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Old 04-23-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
luvwinnie
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Anyone own property in a "seasonal community"?

We want to buy a condo in Maine...the place we eventually want to move to. The most economical route right now is buy one of those cute (Small) cottages in a seasonal community. Wondering if anyone has done this and if you were happy with the choice.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:52 PM   #2
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What do you mean by seasonal community? We own two vacation homes; one is about 15 minutes from a ski resort and the other is at the beach, so maybe that's what you're thinking of? We don't rent either of them and visit both of them year-round. The one at the beach is in a town that is nearly deserted in the fall/winter, which is awesome - the weather is often temperate there, so the kids can play in the sand and enjoy the amenities. The ski resort near our cabin has activities year round (mountain biking, a lake, etc.) so that place never really gets empty.

Neither of our places is very large, so the expense of keeping them is not great - we have small electric bills, water bills, etc., and neither of them has an HOA. My DH is great at maintenance and is an electrical engineer, so he's been able to fix everything that's broken so far. And we've never had problems with theft or vandalism.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:49 AM   #3
luvwinnie
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Hi, seasonal in this case means they are not open in the winter. I think the usual dates are May 1- about mid-Oct. These are not homes you could live in year round.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:51 AM   #4
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Oh! I've never heard of a community like that. I don't think we have them here.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:00 AM   #5
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Why wouldn't you just go ahead and buy the condo instead of a cottage home?

Is this so you can "scout out" the area where you will eventually buy?

How long before you plan to move out there?

My parents had a seasonal home for 30yrs. It is an expense and work.

Condo from the get go will be less work for you. It will be yr round more than likely and you will not have to do outside work every season. That can be a bit of a PITA, just saying.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:20 AM   #6
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I know what you mean. Some people love the "off season" because it's quiet and not over-run with tourists and "summer people". Costs are usually lower, too. For those reasons, I'd probably prefer something I could live in year round, although personally, I like it better when it's busy; I don't like being anywhere that's desolate or shut down, like some of these seasonal places can be. YMMV
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:42 AM   #7
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Purely financial. They are cheaper. No outside work. It's an HOA just like a condo...grass is taken care of by the Association. Now, I DO have to find out who handles the maintenance of the cottage exterior (roof, siding etc). The good thing is they are only a few years old. We wouldn't be moving for at least 10 years. My dad lives with us (he's 80) my MIL is still here and my husband is her only child close by...not to be morbid, but honest: as long as they are with us, we aren't leaving. And we want to build up more in 401(k). We are only 45.

We wouldn't be doing this immediately either. Just had to do quite a bit of work on our own home. Just researching right now. Thanks all! Personally I prefer a year round place because we never vacation during summer...we don't like heat or crowds! But we'd be forced to if we went this route.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:04 AM   #8
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My mother in law lived in Cape Vincent, NY, which is where the St. Lawrence empties into Lake Ontario.

I don't know if this counts as a "seasonal community" because people live there all year, but most of the people with homes in the area only live there during the summer months. During the winter, the area is quite bleak and most of the population is missing. I didn't find it at all to be a habitable area during the winter. Many shops close down due to a lack of business.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlightlessDuck View Post
My mother in law lived in Cape Vincent, NY, which is where the St. Lawrence empties into Lake Ontario.

I don't know if this counts as a "seasonal community" because people live there all year, but most of the people with homes in the area only live there during the summer months. During the winter, the area is quite bleak and most of the population is missing. I didn't find it at all to be a habitable area during the winter. Many shops close down due to a lack of business.
thanks, in this case it's an actual condo association, but they are small cottages. They don't have heat, so you cannot live in them in the winter. The TOWN itself is not "seasonal"...at least not in my mind! I love quiet places in winter. I can't take the crowds around here.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:35 AM   #10
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Who winterizes the cottage? Is that part of what the management fee covers? I've known people who had seasonal homes in ME and part of getting ready for the winter is draining all the pipes so they don't freeze and burst. I don't know what else is involved, but know it is work. Who takes care of things during the winter? Is someone there to monitor things? I don't think buying a seasonal cottage like this is a good idea.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:19 AM   #11
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I would not buy anything that you don't plan to stay in for long. What happens when you decide to get the condo and you can't sell your cottage?

My parents have a condo in MI and one in NC. They've decided to stay in NC, but have not been able to sell their MI condo after several years for trying. (and it's really nice) They do go up in the summer, but it's draining their savings and keeping them from doing other things (travel) that they'd like to do.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:20 AM   #12
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I guess I'm just not sure what you are asking here.

Are you looking at this place as a good vacation/summer home option for right now? Or do you think you can somehow convert this into a good retirement option in the future?

I would say that if your end goal is to have year-round property that you can eventually utilize in a couple of decades, then hold off until you find the perfect affordable option that meets those goals. But if you want something to enjoy in the summers right now, that is completely different.

I'd be concerned about the ease of resale for this place. Is there a strong market for limited use seasonal cottages in this area? The same things that make it "affordable" for you right now are going to be the same things that make the property limited use for a good number of vacation home shoppers in the future.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:24 AM   #13
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Like others, I've never heard of this concept before. It just seems odd to me to buy a home that I'm not allowed to access year-round if I wanted to. As a long-term strategy it doesn't make much sense unless you were purely buying it as a summer home but you've said that's not what you're intending.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:32 PM   #14
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Hi luvwinnie

I know exactly the kind of places you're talking about. I believe from other threads of yours, that you're looking in the Southern Maine area, right?

There are communities in the coastal regions of Southern Maine that sell seasonal properties. The cottages are new and usually come equipped with heat and central air. They're on the smaller side, but very nice. Most are considered three-seasons, running from the beginning of May till the end of October. There are usually HOA fees and community pools and/or fitness centers.

The only thing that doesn't sound like it fits for you, is the fact that you'd have to use the cottage during the busier times of the tourist season. The quietest time in Maine is definitely during the winter, which is when the cottages would not be available for use. The months of May and June would probably be the quietest and least crowded time in Southern Maine that you'd be able to use the cottage. Summer is crazy in the coastal towns (but beautiful!) and September and October can be busy with leaf peepers.

Another benefit, though, would be that you could rent out your cottage for any weeks during the summer that you might not be there. Rental rates are pretty high for that type of cottage, depending on location (the closer to the beach, the better).

There is a place in Old Orchard Beach that you might want to check out. The community is called "Summer Winds" and I've had my eye on these cottages for awhile now. I don't know how to put a link here, but if you google Summer Winds Old Orchard Beach, you'll find their website. Summer Winds actually started out as seasonal properties, only closing up from December to the end of March. They are now selling as year-round cottages.

Again, they aren't huge, but are brand new with central air, heat, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, etc. I think they're very cute and very beachy-looking! There are two styles and they start at $164,000. I've noticed the prices have gone up in the past few years.

At least with Summer Winds, you could use your cottage year round. Just a thought! And, again, you could always rent out your cottage for whatever weeks you weren't there. Rental rates are a bit pricey. We are renting a summer cottage in Pine Point (just over the OOB line) for two weeks this July, and we're paying about the same as someone would pay for a few weeks at the newer seasonal cottages in other coastal areas of Southern Maine. The difference is that our beach house is steps from the beach, whereas most of the communities/cottages like you're thinking of, are not oceanfront. Of course, most of the houses/cottages that are on the beach are older. But that gives them their New England charm.

Did I confuse you even more?
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:53 PM   #15
luvwinnie
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Luvflorida, yes you know exactly what i'm talking about. We were looking at Beach Dreams in Wells. FAR from making a decision for the reasons above...really prefer the quiet times! I'll look into the one mentioned. Thank you!
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