Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat

How Do You and Your Spouse Decide How to Pick the Perfect Vacation Property?


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As a real estate professional in a second home or vacation market, one of the most challenging tasks we face every day is helping couples figure out what they need, want and can afford in a vacation property.  After all, it isn't a "must have" it is a luxury and many couples have very different ideas about what a perfect vacation property looks like.  Here is a very typical couple dynamic we see every day.

Mark and Patty have been looking for a home in the mountains where they can come for a few weeks in the summer, to get out of the Florida heat and a few weeks in the winter to experience skiing and create memories with the family.  When asked what was most important to them when deciding what property to buy they agreed that the property needed to be large enough to house their large family and be set in an idyllic mountain setting with inspiring views within 10 miles of the ski area for convenience.  When asked what price range they were prepared to go to, Mark spoke first and said he didn't want to spend over $1 million unless the property was a "great value".  When asked what features are important to them in a vacation home, Patty spoke first and stated that they liked new construction, high ceilings, open floor plans and views from every room in the house.

What I typically try to do with prospects is educate them to the market here before showing any homes and what became clear immediately with Mark and Patty was that in their price range they would have to make some significant trade offs. When you and your spouse make a large buying decision are you a functional team or dysfunctional team?

 Do you make significant decisions together or do you argue your points and try to "win"? Traditionally American families had very divided roles between spouses.  The husband went to work and made the money while the wife stayed home and raised the children and insured the home was taken care of.  Couples today are very different than 50 years ago.  Many times the woman is the primary bread winner, or both contribute equally to the financial equation which has changed the dynamic of how major decisions are made between couples. What does it mean to be "ready, willing and able" to make a significant buying decision? 

What I recommend to all my clients is to go into a decision aware of  the factors involved to make a functional decision as a couple.

1. Ready - Do you know whether you need to sell a property before buying a property? Do you know if you will take out a loan to buy the property?  If so, have you talked to a lender to determine how much you can borrow and what interest rate and down payment will be required? Have you done your homework on the internet and with your broker to determine what is available in your price range? Can you articulate what criteria needs to be met to make your decision?

2. Willing - Is your expectation properly set? When you decide to look at property are you both using a realistic check list to determine if a property meets both your needs?  After viewing properties can you and your spouse sit down and eliminate properties and decide which property is the best property for both of you based on that check list? Lastly, do you really want to buy a second home or vacation property and if so does it need to financially perform for you to make it work?

3. Able - Once you have established the first two, ready and willing, are you able to make a decision between the two of you?  Many couples put off their dream to buy a second home or vacation property because BOTH parties aren't ready and willing to make a buying decision.  This becomes the hardest part because only when both spouses are on the same page can a decision be made that works for both parties.


I use Mark and Patty as a good example because like many couples, the first round of looking at property really made them question what was really important to them.  They realized that in their price range they would have to either be farther away from the town and ski mountain, purchase a smaller home or condo or go up in price range to find exactly what they wanted.  This initially was a struggle, for a year they went back and forth looking for the perfect property in their price range until they were actually READY and WILLING to make the trade offs to own a property in the mountains. Today they are the proud owners of a beautiful townhome 10 minutes from the ski area and realize that the process they went through could have been avoided if they had done their homework and communicated with each other up front!



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Phone: 970-846-8692
Dated: August 12th 2016
Views: 1,447
About Victoria Jackson and: The Steamboat Luxury Team -Vicki Jackson and Mike Shuttleworth Vicki Jackson has been a Realtor f...

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