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Too old to purchase vacation home?
Old 07-11-2016, 10:29 AM   #1
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Too old to purchase vacation home?

Okay, ever since retiring a couple of years ago I've gone back and forth on whether to buy a vacation home or not. I tend to overly worry about big decisions like this. (my life story!)

In a perfect world I would have loved to buy one when my kids were younger but I always worried about saving for college expenses plus wondering how I'd be financially after I retire. Fast forward 2 years and I'm now retired with no financial worries, college costs all behind me and I find that I have an extra couple thousand dollars each month just going into an already large enough bank account.

Currently rethinking the possibility of buying a vacation home again but now my worry is that at age 57 we might be to "old" to start a new adventure like this. My 3 kids are all in their early 20's, single and of course have life's of their own although I'm sure they'd still visit this vacation home.

I guess my question is if anyone else has purchased a first time vacation/second home at this age and found it to be still worthwhile? Currently my wife still works full time but is a virtual employee who could bring her computer with her to the second home and still do her job.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:33 AM   #2
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I doubt you'd find many on this forum think that 57 is "too old" for just about anything. Assuming reasonable healthy, that could be your vacation for another 30 years, so if you can afford it and would use it, start shopping!
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:41 AM   #3
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If I was in your shoes, what I'd do is to rent a vacation home for a few months a year, first. You can afford to do that. By renting, you'll have all of the fun, and none of the responsibilities. Also you could try different locations depending on what you feel like that year.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:48 AM   #4
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I wouldn't.
Going to the same place year after year is boring... as a young adult I grew to resent having to go to the cottage to fix more stuff, do chores, etc, instead of travelling to other places (ex Europe).

Plus there is the cost of taxes, mortgage (or cash payment not earning interest), repairs, insurance, worry about the security of the place when you are not there.

The repairs are a large factor more than many folks realize, instead of you owning a vacation home, it really owns you.

Much better would in my opinion to rent some place for a few months, then try a different place next year.
IF you find the best place in the world, you can always rent there again, and again.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:59 AM   #5
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Owned vacation homes for more than 25 years. Now down to one home and very happy about it.


A couple of things:


1. They always cost more than you think.
2. You feel like you always have to go there to justify its existence.


We now rent for one or two months at a time using VBRO/HomeAway. Cheaper in the long run and we get to enjoy more of a variety of places around the US or the globe. I suggest you make a list of places you'd like to go for a month or two and check those off your list each year.


This year's destination: Park City, Utah.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:06 AM   #6
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I guess my question is if anyone else has purchased a first time vacation/second home at this age and found it to be still worthwhile?
Drake,

I struggled with the decision and decided to "just go for it".

At age 64 I bought a second home (1650 sq ft condo w/2-car garage) in SW Florida I've found that I now spend more than 6 months a year there. I've also found it easy to make friends there, as other snowbirds are looking to add to their social circles (as compared to making friends back in Michigan where everyone seems to already have overly-full social circles and many are still working).

I figure I can always rent it (for a month or the entire snowbird season) if it looks like I won't be using it. Or sell it, as there's a large demand from retiring boomers.

It seems to be appreciating in value which is a nice feature also.

Being a condo of newer construction, there's not much in the way of maintenance required.

YMMV

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Old 07-11-2016, 11:14 AM   #7
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You're never too old to buy a vacation home. The key is to find the right home in the right area for the right price. This (at least for me) requires 100's of hours of research. I agree with the suggestions to rent. If you truly want a vacation home, you can best find one while renting in the area that you want to purchase. Renting would allow to explore several options before purchasing a home. You don't want to make a snap decision and purchase one that isn't right for you.

One thing to consider is maintenance. A 2nd home is not that much of a commitment (other than cost) if you have maintenance covered. So I would recommend figuring out a plan on how to maintain it. Or get a condo.

I found ours (condo townhome) at age 47 after several months of online research and exploring the area from a nearby hotel for a week. I got lucky and found one that we still enjoy 14 years later, spending about 4 months a year there.

Your needs in a 2nd home will change over time. So consider what your needs could be 20 years down the road.

Good luck and happy hunting!
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:15 AM   #8
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Bought my vacation condo at 59. Its true what some say about going to the same place over and over to justify the purchase. In my case I have family near my condo so its great to be able to see them more often than if I didn't have it. Plus I like being able to pack a bag on a whim and take off to the coast. So i'm happy with my decision. But who knows, I may get tired of it as I age. If I do......I will sell it.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:22 AM   #9
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A vacation home is really just a second home..are you in an area where you will want to snowbird for several months at a time? Or get away from summertime heat?

You might want to experiment with a few different areas while you DW is still working. We found VRBO for monthly or longer rentals is a great alternative to outright owning.See how you enjoy being away from home for an extended period.

If your're not sure, it my mind the answer is "No, not right now", don't make your age part of the equation.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:47 PM   #10
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We're 59 and just bought our snowbird beachfront condo last March. Looking forward to a warm winter and changing our residency to a state with no income tax!


Enjoying life!
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:49 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. Most of your thoughts and answers having been circling through my brain for some time now. In our case we live in the Bay Area and are looking for a place in Tahoe which we've been to (and enjoy) many, many times and know well.

Unfortunately the cost of anyplace up there is very expensive. I'm looking at maybe $400,000 but even that doesn't buy you a lot in Tahoe or nearby area's. If we go with a condo/townhouse then I'm looking at spending even less because of the HOA fee's.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:53 PM   #12
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What's the feasibility of buying a vacation home in a low/no tax state (like FL or NV) and making it your primary residence? My understanding is you can't spend more than 183 days in your previous home and will probably need to move car licence & reg, credit card addresses, health insurance, etc. to your new home. But I don't think you actually have to spend 6+ months a year there.

With local tax rates in the NE pushing 10%, a FL or NV vacation home would almost pay for itself!
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
Currently rethinking the possibility of buying a vacation home again but now my worry is that at age 57 we might be to "old" to start a new adventure like this. .
If you have enough money, you are NEVER too old to start a new adventure. I'm more than a decade older than you and, if I could easily afford it, would love to buy a nice lakeside home in northern Wis or Minn including having plenty of paid help to completely take care of the place.

Ain't gona happen. Can't afford it.

In your case, whether spending your "extra" $2k/mo on a vacation home would maximize your enjoyment of the $2k is strictly up to your and your tastes and likes. But if you decide that's what you want, what would maximize your happiness anf fulfillment with life, you're not too old.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:05 PM   #14
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Homes are expensive, so a vacation home to use a couple of weeks a year is not worthwhile. A 2nd home on the other hand, meaning a place you alternate between your other home, may be more cost effective.

My 2nd home is just as expensive to own as my main home. It's not a vacation home, because we go elsewhere for vacation.

About 57 being possibly too old to start this endeavor, it depends on whether you plan to do maintenance work by yourself or not. If you have the money to hire out the work, you can own it at 70 or 80. No problem.

By the way, we stayed at an Olympic Village condo 2 years ago during a trip. I saw that the homes around Lake Tahoe are indeed pricey.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:36 PM   #15
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Thanks for the replies. Most of your thoughts and answers having been circling through my brain for some time now. In our case we live in the Bay Area and are looking for a place in Tahoe which we've been to (and enjoy) many, many times and know well.

Unfortunately the cost of anyplace up there is very expensive. I'm looking at maybe $400,000 but even that doesn't buy you a lot in Tahoe or nearby area's. If we go with a condo/townhouse then I'm looking at spending even less because of the HOA fee's.
A couple thousand a month isn't going to fund that expense....
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:58 PM   #16
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I'm figuring a $400,000. house with 20% down and payments of about $1,400. a month plus all the extra's. Comes out to around $2,000. a month give or take a few bucks.

My big problem is I watch all these House Hunter TV shows with all these people from around the country buying these beautiful vacation/second homes for well under what I willing to spend. As much as I'd like a place, I don't want to spend $400,00. for a fixer upper.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:07 PM   #17
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So I think that number is a little low, it will be a 2nd home so your interest rate won't be rock bottom, many states have a higher property tax rate on second homes...

Heating, cooling, high speed internet, insurance, water, power, maintenance...cable TV things add up in a hurry..I forgot furnishing and outfitting the place to make it liveable
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:21 PM   #18
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Not sure if it makes a difference or not but our primary house was just paid off. I haven't even talked to any finance people yet.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:27 PM   #19
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For the operating costs, don't forget to include taxes, insurance, utility, and last but not least, maintenance.

High-country or snow-country homes cost money to maintain, particularly if they are constructed with wood that needs to be stained or repaired often. My home is in its 10th year. In the last 3 years, it cost me $22K for repair. I do yearly maintenance myself with the staining, but some wood still rots and cracks.

Composite siding and deck cost more, but are worthwhile in the long run. Some say they like the natural look of wood, but they are either ignorant of the maintenance cost, or rich enough to keep writing checks. These locations have a contingency of carpenters and builders to service the weekenders' homes. There's nothing else to make money on around here.
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Old 07-11-2016, 03:29 PM   #20
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I doubt you'd find many on this forum think that 57 is "too old" for just about anything. Assuming reasonable healthy, that could be your vacation for another 30 years, so if you can afford it and would use it, start shopping!
+1 !!!!!

Go for it and do it now. The sooner you get it, the sooner you can enjoy it!
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