Tuesday, January 25, 2005

You Can Afford Getaway home, Sez Ohio Expert

So much of what I see in magazines and newspapers dwells on high-six-figure swanky condos or seven-figure McMansions. But second homes in your vicinity might be more affordable than you think. If you're in Columbus, Ohio, why think Florida? How about Hocking Hills, or someplace near Snow Trails ski resort instead?

Real estate expert Harley Rouda Jr. of Columbus, Ohio says that with the change in tax laws and easier mortgage policies, you don't have to fork over your 401(k) to buy a weekend getaway.

Rouda's key advice:

First, how's your financial situation? Low mortgage interest rates can put a second home within your reach.

Next, ask yourself what type of property you want and where. "Vacation homes don't necessarily have to be in resort locations. They're found in every state and region, with seaside, lakeshore and mountainside locales being predictably most popular. Ohio is home to the Lake Erie islands, numerous inland lakes and popular ski resorts."

Then, inspect the areas that interest you to see if they are "good fits for long-term leisure." Rouda notes that weekend places tend to be smaller and less costly than a primary residence, but beach houses, cottages and cabins are becoming equipped with many of the same amenities we enjoy in our everyday homes.

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