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Vacation home purchase, how old is too old?
Old 06-20-2020, 12:19 AM   #1
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Vacation home purchase, how old is too old?

Has any purchased a vacation/second home after retirement and later felt they shouldn’t have done it simply because of being at an older age? At 60 I realize I probably won’t live long enough to pay off a 30 year mortgage but like many people I’ve always wanted a place but financially couldn’t do it.

With money no longer being a real concern I’m now thinking about it. Any of you others have a strong feeling one way or another on such a purchase? Admittedly I would have gotten more use out of it when my kids were younger but like most parents with a family I couldn’t afford it.
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:24 AM   #2
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No real input on the subject, but I have been binge watching This Old House ever since I cut off my DirectTV.

Some folks can do wonders with existing structures if you have enough money. With it being a vacation house, you wouldn't even have to put up with the mess as you wouldn't be living there at the same time.


edit: LOL, and as I re-read the OP's post, I note it is about old people not houses. OOPS-more coffee please.
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:46 AM   #3
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I have a lake house an hour from home, and it's been in our family since 1945. It's a prime location with 6 mile sunset water views and two Robert Trent Jones golf courses down the street. My grandmother's $4500 investment in the land is now worth about $600K--not including the house my father built upon his retirement.

Few people are capable in their 60's or 70's to do the heavy maintenance to keep up such a place. I cut the grass two days ago, and it's quite a physical feat. 3 weeks of hard work is facing me to get the house in shape outside and in. I've put off some maintenance that must be done this year.

Second homes and lake houses are great. But the initial cost of the home is the start. Docks and boat houses are extremely expensive to build--as much as $50-100K. Then the cost of buying a 24' boat and Waverunner is another expense. Utilities are not bad, but insurance on the boats and homeowners' insurance on a second home is expensive.

If someone had to borrow the money to purchase such a place on a mortgage, it just wouldn't be worth it.

I'm heading back over there today to do some pressure washing and then staining the floor of the screen porch. Then it's using a brush cutter to trim up a bunch of English Ivy. It's just never ending labor--but a labor of love.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:10 AM   #4
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You are never too old. But as you get older, your home(s) should be better suited for older people. One level, smaller, easier to maintain, etc. And make sure they are lock and leave.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:30 AM   #5
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....Docks and boat houses are extremely expensive to build--as much as $50-100K. ...
Around here we need to put docks in in the spring and take them out in the fall due to potential damage from ice... aluminum roll-in docks are about $100/ft, so $5k for a 50' dock.... and add in ~$300/year at most to have it put in and taken out.

You can't get a permit for a boathouse. But some people have boat lifts with canopy's adjacent to their dock... add $5-10k for a boat lift with canopy and another ~$200/year to have it put in and taken out.

So around here you could have a primo dock/lift/canopy for $10-15k and plan on ~$500/year to have it put in and taken out.

There are some boathouses that were built many years ago and are grandfathered. A friend has one of those grandfathered boathouses and just hoists his pontoon boat out of the water from the rafters for the winter.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:32 AM   #6
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I look at it a little differently. I would have a summer home here in any event. My "splurge" is the premium that I pay for having a lakehouse vs a forest house.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:46 AM   #7
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You’ll have the additional home owners expenses (prop tax, insurance, utilities, maintenance, buy/sell commissions, etc.), but real estate is usually a good investment. If you change your mind years from now, odds are you can recoup the money with appreciation. There are certainly worse uses for the discretionary portion of your nest egg (boats, expensive cars, travel, etc.).
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:58 AM   #8
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I think getting a lake hous is a good expense at age 45 or so because of the financial and material load you accept. At age 60 plus, the drag due to maintenance can become onerous.

When I was 58, I inherited the family cottage. The offspring had no interest. So I had it sold within a month. Both my kids bought their own cottages on different lakes 10 years later and I used the proceeds to help them with those purchases.

I love visiting and even helping with the myriad odd jobs that are always in their job jars. Although recently, they use my visit as an excuse to kick back!
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Old 06-20-2020, 08:28 AM   #9
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I understand exactly where the OP is coming from.

If you want a second home IMO it's a matter of threading the needle not too early and not too late.

We really, really wanted to buy a winter home in SGU around 20 years ago..early to mid 50's in age. Only one thing kept us from pulling the trigger. We still had a large herd of dairy cows in a family business. We knew we would not be able to get enough free time even in winter until the cows were sold off.

Back then St George was a nice little town in a nice climate...fast forward 20 plus years and it's population has exploded to the point of being "too" big for us to relax in. Also during the "boom" real estate cycles hoards of youngish buyers came from Northern Utah buying retirements home before they got "too" expensive.

End result is we usually go there for a month to six weeks in the winter and can have our choice of modern rental houses for ridiculously cheap prices and simply walk in the door and turn on the lights. Have a problem, just pick up the phone!

As we get older, the two of just are just happy to devote less head space and yes less money to concerns like this.

OP should think if he really wants a place ..they didn't really say if would be a close in lake type place or a winter place which might make a difference, if for example they cannot find decent rentals in the place they like to winter.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:23 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments. It's in the Lake Tahoe area but not on the lake itself, way to expensive for me. Unfortunately prices have only gone up since the start of this Covid-19 situation, record low loan rates are certainly part of the problem and now it's a sellers market. When this virus started out I was sure prices would only drop because of everyone being out of work. Sort of back-fired on me.

I'm at the point now that I have a nice large savings and my wife has retired. When she was working I was afraid to buy something because I wasn't sure how things would pan out without the added income. Now I only wish I had done it years ago. Obviously I'm overly conservative in my financial planning but I sleep better.

We've done quite a bit of international travel over the years so I almost feel it would be nice to maybe sit back and enjoy a vacation home instead. Lot's of decisions.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:29 AM   #11
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Our lake place was purchased 25 years ago/across the lake from the family's place because things were getting crowded and we got a good deal on a year-around home. Now there is a small resort on the family side of the lake that is being cut up into two or three lots and we are looking at selling the current place and buying and building @73YO. The current place is a multilevel split and DW's new hip and knee really don't like all the stairs. The new place will be single level, designed for reduced mobility, etc. It will stay in the family when we are gone. No mortgage on the current place and there will be no mortgage on the new one. So --- too old? -- we don't think so for us. For anyone, I think that question needs a lot of context before it can be answered.

Re renting vs owning, that is apples and oranges. In our own lake house we have our own "stuff" (clothes, toothbrushes, spice cabinet, decorating, etc.). We do a lot of AirBnB when we travel and that is fine but it is very sterile compared to "coming home" to your own second house. Admittedly not as sterile as the piles of identical boxes they call hotels, though.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:46 AM   #12
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Our lake place was purchased 25 years ago/across the lake from the family's place because things were getting crowded and we got a good deal on a year-around home. Now there is a small resort on the family side of the lake that is being cut up into two or three lots and we are looking at selling the current place and buying and building @73YO. The current place is a multilevel split and DW's new hip and knee really don't like all the stairs. The new place will be single level, designed for reduced mobility, etc. It will stay in the family when we are gone. No mortgage on the current place and there will be no mortgage on the new one. So --- too old? -- we don't think so for us. For anyone, I think that question needs a lot of context before it can be answered.

Re renting vs owning, that is apples and oranges. In our own lake house we have our own "stuff" (clothes, toothbrushes, spice cabinet, decorating, etc.). We do a lot of AirBnB when we travel and that is fine but it is very sterile compared to "coming home" to your own second house. Admittedly not as sterile as the piles of identical boxes they call hotels, though.
All true but we have found that if you drive and rent for a month that we have all of your important stuff with along with you. If you are traveling out of a suitcase, no.
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Old 06-20-2020, 10:43 AM   #13
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OP - I would not be too anxious, the Covid-19 situation still has a long time to play out.

As for a vacation home.
I like them as long as they are ON the water, gives a person a view, option of boating/swimming and gives space.

They are expensive, besides the buying cost.
Personally I put a LOT of labor into mine, due to it being 100 yrs old.
It has been in the family all the time.

We used to have a boathouse, and get freezing weather like pb4uski, but when the boathouse collapsed due to ice, I had to get it demolished, so now it's removable aluminum docks.
It was not worth the cost (IMHO) of about $50,000 to have it re-constructed, as it would just have to be done again in 30-50 yrs assuming no severe ice damage (water rot).

I told my DD she should plan about $5,000 per year in taxes, insurance, repair parts each year if she does it herself, otherwise add another $5,000 if she pays someone.

In some ways it's almost as bad as inheriting a TimeShare

The last few years since retirement, I've enjoyed the use a lot, and for months at a time, instead of 2 weeks when working.

Here is 1 of 5 posts supporting the cottage I replaced in 2018, couldn't get any workers to do it, so did it myself.
The post to the left, is one I already did, to match the "style" of the cottage.
I'm over 60.
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Old 06-20-2020, 11:50 AM   #14
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....we are looking at selling the current place and buying and building @73YO. ...
It might not make sense in your situation, but we demolished and rebuilt.... reused foundation, well, septic, etc. ... on same footprint but with a very different design.

We actually had looked at gutting the structure and adding spray-in foam, new windows, new siding, new roof and all new internal walls, plumbing and electrical but our builder (an old high school friend) convinced me that demolishing and rebuilding was a better alternative.
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:19 PM   #15
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It might not make sense in your situation, but we demolished and rebuilt.... reused foundation, well, septic, etc. ... on same footprint but with a very different design.

We actually had looked at gutting the structure and adding spray-in foam, new windows, new siding, new roof and all new internal walls, plumbing and electrical but our builder (an old high school friend) convinced me that demolishing and rebuilding was a better alternative.
I think he wants to get to the other "family" side of the lake..
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:51 PM   #16
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All true but we have found that if you drive and rent for a month that we have all of your important stuff with along with you. If you are traveling out of a suitcase, no.
Obviously your "important stuff" list is much shorter than ours. Packing up 20 or 30 spices, some good knives, a couple of Lodge cast iron fry pans, and one Instant Pot would probably work for DW, but when I try to add a rack of good wine, my Klipsch La Scala speakers at 125# each, and a computer dock and full-sized monitor, the plan goes down the tubes in a hurry.

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It might not make sense in your situation, but we demolished and rebuilt.... reused foundation, well, septic, etc. ... on same footprint but with a very different design.
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I think he wants to get to the other "family" side of the lake..
Yup. Also the current lake home is a split/almost impossible to convert the foundation to a single level house. Even the basement is two levels.

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We actually had looked at gutting the structure and adding spray-in foam, new windows, new siding, new roof and all new internal walls, plumbing and electrical but our builder (an old high school friend) convinced me that demolishing and rebuilding was a better alternative.
Good for you. I was $100K into the gut and remodel of our current city house before I figured out that it would have been cheaper and yielded a better result if I had knocked it flat and started over.
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:56 PM   #17
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Obviously your "important stuff" list is much shorter than ours. Packing up 20 or 30 spices, some good knives, a couple of Lodge cast iron fry pans, and one Instant Pot would probably work for DW, but when I try to add a rack of good wine, my Klipsch La Scala speakers at 125# each, and a computer dock and full-sized monitor, the plan goes down the tubes in a hurry.



Yup. Also the current lake home is a split/almost impossible to convert the foundation to a single level house. Even the basement is two levels.

Good for you. I was $100K into the gut and remodel of our current city house before I figured out that it would have been cheaper and yielded a better result if I had knocked it flat and started over.
Different strokes but our times away from home show us how little of our stuff that we really use on a daily basis. Computer and monitor would be something we take a break from when snow birding. ..second home and vacation home actually have a different conotation in my mind. For everything that might be missing in a snowbird rental, it's more then offset for us anyway by not being the owners of all the extra stuff. It's been very freeing and adds to our relaxation when away from home.

My comment was directed more as the difference between VRBO out of a suitcase vs driving.
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Old 06-20-2020, 01:18 PM   #18
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I'm 65, and we bought a small vacation home last year in Florida. We had rented down there for a few years prior to that, and just decided that we would like to buy something, if we found the right place. We stumbled on the perfect place (for us), and the owner wanted to sell it quick for cash, so we went for it. If I had not been able to pay cash for the house, I probably wouldn't have done it, as I do not want any more big loans/mortgages at this stage of my life.

Yes, there is a fair amount of maintenance required on the place, but we are down there for 5 months, and I don't mind working on small house/yard projects while we are there. In fact, I almost kind of enjoy it. I still have plenty of time for fishing and other recreation. I just pick the really nice days to recreate, and work on the house/yard stuff during the cooler or windy days. It works out well for us, I have no regrets. We rent the place out on AirBNB when we are not there, and that pays for the taxes, utilities, etc.. We have a great property manager who lives nearby, and that is key. If we did not have this property manager (or someone equally good), I probably would not rent it out.
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Old 06-20-2020, 04:12 PM   #19
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RAE,
I bought a place in Florida in March, and had plans to fly down there for 3 months to get it all set up.

The virus shutdown hit. I ended up cancelling my flights, and I still haven't made it down there. My plan is mid October now.

Your comments about working on your new Florida place are getting me all fired up. I'm looking forward to doing the same.

Take care, JP
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I'm 65, and we bought a small vacation home last year in Florida. We had rented down there for a few years prior to that, and just decided that we would like to buy something, if we found the right place. We stumbled on the perfect place (for us), and the owner wanted to sell it quick for cash, so we went for it. If I had not been able to pay cash for the house, I probably wouldn't have done it, as I do not want any more big loans/mortgages at this stage of my life.

Yes, there is a fair amount of maintenance required on the place, but we are down there for 5 months, and I don't mind working on small house/yard projects while we are there. In fact, I almost kind of enjoy it. I still have plenty of time for fishing and other recreation. I just pick the really nice days to recreate, and work on the house/yard stuff during the cooler or windy days. It works out well for us, I have no regrets. We rent the place out on AirBNB when we are not there, and that pays for the taxes, utilities, etc.. We have a great property manager who lives nearby, and that is key. If we did not have this property manager (or someone equally good), I probably would not rent it out.
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Old 06-20-2020, 04:15 PM   #20
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Sunset,
I may own the sister cabin to yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
OP - I would not be too anxious, the Covid-19 situation still has a long time to play out.

As for a vacation home.
I like them as long as they are ON the water, gives a person a view, option of boating/swimming and gives space.

They are expensive, besides the buying cost.
Personally I put a LOT of labor into mine, due to it being 100 yrs old.
It has been in the family all the time.

We used to have a boathouse, and get freezing weather like pb4uski, but when the boathouse collapsed due to ice, I had to get it demolished, so now it's removable aluminum docks.
It was not worth the cost (IMHO) of about $50,000 to have it re-constructed, as it would just have to be done again in 30-50 yrs assuming no severe ice damage (water rot).

I told my DD she should plan about $5,000 per year in taxes, insurance, repair parts each year if she does it herself, otherwise add another $5,000 if she pays someone.

In some ways it's almost as bad as inheriting a TimeShare

The last few years since retirement, I've enjoyed the use a lot, and for months at a time, instead of 2 weeks when working.

Here is 1 of 5 posts supporting the cottage I replaced in 2018, couldn't get any workers to do it, so did it myself.
The post to the left, is one I already did, to match the "style" of the cottage.
I'm over 60.
20191018_160143.jpeg
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