Banner photoYear-round views steal the show at 739 Lakeview Ave., which is on the market for $2.7 million in South Lake Tahoe Calif. Listing agent Theresa Souers says this one is “probably the best buy all around the lake.”

Plenty of Texans go for vacation homes near Lake Tahoe.

“But be prepared that our houses aren’t as big as they’re used to,” real estate agent Theresa Souers adds with a chuckle. “I always tell them that upfront.”

Size doesn’t matter so much, however, when you’re breathing mountain air and pondering a looming, pristine lake that straddles California and Nevada.

Wealthy Californians are known for flocking to little towns on the Nevada side to avoid state income tax and enjoy a lower cost of living. Both options offer unfettered views and a sense of tony, tucked-away escapism, but it’s the area’s unbeatable year-round beauty and perpetual sports — including hiking, snow skiing, and waterskiing — that give Tahoe its biggest advantage over seasonal resort spots.

Serious buyers come because “they like the clean air,” says broker Chris Plastiras, of Lakeshore Realty. “They like the low crime rate, they like the educational system.”

220 Glen Way exterior739 Lakeview: Water and mountain views abound at this South Lake Tahoe property.

Home sales are up 30 to 35 percent this year by Sours’s count, and Plastiras’s company has seen a more than 100-percent increase, from $94 million in total sales to around $225 million.

The numbers aren’t a huge surprise, however; typically, California’s property sales foretell Tahoe’s to some extent.

“If you study the historical trends,” Souers explains, “we follow the Bay Area,” usually with about six-month to yearlong lag.

And guess what? The Bay Area is starting to fly high.

As for Tahoe, “we kind of flattened out around November,” Souers said, “but I don’t think it’s a permanent thing.”

Tahoe-area properties are often carefully regulated, for better or for worse; building permits can be scarce, which keeps neighborhoods quaint but frustrates some homeowners.

220 Glen Way interior(Above and Below): This low-elevation, lodge-style home offers direct access to a tennis and recreation center. 220 Glen Way is listed for $2.2 million in Incline Village, Nev.

739 Lakeview Living Room

“Even if you own [an empty] lot, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be able to build up there,” cautions Dallas resident Joyce Jacobson, whose family has kept a beloved second home in South Lake Tahoe — right on the state line, she says — for more than 20 years. Lake houses seem to hold their value better over time, she figures, but they’re also subject to strict regulations. In some cases, she adds, that means rules about what sort of blinds an occupant can hang from his or her windows. Seriously.

Her husband, Bob, has a funny story about their own vacation getaway, which isn’t on the lake. Seven or eight years ago, he said, Joyce and their grown children began pressuring him to sell.

“I put a real high price on it,” he says with a mischievous laugh — $1.2 million, which was several times what the family paid for it years ago — “thinking, ‘if we do [sell], we’re going to get something good.’”

A prospective buyer popped up immediately.

“They were so depressed,” Jacobson said of his family when they got the news. “They were hardly talking, and just walking around with their heads drooped down.”

Then and there, they changed their minds about leaving.

“Compared to Dallas,” Jacobson muses, “everything’s quiet. You get up in the morning, and the birds are making noise. You hear all these little animals. Last time I was up there, there were like six deer walking on our main street.”

Or maybe it’s the other humans — and myriad human diversions — that make die-hards keep coming back.

“It’s all the recreational spots, with all the skiing and the hiking and the water sports,” says homeowner Leroy Hardy (a relative of mine), whose custom-built Incline Village, Nev., house includes a creek, and is on the market.

“It’s unsurpassed.”

Georgia and Matt2Georgia Fisher is a Dallas expat now living in Reno, Nev., with her fiancé. Her interests include cats, Internet videos of cats, and cats watching Internet videos of cats. While she adores her quaint historic rental in Reno, she tries to escape to Lake Tahoe as often as possible. 

While some of us despise the chilly winter winds that have been a-blowing and prefer to bundle up indoors until bikini season arrives, skiers and snowboarders alike know that the storms that blew through Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming this week (and will continue on through the northeast next week) offer the perfect, powdery platform for a fantastic weekend out on the slopes.

Below, check out our top five vacation rental homes to enjoy the best of both worlds: top notch skiing paired with amenities worth traveling for.

Chateau of Breckenridge

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For a true ski-in/ski-out luxury chateau, don’t miss this Colorado beauty, just a few steps from the popular Four O’clock Ski Run. Plus, there’s even a rooftop patio with an outdoor spa and fireplace. Rent this five bedroom, five and a half bath mountainside home for $13,125 a week.

The Stratton Mountain House

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This winter retreat, nestled in Stratton, Vermont, is minutes away from the Stratton Ski Resort. Get a couples massage at the resort’s day spa after a long day of hitting the slopes or take a short 20-minute drive to the Manchester Designer Shopping Outlets nearby. Truly get away from it all by simply staying at the home, which boasts six bedrooms, five and a half baths, a jetted tub and a jacuzzi. Rental rates are $1,600 a night, with a three night minimum stay required.

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I am in love with the decor of this secluded rental in Stowe, Vermont. Romp in seven bedrooms and five bathrooms in three separate dwellings set on an 8 acre hilltop, surrounded by rambling farmland. Cross-country skiers will enjoy trails located just off the property, and black diamond skiers can hit the slopes at Stowe Mountain Resort, which is just 15 minutes away. Cost to rent is $10,000 per week.

Four O’clock Breckenridge Condo

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At just $79 a night, this two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath Breckenridge condo offers amenities that rival its luxurious competitors: a full kitchen, 46′ flat screen TV in the living room, and a balcony with a mountain view. Walk on a trail to reach the ski resort or simply take the bus just 20 feet from the condo to Peak 7 and 8 of the Four O’clock Ski Run.

Glacier Lodge

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Newly built in 2012, this 2,800-square-foot, six-bedroom rental property is located in beautiful Lake Harmony, Penn., just minutes from the lake, championship golf courses, the Poconos ski slopes, state parks, and restaurants. Soak in the six-person outdoor hot tub or play a game of pool inside this Poconos chalet for $3,200 a week.

Whitney ThompsonWhitney Thompson loves to daydream about the perfect beach house, but she’ll settle for a hot tub in Colorado if that’s on the menu. She is a freelance writer and contributor to SecondShelters.com and CandysDirt.com.

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If Samantha was your favorite American Girl doll as a kid, well then, welcome home. Be honest: You loved Samantha for her satiny rich girl outfits and that she stole Felicity’s horse. Yeah, me, too.

The ranch at 527 Christopher Court is a grown-up dollhouse of modern amenities in a suit of classic Victorian charm. Located on 6.5 acres just 10 miles from the heart of Rockwall in the Bluebonnet Ridge Equestrian Subdivision, you’ll be surrounded by fellow horse owners and a country feel, and still be just minutes from the grocery store. Bluebonnet Ridge is home to serious competive equestrians and pleasure riders alike, boasting community riding trails and a monthly newsletter that includes everything from brags on your neighbors’ horseshow winnings to reminders that resident equines’ Coggins tests are coming due.

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Despite an exterior befitting the setting for a Bronte novel, the interior of this darling home has all the features a modern family is looking for. The freshly updated kitchen is highlighted by custom cabinets, granite countertops, island, and gorgeous farm sink.

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Enjoy your morning coffee on the master suite’s private balcony, completing the stunning oasis that you’ll love coming home to after a long trailride. Everyone knows that the “horse does all the work,” but in case yours doesn’t, the master bath focuses around an incredible soaking tub to relax sore muscles, providing an excellent opportunity to brush up on the latest in rider fitness.

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Stepping outside, the backyard is perfect for roasting marshmallows around the fire pit and relaxing with a glass of wine in the gazebo after a long day.

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Getting to the good stuff, Christopher Court features an amazing shop-and-barn combination that will suit everyone’s interests. For the craftsman, the 30×30 shop has water, electric, and a small restroom.

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The adjoining barn is a no-expense-spared paradise for the equine children in your life, with 3 oversize wooden stalls (two of which have attached covered runs), concrete aisle, tack room, and automatic Ritchie waterer.

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Outside the barn, you’ll find all pipe fencing and a large sand arena with lights, perfect for schooling after work in the wintertime or at midnight in the summer.

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Needless to say, Christopher Court is the right combination of features to make your horsey friends jealous, while still close enough to civilization that your Dallas friends will come visit you. In short, the perfect hobby horse farm.

This stunning property is offered for $489,000 by Ebby Halliday Realtor Dee Evans.

Y’all come back now, ya hear!

Kathryn Roan 1Kathryn Roan is an Ebby Halliday Realtor focusing on farms, ranches, and equestrian properties. Kathryn lives in Poetry with her 7 horses. Contact Kathryn at kathrynroan@ebby.com.

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What three words all but guarantee a crowd and a good time, even during the craziness of the holidays? The Texas Hill Country and Golf!

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Me, Sean Gioffre and Jason Lenox

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Amy Weinreb, Ralph Randall

Keith Cross

Keith and Melinda Cross

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Andrew Ball, Vicki White, Sean Gioffre

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Joyce Kelly, Jan and Walter Evans, Glen Boudreaux

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The divine Karen Luter

SecondShelters.com, Anteks and Boot Ranch threw a fun little event on December 4 down in the Dallas Design District, talking about all three. More than 67 people came by to check out the luxurious second home destination originally developed by golf great Hal Sutton: Boot Ranch.Sean Gioffre and Andrew Ball (up from Boot) had their boots on and ready to stomp out some Dallas fun. Some of those included current Boot Ranch homeowners who wanted to spread the word about what a great place Fredericksburg is for a second or permanent home only four hours southwest of Dallas.

Candy and Hal Sutton

Hal Sutton in Dallas last spring

Sutton’s development dream team planned for 387 home sites of various sizes, shapes, and prices, all with a definite Texas Hill Country look and flavor. He chose a beautiful spread of 2050 acres with the Palo Alto Creek winding through about five miles north of Fredericksburg, on the road to Llano. In case you don’t know, this is where most big time Texas billionaires play rancher — Kelcy Warren, Tav Lupton, David Bamberger of Church’s Fried Chicken fame, to name a few. Here Hal created one of the best golf courses in Texas, a place he hoped would and believes will rival Augusta National. With its rugged hills dotted with cedars, curves and creatures, Boot Ranch offers golfers some of the most beautiful golfing terrain in the state. There are twin 40-foot waterfalls in front of the 10th green. The Dallas Morning News has ranked Boot Ranch no less than five times as one of the Top Ten Courses in Texas, and the course has been rated by Golf Digest as one of the Top 10 courses in the COUNTRY. The course measures 7,250 yards from the championship tees for a par of 71. Even veteran golfers find it a challenge each time they play. There is also a 34-acre practice park, which includes a short game range and an executive Par-3 course. The Director of golf is Emil Hale, hand-picked by Sutton himself.

Anteks, of course, is the best place in town to find rustic home furnishings perfect for a second home in the Hill Country, or anywhere.

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Edo Popken, Candy Evans, Adam Endick
Kim Macleod, Randy Pruett, Candy Evans
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Current Boot Ranch residents mingled with designers, entrepreneurs and of course, Realtors!Bernadette SchaefflerEdo PopkenMargaret Chambers, Glen Boudreaux, Keith Cross, John Bolt, Joyce Kelley of Nathan Grace Realtors, Karen Luter of Allie Beth Allman,  Amy Weintraub and Ralph Randall of Dave Perry Miller, Marvin Jolley, Vicki White, Jane Idzi, and Susan Mooney, all from the Keller Williams Elite office at Preston Center, and more. All nibbled Wendy Krispin and tossed in names for prizes, from a bottle of Museum Tower’s private reserve wine to a collection of goodies from British Emporium to the big cahuna — a golf weekend outing weekend at Boot Ranch and luxurious accomodations.

Of course, we all explored Anteks, including Jason Lenox’ copper accessories line recognized as one of  Oprah’s Favorite Things 2013. Outside, a Range Rover Evoque sat in front of Antek’s, reminding everyone that this is the perfect SUV for a little off roading in your new home on the range. Fabulous photography at the party by genius Bob Manzano.

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equest_graze_600x900@72dpiRanches, cowboys, horses and cattle are Texas icons—just look at some of our professional sports teams. The Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks all harken back to the state’s historic roots. And remember famous “Southfork,” the site of many a double deal in the TV drama Dallas? It’s increasingly surrounded by development (and it’s a whole lot smaller than it seemed on TV).

There are still BIG ranches out there, such as the King Ranch, 6666 (the Four Sixes) and the YO Ranch (currently for sale for $81 million), but ranching and cattle are generally not the core business any more. More and more, ranches are purchased and owned for 3 reasons: (1) recreation, (2) energy development and (3) investment (which often means wait until it can be carved up and developed for higher prices).

While there is a powerful connection with the land, Texas has also historically led the nation in the amount of raw land converted to development property. This rampant expansion is continually changing our landscape. And let’s face it; much of what is developed and constructed does not have the most lasting value. Kind of seems like the same type of development gets repeated about every 5-10 miles no matter which direction you’re headed.

What does this all mean? Some areas have taken action to protect their heritage. In Austin, thousands of acres have been placed in conservation easements to protect open space, view sheds, wildlife, and water resources. The trend is also taking hold with some of our western neighbors. Recently, the Walls Street Journal reported that Scottsdale just purchased an additional 2,365 acres to add to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, bringing it to 30,000 acres and making it the largest municipality-owned urban park in the U.S. While, in North Texas, the “drill, baby, drill” slogan has been adapted to “build, baby, build.”

However, at Cross Pines Ranch in East Texas (near Mineola and about 30 minutes from Tyler), over 1,800 acres have been permanently protected from future development by a conservation easement. This is beautiful and pristine property that had been planned for a 400-lot, high-end second home sporting community, complete with, among other things, a Tom Fazio golf course, riding stables, and skeet and sporting clays courses. While that would have made a stunning and high-quality development, the owners ultimately determined that they wanted to preserve the land in as close to its natural state as possible, while allowing a very limited amount of development.

2011 record bass

The result is a conservation-oriented sporting ranch, owned by no more than 40 families. Each owner has a 5-acre building site upon which to build a home and ownership in the remaining 1,800 acres of the ranch, which includes a clubhouse, equestrian barn, skeet and trap range, miles of hiking and biking trails and over 200 acres of lakes, professionally managed for largemouth bass and complete with boats at the ready. The fishing is spectacular. In fact, the world famous fly fisherman Lefty Kreh visited Cross Pines this fall and was so impressed that he’s discussed returning to use Cross Pines for his next video.

There is also a full-time ranch manager that takes care of the ranch (and its owners!) as well as a full-time equestrian manager, who will have horses saddled and ready for owners and who is always ready to lead a trail ride. The concept is really “plug and play,” where owners can show up and just enjoy their favorite activities, without all the hassle involved if they had to take care of it all. Since the ranch is about the size of Highland Park with virtually no fences, there’s plenty of room to spread out and play.

On the conservation side, in addition to the conservation easement that reduced the number of sites from 400 to 40, the owners implemented restrictions on building size, materials, tree removal and landscaping to preserve view corridors and encourage resource conservation. They are currently working on the re-introduction of native grasses as well as a significant ongoing reforestation program. These efforts earned Cross Pines Ranch a spot as one of the 4 finalists in this year’s Green Project of the Year-Non LEED category at the Green Gala & Awards put on by the North Texas United States Green Building Council. While the victor was the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (where the event was held), Cross Pines was certainly in good company.

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Is Cross Pines a model for future development? Due to its unique nature, it’s probably only suited for certain exceptional recreational properties. However, the real emphasis should be on integrating a focus on conservation, preservation and the environment into all of our developments. As discussed above, Dallas is not known for its environmental ethos. Maybe we should start changing that. Why? If you read my Aspen report, I coined a term “selfish sustainability.”

Think about it. We’re a magnet for jobs for many reasons, but we must continue to make choices to position ourselves and our area strategically for the long term. Resource use, resource conservation, land conservation, etc., is important to many people, particularly the “creative classes” that increasingly drive our economies. It’s all about making the right next choice. As I said before, if it makes economic sense today, helps protect and enhance businesses (or an area) long-term and helps protect the environment, that sure seems like a win-win-win. Cross Pines is a model for that kind of thinking.

Full Disclosure: I have been involved in the conceptualization and creation of Cross Pines Ranch from its beginning. We’ve always said that it’s all about the land, and we’re continually delighted when families see and enjoy this incredible landscape that has been protected in perpetuity.

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Dallas Addison is a Dallas-based lawyer who has 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. He is also a founding principal of Preservation Land Company. He is a regulator contributor to SecondShelters.com.

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The cold weather means we’re watching more TV under piles of blankets, and our flatscreen in the living room has three settings: MLB channel (husband), Nick Jr. (son), and HGTV (me). I had control of the remote last night, and on came Beachfront Bargain Hunt, a relatively new show following much the same premise as House Hunters.

The episode that had me hooked was where a family (presumably from the Houston area) wanted to find a Galveston vacation home where they could jaunt off to on weekends and still rent part of the time. They employed Realtor Cheryl Smith to find a beachfront home under $350,000. And guess what, folks? They found a great beachfront home for around $340,000!

I had no idea that such amazing deals could be found in Galveston, and not only that, but how gorgeous beachfront properties are. I definitely don’t remember the beach rentals from my childhood looking that great!

The best thing about the show, though, was that it took the chill right out of the weather. Just what I needed! And it’s making me want to shop for the perfect summer getaway, too, like, this great beachfront bungalow!

Where would you go searching for your beachfront bargain?

Aspenby Dallas Addison

It’s that time of year, temperatures are falling in Dallas, snow is falling in the mountains of Colorado. Halloween is behind us and our thoughts turn to a ski getaway. Whether you prefer two boards, one (or for that matter, hot chocolate and hot toddies in the lodge), Aspen is one of those special spots that simply delivers the goods for North Texans. Known as a bellwether in the second home industry, it’s a well-known playground for the rich and famous. Aspen even has it’s own private jet company, Sentient Jet, now the official Private Jet Provider of Aspen/Snowmass, with cardholder benefits. If holiday bustle is your gig, book during Christmas and New Year’s, hope for great early season snow and enjoy the spectacle. At other times, the crowds are more manageable and the skiing and boarding are almost always outstanding.

Aspen is actually four mountains—Aspen Mountain (also called Ajax), Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk and collectively, they provide something for everyone.

While Aspen is known for its steeps,  caviar and champagne lifestyle — seriously, there is even an on-mountain Veuve Clicquot pop-up bar!—- it also has some serious environmental chops as well. Think Austin in the mountains and you won’t be too far off.

Don’t roll your eyes, I know what you are thinking. Aspen IS glam and glitz, but manages to maintain a strong commitment to the environment without compromising the experience. To put it another way, the analogy is more hybrid autos: Aspen is like Porsche’s new 918, rip-snorting, hybrid supercar, NOT a Prius.

So, how and why does Aspen stay so green?

Aspen 2While Aspen’s conservation efforts certainly have a benevolent side, they are also acutely self-interested. Let’s face it, if temperatures keep rising, mountain resorts as we know them will likely be radically changed for the worse, with many being forced to close. That will have a huge impact on the industry and also on second or vacation homes. Aspen realizes that its own sustainability starts with “how do we sustain our business”? On top of that, according to Auden Schendler, the Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, many of their projects, especially those related to efficiency, generate substantial financial returns. Finally, Auden points out that if businesses aren’t taking action to address sustainability issues, they’re behind, because their competitors are. So, this is not touchy-feely environmentalism, but an approach that is firmly grounded in good business principals.

Maybe we could call this “selfish sustainability,” a twenty-tens version of the 80’s creed “greed is good.” Selfish sustainability is my own term and certainly is not tied to Aspen in any way. But, if it makes economic sense today, helps protect and enhance a business long-term and helps protect all of us from unwanted harm, that sure seems like a win-win-win that makes sense wherever a business is located.

If you want to know the specifics about Aspen’s efforts, check out www.aspensnowmass.com/en/we-are-different. However, I’d strongly recommend a personal “inspection.” The lifts at Snowmass and Ajax start spinning November 28th!

Hope to see you at the Veuve Clicquot pop-up bar!

Next up . . . Conservation Ranches.

Dallas Addison is a Dallas-based lawyer who has 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. He is also a founding principal of Preservation Land Company. He is a regulator contributor to SecondShelters.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)