We owned two places for a numbr of years until we retired to the area
where we had the summer place at the DE Atlantic shore, sold that
condo, and built a single-family house. Also owned two other summer
places, one in Vermont, the other in the Poconos, but not all at the
same time, however. Thoughts:
1. Get two sets of tools. This avoids not having the right stuff when
needed. When we consolidated the two house, kept the best from each and
gave the remainder to my sons. I also had a pretty good workbench in
the two houses, and took over one closlet at the condo for tools,etc.
You are at least going to be doing minor carpentry, electircal, and
plumbing, as well as painting, papering. A couple of decent tool boxes
will suffice. You need at least a good electric drill.
2. Keep enough clothes at the second place so you aren't always carting
clothing back and forth. At least shirts, socks, underwear, etc., for
as long as you usually stay there. Have at least a washing machine as
well, and a dryer if possible. Saves time of trips to the laudromat.
3. I used the place in Vermont for skiing, so would call a local guy in
advance if the drive needed to be plowed out. Didn't bother in the
Poconos... just parked in the street.
4. A neighbor needs to have a key, and keep an eye on it for you. Did
have one breakin in the place in the Poconos. More aggravtion than
anything. Don't keep anything valuable there, like firearms, jewelry,
5. I shut off water and drained the systems in cold weather. Put
anti-freeze in traps in sinks, toilet. Get most of the water out first
with a "plumber's friend."
6. Only when I was staying for an extended period > 1month, would I
have mail forwarded to the summer place. In the Poconos, I didn't even
bother to have mail delivery set up, as it was only 1 1/2 hours away
from my permanent home in Lancaster, at that time.. Might want to have
a local PO box at the second home, instead of mail delivery.
7. Make it a point to clean out the frig pretty well before you leave.
Mice were always a problem, so kept staples in metal containers, and
ran a "trap line," as well as warfarin.
8. Minimal telephone service is a good idea, but with current crop of
cell phones, might not bother.
9. Set up a local bank account at the second location. You can then
deposit checks from your home account and draw against that, avoiding
foreign ATM fees. When we moved to the DE shore permanently, my banking
was already set up, as well as most other stuff.
There are undoubtedly other things that will come to mind. We will see
what other posters might add to my list. It reflects my experieces.
Your milage will vary.... A lot seemed to have depended on just how
much time you spent as the second home. If short periods, treat it like
a motel, if longer, then fit it out much like you would do for a
permanent residence. You don't want to spend your "vacation" time