Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
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Subject: The "Boom" in Second Home Ownership

Hollywood stars are not the only ones with homes in both California and New York. Farmers are not the only ones with homes in Florida as well as the Heartland. Second home ownership is an extremely popular trend in today's real estate market. Why? Because demographics and technology are converging to create an historic opportunity for both buyers and sellers. As Baby Boomers rush towards retirement, second homes suitable for play now and retirement later have enormous appeal.

In fact, experts predict that nearly l3 million Americans alone will buy full or partial interest in second homes within the next few years.

Today, thanks to technology, second homes are becoming a place to work as well as play. Second homes may be located in resort areas. Others may be located near a second work environment for those who commute frequently between different business destinations. And the second home phenomenon stretches from Alaska to Florida, from Hawaii to Nova Scotia, and all points in-between.

How you use a second home is up to you. But if it's something you've been considering, now is the time to get the information you need to make an informed decision. A qualified real estate professional can help guide you through financial considerations, assist you in finding the right community and even refer you to a resort property specialist for the destination of your dreams. Your real estate professional may be able to get you the information and advice you need to use the equity in your current home to finance the down payment on a second home, for example.

For many, a second home in a vacation or resort area can be an income property when not in use. Once again, a real estate professional will help you consider property management options that can be a crucial financial factor as well as important to peace-of-mind.

Married couples with or without children are almost twice as likely to own second homes as single persons. Most are over 35 years of age. And the fastest growing segment of second home buyers are age 35 to 54, without children at home.

Some of the best locations are no more than two to three hours away from major metropolitan areas by car or plane. For example, Bostonians like Cape Cod. San Franciscans head for Lake Tahoe and Angelenos head for Palm Springs. Many people who live in the West also have second homes there. Yet, the biggest feeder market for second homes in the South are buyers from the Northeast.

What makes a second home location ideal? Natural beauty is great, but don't forget about cultural and social resources, as well as first rate golf, tennis and other popular sports facilities.

Second homes are a discretionary purchase, and everyone wants to feel secure in their environment. That's why gated and guarded residential communities will continue to increase. And locations like Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which are removed from most urban problems, continue to be attractive.

Nevertheless, you will likely get more enjoyment out of a property you can get to quickly and can use frequently. And since you know your area, chances are you'll make a better real estate investment closer to home.

Sometimes the very features that may make resort properties desirable as vacation homes make them less desirable as retirement properties. For example an isolated location can be a positive when you are trying to get away from it all but can be a serious disadvantage if health care is not quickly available. More rugged vacation homes may be inaccessible to persons with reduced mobility. Finding a property that can meet both needs may increase the value that you receive intangibly while you own the property as well as the value that you receive should you ever decide to sell it.

When considering a second home, you should be sure to look at each property with an eye toward future property value. After all, the vacation homes that are likely to appreciate the most are the ones that 'Baby Boomers and GenXers' can play in today and retire in tomorrow.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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