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Vacation home, do you regret it?
Old 03-26-2017, 06:10 PM   #1
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Vacation home, do you regret it?

I live in the South, but I not particularly like summer weather in the South. I have rented for vacations in Northern Michigan for many summers. Now I'm fully retired. I could rent a cottage for a whole summer. I'm thinking of buying and found a very good deal. I will make an offer in a day or two if I don't get cold feet.

I know all the arguments in favor of renting. But we would enjoy having our own place. I can afford it, so it is really the issue of having the responsibility of owning 2 houses.

I wonder what others think who have purchased vacation homes?
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:29 PM   #2
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Funny. I'm in Houston And I'm thinking of getting a vacation home in TN near family, but can't quite pull the trigger yet. Good luck deciding.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:30 PM   #3
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Done it both ways...owned and rented. I prefer renting as I like to go to different places on occasion.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:41 PM   #4
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Have spent years considering this. Just cannot get comfortable with owning two places; maintaining one is enough headache.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:50 PM   #5
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We do about 6 months in SoCal and 6 in Oregon. Own in both places. After almost 7 years the 1000+ mile drive is getting old - or maybe I am. We load up the family truckster both ways and have to deal with un-enthused cat and the feeding and output of same. Always seems like there are tools I need in the other place, even with a lot of duplication. Every trip we end up trashing a bunch of condiments and partial containers (pickles, coffee, etc.). Have tried to outfit each place completely with the fantasy that I could get on an airplane with just a toothbrush; with the result that, again, the pants or jacket I wanted is 1000 miles away. Utility cost and getting utilities turned on and off is distressing. I don't want to pay to have internet at both places year-round. I don't want to have the gas furnace or AC clicking on and off in our absence. I don't want a pressurized water system breaking while we are months away. This means several days each year of winterizing and bring the homes back on line. Yard and pool care have to go on full time in both places. How do I know a roof leak hasn't happened a month ago and the house isn't rotting in my absence?

All that said, I like living with our stuff and our furniture and our design choices. I like owning, not renting.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:08 PM   #6
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My two homes are only a 2.5-hour drive apart (but with nearly 6,000 ft difference in elevation). Good thing I did not go for a 2nd-home up in the Puget Sound which would be more than 1,500 miles away.

If I needed a house that far away, I would think of renting. I used to dream of having a home in Tuscany or in Provence after reading Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle, but soon realized the impracticality of it besides the cost. Now, I would rent through Airbnb and have much less hassle.

Same with my former dream of doing RV'ing through Europe. Nope, hotels and Airbnb is much less headache.

PS. Talk about regretting, no, I do not and will not. When it stops working for me, I will sell it. The time we enjoy it is worth it, and I was able to afford it.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:29 PM   #7
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When I was a kid my family had a vacation home. I loved it, but as an adult, I find that I prefer going different places and feel I get more out of what would have been the cost of the 2nd place. My sister disagrees, as she now has that vacation home for herself. Its all personal preference.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:40 PM   #8
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I have always wanted to have a second home in Hawaii. But for all of the reasons that calmloki pointed out, I just can't bring myself to deal with the hassle and expense of maintaining two homes.
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:26 PM   #9
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For me, there is a quality of life with the owned second home that cant be duplicated with renting. Over the years its a big gathering place all summer for friends and family. Countless good times in that house speciifcally. You just cant have that same vibe renting.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:22 PM   #10
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Haven't really regretted it. It has been fun place for the kids to grow up and make new friends. And took up sailing as a result which has been fun. Have been happy that we bought a well built cottage that is as close to zero maintenance as I can imagine a place being. We've also had good appreciation in value but definitely don't consider it an investment in terms of finances.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:58 PM   #11
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Yes.

The main thing is what works for some people does not work for somebody else. We have seen that with RV'ing. I enjoy it, and will continue until I am tired of it. And I definitely do not want a large RV. Some posters here said they did not enjoy it, and sold their RV after a season or two.

There is a certain joy of ownership, and also the hassle that comes with it. One may not know if the first is enough to overcome the latter. It may take some serious thinking to see if there is a chance of that. Even then, one is still not certain until he has done it. For me, I know now that I would not be able to handle a 2nd home more than a couple of hour drive from my main home.

I will keep my 2nd home for a while, as it is quite accessible. And when I no longer can use it or care, I will ask my children if they want to keep and maintain it.
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Old 03-26-2017, 11:00 PM   #12
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We're very fortunate to have 3 major lakes within 16 miles, and our fish camp has been in our family since 1945. With deep water and a sunset on the horizon, every nightfall is incredibly beautiful. And it's only 18 miles from our city home.

It's great to walk down 27 steps to a boathouse, punching a button and one of 3 boats goes into the water--ready to go.

Let me just say that owning two homes requires a commitment--to go there most every weekend and to properly maintain it. I see no way that I could own a house 500 or 1000 miles away as that's really where my heart is.

To MiKETN: You have a bunch of incredibly beautiful lakes in the Knoxville area, and you too could get into the lifestyle without having to go far.
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Old 03-26-2017, 11:17 PM   #13
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Haven't really regretted it. It has been fun place for the kids to grow up and make new friends. And took up sailing as a result which has been fun. Have been happy that we bought a well built cottage that is as close to zero maintenance as I can imagine a place being. We've also had good appreciation in value but definitely don't consider it an investment in terms of finances.
We have one that has been in the family for 100 years.
Kids growing up there every summer, made life long summer friends.
We use to live close so to drive there was only a few hours, so it got used a lot, even just for weekends.

Now we live 1,000 or so miles away, so it's a major trip to go to it, it gets used 1 time per year.
Maintenance is a big issue.
Always a big, bad surprise when first arrive, something to take care of or fix.
Property taxes and Insurance could pay for a week cruise instead.
Kids are fine with going to it to party, but not interested in any chores.
I don't the kids can afford their own life, and the costs of the summer house
I'm thinking I need to sell it, If I could see using it 3 or 4 months a year, I'd keep it.

The nice thing about renting is you can change places/locations and when things break it's not your problem.
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:46 AM   #14
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We owned a second home about 90 miles from our primary home for 4 years. At the time we were both w*rking full time so we only used it maybe 30 nights a year. We had a lot of overhead- gardener, pool guy, Internet, cable, etc. We like to travel internationally and the cost of maintaining the second home (where as others has mentioned, stuff has to be duplicated) started to eat into our travel budget as well as delay our ER plans. We sold it 4 years after buying and figured out it cost us over $1,000/night for the nights we actually spent there.

It's remotely possible we would buy a second home again, but not until we are "done" traveling elsewhere and are happy to divide our time between our primary residence and the second home. That day may never come, or if it does we may no longer want to do the 90 mile drive between the two areas regularly.
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:28 AM   #15
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Have owned two condos down south to avoid "up north" winters and love it. We drive (18 hrs) in Dec-March, and fly down 4-5 times during the year as a week long get aways.

Couple of observations: be sure you love the area. The cost of ownership of vac. home is high enough to reduce the amount of "other" travel. And, find a place with as little maintenance as possible. We love flying in and enjoying without "catching up" on lawn, vegetation removal, etc. Just add fun/relaxation. Who wants to spend 2 days "prepping" the place?

Also, DS brings teen Grandkid's down for spring/fall breaks for a cheap getaway. He could rarely afford to do that if he paid for a hotel.

Cost of ownership has been reduced by increase in property value. Someday, should we sell, we should "net out" OK. (Did when we sold the first).

At times,we are tempted to sell and buy an RV and travel more. My guess is if we owned an RV, and did not have the condo, we would dream of condo ownership instead.
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:59 AM   #16
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Good thread, reinforces again our decision re: becoming snowbirds. But just our decision, I can see how one could come to the opposite conclusion.
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:18 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
My two homes are only a 2.5-hour drive apart (but with nearly 6,000 ft difference in elevation). Good thing I did not go for a 2nd-home up in the Puget Sound which would be more than 1,500 miles away.

If I needed a house that far away, I would think of renting. I used to dream of having a home in Tuscany or in Provence after reading Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle, but soon realized the impracticality of it besides the cost. Now, I would rent through Airbnb and have much less hassle.

Same with my former dream of doing RV'ing through Europe. Nope, hotels and Airbnb is much less headache.

PS. Talk about regretting, no, I do not and will not. When it stops working for me, I will sell it. The time we enjoy it is worth it, and I was able to afford it.
Similar for me. I'm 3 hours from my vacation condo. A nice quick get away and change of pace. I would rent if several hundred miles from my home base. No regrets and will sell when I'm tired of the going back and forth.
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:41 AM   #18
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Yes.

The main thing is what works for some people does not work for somebody else. We have seen that with RV'ing. I enjoy it, and will continue until I am tired of it. And I definitely do not want a large RV. Some posters here said they did not enjoy it, and sold their RV after a season or two.

There is a certain joy of ownership, and also the hassle that comes with it. One may not know if the first is enough to overcome the latter. It may take some serious thinking to see if there is a chance of that. Even then, one is still not certain until he has done it. For me, I know now that I would not be able to handle a 2nd home more than a couple of hour drive from my main home.

I will keep my 2nd home for a while, as it is quite accessible. And when I no longer can use it or care, I will ask my children if they want to keep and maintain it.
+1. We had a beautiful weekend home on the water for 23 years, mortgage paid off. But the kids stopped coming over the last few years and worrying about the pool, the house, fallen trees, etc took a lot of the fun out of the place. We sold it last year cutting out a $10K annual expense and infusing a $20K annual influx (using the standard SWR rate). Now we rent nice places at the beach for a few weeks in the summer and travel a bit more in the winter. We enjoyed it for most of the years we owned it and were relieved to leave it behind.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:13 AM   #19
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We had a condo at a ski resort (3 to 5 hours away, depending on traffic) for 10 years, essentially while the kids were teenagers. Loved it for the first few years, then found I was finding more things about it I didn't love, like the crowds and traffic, the territorial parking, the walls shared with neighbors who often rented out, the growing fees, and last but not least, the nagging feeling that we HAD to go there because, hey, we were already paying for it. Sold it, and have enjoyed our more diverse getaways ever since.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:37 AM   #20
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We have had a second house for almost 20 years. Originally 1,100 miles from "home", now 1,400. Home moved, although we recently up-sized the second house. Because of the remote nature of the second house, we essentially relocate there until it's time to go back. Some travel to other places, but never travel between the two houses until the migration. Used to be 10 weeks in the second house during the summer, now five months.

Our kids grew up there in the summers and love the place. Still come back when they can. We enjoy it tremendously as well as a change of scenery/pace of life. Maintenance is a bit of an issue, but not a major headache. Price appreciation in the original second house was great, and the next one is also worth quite a bit more than we have in it. Financially, a net gain.
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