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Old 10-20-2009, 05:53 PM   #21
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I own about 5 acres on a small island in British Columbia. Beautiful place on which I will retire... I have no doubt about this. Problem is, the cost of getting services (power, water, septic field etc.) into the building site is daunting - and then you still have to build a cottage. My wife and I are die-hard LBYM'ers and are socking away $ furiously for our early (hopefully) retirement, so the thought of the costs of developing this land is tough for us to swallow. We are in our mid-30's so time is on our side I guess...
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:08 PM   #22
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It turns out many of us on this forum have 2 homes. When one is still working and lives mostly in a main residence, the other one is the "vacation" home. When one retires and alternates between them, then they are just "homes". Retiring takes the "vacation" out of it! Got to have an RV!

About owning a small piece of an island, last year while surfing the Web for real estate in the Puget Sound, I ran across a couple of listings of lots of a few acres on tiny islands. These are islands in the very true sense that they are surrounded by water and you need a boat to get there if you can't swim 1/4 to 1/2 miles (in cold water of course). It was intriguing to think one can play Robinson Crusoe in the 21st Century. However, these lots weren't cheap, and I quickly suppressed my fantasy.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:42 PM   #23
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Thankfully, my island is blessed with ferry service... swimming in these frigid northwest waters is hazardous to ones health.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:59 PM   #24
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bought a Florida gated condo last year as second home

Pros
- once in a lifetime prices
- relatively safe place to hide investment money away from tax man, mutual fund salesmen and the Bernie Madoffs
- tool for family social cohesion...place to invite visitors and loan out to relatives, rent to friends
- second homes are approved under the "Die Broke" philosophy
- most neighbours in vacation condo situations are looking to be friendly and make quick friends
- avoiding spending after tax earnings on hotels and hotel taxes, air travel expenses (its a three day drive for us, not unpleasant)
- I LIKE having repairs and installs to do and excuses to pop over to home depot
- I LOVE having shared pool...no maintenance tasks and very social (still peeling from the burn I got bobbing and drinking in the pool last month!)
- Insurance requirements for gated condos are less stringent regarding houseminding
- Ownership is something you enjoy even when you are not there!
- possibility of capital gain
- buying, furnishing and figuring out all the issues is VERY entertaining for DW
- if you don't spend it, you know who will

Cons
- once in a lifetime risks to builders not finishing and associations going bankrupt, chinese drywall, city and state mismanagement, builder closing tricks
- taxes (research lower cost states), HOA, CDD, high risk insurance, flood insurance, cable, electric, phone, minder, AC maintenance, furniture, and so on
- hassle of paperwork associated with renting out
- rental neighbours with scary tatoos who leave cigarette butts on the pool deck (at least it is good to know there is someone handy to hire in case I need to whack a neighbour ; - ) [this is the sort of joke Canadians can make, and not be misunderstood!] ....that stuff doesnt bother me, but does peeve sensative types
- fear of natural disaster, such as hurricane, when there, when not there
- very disciplined types rent...I guess the question is if you are happy being disciplined ALL your life

the tradeoff with having a stand alone house is less expenses but the maybe neighbours who don't maintain their properties, breakins when you are away, and you may have to work harder at making friends in the new area, which may not be a consideration

main thing, RENT IN AN AREA BEFORE YOU BUY!!!!
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:29 AM   #25
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Quote:

(its a three day drive for us,
Your pain threshold exceeds mine! When we looked, I drew a 120 mile circle around the house. Told DW "anywhere in this circle". Thought was: 2 hour drive ... ended up with 2.5 hours due to the back roads.

Obviuosly you bought at the right time! Good luck!

Here's a question for all second home owners: How many weeks a year are you in the second home?

We average about 6 weeks. Need to add a bunch of weekends together to get there. Typically 2 weeks in the winter to ski, 2 weeks in the summer for the lake. Then weekends: some holiday, a golf outing or two and a couple "girls" weekends.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:58 PM   #26
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The island getaway sounds neat... for about 30 seconds. I'd need a boat, and I recall the definition my boat-owning friends use: "A boat is a hole in the water that you fill in with money." Not for me, thanks.

I'm considering renting condos in areas of interest for short periods, a week or so. There are a number of these in my target area. Once I find something I like, I'll try a lease for a year unless something is screaming "Buy!", as a year's lease looks to be 2-3x the property taxes, or roughly half a realtor's commission (starving 6%ers out there...), to make sure I like the place, and get reasonable use out of it.

The target area is perhaps 3 hours at most away by car. The particular places I have an eye on have a very high walk score, and the region has plenty of nice activities. (It's actually better than the megasuburban wasteland I currently live in, with nothing in walking distance but other homes.)
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:26 PM   #27
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Here's a question for all second home owners: How many weeks a year are you in the second home?
Every weekend for us year around, except major holidays. 2-3 weeks for vacation. We are not retired yet, but empty nested, and expect to spend about half the time here once retired. 2nd home is 2.5 hours north from our base.

When home and retired, will help aging parents and visit our daughter and family. Oh I suppose the mundane maintenance on the base home and stuff like that too!
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:45 PM   #28
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The target area is perhaps 3 hours at most away by car. The particular places I have an eye on have a very high walk score, and the region has plenty of nice activities. (It's actually better than the megasuburban wasteland I currently live in, with nothing in walking distance but other homes.)
Why not just move there. I am kind of surprised by all the interest in 2nd homes, given that we have so many threads about LBYM and living simply.

There are things less simple and LBYM (unless one's means are huge) than a 2nd home, but not too many.

My neighborhood has a 98 walkscore. I really don't want to go very far away. I still own a country home in nice area, but I pay to keep it up and never look forward to going there.

I tend to think of all the crap that I should do while I am there, so I just put it out of mind and don't go.

If you live in the right place for you, you won't need so much distraction. Sometimes people say to me, "are you going anywhere this summer?" My answer is invariably "no, where would I prefer to be?"

If I could find a cheap way to spend a month each year in NYC, and a couple months at the beach in LA/Orange County in September and October, I would bite. But I suppose that is a tall order.

Ha
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:35 PM   #29
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I am reading this thread with great interest. TY to all for your candid comments.
We are loosely formulating the 9.5 year plan to escape East Nowhere, and have the notion that we will rent. What we will not do is try to have someone maintain this house in the winter while we snowbird to a vacation or half year 2nd home. Too many true stories of burst pipes when the realtor was supposed to be checking the house regularly.
Plan A: We have already decided to relocate completely out of the state. It's just a question of what we can afford and where.
Plan B: If we can't afford a full move, we will sell this house to head southwest for the Finger Lakes of NY, which has a milder climate, longer summer and is truly beautiful.
Country living has become a cherished lifestyle for both of us. It's just way too remote and snowbound here.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:36 PM   #30
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Thankfully, my island is blessed with ferry service... swimming in these frigid northwest waters is hazardous to ones health.
On the ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver, we saw some of those islands. Later, found out that some offered B&B lodging and even luxurious hotels for visitors. I mentally made a note to add them to places to visit, along with other San Juan islands. Yeah, right. It only takes time, and of course money. I have yet to make an effort to stop by Lummi Island, the lowest hanging fruit, in a day trip when traveling between Seattle and Vancouver.

One more reason for me to get an RV...

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Originally Posted by Kroeran View Post
bought a Florida gated condo last year as second home.
The distance for you to travel may be about the same we would have to travel if we bought a place in the Saanich Penninsula. My problem is that whenever I go, I always tell myself that it would be a neat place for a 2nd home. The difference between me and those billionaires who have 2 dozen houses throughout the world is that I do not have their billions. It's illogical, but a common weakness, I'd say.

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I still own a country home in nice area, but I pay to keep it up and never look forward to going there.

I tend to think of all the crap that I should do while I am there, so I just put it out of mind and don't go.

If you live in the right place for you, you won't need so much distraction. Sometimes people say to me, "are you going anywhere this summer?" My answer is invariably "no, where would I prefer to be?"
Ha
If you neglect your 2nd place, how long will it remain standing? Yes, maintaining a 2nd home may become a chore.

Regarding how much use a second home sees on the average, I will have to say that it is not high. We use ours a lot more than other part-timers in our area. Owning our place for 4 years now, and going for a hike through the subdivision nearly every morning when we were up there, we saw some houses that were always vacant. Always. What was the point of the owners to keep the house?

If it weren't for my part-time work (which often requires face time), and my wife's need to watch her aging father, we would have split our time 50/50 between our 2 houses, which are 3 hrs apart but differ in elevation by several thousand feet. In other words, we can be snowbirds within our own state.

About "walkability", I suspect most of AZ would score very low. At my place in the metropolitan Phoenix, I am happy to have several grocery stores, Lowe's, Home Depot, and a library branch within a 3-4 mi radius. Walkability is a foreign concept to Southwestern state residents, I am afraid.

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We are loosely formulating the 9.5 year plan to escape East Nowhere...
I admire people who can make such long-term plans. Most of the events in my life, be it career move or business decision, have gone wayward compared to my original plans. Yet, I tried to remain flexible and I survive so far. I now only make short-term plans and am open to more spontaneous happenings. I think it's more fun.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:46 PM   #31
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We are loosely formulating the 9.5 year plan to escape East Nowhere...

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I admire people who can make such long-term plans. Most of the events in my life, be it career move or business decision, have gone wayward compared to my original plans. Yet, I tried to remain flexible and I survive so far. I now only make short-term plans and am open to more spontaneous happenings. I think it's more fun.
Well TY.
This escape plan falls more under the Acts of Desperation clause more than anything else.
I've been living stuck here for 29 years now in the snow belt. Add 9.5 more and you get Enough!
We have to have a very long range plan (to save up) because although we will never be rich, we will be comfortable.
Recall he is 49.5 and I am 51, both in our "second lives". Just like 2 young kids starting out...in my case I have a better head start.
We'll get there.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:56 PM   #32
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Apparently, there are solid reasons for the precise "9.5" number. Does it have to do with pensions, early SS, etc...? Why 9.5 and not 1.5?
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:05 PM   #33
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Apparently, there are solid reasons for the precise "9.5" number. Does it have to do with pensions, early SS, etc...? Why 9.5 and not 1.5?
dh2b just passed his 10 yr mark as a fed in April 09. He will w*rk for a full 20 years until age 58 to get a halfway decent FERS retirement. He also did 20 years military, as enlisted.
He still pays out divorce/child support related monies, so his ability to save a lot is greatly hindered right now. Such is life.

Unless of course we win the NY Lottery......then we can buy that vacation home. Lakefront property in the Finger Lakes.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:21 PM   #34
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Why not just move there. I am kind of surprised by all the interest in 2nd homes, given that we have so many threads about LBYM and living simply.

There are things less simple and LBYM (unless one's means are huge) than a 2nd home, but not too many.
I couldn't agree more. For a while, I wondered if the interest in 2nd homes was due to insurmountable indecision. Somehow, I think not. I suppose there is an appeal that I just do not quite understand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haha
My neighborhood has a 98 walkscore. I really don't want to go very far away. I still own a country home in nice area, but I pay to keep it up and never look forward to going there.

I tend to think of all the crap that I should do while I am there, so I just put it out of mind and don't go.
Have you thought of selling it, some day? It doesn't sound like it is adding value to your life.
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Originally Posted by haha
If you live in the right place for you, you won't need so much distraction. Sometimes people say to me, "are you going anywhere this summer?" My answer is invariably "no, where would I prefer to be?"
You sound so happy with your present location. There's a lot to be said for that. The cost of living there is high, but at least you are getting value for your money there. The walkability of the area sounds wonderful.
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If I could find a cheap way to spend a month each year in NYC, and a couple months at the beach in LA/Orange County in September and October, I would bite. But I suppose that is a tall order.
I suppose it is.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:23 PM   #35
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DW and I are thinking about buying a small condo in Europe. My family lives there and we visit several times a year. Right now we crash in my mom's guest room every time we go visit but it is a bit cramped. We would like more room, more freedom and feel more "at home". We would like to keep some of our stuff there permanently, such as our heavy winter clothes and European appliances, which we do not need here in the south (it would allow us to travel even lighter). My parents could look after the condo when we are not there and I already have some furniture (stored in my dad's garage) that I could use to furnish the place.

What's stopping us right now are the upkeep costs (condo fees, taxes, utilities, insurance, etc...). We could easily afford them, but mom's guest room is hard to beat cost wise. So, for now, we'd rather build our portfolio. But we might reconsider in a few years...
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:55 PM   #36
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...For a while, I wondered if the interest in 2nd homes was due to insurmountable indecision. Somehow, I think not. I suppose there is an appeal that I just do not quite understand.
In talking to the part-timers in the area of my 2nd home, I find that there are a couple of neighbors who enjoy their place as much as we do ours. The others look at their place as an investment. A believer in stocks and not real estate, I have told DW and myself that we should not expect to make big bucks out of it, if and whenever we sell. Considering taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and other selling costs, if we break even, we should be happy that we get some free use out of it.

For now though, we love it. Lots of "walkability", actually more like hiking. I of course prefer to be on my motorcycle, cruising through forest service trails, the wind in my face and rustling over the pine tops
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:51 AM   #37
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Not Fire'd yet, but we have had our 2nd home for a year--- a cabin in the woods, at Lake Tahoe. We enjoy every season up there for different reasons-- skiing in winter, water in summer, no crowds in fall and spring. I think we bought very close to the bottom of the market. I'm starting to see construction and resales pick up just in the last part of summer and this fall, but if you are interested in Tahoe, I don't think prices have started to rise yet. Owning a second home really has turned out way better than my expectations, and all the concerns about having it never materialized for us. Maintenance much less than anticpated. Very small place (800 s.f., 2BR, 1 Ba)= no maintenance (well, hardly any). We get up there 2-3 weekends/month. It takes 20 minutes to clean before we leave. I almost enjoy seeing an $17 electricity bill or $35 gas bill (our bills for this last month) compared to the bills for our McMansion primary home. HOA is $40/year which gives us private beach Lake Tahoe access less than a mile away. In the winter, one valve to turn off the water on Sunday when we leave, then turn it back on when we get there the next weekend. A couple of roomy sheds on the property to keep bikes, skis, watercraft, other toys, etc... means no hassles loading up the car-- really we just take a change of clothes and that's it. We get food there at a general store within cruiser bike distance. Truly a lock and leave place. Attempts to simplify my family's life at work/primary home have failed, so we see the cabin as the simplicity we crave and enjoy for at least part of our life, at least until I become FIRE'd. I'm sure we could rent a similar place, or even go to a luxury resort 2 weekends a month for way less than our mortgage (we have no primary home mortgage, and hope to have this one paid off in 3 years), but I am convinced for us it would not be the same.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:58 AM   #38
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Here's a question for all second home owners: How many weeks a year are you in the second home?

We do about 9 trips at 4-7 days each to our Az condo. A trip every month, except May/June and August. I pop in in July just to experience a little heat. I spend more time there for baseball spring training in Feb/march. After we fully retire, we'll lessen the number of trips and increase the lengths of stay.
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:29 AM   #39
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I use my second home in the mountains more than I use my first home in a city 85 miles away. My use is about 67% country, 33% city.

If I sell one, I will sell the city home and rent for a few months a year. But every time I sit down and think through selling the city home, I decide not to. Recently I put it on the 18 month plan, i.e. get it in shape to sell in the spring 2011 if I decide to, the same spring I intend to stop my attorney registration and officially retire (already really retired).

Truth is I like both places, in NE New York and Mid Vermont. The smartest thing I did was buy where I can go on a whim. I feel so free!
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:22 AM   #40
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I live in a resort where most of the homes are second homes. On my street, for example, there are 15 homes, and just 2 of us are full-timers. One is a rental, and the rest are vacation homes. Some people rarely use them, while others are up just about every ski weekend and holiday, along with various other times throughout the year. Many of them have a full set of friends here, and leaving would be nearly as traumatic as moving away from their main home. I know some also have plans to come live here full time after they retire.
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