Buying a Second Home or Lake Home We all know how busy our family lives have become, with school, sports, jobs, errands and social activities. This busyness is necessary and often enjoyable, but when everyone is doing their own thing, it limits time that the family unit can spend together. Often when people search the real estate section for lake homes, they're doing so out of a desire for good quality family time in a relaxed setting away from the hustle and bustle. For most of us, the second home must offer breathing room, space for family and friends, and the pleasures of a lake, woods, equestrian center, or a beautiful vista.
Although you may have begun the search for the perfect lake home or second home, when it comes down to choosing one, the options can be confusing. If you're looking for a location, which location is best? If you're looking into a development, what do you have to know about the developer? Dallas realtor, Roger Maese, was willing to take on some of these questions in a recent interview. When asked what the first consideration should be, Roger responded, "Proximity is what you should look for first. If you buy a second home in Florida and you live in Dallas you're probably going to get to that home two times a year. If you buy in close proximity you can jump in the car after your kids' soccer game and be there in 45 minutes. You don't want to buy a second home that is empty eight or nine months out of the year. Your second home should be close by, allowing you to be out there every weekend or whenever you want." Roger recommends that your location should be no more than an hour away, with gasoline prices and time on the road factored in to your decision.
A second consideration when looking at lake homes is that the house you are building or purchasing be large enough to accommodate friends or extended family. Friends and family will want to join you, and you'll want to have the space for them to be comfortable. Ideally, your chosen location will have amenities and activities for family and friends. Keep in mind that boredom can set in when there is only one recreational activity available. For example, the lake may be great fun, the harbor may be perfect, but eventually your kids will get bored with boating, skiing and jet skiing. Some additional things you can look for are walking trails, clubhouse and pool, equestrian trails, an equestrian center, an ATV course, skeet and trap range, and a back porch where you can just sit and watch the deer walk by. Thirdly, you'll want to consider proximity to groceries and medical care. You don't want a location that is so remote you have to drive a long distance for that quart of milk you forgot, or for that visit to the doctor in the event of an emergency.
If you want to buy into a development, consider whether the amenities are already in, built and operational, or are they promised and planned? Are homes currently being built, and how many are
built? If the developer promises amenities that haven't been built, this is something you should be wary about. If there are a hundred lots and they've only sold one, this is something you should question. Ask friends and family if they've heard about the development. Ask the general manager who is showing you around if you can get names and numbers of maybe 3-5 people who are already living there so that you can find out for yourself what they're happy about, what promises have been kept and what promises have yet to be kept.
Potential buyers can go online and investigate the developer in order to do a background check and find out what previous developments they have completed. Roger recommends that you call the developer and ask questions. A good developer will always take that phone call. Ask what their successes are, what they consider their failures, what have they learned, and what adaptations they have made to the new development you're thinking of buying into. If you call the developer and he avoids the phone call, this should send up a red flag. Roger points out that once you're satisfied that all of your questions have been answered, and you have visited and looked into the options available near your city, there is no reason to hesitate. Buying or building a second home can be the best decision you've ever made for your family. It's important to also keep in mind that this is a very good time to make stable investments, and real estate is an excellent choice, plus interest rates are lower than they've ever been. If you use your investment money to create stability and bring your family together as well, that's true wisdom.
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