I recently had to go car shopping—one of my most hated jobs – because my 12 year old Ford Escape was not fun anymore. Every time I used it, it broke, twice during the past month I had to have it towed to the mechanic. It did not leave me stranded but it was no longer reliable and it had lost its cost effectiveness—the pleasure return was gone.
How does this relate to real estate you ask? Simple, ownership of cars and homes are not free. Everyone thinks of the mortgage, power & utilities, taxes, insurance and some maintenance but there are other bills that come due annually that I call the surprises… unexpected major repairs/maintenance. A typical lake house sitting unused a couple of hours or states away can break the budget.
- Taxes-$300 per month
- Insurance -$200 per month
- Yard Maintenance-$150 per month
- Unexpected major repairs/maintenance can include things like: plumbing leaks, roof leaks, downed trees, well pump, appliance repairs/replace, BUGS, mold or mildew (any of these could exceed $1,000, your insurance may cover them but you would still have to pay the deductible)
Money just flowing out, without the pleasure return. When you are living and enjoying your lake house, having friends over, enjoying the lake, making memories-the pleasure return will balance out the costs. When you are not at the lake, but still having to make all the payments this is when you have to decide how much pain you will endure before you want/need relief.
June is almost over and so is the prime market for selling lake homes. This is usually when we hear from sellers who want to sell their lake property. The pleasure return is gone, the kids went to the beach instead of the mountains or they went on a cruise, or they have new friends and went with them instead of coming to the lake. The boat is in the water but no one is using it or the property and school starts back in August. The lake house has been used once or twice and will have to be closed up in October; lots of care and attention, very little pleasure. When you get to the point in life, call your agent-sell the house, it is cheaper and less stressful just to rent something in the area you want to vacation in.