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It’s become more and more common for people to be homeowners in multiple states, and this is often the case for business owners who need to be near their offices or clients. There are some tips you can use to make the situation both easier to navigate and cost-saving.
Kristy LaVigne of Better Homes & Properties in Everett, Washington, knows that navigating the multifaceted decisions needed in today’s real estate market requires an agent with dedication, experience, and professionalism. Here are some ideas on how to make your multi-state home ownership work for you.
For the Business Owner
If your business requires you to travel back and forth between two different states, designate someone to be the registered agent for your company to act on your behalf when you’re away. Once you’ve outlined what you want them to do for you specifically, like signing documents, being a designated payee on accounts, etc., you’ll be ensuring nothing important falls through the cracks in your absence.
Keep your work schedule as consistent as possible. This will help you maintain the same routine and give your customers and clients a sense of stability.
Keeping your documents stored digitally means you can access them from anywhere. Convert your docs to PDF/A format. If technology outpaces your current PDF format, they could be lost for good. A PDF/A format ensures your docs are retrievable in the future.
You don’t want to store inventory in a home you may be leasing out part of the year, so finding a place to store those items that is both secure and convenient is an important consideration. Whether you store that inventory in the city and state where you spend most of your time–or your other property–may be dependent on the cost of a storage unit in either of those places. For instance, for San Diego units, a 5×5 storage area will average $150 per month, while that same size storage unit in Seattle will run about $70 per month.
For the Homeowner
Many people choose to have two places they like to call home because of the seasonal weather in each state. Being in a southern state like Florida can be lovely in the winter, while being in Washington in the Spring and Summer can feel like a paradise.
Living in two different states can also be a challenge. You may have to deal with two different sets of laws, two different tax brackets, and so on. You may find purchasing things like health insurance or automobile insurance can be cheaper in one state over the other, so be sure to take advantage of any cost breaks available.
Pay close attention to your deadlines for filing taxes and other important documents. Keep track of all the mail you receive from both states and make sure to open it and deal with it appropriately. Use a phone app for your calendar or planner so that you don’t miss any deadlines or important dates.
Cost of Living
Across the country, the cost of living changes drastically. In some states, the cost of living is much higher than in others. The cost of living is usually measured by the cost of housing, utilities, food, transportation, and health care. The most recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that there are wide variations in costs across states.
● Home prices in the state of Washington average $542,000, while Pennsylvania home prices average only half that at $240,000.
● Food prices are higher in states like Hawaii, which has the highest cost of food in the county, averaging over $500 a month for groceries and in New Hampshire, a month’s worth of groceries averages $183 per month.
● Automobile insurance in Maryland can cost an average of over $800 annually, while in the same region of the country, Maine, it’s little more than $200.
● In-state college tuition in Pennsylvania is more than $12,000, and in Oklahoma in-state public college tuition is just over $6,000.
● Storage units average around $150 for the smallest unit in San Diego, CA, and in Tampa, FL, the smallest units will cost less than half that at $60 per month.
When you’re a business owner, it’s critical to keep on top of your business no matter where you are, so use a registered agent to look after time-sensitive items for you and take advantage of online and mobile apps for document sharing.
And researching the best state for purchases like insurance and self-storage can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year. Having two homes can give you a lot of advantages if you know where to look!