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Is a Vacation Home Right for You?

Many of us dream about owning the vacation home in the Mountains, or on the Lake or Ocean. A place where one can retreat periodically from the hustle-bustle of everyday life. However, for those who do achieve the financial resources to make such a purchase, there are several factors that should be considered first prior to taking the plunge.

Owning a Vacation Home can be a wonderful experience, but it is a huge commitment and responsibility. When one first thinks of owning a Vacation Home, we think of only the positives, such as a quiet remote location where we can get away from it all. A place where we can swim, fish, hike, and ski. Unfortunately for many, they forget about the other realities: location and travel time, upkeep and the associated costs, high property taxes, their children's school and other home activities, guests. All of these put stress on the new Vacation Home owner, and how they prepare ahead of time to address these issues determines how enjoyable their new purchase will be.

The first item to consider when purchasing a Vacation Home is location. Is it near enough from your main home such that you can enjoy it regularly enough? If not, consider another investment. The last thing you want to do is make a huge investment in property that you can not regularly enjoy. Though real estate has always been considered a good investment it is not considered liquid, and expensive vacation homes can take a long time to sell.

Cost of upkeep and property taxes should also be heavily considered. Maintaining a vacation home is not cheap and the local town officials love to hit the vacation homes hard with property tax bills.

One also needs to consider his or her own weekend responsibilities and those of their children. Sports team events, clubs and organizations as well as maintaining the main house will eat into the time available to head to the weekend get-away. And if you have teenagers, they have their own dates and plans. Be prepared, more times than not, for having to forgo the weekend retreat for your children and other responsibilities.

One of the other aspects of owning a Vacation Home is having guests. This is a double edge sword. You want to have guests to share in your retreat. However, the upkeep, food and cooking can become overwhelming. Also, when guests visit, they are on vacation, but you may not necessarily be. It is important to let friends and families understand this, otherwise prepare for unexpected meals outs and other activities.

Owning a Vacation Home can be, and is for most, a wonderful experience. Those who truly enjoy them, usually have to go thru an adjustment cycle. First the euphoria phase, followed by a frustration and exhaustion phase, and finally the true enjoyment stage. The enjoyment phase occurs when one has developed a balance between the pros of owning a vacation home and the other responsibilities of their lives.

Mark J. Donovan

Over the past 20+ years I have been involved with Building homes and additions to homes. I have completed many projects that have included: building a Vacation Home, Family Room Additions, and a Garage. I have also finished the upstairs on unfinished homes. My formal education and Profession has been as an Electrical Engineer and Marketing Manager.

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