The rise of “co-primary” living

In the telecommuting world of 2021, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of where you can spend your time. While some have returned to the office, others have taken advantage of remote work to split their time between multiple residences—a move that can come with some legal and practical hurdles!

Broadly speaking, the events of COVID-19 and the rise of remote working has given many homeowners a sense of newfound freedom. Whether that’s creating a decked out home office and media center or working from a cabin for the summer, there are more possibilities out there for more people, now that it is less necessary to be tied to a physical office.

Others, are taking this a step further by splitting their time more or less evenly across multiple different homes, sometimes all the way across the country.

For state and local tax purposes, homeowners have to declare a primary residence. Generally this would be the home where they spend the majority of the year. But things get a bit more murky when families are dividing their time more or less evenly across two or three different states.

This is the “co-primary home” lifestyle. Now, that vacation home or cabin isn’t just for weekend getaways or family reunions. An increasing number of people are settling down in multiple communities simultaneously, creating parallel networks and routines.

This can get fairly complicated, as you can only have one primary domicile for tax purposes. Depending on the state taxes, you may want to select one state over another to save, but there can then be issues with working out of state. Another key consideration is that homeowners insurance is often more expensive on vacation homes, due to the presumption that they will be neglected for the majority of the year. This is starting to change, however, as insurance companies begin to recognize “co-primary” situations.

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