Are you thinking of buying a second home either for vacations or retirement? With the housing market still suppressed in poplar vacation spots like Arizona, California, and Florida there are some great bargains. But buying a second home when you don’t live full-time in the area has some challenges.
Arizona is a popular vacation and retirement spot and many of my clients are remodeling and designing their second homes. They come from all areas of the United States and many have moved down from Canada. I want to share some of their lessons to help you with this exciting phase of your life.
Lesson I Research the Area
Cheryl and David Burwash are Canadian natives who have recently purchased their second home in the Phoenix area. Cheryl says that when she told her friends and family that she and her husband David had settled on Arizona everyone said she was crazy. “Most Canadians living in the east vacation in Florida and buy homes in Florida,” she says. “But we’ve been to Florida and we don’t like the weather.” This past winter in Florida drove that point home with colder and wetter days on average making the sunshine state the gloomy state. “We had friends visit us in Arizona after spending time in Florida. It only took a few days of our predictable sunny, warm weather before they said that they understood why we love it here.”
Weather is a huge draw for Arizona but that’s only one reason Cheryl and David settled here. “We’ve been vacationing in the area of the past 12 years. We love it here and we really know the area and what it has to offer.” However, Cheryl admits that when it came time to look for a house she realized how much she didn’t know. As a vacationer she had never spent time driving through neighborhoods. She found a real estate agent in Canada who made contact with an agent in Phoenix. “The Phoenix agent would send us listings. But once we found a house we then needed help with inspections and services. Living out of the country is even more challenging than just living out of the area. Maureen has become a great resource for us guiding us to contractors and overseeing their work while we are gone.”
What services and activities are essential to your vacation or retirement lifestyle?
• Medical facilities
• Transportation hubs
• Hotels for guests
• Activities for kids
If like Cheryl and David, golf is an important activity, make sure there are enough options to keep your interest – and enough sunny days to enjoy it.
You don’t have to spend 12 years to decide where you want to retire but one visit won’t be enough. Schedule your visits for different times of the year too. While many people love Arizona in the winter, they often find it too unbearable in the summer, the same holds true for other popular places like Florida. And if your vacation or retirement dreams include skiing in the winter, you may just discover that your snow retreat is a treat in the warmer months as well.
Cheryl and David have just finished remodeling the kitchen in their new home and plan to start spending more time south in the next few years. They can’t wait.
Next blog: choosing your second home for how you plan to live.