Apr 15, 2010

Re-thinking the Cabin (Carole)

I didn't grow up in an environment where people had second homes.  But when I moved to the mid-west I found that many people (even people with the most modest of means, it seemed) had a lake house.  This was astonishing to me.

But like any red-blooded American woman I began to think, "Wouldn't that be GREAT to have a lake house??"  Or a mountain cabin, or a beach house or a vacation home or whatever this kind of 2nd home is called in your area.  Something I'd never considered before in my life, suddenly became something I really wanted in my future.  It just sounded so relaxing. . .

Luckily I have a wise mother-in-law.  She mentioned to me about 20 years ago that she didn't understand the whole 2nd home idea.  I was shocked.  I knew she had many, many friends who had cabins and lake houses.  How could she think this??  Then she told me why she wasn't interested:

1.  You feel obligated to go to the same place -- EVERY YEAR.  She wanted the freedom to go somewhere new when she had the inclination to get away -- anywhere in the world.

2.  You have to clean it every time you go and again when you leave.  On the other hand,  every vacation destination pays people to not only clean things up when you leave, but they keep it clean every day that you're their guest.

3.  You are always concerned about vandalism (when you're away) and seasonal maintenance.  At your vacation destination, you have none of these concerns.  You waltz in and you waltz out.

4.  Your down payment ALONE on the property (say $20,000) could buy you 50 nights at a hotel charging $400/night.  That's one terrific vacation room!  If your room was only $200/night you'd be able to vacation for 100 days!   And this money doesn't even count your $1000 mortgage payment (and home owners insurance) every month for 15 or 30 years.

I'm not too quick sometimes, but I began to see that her reasons made a whole lot of sense.  I've joined her No Vacation House Club.  Maybe you see a 2nd home as an investment.  That's great.  But I'd personally rather have an investment that didn't require me to clean toilets and kill mice.

To borrow (and alter) my college's motto:  The World is My Vacation House.


Bart said...

I was floored when I first realized that owning things can be more limiting than liberating. The same could be said of house boats or ski boats, too. If you LOVE boating, and want to go all summer long, then it might make sense. But if you're out on the lake four weekends a year, you might just want to rent. Or share.

Sherry said...

The people we regularly house-sit for have a small cabin in Springville that they built with one of those build-your-own cabin "kits." (Can it really be called a "kit" if you are building an entire home out of it?) It's located in Springville (and their home is in Provo) so it's close enough that they can literally spend all summer there. Plus their kids use it all the time. Eric and I have stayed there a few times as well.

Personally, I'd rather have the whole world as my cabin. But their cabin works really well for them, and if I were to go the second-home route, I would choose that one.