Second Shelters: Why I Started a Blog for the Most Important Real Estate Purchase of Your Life

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I’ve never really told you why I started a blog called SecondShelters. Truth is, I wanted to call it SecondHomes, but the URL was already taken. I like the word “shelter” because that is the purpose a home serves — it is really a shelter from the elements, from the big, bad world. As a real estate reporter, blogger and now agent,  I saw several trends emerging that I thought would serve such a highly-focused blog well. (And I know a little about blogging.) Ultimately, I hope to serve up mainly Second Home House Porn and information here once I find a place for my “Dallas Dirt”.  And my husband has put in a request for a tab on boats and yachts — apparently the prices are way down now due to the higher cost of petrol? But the trends I found were conceived from what you see going on in this photograph taken after my daughter’s wedding in September, 2009. This is the porch of the family beach house in Maine that my husband’s grandfather bought for his family to enjoy back in 1947. Today, it’s like a family timeshare that has spawned so many wonderful memories and gatherings being there is instant comfort and has spoiled me hopelessly to what the perfect beach should be. Second home ownership, you see, is not new. It has been around for ages in America as people escaped the heat and “summered” on the shore — Long Island, the Cape, Maine. In Europe, the gentry lived in the city and escaped to the country on long, restful weekends. We visited summer homes — and palaces –in Japan. With the advent of air conditioning, some perhaps thought this trend would end — people would stay put in their Bauhaus, egalitarian, 1500 square foot homes year ’round. (Of course, comrad!) Second homes in the 1950’s and 1960’s were lake cabins, or Winnebagos or Airstreams. But then came the developers who decided to “fractionalize” ski resort home ownership to get more paying bodies out on the slopes. If one family owned a chalet, but only skied a few times a year, the lifts were pretty sparsely populated. Fractionalize that chalet, bring in warm, credit-card carrying new ski bodies each week, and that resort revenue started looking fine.

Then came that dirty little word we do not use on SecondShelters lest we get our mouth washed out with a very finely milled soap: time-share. No, dear readers, I care about you too much to let this word slip in. Time shares are NOT good real estate investments, and I would not recommend them on this blog.

My jury is still out on Condohotels — stay tuned.

We may fractionalize, we may buy into an equity fund that invests in real estate, we may buy for fun or to lease. Whatever we do, we buy for value and future appreciation.

Those trends? Next post!

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