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Upper Delaware Valley second homes for rent

Helping to pay the mortgage

By FRITZ MAYER

UPPER DELAWARE VALLEY — It’s easy to assume that a person who owns a second home is wealthy enough that he or she has no financial concerns. But the other way to look at it is: that person might also have two mortgages. In these financially tumultuous times, that’s not necessarily an enviable place to be. Having two such payments now might make some people nervous?even those who’ve not lost a job.

At least one author has thought of a way to perhaps benefit by the times. Christine Karpinski has penned a book called “How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner.” She says it’s easier than it might seem.

A press release from the publisher advises, “If you try to sell (now), your home will probably sit on the market for some time. And even if you find a buyer, you’ll likely be selling at a loss. So by renting to vacationers, you’ll be able to cover your mortgage and property taxes andů maybe even turn a profit.”

Sounds good, but is it really so simple?

There are websites that specialize in vacation rentals by owners; one is www.homeaway.com. There are dozens of properties listed in the Upper Delaware Valley, on both sides of the river, and prices range anywhere from $200 per night to more than $500.

Ann Freedman and her husband own a house on Lake Jeffersonville, and last year she started renting the second home out for short rentals. She said in a phone interview, “We have a teenage boy whose dream vacation is not going to the Catskills with his parents.”

Freedman and her husband, who live in New Jersey, hope to retire to their home on the lake. But in the meantime, the rentals help pay the mortgage and other expenses. Freedman said she started her own website for the purpose, but she was actually getting a better response from Homeaway, and another site www.vrbo.com. She said she was fairly busy through the holidays, has kept fairly busy through the winter and expects to be quite busy this summer.

She said the move to rental income required her to get a tax identification number, adjust her insurance and make other changes. But perhaps the most important part of the process is screening the renters. She corresponds with potential renters several times before sealing the deal, and thinks it’s important to have a phone conversation with the customer rather than relying on emails.

Jesse Escue, who lives in the city and rents out his second home in North Branch, also said screening renters is an important part of the process. “If someone gets on the phone, and they’re pretty flaky within the first few minutes, it usually goes downhill from there,” he said, adding that the rentals are working out pretty well?he had a couple up from the city through Valentines weekend?and the income helps pay the taxes.

With the recession taking hold, renting second homes seems to be a growing trend. Freedman said there’s been a large influx of second homeowners into the rental market in recent months, and she believes that is due to layoffs and other recession-related impacts in the city.

Contributed photo
These kids are frolicking on Lake Jeffersonville, NY, in front of a vacation home that is available for rental. (Click for larger version)