Second homes aren#t exclusively for the rich and famous. And they often make truly excellent investments.
#Baby boomers have reached a point where their kids are coming out of college. They#ve got nice homes and cars. And they#ve got accessible cash,# says Kim Gibbons, broker associate with Spencer Realty in Gulf Breeze, Fla., near Pensacola.
With that accessible cash, Gibbons says boomers often invest in real estate # in the form of second homes. And in Gibbons#s area, that means beach-front property. #Living by the beach is one of life#s big rewards,# she notes.
Many of Gibbons# clients, including Gwinnett County residents, put their beach houses or condos on a rental program. #It#s not actually going to pay for the whole thing, but it does offset [the cost],# she says. Owners also benefit from tax breaks when they rent their properties out for portions of each year, Gibbons adds.
Another popular area for second homes close to home is the North Georgia Mountains. According to Erik Blalock, sales associate with RE/MAX of Rabun in Clayton, Ga., many Gwinnett County residents and Atlantans gravitate to the area for its laid-back appeal.
As Blalock says, #Less than 15 percent of Rabun County is privately owned.# The sparse population ensures that second homeowners get unspoiled views and a pristine outdoor lifestyle that many city-dwellers crave, he reports.
Sandy Springs resident and general contractor Don Price and his family purchased a mountain home in Northeast Georgia#s White County near Mt. Yonah more than 20 years ago.
#Since we bought the property, it has quadrupled in value,# Price says. He adds that he has been so impressed with the peacefulness, beauty and camaraderie of mountain living that he and his wife will retire there full time.
#We bought a piece of land on Lake Burton where we#ll build our retirement home,# says Price.
Yet another popular second home choice for Atlantans and Gwinnettians alike # Lake Lanier # has become a haven for primary residences, according to Donna Baray, associate broker with RE/MAX of Greater Atlanta.
Baray, too, finds that baby boomers are investing in lake-front property, seeking an ideal atmosphere for family gatherings.
#[Baby boomers] are buying property so their kids will come back and they#ll bring the grandchildren,# Baray states.
Businessman Bob DeNyse reports that he and his family haven#t regretted buying and renovating an old farm house in Gwinnett County on Lanier#s lake front seven years ago and moving there full-time. #We paid $250,000 for the house and four-and-a-half acres of land, and today the property has appraised at $711,000,# DeNyse says.
Aside from the sound investment, DeNyse says his family enjoys the lake lifestyle. #At the holidays we all get in the boat and go dock hopping,# he says. #It#s like living
at a resort.#
For anyone seeking a second home, the realtors agree that it#s important to choose a sales associate who specializes in a desired location.
As Gibbons explains, #People need a good realtor who really knows the area and is active in