Sounds like you could go either way (rent vs. own) and be OK.
Advantage of renting is that you don't have maintenance and can
change locations whenever you want.
We live mainly in Southern California, but did buy a family
vacation home in Central AZ in the mountains at 6000 ft. elevation
where the weather is decent year round. Our motivation for buying
where we did was that we have two of our four children in the
Phoenix area but it gets hot there 4 or 5 months of the year.
Disadvantage: Our mountain home is in pretty good shape but there
is always something that needs maintaining or fixing.
Advantages: You can get a good deal if you shop around and the
overall cost of ownership is less than renting if you are going to
spend enough time there. We've made some wonderful friendships with
neighbors and love the little town we are in. Since we are in the
dead center of AZ we are only an hour or two from some amazing
We love our place in the mountains but also go on road trips and
cruises. My wife makes two or three trips to Florida each year to
visit her family.
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