This home is in Kingston, New York, in the Hudson River Valley, and was just written up in the New York Times. I’m writing about it because a) it is a second home for a NYC couple and b) it was built in 1958 by the grandparents of a friend who grew up in the area but now lives in California. They were the “meticulous couple” mentioned in this article. My friend, Samantha, says all that is missing is the Day-Glo white Christmas tree and — oh yes — she also says she has never heard it referred to as the Jetson’s House. The home is in a lovely neighborhood and the mid-mod design makes for easy maintenance, which can be a real pain when you own multiple homes. (Maintaining one drives me nuts!)!
You are looking for the best real estate values in greater Dallas, right? You want a maintenance, headache-free first or second home close to that great maker of getaways, D/FW Airport. Yet you continue to look in Dallas. Are you crazy? Las Colinas is right next door, closer to D/FW, and has some of the best home values in North Texas. Look at this darling pretty-as-pink town home: 6843 Verde, Irving, TX. Beautiful hardwoods throughout the down stairs. Granite, stainless steel, convection oven, breakfast bar, and glass front cabinets make the kitchen sleek and sexy. (No time to cook but we must look good.) The living area overlooks the patio. There are three living areas and 2 dining areas, upstairs office loft. Built in 2006, it has 1772 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two living afraes and gorgeous kitchen, two car rear garage, only $160 per month in association fees so you can lock and leave. La Villaita is a beautiful nook centered around a lake, two canals, trails and parks minutes from DFW Airport,¬†Downtown Dallas and Fort¬†Forth¬†with¬†convenient access to I35, I635,¬†George Bush Turnpike. How much you ask? (Thought you never would!) Don’t faint — only $230,000.
You do recall former NBA champ Michael Jordan.¬† Not only is he known as “the greatest basketball player of all times” but he is gaining a rap as the greatest home builder of all times! Jordan is completing a 28,000 square foot mansion in The Bears’ Club, Palm Beach County, Florida, near where Tiger Woods just completed his grand estate. The builder: Lavelle Builders out of Jupiter, Fla. Of course, Tiger’s estate is surrounded by water on three sides to,¬† perhaps, keep the paparazzi (among other things) at bay. Jordan’s mega-mansion, which is still under construction, is not even close to the water. But it now goes down as one of the largest, most expensive homes ever built in Florida that is not on the water, says real estate agent Jeff Lichtenstein of Christie’s Great Estates and Illustrated Properties. Lichtenstein knows of what he talks: he sells real estate in the Palm Beach area, which is notoriously filled with high net worth people who like to enjoy a second or third home here because here they have it all: a backyard marina for their yachts, sea, beach, and plenty of gorgeous Florida sunshine.
Not to mention the golf! What a pleasure it was to meet Mr. Player, one of the world’s top golfers! He was in La Paz at CostaBaja this past weekend, where he christened the beautiful, ecologically balanced golf course he designed for the developers of CostaBaja. Do I golf? No, unless the clothes are really cute. But here’s why I love golf: it drives real estate.¬† Especially second home real estate. CostaBaja is a beautiful new resort-marina-beachfront-golf-fishing community at La Paz, overlooking the sparkling clean Sea of Cortez, which Ernest Hemingway dubbed “the aquarium of the world”.¬†¬† I am totally in love with this part of Mexico and almost purposefully missed my flight home. If I could live anywhere Mexico, this would be the place — sorry San Miguel. This was my second trip to Baja — a few years ago we toured, with friends, the magnificent golf and luxury living nirvana Querencia, in Los Cabos, which is where the rich and famous of Hollywood have always played on the beach. (In fact, there are now direct flights to La Paz from LAX.) I’m told Michael Dell has an amazing home at El Dorado in Los Cabos – maybe that was his jet we saw on the two point five hour ride to La Paz? Holy cow — looks like recessionary prices start there at $4 million. The entire Baja landscape is striking, and not just for it’s great real estate. The peninsula is composed of volcanic mountains with multicolored layers of volcanic ash and lava. Then each island in the Sea of Cortez is different, and there are so many sprinkled about. Isla Danzante is a place of high volcanic cliffs while Isla Carmen is full of fossilized shell, which is proof that some 20 million years ago, the Baja Peninsula was connected to the rest of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez was non-existent. The great shift of geological plates broke the Baja peninsula apart from the mainland, creating a rift that became filled with the royal blue waters now known as the Sea of Cortez. Incredibly rich in marine life: 800 species of fish, dolphins, whales and sea lions who we were told actually hug you and tickle your face.
Value and a pretty darn good view — beachfront or mountain — that’s what people generally want when they seek second home real estate. After all, that’s the whole point of buying a second home, getting out of Dodge and enjoying peace, quiet and nature. But one thing has changed since the real estate bubble burst: folks want smaller second homes. (Do you blame them? Give me a one-vacuum-cleaner home on the range.) Two to three bedrooms max, creative living space, multi-function rooms. According to the E360‚Äôs 2nd Home Trend Report,¬† 45% of homeowners believe this year — maybe 2011, also — is the best time to buy a second home. No brain-killer here: timing, cheap interest rates, close-out pre-foreclosure sales; property characteristics, location, and price were the major preferences or influencing factors.
So I‚Äôve just finished reading an article in USA TODAY about Roatan, that beautiful 37-mile long island off the coast of Honduras that is a paradise for scuba divers and snorkeling, because it holds the world‚Äôs second largest barrier reef. I know ‚Äì I was out there last April. I‚Äôm reading along ‚Äì yeah, yeah ‚Äì full of ex-pats, English spoken almost everywhere, diving paradise, first golf course under development, great food in some areas, and a definite Bohemian culture like the Bahamas I recall from my youth ‚Äì not what the Bahamas are today. There are really no big, huge fancy hotels on the island ‚Äì yet. But the real estate market is booming and yes, you can buy there now and get beachfront property for a fraction of what you‚Äôd get in the states.
Think I‚Äôm joking, eh? Actually, this is probably the best time in the history of housing to buy a second home. The number of vacation home purchases rose slightly in 2009, and even then they were up one percent from 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors‚Äô 2010 Investment and Second Home Buyer‚Äôs Survey. And 2010 figures are expected to be even higher!