William Henry Knieves

Living with Your Passions

HERE ARE SEVEN SIGNS YOU’RE BUYING A GREAT VACATION HOME

By Nate Schar

Owning your own piece of paradise is a great way to live life to the fullest. You’re able to follow your passions or get away from the daily grind without worrying about where to stay. You can gather friends and family for celebrations big and small, or simply savor every moment of a sunset barbecue.

LUXURY REAL ESTATE

The real estate experts at Heritage Auctions have seen and heard it all when it comes to vacation properties. Here are seven tips to help you decide which vacation home is right for you.

1. IT’S GOT INCOME POTENTIAL
A great way to ensure your vacation-home investment isn’t a big drain on resources is to offer it as a vacation rental. Sure, it produces income, but it also keeps your house in better shape. An occupied house tends to stay in good working order longer than a house that is unoccupied. That’s because the internal systems get used, so mold and mildew won’t build up in ducts, water gets circulated through pipes and water heaters, and you’re more likely to hear about (and fix) issues as they arise. Unless you’re in the business of renting vacation homes, you generally shouldn’t count on a vacation home as a major source of profit, but it is possible to rent a vacation home in a prime location for a respectable sum. 

2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
A recent survey of vacation homeowners by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that the average vacation home is bought within 200 miles of the buyer’s primary residence. Why? A short drive or flight makes a second home available for last-minute weekend getaways, and makes coordinating maintenance easier. It’s also easier to have friends and family join you for a last-minute cookout.

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East Hampton, NY
This five-bedroom, 5,000 square foot East Hampton, N.Y., home, auctioned by Heritage with no reserve in July, rents for six figures in the summer.

3. THERE’S ROOM FOR A CROWD
Forty-two percent of vacation home buyers purchase the home as a family retreat, according to the NAR survey. If you have a big enough property, you can invite multiple generations for the weekend or host family reunions. People with larger second homes are likely to host weddings, graduation parties and other celebrations. Our sellers often tell us that’s the biggest reason they own the home as long as they do – because they cherish the memories they’ve made at the property. 

4. IT’S SATISFYING A NEED YOUR PRIMARY HOME CAN’T FILL
Sometimes the demands of career and family dictate that you live in a place that isn’t exactly your idea of paradise. But a vacation home located in the right place can fill those needs nicely and give you the best of both worlds: a satisfying career at home and a place to get away from it all. NAR points out that 57 percent of vacation-home buyers choose lake or beachfront property, while 20 percent opt for a place in the country. When choosing a vacation home, think about your hobbies and what kind of place is heavenly to you. Consider whether you plan to use the home as a future retirement home, as 18 percent of vacation home buyers plan to do.

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Joe Pool Lake, TX
This secluded lake house is 25 miles from downtown Dallas, making it an easy getaway with all the benefits of lakeside living. It sold at a June auction in less than 60 days via online auction by Heritage with no reserve.

5. IT MAKES ECONOMIC SENSE
Vacation homes need to fit into your budget. In 2017, 28 percent of vacation-home buyers paid cash for their homes, and nearly half of those who used financing borrowed less than 70 percent of the purchase price. It’s important to buy smart so you can take care of maintenance and taxes without undue burden. Buying a vacation home at auction ensures you’re getting it for market value and not paying what someone else thinks it’s worth. How do we know? Because we gather the market together to compete and bid. Our luxury real estate sales staff advertises and markets the property extensively so both buyers and sellers can rest assured that the home sells for true market value on auction day.

 6. YOU VALUE PREDICTABILITY, CONVENIENCE
The real beauty of buying a vacation home is that you never need to worry about checking bags or making hotel or dinner reservations. Many homeowners keep everything they need at the vacation home so there’s no need to bring more than a carry-on. You’ll also know that the place you’re staying is comfortable and relaxing because you’ll have all the comforts of home. And you won’t have to eat out unless you want to do so.

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Applegate Valley, OR
A one-hour flight from San Francisco, this Applegate Valley, Ore., riverfront home has everything you need for a weekend, or longer, sabbatical. A four-acre vineyard, orchard with mature producing trees, nine bedrooms and 10 baths awaits your visit. It’s being sold at a no-reserve auction on Aug. 21.

7. AMENITIES MATCH YOUR INTERESTS
When you’re buying a vacation home, choose one that has the most amenities you, your family and friends will use. The Briarcliff Manor in New York, offered in June, has an artist’s studio, while an East Hampton home is walkable to golf, beach and village shops. The upcoming Maui property has a modest home, but acres of rainforest, rare plants, a waterfall and is truly a bucolic paradise. Consider how you want to spend your best day ever – and find a great place to make that happen.



NEW NATE SCHARNATE SCHAR is director of Heritage Auctions’ Luxury Real Estate (HA.com/LuxuryRealEstate). This story appears in the Fall 2018 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.