By Anna D. Banks, GCDF

With healthier lifestyles, people live well into their 80s these days. Hence, retirement is no longer the end of the tether, but is usually a new beginning. This is why many people are choosing to buy a second home before they retire, either for future investment or to get a jumpstart into a life of leisure.

What most people look for in a destination where they plan on investing in a second home are scenery, weather, and active property markets. These are the factors that make a destination popular. However, the popularity of a destination can be a mixed bag if you are planning on using your second home for vacationing or to settle down in after retirement. A popular destination entails more traffic, crowds, and long lines. But if you want to buy a second home with an eye on its potential as an investment – which is what most buyers of second homes say they want to do – then obviously you will want to own a property in a destination where other people flock to. Ideally, it would be best to invest today in a place that will be a hot destination tomorrow.

Whether you want to buy a second home for vacationing in or as a future investment, here are a few factors to consider about the destination you choose:
Being close to an urban center. Your second-home destination should be at least within two or three hours drive from a city, or somewhere that is reasonably near a major airport.

A place where there are lots of avenues for recreation. Most people want to do other stuff besides shopping. Choose a place according to your interests. For example, if skiing is what you like, choose a ski resort, if it is sunny beaches you hanker for, look for places with beachfront homes. Also, check to see whether there are enough cultural activities available, such as theaters, art galleries, museums, and so on.

Salubrious weather. Whether you use your second home for vacations or to settle down in, obviously you will want to go out and revel in all the recreation.

Substantial commercial establishments. Although old-timers have the tendency of grousing about malls and hotels sprouting up in their sleepy little haven, in fact, these indicate that the community is prospering economically.

Renting it out. Some people need to rent out their second home, at least a few months in the year, so that it is affordable. If that is the case, the location will be determined, at least partially, on how attractive it is for people who rent for vacations. Properties that are most desirable are the ones located near beaches, both for their resale potential and as rentals.

Buy a second home near water. According to a survey made by the National Association of Realtors, recreation in water was one of the topmost desires of second-home buyers. Vacationers love swimming, fishing, water skiing, or boating, hence selecting a destination near water will not only suit you but also your prospective renters.

The celebrity factor.
Choose a place which has the potential of attracting the movers and shakers of society – the film stars, the social celebrities. This, in turn, will attract enough people to it to jack up real estate prices.

Some other factors to take into consideration about choosing a destination to buy a second home in are, the crime rate, the safety factor, the medical facilities, and so on.

© 2008 Anna D. Banks, GCDF

Author’s Note:
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