One of the reasons often cited for not taking a working vacation–a short-term, one to six month overseas posting–is “What would I do with my house?” The answer is simple: Rent it out!
Renting your house while living and working overseas offers many benefits. If, like me, you live in a cold-weather climate you don’t want to leave a home empty during the winter months as even the most minor furnace problem, such as a sticky pilot light, can morph into a calamity causing thousands of dollars in damage. Another advantage is the rental income can go a long way toward making your working vacation a travel experience truly done “on the other guy’s dime.”
My wife and I will be leaving in two weeks time for a six-month sojourn in New York City–living in a spacious two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan complements of Columbia University. We found a lovely, professional family to live in our home–a pediatric surgeon moving to town to practice at a local hospital. That income will certainly help us to balance the books while residing in this expensive city.
Now I know that many people are nervous about strangers living in their house for an extended period. To that I say “Don’t be afraid!” In the 15 times we have rented our home, 14 times we returned to a place in as good a shape as we had left it, sometimes better, especially when the renters were handy people who like to fix things. The one time it was left dirty and messy, we used a significant portion of their rental deposit to hire a cleaning company. After a couple of days it looked like new.
So, my advice is not to let your house be the anchor preventing you from “sailing” the world. Pack away the breakables, valuables, and mementos, look for high quality renters, have a friend stop by occasionally to take a peek, leave the phone numbers of plumbers, electricians, and other assorted handymen, and then take off for places far and wide. Most importantly–don’t worry! After all, isn’t that why they invented damage deposits and homeowners insurance in the first place!
In my next post I will share my secrets for finding those desirable, high-quality professional renters who will lovingly care for your home while you are gone.