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Re: Second Home
Old 02-18-2007, 05:35 PM   #21
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Re: Second Home

Alta,
I see you are located in Georgia.
What areas are you considering and what do the prices look like?

I live in Atlanta.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-18-2007, 07:39 PM   #22
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Re: Second Home

About 20 years ago I bought 5 acres in the mountains east of SanDiego(about 40 mi from downtown. My wife and I enjoyed going up there and camping...then came the kids. We built a cabin w/ a great big fireplace and went up there darn near every weekend. We had so many good times there - lots of hiking, learning about the local flora/fauna - blow up pools on the deck - friends and their kids coming for weekends----truly a great investment in our family life. We now live in N CA and have put that property up for sale.....truly a good finacial investment! No regrets 8)

Some of my kids fondest memories growing up are of our weekends in that cabin.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-18-2007, 08:35 PM   #23
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Re: Second Home

The same thing can be said about a boat (one large enough to sleep aboard, & live for several weeks). Been there, done that! Dockage or mooring fees. Haul out before the ice comes. Covering the boat. Mold and fungus, & dry rot. If moored, pumping it out after every rain. Vandals (coming to your boat, only to find it awash in beer cans and used condoms can be yucky). Hardware at a 500% markup. Zinc plates and propellar shaft fittings. Bending on the sails. Renewing lines and halyards. Electronics that don't in salt air. Insurance, taxes, liens, m ortgage payments. Guests pestering you for free rides, and then coming aboard and throwing up everywhere. Little quarter-inch holes all over your decks and cabin soles from the girlfriends in their spike-heeled pumps. Rotting remains of crabs that weren't used for bait and escaped. Water in the fuel. Gunk in the gas. Nameless sculch in the bilge. Plugged marine heads (tampoons are really fun, when you have to disassemble the thing in a seaway).

I finally 'swallowed the anchor,' and got a powerful motor scooter. Having difficulty waiting for some warmer weather so I can RIDE (which will be solitary, on back roads, and at motels or swinging from a lonely hammock on public lands).
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-18-2007, 09:51 PM   #24
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScooterGuy
The same thing can be said about a boat (one large enough to sleep aboard, & live for several weeks). Been there, done that! Dockage or mooring fees. Haul out before the ice comes. Covering the boat. Mold and fungus, & dry rot. If moored, pumping it out after every rain. Vandals (coming to your boat, only to find it awash in beer cans and used condoms can be yucky). Hardware at a 500% markup. Zinc plates and propellar shaft fittings. Bending on the sails. Renewing lines and halyards. Electronics that don't in salt air. Insurance, taxes, liens, m ortgage payments. Guests pestering you for free rides, and then coming aboard and throwing up everywhere. Little quarter-inch holes all over your decks and cabin soles from the girlfriends in their spike-heeled pumps. Rotting remains of crabs that weren't used for bait and escaped. Water in the fuel. Gunk in the gas. Nameless sculch in the bilge. Plugged marine heads (tampoons are really fun, when you have to disassemble the thing in a seaway).
It's scary just how much of that resembles the submarine force...
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 07:06 AM   #25
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
It's scary just how much of that resembles the submarine force...
Nords you had problems with holes in the deck from the crew wearing spike-heeled pumps?
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 08:26 AM   #26
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
Nords you had problems with holes in the deck from the crew wearing spike-heeled pumps?
Dirty, little submariner secret... :P
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 08:36 AM   #27
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
Nords you had problems with holes in the deck from the crew wearing spike-heeled pumps?
Oh, the crew!

I thought we were talking about girlfriends. Uh, yeah, sure, that's it. That's what I meant. Right.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 12:32 PM   #28
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by atla
My spouse really wants to buy a second home in the mountains nearby. While that appeals to me, the cost of carrying, furnishing and maintaining two homes really turns me off. I am afraid that it would be just one more problem to deal with instead of being a getaway place. She has suggested downsizing to offset the costs but it still would cost more than just owning the one home. Tell me what your experience has been with a second home to help me in this decision.
If you don't have the time, the desire and the $$$ to maintain two houses don't do it. I bought a cabin in the mountains 5 years ago. We lived 1400 miles away from it but we bought it with the intent of moving here and exentually expanding it and moving it to it as a retirement home.

The expenses the first year were not so bad. $900 propane, $500 water, $200 HOA, $500 road plowing charge, $1000 maintenance, $700 insurance, $1000 electrical not counting toys.

The next couple of years the maintenance expenses started to pile up as we stated to see the shortcoming of the orginal design in heavy snow country. The toys required maintenance, insurance, gas, and took up space in the garage. My new wife was not all that crazy about the place and with her grandkids, we found we were not using it much at all. It became an expensive hobby and no one in the family ever wanted to go up there much so it was all up to me to do the maintenance, downed tree clearing, weed-eating the open areas and keeping erosion under control. I found that my time there was not restful as it was intended. I was working many hours during the weekend and had little time to really just chill out.

We are now selling it and I will be very happy in some ways to see it go; and sad in others but it will open a lot of doors for us and will eliminate the worry and expense (time and money) with keeping up.

We loved it when we used it but it was a worry and a headache much of the time.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 01:12 PM   #29
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Re: Second Home

I have often considered purchasing a vacation home. I have not been able to justify the costs and maintenance. Not to mention that if the vacation home was not near (which let's face it... why would it be), I would often feel anxious about the asset (concerns of damage from storms, theft, etc...).

I could cover all of those concerns with extra costs for professional management.

Here is my take. I am not the type to want to spend huge amounts of time in the same place over a 10 year period (except my home), so I decided it would be more economical for us to rent/lease. If we FIRE in the next few years, we will probably downsize to a condominium or landominium. If we decide to spend several months a year at other locations, we will lease. This give us more flexibility and we do not have to try to rent when we are away to recover costs.

If I were actually considering a purchase, I would probably lease for a certain period first... just to determine it the location was right.


Shift gears.

About 20 years ago I bought a sailboat (catalina 22') and kept it at a boat slip at lake lanier (outside of Atlanta). I paid $5000 for the boat, about $200 on equipment and some elbow grease to clean it up, and a $100 for gas. I think Insurance was about $100/year. The slip cost $900/year. I lived about 25 miles from the marina. I had a leason learned from that experience... I was only interested in sailing when the weather was warm and nice, which limited usage to about 5 months. Out of those months I was primarily using it only about 4 of those months. I did not want to drive 25 miles back and forth every weekend and spend all day (other stuff to do). The most that I used the boat during a given year was about 10 or 11 times. I was lucky, I sold the boat after 3 years for $5000.

So I did the math. I probably used the boat about 37 times for approx 4 hours at a trip. I will consider the basic cost/sell of the boat a net $0. The other expenses over 3 years was approx $3300. If I used the boat 33 times, it cost me $100 a trip. I could have rented an equivalent boat at the time for about the same amount of money.

Luckily, I did not buy a new boat or I would have probably lost quite bit of money.

My 3 lessons:

1) never buy a new boat! Boat owners that are ready to sell are very motivated so they will not have to pay slip fees (large boat).
2) consider renting... it is probably cheaper and someone else has to take care of the details.
3) the happiest days of a boat owners life are the day it was purchased and the day it was sold. This was my experience ( a cliche but true).

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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 04:16 PM   #30
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Re: Second Home

We have owned a lake house for 11 years. It is located about 90 mins from our house.

Advantages:
- Appreciating asset - value has tripled in 11 years (as opposed to, say, a boat)
- Great get away where things are already set up - we can decide on Friday to run up for the weekend and our stuff is already there
- No tv - forces the kids to play games, be outside, use their imagination, etc
- Leads to intense family bonding time (that's USUALLY a good thing!)
- Life memories for our family of water sports, fishing, biking, etc
- We furnished it almost completely from garage sales, so we had fun furnishing, and it wasn't that expensive
- Income - the first few years we owned it, we rented it in the winter (easy to do since it's relatively close to a university)

Disadvantages:
- Maintenance
- Worry - especially when we have our big Northwest windstorms
- Added expenses - elec, water, taxes, etc

Overall, it has been very an extremely positive experience watching my 3 kids spend their summers growing up at the lake. I've always called it an investment (the real estate portion of my portfolio) to help justify it in my mind!
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-19-2007, 05:59 PM   #31
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Re: Second Home

Our experience was the same as the early posters, a weekend handyman job after working all week, 300 miles each way, only seasonal use. We sold it after a few years.
A neighbor bought a few low-mountain acres in the 1970's. Built a small cabin on it and spent almost every weekend there with the kids. It was an hour and a half from the city. Upon retirement, they sold out in the city then built a beautiful but not large home at the country place. The cabin (200- feet away) is the 3rd and 4th bedrooms when the whole family visits now. Otherwise, they rent the cabin often. If you just want to weekend in one place permanently, get a place close and convenient for year-round use.

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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 08:37 AM   #32
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Re: Second Home

Com'on there has to be some good horror stories out there .... here's one to kick this up a notch ....

Insurance company required a freeze alarm (it's a good thing) ... sooo for $120 I bought the one that also alarms power outages. 3 weeks ago we got the nastiest ice storm; 3/8 - 1/2 inch ice piled up on every tree, wire, car, roof ... everything.

So I am diligently calling my monitoring system to hear the temp and power stats. No problem ... yet.

4 AM ... the phone rings. Wakes DW picks it up and hangs it up mumbles something incoherent and goes back to bed. I am thinking "OK, either the freeze alarm went off and I set it to 40 degrees - no problem ... yet - or the power is out - it'll call back in 120 minutes."

6 AM ... the phone rings. DW pick it up mumbles "pppowers out" and goes back to bed. Sooo I jump out of bed and try calling the monitor ... nothing. Phone lines must be out too?? Check the temperature outside ... 1 degree!! Even colder in the mts and I haven't had heat for over 2 hours. It'll take me 2.5 hours to get to the house; another hour n'half to get the wood stove to temperature. "oh, @#$%# I need to GO!"

Sooo I pack a bag inside 10 minutes ... peck DW and the kids on the cheek ... and I am in the car driving to the lake house. 1/2 hour into the drive, I figure "what the heck, call the house ... maybe the power is up". Sure enough power is back up, temp is 41 degrees. Pheww ... turn around and drive home.

Got home and got an ear full from DW about "what a pain the @ss this is"... like I said "the jury is still out".
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 10:48 AM   #33
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Re: Second Home


My parents would not call that a horror story.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 11:23 AM   #34
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Re: Second Home

OK here's another one ....

MIL inherits a small house in central VT decides to keep it as a second home. Locks the place up in November ... see ya in the spring. No freeze alarm. Insurance still in her mothers name.

Shows up at the house in March can't open the doors ... hmmm, what's up? BIL goes to the house a week later; thinks he hears water running. Basically kicks in the door (it was swollen shut) only to find every pipe in the joint spurting water.

The basement was 6 feet under water. 96K worth of damage. Thankfully the insurance company honored the claim. We believe the furnace (oil) failed and everything went down hill from there.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 11:38 AM   #35
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
I was only interested in sailing when the weather was warm and nice, which limited usage to about 5 months.
Wuss
Here are Sailors on Lanier three weeks ago:
[img width=750 height=562]http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d10/ssailor/IMG_3746.jpg[/img]

But seriously - good story about the cost of owning a small sailboat.
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 01:55 PM   #36
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Re: Second Home

Ok, here is a horror story or two on my cabin.

1. First day we actually moved into the cabin was in the dead of winter...right before Christmas. We borrowed a couple of snowmobiles and sleds to move the household stuff (cabin was furnished) into the cabin for the first time. It took many trips. We get the stuff unloaded and into the proper room and I go to turn on the main water system so we can flush toilets etc. I turn on the main and a short time later I hear a strange noise....then all He** breaks loose and water comes pouring down from the ceiling and out of the wall in the lower level...The "expert" who winterized the cabin for us after the initial sale did not drain all the water lines and left the heat off in the cabin to "save propane". The result was split water lines and no water for several days as I found a plumber willing to travel in winter, in the snow, into the backcountry to fix a series of broken pipes. Total cost $1000.

2. Two years ago, I am up there in early Spring clearing off the remaining snow and getting things ready for more routine visits when I see some fluffy yellow material scattered around the ground. Having some intimate knowledge of what this might be from a previous experience I turn and look up at the side of the cabin. Way up...about 35 feet from ground level I see the source....a very large woodpecker is sticking her head out of the 6 inch hole she made in the cabin for a nest. The tree hugging repair guy I use insisted we wait for 5 weeks before he fixed the hole to make sure all the babies launched properly. Cost $1500

3. Last year we did not go up there after New Years due to heavy snow and no desire to brave the 2 mile snow mobile trip in. In February, we noticed a rather large jump in the power bill for the cabin...huge jump! I took the snowmobile and trailer out of storage and set off for the cabin. I made the 2 mile trip in a nasty snow storm through 5-6 feet of deep powder finally getting to the cabin. The scene that greets me is the double garage door is wide open and the garage is 4 feet deep in snow. All the water lines, water tanks, hot water tank, water pump and two 500 gallon storage tanks are frozen solid with sheets of ice on the walls and floor. It took me 3 hours to get the snow out of the garage enough to close the door...the source of the high power bill was the baseboard heater in the garage...buried in ice but dutifully putting sucking up electricity in a vain effort to create heat. Total cost: $3500 and a near heart attack trying to drag a stuck 400 pound snowmobile out of deep snow alone.



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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 02:02 PM   #37
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Re: Second Home

Hokay, I'm gonna stop complaining about the bitter-cold Hawaii winters.

And next time someone asks me for a scary submarine sea story I'm going to link them to SteveR's post...
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 02:16 PM   #38
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Ok, here is a horror story or two on my cabin.
Are we sharing this with the prospective buyer for the cabin.......? Or is it just between us folks?
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 03:09 PM   #39
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
Are we sharing this with the prospective buyer for the cabin.......? Or is it just between us folks?
Hey hey hey, I'm sure all the equipment has been replaced and the damage has been repaired.

"Operator error" is the new owner's problem!
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Re: Second Home
Old 02-20-2007, 04:15 PM   #40
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Re: Second Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan
Com'on there has to be some good horror stories out there .... here's one to kick this up a notch ....
Turned in the drive ready for a relaxing weekend by the pool with guests and saw:
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