Second Home Owners – Your Second Home or Your Friends’ Hotel?

You have 473 Facebook friends. You’re well liked and connected. But now that ski season is just around the corner, those Facebook friends start calling you about coming for a Steamboat Springs’ ski vacation in your second home. Research indicates that a typical second home owner only spends 39 nights a year in their vacation home which leaves 326 days “free”…unless friends want to come while you’re there, which is a whole new issue.

Antlers - Ski-In Ski-Out
Antlers – Ski-In Ski-Out

As a vacation home owner, you need to decide early on if you’re going to be in one of two groups: 1) the friend who sets limits, boundaries, rules 2) the friend who is the martyr.

The Owner with House Rules:

* Doesn’t hesitate to tell acquaintances it’s for family only or simply not available

*  Asks guests to chip in and cover costs for cleaning, maintenance, food, etc.

* Charges friends a rental fee to cover utilities, mortgage payments, insurance, etc.

*  Has a list of house rules in plain sight (sometimes in multiple places), and sticks to them

The Martyr Second Home Owner:

* Hands over the keys to friends repeatedly even when left with damage requiring repairs upon their departure

* Agrees to visitors while in the home too and then stocks the kitchen and offers shuttle service

* Feels badly about asking for a nominal rental fee, let alone saying no altogether

* Doesn’t know how to say “no” when friends want to invite additional friends because ‘there’s still one more bedroom available’

If you think this doesn’t affect many people, think again. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) vacation homes are being purchased at a rapid rate given the real estate market is depressed in many resort areas. Here’s what NAR reports from 2010 data:

* 10% of 2010 home purchases were vacation homes

* There are 7.9 million vacation homes in the United States

* Of 2010 vacation homes purchased: 36% were in the South, 27% were in the West, 19% in Northeast, 15% in Midwest and 3% were outside the U.S.

* 19% of vacation homes purchased were in resort areas

Before you purchase a second home, consider how you’re going to handle the inevitable “can I come stay” questions, and rest assured that even folks you haven’t heard from in years won’t mind asking the question. You might find yourself editing down the amount of Facebook friends or posting less about how great the skiing was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Or you can always suggest these homes for your friends to purchase – so you can offer up a vacation home swap in the future!

—For more information on buying real estate or questions regarding Steamboat Springs real estate or renting a home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, feel free to call Charlie at 970-846-6435 or write me an email at: