Listing Courtesy of LEWES REALTY INC
That housing needs change as people get older goes without saying. For Harbenson Baby Boomers, the "getting older" concept has gradually morphed from the distant abstraction it seemed in the 60’s and 70’s to a more immediate concern. And of all the decisions that will have the most impact on those nearing their golden years, buying the right Harbenson home—one that makes the most sense for the future—tops the list.
Boomers have heard and read much advice about buying a home; advice having to do with downsizing, mobility issues and the like. Most of it is cautionary…and not very cheerful. But suddenly weighing into seniors’ "buying a home" deliberations is a contrary point of view: one that many of them have apparently begun to suspect on their own. It’s news that could be of considerable importance, not only for their own age group, but for younger adults as well:
Growing older doesn’t seem to be nearly as dire as everyone has been led to believe.
Last Monday, "Why Everything You Know about Aging is Probably Wrong" led The Wall Street Journal’s special insert on planning and living "in the new retirement." Its lead article dissected the most common preconceptions Americans have about aging, including the expected declines in mind, body, productivity, and stereotypes of growing loneliness and depression. "Everyone knows that as we age…life becomes less satisfying and enjoyable," the Journal reported…followed by what a wide range of research shows: "Everyone, it seems, is wrong."
People approach the whole idea of owning a second home from a hundred different perspectives simply because a second home can answer so many different purposes. If you are an Sussex County homeowner at the stage in life where making retirement plans is becoming a more immediate imperative, you might want to buy a second home as a vacation destination—but one which is also a tryout for your family’s future center of operations. Those who have spent a good part of their lives in cities sometimes seek a second home in the mountains or at the shore as a restorative refuge. People living in less crowded environs might crave a pied-à-terrefor proximity to a city’s cultural riches. There really can be a hundred different reasons (and that’s not even counting all the financial ones)!
Once you begin to seriously entertain the notion, it becomes evident that deciding on which of many possible directions to pursue will involve weighing the tradeoffs each presents. In addition to an opening a conversation with the Sussex County real estate professional whose advice you’ve come to trust the most, some of the main points you will want to consider—
· If the second home is going to serve even temporarily as a weekend getaway spot, then buying within reasonable driving distance may be more important than you might assume. Keep in mind that the drive (or flight) will grow steadily less interesting as time passes.
· In most instances, a second home will be occupied by members of your family only on a part-time basis. This brings up a number of issues—among them, insurance. Vacant properties present a different profile to insurers than do homes that are occupied most of the time. Hazard insurance tariffs could also differ from what you are used to (especially in flood-prone areas). Investigating insurance coverage and costs early on in your search will help you to avoid surprises.
· You should consult your tax expert for details, but as a general rule, if the home is not rented out as a business proposition, you’ll likely find that you are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on your Federal tax return. Then again, if you are thinking of renting the house out for more than 14 days per year, rental income is taxable. In that case, though, you’ll be able to use deductions for expenses, such as insurance, maintenance, professional fees, and sometimes even depreciation. Each situation will be different—again, your tax professional will have the relevant answers.
· Financing a second home is similar to financing your main residence. You are likely to need a down payment of 10% to as much as 30% in some cases. If you will be drawing on the equity in your current home, it’s only prudent to be able to retain a reasonable amount of reserves for unforeseen emergencies.
Many people buy a second home in anticipation of retirement. If that is the case, think of factoring in the availability of quality medical and support services in your search areas. A remote cabin in the woods may seem appealing now, but as a retirement venue, maybe not so much! Thinking about the long range is never more important than when you are entertaining the purchase of a second home. I’m here to help clarify those issues, as with all your other Sussex County real estate need.