3 Things to Consider When Looking for a Vacation Home


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You work hard. You deserve a vacation. If you’d like to enjoy that blissed-out state of mind more than just two weeks a year, you may be thinking about buying a vacation home.

Owning a second property in a favorite destination may sound like a dream come true. But as with any real estate purchase, you’ll want to give this decision plenty of careful consideration.

There are many benefits that go hand-in-hand with owning a home in a coveted locale. For example, you can furnish it as you wish and leave all your vacation-related gear there year-round. So, if you’ve been lugging skiing or surfing gear back and forth, you’ll revel in the ease that comes with making the switch from renter to owner. You can also enjoy more getaways throughout the year at times that are most convenient for you as opposed to when it works best for your landlord.

At the same time, taking on a second home is a major expense. And, as you know from your primary residence, all properties demand near-constant upkeep.

If you find yourself wondering if buying a vacation home is the right move, take a look at some of the questions you should ask yourself before you put in for those days off.

1. Can you afford it?

Any time you buy property, it’s a big investment. Before you begin house-hunting and get your heart set on a place you can’t afford, take a look at your budget and determine what makes sense.

Don’t forget that in addition to your mortgage, you’ll need to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance. If you purchase a condo or townhouse, factor in homeowners association fees as well. And don’t forget there will be those ongoing expenses in the form of utilities and general maintenance.

Of course, you can choose to rent out this property and generate a little income. But before you count on this as a way to pay the mortgage, talk to local real estate agents to get a feel for what you can realistically expect in terms of annual rental revenue.

You’ll also want to speak with an accountant or real estate attorney who can provide accurate information on how this purchase may impact your tax situation.

2. How often will you use it?

Who wouldn’t love a beachfront bungalow in Maui? But if Hawaii is a long and pricey plane ride away, chances are you won’t get much use out of this vacation home. When you’re looking for a second property, consider those places that are easily accessible so you know you’ll be able to enjoy it as frequently as you wish. Most people who purchase a vacation home choose one that’s within a two-to-three hour drive.

Also, will your family’s schedule allow you to get away as often as you hope to? Will teens fight you about leaving friends behind or lobby to bring their pals along, which may mean you need additional space?

Before you buy, you may want to consider renting a home in your preferred destination for a full season to see if you will truly take advantage of the place as often as you think you will. This also gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the area as well as traffic and weather patterns to see if it’s as ideal as you imagine it to be.

3. Are you ready and able to handle an emergency?

Trees fall, pipes burst, a renter has an accident. All these unpleasant events can happen when you least expect them. In some cases, you may be able to send someone to handle the situation for you, but in others you may need to be there to deal with it yourself.

Especially in tropical locales where hurricanes occur, you can find yourself facing unforeseen expenses in the form of insurance deductibles or repairs as a result of Mother Nature. Are you prepared to drop everything to take care of this second home should the need arise?

It’s hard to imagine saying “no” to a vacation home if you have the means, but it’s wise to consider all aspects before you jump in. Before you make a purchase, just make sure it’s something you can comfortably afford, manage, and enjoy to the fullest!



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9 Inspiring Ways to Make the Most of a Walk-Up Attic


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Finding a home with a walk-up attic can feel a little bit like discovering gold. Why? Because it’s a valuable asset that opens up a wealth of opportunities.

Even if you don’t think you need the room in the near future, it’s nice to know that looming, just above your head, is an area beckoning to be transformed.

Don’t be put off by the vaulted ceilings, there are plenty of clever work-arounds.

Wondering how you can make the most of your walk-up attic? Take a look and get inspired.

1. Home office

Whether you work from home or just want a quiet spot to return emails or take a call, your attic can become the private office you need to be productive.

2. Bedroom

A bedroom on a separate floor can feel like a stunning retreat. A sanctuary, if you will. If there’s room for a bathroom, even better.

Adults aren’t the only ones who like an attic retreat! Kids can also love having a room that’s got some quirky angles!

3. Walk-in closet

Attics are known for their storage capabilities, but why not enhance this area so it feels like a boutique? Getting dressed in an elegant space may quickly become your favorite part of the day.

4. Playroom

If stuffed animals and toys have taken over the other rooms of your home, why not relegate them to one out-of-the-way space? Consider putting safety bars on the windows for peace of mind, and a video monitor for those moments when you need to leave the room.

5. Home theater

Grab a bowl of popcorn and queue up your favorite film in your home theater.

6. Music studio

Instead of the traditional garage band, lay down those tracks or create a symphony of sound in your attic music studio.

7. Game room

Pool, ping-pong, pinball? The possibilities for your attic game room are endless.

8. Gym

You can’t beat the convenience of a home gym. From cardio and weight training to your very own yoga studio, find the fitness routine you enjoy and build it out.

9. Workshop

Have a hobby that’s outgrown your lower levels? An attic workshop lets you enjoy your craft with room to spare.



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9 Examples of Neighbors From Hell


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We all know THAT neighbor. They leave their bins out all week, their flower beds have more weeds than flowers, or they throw wild house parties more than just occasionally. Not only is blaring music incredibly obnoxious (especially at one in the morning), bad neighbors can also affect the sale and value of your home. Luckily, that’s when a Homeowners Association is on your side and can help you deal with them if things get too out of hand.

They might be driving you up the wall, but there’s no way your neighbors are as bad as these ones. It’s as if they came straight from hell…

1. A Nauseating Pink

Some people dream about painting their house an outlandish color at some point in their lives (peacock inspired emerald and gold, anyone?), but most of us grow out of that phase or simply think better of it.

The people who live here never grew out of that phase and are certainly “Keeping Austin Weird” with their Pepto Bismol-pink home. To add insult to injury, they added a half-height panel fence in lieu of a white picket fence. Yikes! Someone please pass the Pepto…

2. Roaring Racetrack

While your neighbor continuously revving their motorcycle for a half hour at four a.m. every morning is incredibly rude, at least he didn’t win the lotto and then put in a 24-hour racetrack. Think of all the improvements you could make to your home and neighborhood with a giant payday. Unless you’re already a NASCAR driver, a noisy and dangerous racetrack doesn’t belong on that list.

3. No TV, No Problem

You wouldn’t usually care if the guy next door has an ugly couch…

… unless, of course, that couch is on his roof and he can see over your privacy fence. His cooler makes it seem he’s planning to be out there a while… so cringy!

4. Pigs

It’s annoying enough when your neighbor leaves their garbage by the curb all week long, but at least they seem to be using their garbage bin, right?

Food and drink remnants are sure to attract the worst kind of vermin, and the entire neighborhood is due to suffer whenever there’s a light breeze. If this is what their yard looks like, can you imagine the inside of their home? Yuck.

5. Yard Sale

It’s a great experience when the neighborhood comes together and has one collective yard sale. They can be fun and help everyone cut down on clutter.

What doesn’t tend to be an enjoyable experience is when the hermit down the street keeps her lawn looking like there’s a yard sale every day of the year. One or two items can add character. More than that just looks like a pigsty.

6. Overgrown Lawn

It’s easy to let the lawn get out of hand sometimes. You have a lot on your plate with working full time, it’s rained the last two weekends in a row, and the kids have soccer every weekend in the next town over. Understandable. But if the front lawn gets tall enough to be a good hiding spot for your six-year-old, that’s a little bit much.

If your neighbor is letting their lawn turn into a small jungle, just try gently reminding them that snakes and spiders LOVE to hide out in tall grass. It’ll resemble a lawn again in no time.

7. Car Hobbyist

It’s great to have a hobby that keeps you busy and gives you an enjoyable outlet to escape your everyday pressures. It’s even better when your hobby is a useful skill to have for when life goes amuck.

That said, turning your yard into a car lot will drive away any sense of class the neighborhood has. Don’t be that guy.

8. Laundry Day

There’s a scene that’s used in movies where the beautiful woman is out in the yard, hanging laundry on the clothesline. It’s always romantic and artistic and makes her life seem simple and endearing.

It isn’t nearly as charming, though, when it’s on a small plot, the laundry has been out there for five days, and the rest of the yard is littered with items that can’t be classified as anything other than junk. If this is you, it might be time to hit the laundromat.

9. Technicolor Nightmare

Just when you thought that Pepto Pink is the ugliest color you could possibly paint a house…

Over the course of four days, a Florida man painted his home, trees, car, and driveway in a color scheme that can only be described as what you imagine tripping on acid is like. At least he was thorough: he painted the windows as well!

Before anyone gets any ideas, you should be aware that his Homeowners Association is suing on behalf of the other residents because this stunt seriously devalued the other homes in the neighborhood.

It’s easy to nitpick the things our neighbors do and get annoyed by them. Luckily, most neighbors try to be understanding and accommodating if you’re willing to have a frank conversation with them about what they’re doing and why it’s a problem. And if worst comes to worst, at least they didn’t put in a racetrack or tie dye their entire home!



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