no enclosed private outdoor space, which will mean some changes in our dogs’ lives as well.

Renting in one of the retirement parks can be more economical than other homes or condominiums. But there may be restrictions to consider. Many parks require a minimum three-month rental and do background checks on all renters. Each park has its own rules on dogs and visitors.

Locating a rental in one of the 55-plus parks works a little differently than finding another rental. In last year’s post Birth of a Snowbird, I wrote about locating the rental for our first snowbird winter. With the exception of kijiji or craigslist, you are unlikely to find many 55-plus community homes in the sites I listed there. If you have a preferred community, you may find a list of homes to rent on their home-owners association site or can contact park administration directly. This isn’t a great option if you are new to the area and don’t have a list of preferred parks.

I found our rental searching the Internet for homes for sale in 55-plus communities and following links to sites about the community and possible rentals. Having spent one winter in the area, I also had a list of park names to use as search criteria. I spent hours on the Internet and follow-up emails.

We’ve chosen this type of accommodation for the coming year to experience the lifestyle, try it on. Over the winter, I’ll share what we learn on my blog.

Now that I’ve taken care of the upcoming winter’s accommodations, I can relax and enjoy the wonderful lazy, hazy days of a Manitoba summer.

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