cp fishingWe’ve looked at a few ski areas recently (namely Aspen and Taos), but as the temperatures warm and ski season begins to wrap up, it’s time to return closer to home and talk about the really important stuff: bass fishing! (more…)

89 Watercolor BoulevardThis week is spring break for a lot of peeps, and we know that a hefty slice of Dallasites and North Texans have invaded the Beaches of Walton County, Florida, those picture-perfect white sands along Highway 30-A in the panhandle of northwest Florida.

And after October, we might just re-populate the place.

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Phillip Day may just have the most enviable job in the world right now. While most of North America is freezing – buckets of snow in the northeast, 23 degrees tonight in Dallas brrrrr – Phillip is in charge of the sales and marketing for the best second home property in the Carribean, BahaMar, in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Better yet, BahaMar’s Vice President of Residential Sales is a Texan. Raised in Dallas and educated down the road at Baylor, Phillip is one of us! Here’s a little bit about BahaMar: The $3.6 billion, yes, with a “B”, project is set on 1,000 acres of prime beachfront paradise and will soon become one of the world’s largest, most luxurious resorts with everything jet-setting second home owners who love water, sun and fun could desire, and then more. That sun part is really sounding good right about now.

The total square footage of the development is expected to hit 3.3 million, with every square inch devoted to luxury. Baha Mar’s Grand Opening is set for December, 2014. There will be four hotels including a luxury Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, Mondrian and the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. All of the hotels will surround a 100,000 square foot casino that promises to combine the best of Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. Jack Nicklaus himself is directing construction of a brand new 18-hole Nicklaus Signature golf course. Baha Mar includes a world-class convention center, a 2,000 seat concert hall, world-class spas, 40+ luxury retail stores, 30+ restaurants, bars and nightclubs and all set on one of the world’s most spectacular beaches.

DSC_0034-3Baha Mar is selling 274 fully furnished tastefully designed private residences. There will be one to three bedroom condominiums along with a handful of four bedroom beach villas all overlooking miles and miles of sparkling clear, aqua blue ocean.

Baha Mar even allows residence owners to participate in the hotel brand’s rental programs – a great way to pay for maintenance costs! Perhaps the best news yet: the lift will be so convenient, you will practically land at the resort.

Seriously, Baha Mar has already invested $250 million in building new tree-lined boulevards that will connect the resort to Nassau’s sparkling new Lynden Pindling International Airport with only a 10 minute ride. Lynden Pindling is the largest airport in The Bahamas, and was recently enlarged even more. If you fly private, you can depart the mainland and be on the beach by ten. Fly commercial, you can early-bird it from DFW via Miami in the morning, and be on the beach by afternoon. Thawing out from the cold at my computer, toes numb, I called Phillip to find out how things are progressing at Baha Mar:

CD: So yes, Phillip, we are freezing our arses off in Texas. The pre-holiday ice storm blew out our spa. We had a few days of paradise then this. It’s 37 outside right now. What is your temperature in Nassau?

Phillip: As a Dallas native, I remember how incredibly cold it gets during Texas winter blasts! I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that the temperature here in Nassau is in the high 70s. Every day is a beach day!

 

CD: What’s the water temp?

Phillip: I don’t know the exact water temperature today but I can tell you that I’m looking out the window of my office at Cable Beach and there are lots of smiling people swimming in the blue ocean!

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CD: I hate you. Was it crowded over the holidays (trying to think negative thoughts)?

Phillip: Baha Mar won’t open until December 2014 so we don’t have guests yet. However, I can tell you that the Baha Mar teams from Rosewood, Grand Hyatt, Mondrian and the Baha Mar Casino Hotel are already hard at work as they prepare for next holiday season. It’s going to be an incredible five star Grand Opening experience in one of the most glorious settings in the world!

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CD: Any movie star sightings? Some of our friends were splashing with Reese Witherspoon.

Phillip: We had a few. I saw Richard Gere and started to tell him about you but I’m sure it would have made Walter jealous.

CD: What happens in BahaMar stays in BahaMar. How’s my boyfriend, Sean Connery?

Phillip: Playing golf every day at Lyford Cay. Don’t get too excited, Candy. He plays golf with his wife.

CD: So I take it that with the purchase of a home at BahaMar, I could be escaping this frozen hell-hole as long as Jet Blue doesn’t cancel my flight out there, or Southwest doesn’t land in Cincinnati by mistake?

Phillip: Absolutely! The trip from Dallas is so easy. My favorite is the direct flight American offers from DFW to Nassau.

CD: How much to get me in the door – a pied a terre, a studio, a room with an electric kettle – anywhere to get my beauty sleep in-between sundown and dawn?

Phillip: Our prices start at just over $1,000,000 for a fully furnished one bedroom residence. But you have two children who will want to come with you and Walter so you should look at the larger residences. We have two and three bedroom residences along with a handful of stunning four bedroom villas. As I’m sure you remember from your visit here earlier in the year, all of our residences come equipped with phenomenal ocean views and an easy path to the white beaches.

CD: Oh I remember. Sales going well?

Phillip: We are very, very pleased with our sales thus far. In fact, we just sold a gorgeous Mondrian residence about an hour ago to a wonderful Montreal-based family!

CD: Where are most of the buyers coming from?

Phillip: Baha Mar owners will truly represent the world. We have many purchasers from, of course, the United States and Canada. But we also have buyers from as far away as China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, France, Italy, Venezuela and Brazil.

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CD: And the opening is in less than a year…

Phillip: Grand Opening will be in December of this year and, because it is a single-phase development, all of the amenities will be unveiled together. It’s so much fun to see everything take shape. You see the beautiful architecture becoming a reality, the grass of the Nicklaus Signature golf course growing in, the Bellagio-style show fountains being built, etc… and it just takes your breath away. The level of luxury that Baha Mar will provide will truly be something the Caribbean has never seen before. But maybe the best thing to see is the incredible team of professionals Baha Mar has assembled. I’ve never seen such passion for a single goal – to provide the ultimate resort experience to our owners and guests. Baha Mar is going to blow people away!

I found myself dreaming of being inside a cozy lodge, next to a fire, watching fresh snow fall outside. Immediately I decided to see if I could find the perfect ski cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Here’s my top-5 list for this incredible winter destination!

1) Singing Trees

Singing Trees

I dare you not to fall in love with this incredible log home dubbed “Singing Trees.” Shaped by Gerry Spence, this amazing eight-bedroom, seven full and five half bath home has all the rustic touches you’d imagine — stone accents, antler chandeliers, Native American-style textiles, and oodles of leather — all designed to resemble the magnificent lodges built inside national parks during the 1920s. It’s listed for $18.9 million.

2) 8910 N. Deland Dr.

8910 N. Deland Dr.

A luxurious Jackson Hole estate, indeed. With six bedrooms, eight full baths and more than 13 acres, this gorgeous compound, complete with aerated pond, is a retreat that will dazzle anyone. Views of the Tetons and plenty of room for guests, this home is listed for $13.9 million.

3) Gorgeous Snake River Ranch Estate

Snake River Estate

Doesn’t that look like the perfect Christmas? Snow outside, stockings hung by the chimney, and I bet this Dutch colonial revival is super cozy when the fire is roaring. Located on the Snake River in one of the most scenic areas of Jackson Hole is this amazing 52-acre ranch. Just lovely! It’s on the market for $11.5 million.

4) Wild By Nature

Wild By Nature

Here’s another classic Jackson Hole lodge, dubbed “Wild By Nature.” This home has stone fireplaces, antler chandeliers, and decor that looks like any one of the well-curated showrooms at Anteks. It’s more modest, though, with five bedrooms, five full baths and three half baths. It’s on the market for $10.75 million.

5) Triple Creek Ranch

Triple Creek Ranch

Rounding out my top-5 Jackson Hole lodges is Triple Creek Ranch, a stunning and utterly classic log home that overlooks a placid creek and is hidden by trees and mountains. Beautiful and absolutely cozy inside, with picturesque views outside. Price is hush, hush, though, for this four-bedroom, four full and one half bath abode.

Squaw Valley Front

We took a family vacation to West Texas when I was a kid, hitting highlights such as Big Bend, Indian Lodge, and Fort Stockton. The most memorable stop for me was the McDonald Observatory. It was so cool to check out the gigantic telescopes that were capable of getting an up-close view of stars, planets, and even galaxies.

So you can imagine how excited I was to see this Squaw Valley listing from Ascent Sotheby’s International Realty. You guys, not only does this $9 million listing have some of the best views in the Edwards, Colo., area, but IT HAS ITS OWN OBSERVATORY.

Squaw Valley Telescope

I just can’t get over how cool that is! Imagine having a home that sits out in the middle of mountain country, where there are no streetlights to obscure your view of the sky. Sounds almost like touching heaven, no?

Imagine the things that will pop up in conversation that you’d never imagine would.

Honey, did you close the door of the observatory dome? It might snow.”

Dear, I think I might have just discovered a new planet!”

Squaw Valley Night 2

Of course, you’ll also love that this home is fully automated and can be controlled via an app on your smartphone. You also get tons of windows from which you can view the changing seasons on your mountain-top hideaway on more than 34 acres. There are five bedrooms, six full and two half baths, and an indoor tropical greenhouse where you can grow your own tomatoes year round inside this 10,561-foot compound. Brilliant!

Squaw Valley Conservatory Squaw Valley Living 2 Squaw Valley Wine Cellar Squaw Valley Bath Squaw Valley master Squaw Valley Kitchen Squaw Valley Fireplace

La Fortuna front  (2)You have heard me bragging on 3RD Home on these pages before.

3RD Home (see ad to right) is a web site for second home owners that expands second home ownership by creating a home swap of vetted vacation home owners and properties. It’s like belonging to your very own Exclusive Resorts, only more exclusive. You must already be a second home owner — condo, home, ranch — and then you can exchange your home to stay at a THIRD home for — are you ready? $495 a week. That is not a typo. It costs you $495 to join 3RD HOME, and then $495 per week per stay at a home that matches the value, categorized as keys. I might add this must be full home ownership on your part, no family timeshares like our beach house. All the homes and owners are scrutinized so you know you are not just getting a five star location, you are putting nice people just like yourself in your property.

The genius behind this Nashville, TN -based company (The Southwestern Company is a partner) is Wade Shealy, a veteran second home Realtor who earned his stripes selling vacation homes in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

“I sold out my last development in 2006 – Hampton Island off the coast of Georgia,” says Wade. “Uber hot when Ben Affleck bought a home on Hampton Island.”

What did he see coming down the pike? People needing second homes like they need a colonoscopy.

“I was sitting, waiting for it to turn around, and I waited. And waited, ” says Wade. “So I started looking at options for owners to get more value from those homes.”

Truthfully, the second home market is doing better, but not as well as the primary market. According to the latest NAR research,

  • The median vacation home purchase price was higher in 2012 than in 2011–$150,000.
  • The share of vacation buyers who did not use a mortgage rose slightly to 46 percent from 42 percent in 2011.
  • Since there were fewer distressed properties on the market in 2012, there were fewer that could be purchased. The share of vacation buyers who purchased a vacation property dropped to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2011.
  • However, the share does remain high—20 percent of vacation buyers purchased a home in foreclosure, while 15 percent purchased a short sale.
  • Vacation buyers expect to own their vacation home for 10 years.

More second homeowners are leasing vacation homes for cash flow, and a Realtor I spoke with in Phoenix recently, Walt Danley, told me pre-retirees are buying homes in Phoenix and Scottsdale, for example, at devalued pricing, leasing them and holding them for retirement in 5 to 7 years. Of course, many of them are snowbirds and I hope they can unload those primary homes.

But when you have a second home, when you are dishing out $7000 a month in mortgage, insurance and other second home housing costs, the last thing you want to hear is “let’s go skiing this year” when you own a home at the beach.

But with 3RD HOME, you can trade the beach house for a ski chalet for $495. per week. It’s a way to stretch the vaca home to more than one location without breaking the bank or — horrors — buying another vacation home.

In fact, 3RD Home is more than a home exchange, it’s an estate exchange.

“Its proprietary key system puts you in control,” says Steve Zacks at 3RD Home. “You earn credits, called Keys, each time you make a week in your second home available for other members use.”

With those Keys in hand, which serve as the currency in the 3RD HOME system, you then can immediately reserve any available property and week 24/7 online.  There is no direct or simultaneous exchange required with another member.

What makes 3RD HOME truly unique and superior is the quality of the homes made available for your use.  There are more than 1550 homes spanning the globe with an average value of $2.25 Million and many well above $5 to 10 million.  An example is this gem located in Argentina named La Fortuna.  A complete description of this luxurious estate can be found on the 3RD HOME website. And yes, it’s ready for a swap!

SecondShelters.com readers with second homes are urged to explore the site, and take advantage of the special membership offer by clicking the ad on our home page or this link.

Like we say, “you can never have too many homes” and 3RD HOME gives you access to even more.LA Fortuna Garden (2) La Fortuna Trees (2)

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SecondShelters.com welcomes its newest expert contributor, Dallas Addison, who really IS from Dallas, Texas!

My name is Dallas Addison, and my passion is real estate.  I’m trained as a lawyer and have helped many clients throughout the country buy, sell, develop and manage all types of  real estate over the years, with a  particular focus on recreational and hospitality-based real estate,  such as golf courses, resorts, ranches, second homes, etc.  I’m also a founding principal of Preservation Land Company, which has created several incredible (if I may say so) conservation-based recreational ranches near Dallas and worked on projects in Montana,  Hawaii and New Mexico.  On the educational side, I’m a long-time member of the Recreation Development Council  of the Urban Land Institute, a  global organization of leaders in the  real estate industry whose mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

I will be sharing with you interesting, exciting things that are going on in recreational real estate (which we’ll broadly define) across the country. We think it’s important to know that your source is not only reliable but actually 100% involved in the recreational real estate industry.

I also have a strong personal interest in how sustainability concepts are applied in recreational real estate.   While completely overused, the concept of sustainability still has merit.   Locally, it’s darn hot here and by the looks of our rapidly dropping lakes, we’re using lots of water.  Plus, our area is quickly growing, one way or the other, putting even more stress on our resources.  We should be looking to make choices that create better and more livable communities.  So, where I see interesting and innovative sustainability practices being applied, I want to share those as well. Hopefully those ideas will take root and help us manage the growth without depleting our resources.

Finally, how  did I connect with Candy?  Well, interestingly, her husband unexpectedly delivered our first daughter, but that’s not actually how we met.  We bumped into each other years ago as we share a passion for real estate. She came out to visit one of our projects, Cross Pines Ranch, near Mineola.  We’ve had many interesting conversations about what’s going on in this space and we thought others might want to listen in on the conversation.

Stick around,  and I think you’ll  enjoy the ride. We will be having the Aspen report, just in time for ski season, new news out of Hawaii’s Big Island, and one of my favorites: Cross Pines Ranch near Mineola, pictured here. Come back, come often, and join the discussion!

 

Nassau3.23.13 (46).jpgbeach privateWe probably know it deep in our gut, but luxury vacation homes built on the water cost 63% more, on average, than similar properties that are land-locked. This from a global property consultant, Knight Frank, who scrutinized the ten most popular second home destinations around the world.

And if they have to cover naked beaches with shipped-in sand, or grind down glass to make it, that cost could even go higher.Waterfront living Wall Street JournalThe most expensive waterfront properties in the world are on Italy’s Lake Como, about 30 miles north of Milan. I have been to Lake Como and know full well why. Next is Barbados followed by Phuket in Thailand and central Algarve along Portugal’s southern coast.

Then comes sand-poor Miami.

I know I don’t have to explain this to my dear readers: we covet waterfront properties, lake or sea, because they are exclusive and secluded all at the same time. Who does not love falling asleep listening to the surf? Enjoying a glass of wine over a beach-front sunset? That’s why beach front properties and developments such as The Palms and Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, BahaMar in Nassau, Camana Bay in Grand Cayman , Costa Baja in La Paz, Mexico, Honua Kai and the whole state of Hawaii, are gearing up. In fact, beach property everywhere is getting hotter, especially with foreign buyers. The National Association of Realtors reports that as many as a quarter of the buyers in South Florida are from outside the U.S., many looking for waterfront.

According to the Wall Street Journal, true waterfront homes in Lake Como are hard to come by — hence increased value.

“It’s the first question I ask people, ‘Do you want waterfront or lake views?’ Generally speaking, if you can’t see the water, people are not interested,” Mr. Fawcett says. “I’ve had people who have been looking for three, four, five years, but they’re all happy to bide their time. These people appreciate that it’s a rare commodity to get a true waterfront property.”

In the U.S., waterfront properties sell for 60% more than non-waterfront homes in Miami, according to Knight Frank. According to Audrey Ross, senior vice president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, sometimes waterfront properties can sell for more than a 100% premium, — double the price of a non-waterfront equivalent.

“The premium goes directly to how high the water is and how wide the views are. Basically, the bigger the view, the higher the price,” she says.

Families with small children may not find waterfront homes desirable, though I always found the vast beach much safer than a swimming pool when my children were babies. They can toddle on a beach, built sand castles, dabble in the  water without venturing in too much. Mine were afraid of the surf until they were old enough to be strong swimmers. .

Most investors think buying a waterfront property is like buying gold bars, but there are also expenses involved: higher insurance costs for hurricane and dredging, which municipalities usually cover but turn to taxpayers to fund. There are also tsunamis, which we experienced in a very small way last year in Hawaii when the Four Seasons Kona was evacuated. (This shot was taken right after the water receded.)

Hawaii 120.jpg Four Seasons post tsunami

Miami is great, but did you know Miami Beach is running out of sand? For many years Miami Beach replaced sand lost to hurricanes and tides by simply pumping it from the ocean floor, which is what most beach communities do. But by 2001, because of the area’s geography, that ended. There are three reef tracks running alongside Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, which make dredging difficult. The continental shelf also narrows greatly here, meaning the ocean gets too deep too quickly.

Miami Beach sandActually, Miami beaches will be out of sand by February. Officials are very concerned that this will affect tourism and those beach houses consumers have paid through the nose for.

Possible solutions include buying sand from nearby St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, who have said no, saving their sand for their own beaches. Miami could also buy sand from the Bahamas or Mexico, and ship it in at a hefty price. They are also looking at making sand out of recycled glass. Yes, at one time sand was used to make glass, so this is a simply a reversal process:

Broward County is exploring the cost of recycling glass to fill small gaps in its beaches — it is more costly than offshore sand, but it is not yet clear by how much. Broward would also have to find a nearby facility to process the glass and complete the final phase of its environmental study. Other states have used recycled glass, but mostly for small projects like golf courses.

For now, the idea remains on the table. It is creative, said Ms. Jacobs, the Broward County mayor. It could promote a market for glass, she added.

Broward is looking to finance the last part of its environmental study, and will weigh the costs. The sand has so far proved an excellent mimic of regular sand, which is used to produce glass, after all. “If we could generate our own sand,” Ms. Jacobs said, “it would be fantastic.”