When it comes to lakefront property is bigger really better? Recently, I sat down with a nice couple who own a 3,000 square foot lakefront home. It had four bedrooms and guest quarters over the garage.
When I asked why they were selling , he said the place had "grown too big" for them. She said they bought a large place anticipating the future needs of their family. They figured their kids would have families of their own and that they would need a place large enough to accommodate them all.
"We did have great times here, but 95% of the time we were here by ourselves. We love it here, but we never needed a house this big."These nice people clearly over bought. They miscalculated their future needs and wound up with a place that, because of it's size alone, became a burden. As buyers, they fell victim to a malady I call the Thanksgiving Day Syndrome or TDS.
Folks who suffer from TDS only consider buying homes that can fully accommodate the needs and desires of the entire family on Thanksgiving Day. A buyer with TDS looks at property after property with a little voice in their head saying "could I do Thanksgiving Day dinner here?"
A few years ago I had the chance to perform a market analysis on a lakefront camp that I had stayed in with my family fifty years ago. Back in the 1950s Dad had rented "Violette's" cottage on Little Sebago Lake in North Windham.
When I walked in the door after 50 years I was absolutely stunned. The place could not have been more that 600 square feet in size. I asked myself how in the world did a family of six vacation comfortably for three weeks in a place this small?
I realized that the place had only one bedroom, for Mom and Dad, of course. My two sisters had stayed in the "loft", a tiny attic space no more than four feet in height with two cots. My brother and I slept on the the screened porch.
For the very first time in my life the thought occurred to me, however fleeting, that as a child I must have been underpriviledged. If I found so much pleasure and had so much fun in a 600 square foot camp imagine the heights of delirium I could have experienced in a 3,000 square foot place!
It doesn't work that way.
I realized that the pleasure did not primarily come from that old humble camp, however charming. The pleasure came from being with my family on the lake in Maine. It was the blueberry picking, the hunting for mushrooms in the woods with my Grandpa, the swimming in crystal clear Little Sebago, the canoeing on the lake at sunup, and fishing for white perch with my Dad and brother.
When it comes to lakefront property is bigger really better? Does size really matter? Dear friends, you'll need to answer that question all on your own. Just be wary of falling victim to TDS.