I fell in love with the American West at about the age of 8. I was hooked on my first vacation – a meandering car trip through Kansas to Colorado and parts of New Mexico. Thirty years later, I was still smitten and rewarded myself with the purchase of a second home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A second home was a novel idea for me and my husband. This was an idea outside of our upbringing. We hardly knew what to think about when contemplating the idea of a second home purchase in Santa Fe. We did know that we yearned for a home in Santa Fe.
We visited the town a lot. We came in winter. We visited in summer.
I went alone; I brought clients; I worked from there and rested out there. My husband did the same. We stayed in homes all over the Santa Fe area, renting homes in different parts of town to familiarize ourselves with features of different locales.
We finally engaged a realtor. She asked, “Will you be leasing the property when not in residence?” We recoiled and the answer was a fast, “No,” from both of us. We laughed! We hadn’t talked about it, but we had the same answer to that question.
Were there other questions that we hadn’t asked ourselves? What else had we not chatted through?
We were the lucky ones. We were clear on how we wanted to use our second home and how it might be our little piece of second home heaven. We were clear from the standpoint that both of us knew how we wanted to use the home.
We wanted to use our home as a refuge, a place for us to recharge. A private sanctuary…no renting! Secondly, we both saw the area and our home as a place to infuse creativity and variety into our work. We thought our out-of-country and out-of-state clients would readily meet us there for important or prolonged meetings. And they do. Next, we wanted to host friends and family should they be able to visit us.
Second Home Success Story
We are a second home success story. We’ve owned our home for 20 years – well beyond the average ownership. The median length of vacation homeownership is 6 years. This vacation home continues to be our refuge, recharge spot, drawing us back month after month.
We have friends who have spent decades saving for their own second home heaven only to sell it within a few short years.
Why the short tenure? They found their expectations of second home ownership were different than the reality.
- They either visited more often or not often enough to suit them.
- They visited other vacations spots less than they’d like because they “needed” to use the resource of their home.
- Family and friends visited less often than hoped for.
- The costs were higher than expected.
- The maintenance and security required exceeded their expectations.
- Their experience of the area was different as a “local ” than as a guest.
- Out of sight didn’t mean a worry free home. Concern and anxiety about their expensive asset bothered them.
We still feel lucky every time we arrive at our second home heaven. It’s true…we did have to redo the kitchen this past fall, the roof has a small leak that will require attention just as soon as the ice thaws. I did have to work harder to schedule weekend visits last year than in years past and it still feels like heaven to us.