Why People Invest in a Second Home
According to the National Association of Realtors, when asked for the reasons for buying a second home, 51% answered vacation as their primary motivation. Smaller populations were more interested in retirement (18%), investment (16%) and rental income (15%).
Regardless of the reasons for buying a second home, most buyers regard it as an investment with rich rewards for their family and their future.
Family Memories in the Making
So much more than an investment in real estate, a second home is a safe haven for families to come together, enjoy each other's company and conversation and create generations of lasting memories, free from the daily routine and distractions. It offers a unique opportunity for cherished moments with family and friends in a relaxed setting.
Anyone who has grown up with access to a vacation home, lake home or cottage can relate to the benefits and indelible memories of their youth, time spent playing with family and lifelong friends. For many, their childhood vacation home experience represents a getaway from city grit and grime and an introduction to outdoor exercise and water sports, unlimited running space and a close-up of nature's wonder... Fishing, exploring the woods, catching frogs, spotting deer and other wildlife, swimming in the lake, boating and waterskiing -- the days spent away from everyday "city" life became an enlightening education about living life more fully.
The Trend Toward "Sooner is Better"
A report from the National Association of Realtors shows that the typical vacation-home owner is 59 years old, while the median age of investment property owners is 55 years. Perhaps this is why the trend has shifted toward buying second homes well before retirement: Life is too short to put off spending quality time with children and grandchildren until they've grown up.
Over half of the vacation home owners contacted for the association report noted that their interest water sports was one of the motivations for purchasing their home. In fact, second home owners will tell you the best way to get your kids to come visit more often, with or without grandchildren, is to invite them to the lake house.
Technology also is a factor. While a second home may help you escape technology for the weekend, current technology will follow you wherever you go, as you decide. Availability of high speed internet access in second home communities has allowed parents to bring the family for much longer weekends or even weeks at a time during the summer. After getting a few hours of work done around the kids' schedules, or even working remotely all day, parents are then able to spend time on the lake with the kids during the longer daylight of summer.
Financial Benefit Ė Tax Deductions
According to Money-Zine.com and Forbes.com, if you're able to itemize deductions on your tax return, the interest expense on your second mortgage is tax deductible just as it is on your first home mortgage. Real estate or property taxes are also deductible on your second home, if you itemize your deductions. In addition, any mortgage points paid when buying a second home are deductible over the life of the loan. Of course, check with your tax advisor on all of your options.
There are even some new ways to pull equity out of your primary home. Many financial Web sites can outline the basics of financing a second home, Forbes.com suggests these online resources:
ďMy doctor made me buy it.Ē
Ask any second homeowner what they like most about their home away from home and youíll likely hear the same refrain: ďItís just a whole different atmosphere with a lot less stress. Weíve reconnected with our kids. They hardly ever watch TV or play video games, they donít have their iPods stuck in their ears all day, we play together, we eat together, we all read more, we make símores around the fire at night and actually talk. Itís just more laid back than when weíre with all the other distractions of the real world.Ē And itís not just the stress relief, itís actually just what the doctor ordered . . . itís healthier. Most second homeowners report they spend more time on activities like taking walks, swimming, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing, motor boating, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, chopping firewood and just spending far more time in the fresh outdoor air.
Let Me Entertain You
Some people also use their vacation homes to entertain
clients. This real quality time is far more effective and memorable than another
round of golf or a restaurant dinner. Your tax advisor can tell you which of
your expenses can be written off as a business entertainment expense. Whether
you want to be the social butterflies of your group of friends and clients or
make your second home your own private getaway, you control the guest list.
Speaking of guests, nothing makes them feel more welcome than being included in
the weekend preparations for a visit.
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