You’ll find many useful Home Buyer’s Guides and Home Seller’s Guides online, most of which are intended for “First-Time” Home Buyers and Sellers, and delve deeply into the step-by-step details throughout the buying/selling process.
This series of articles, however, was written for those of you that have already “been there, done that” and are now considering either buying or selling a second-home or vacation-home in Southwest Michigan.
Part 1: The Motivations are Different for Second-Home Owners
One of the first things to understand is that the motivations of vacation-home owners are much different than those of primary-home owners: Primary-home owners are typically motivated out of necessity: they need a home in a fairly small, local geographical area to live, commute to work, and send their children to schools. In contrast, second-home owners are usually motivated more by desire: they don’t “need” a second home; they “want” a second home to get away, relax, and enjoy. They will generally consider more diverse lakefront properties from a much larger geographical area.
Because of this, the process of both selling and buying a vacation home takes on a different dynamic: The Sellers in many cases do not “need” to sell their vacation home, are in a financial position to hold it indefinitely, and have the ability & mindset to use & enjoy it in the meantime. In addition, they are often receiving significant weekly rental income that supports the mortgage (if any) and the local property taxes. The Buyers, in a similar position, do not “need” to buy a vacation home before school starts, to begin a new job, or for regular day-to-day housing needs. They often take their time looking for the right place, sometimes taking months or even years, before making an offer to purchase.
Whether you’re selling or buying a vacation-home, a good first step is to begin looking at real estate listings of lakefront or waterfront properties for sale in the lakefront communities that appeal to you. By simply browsing the listings at your own pace, you will get a good sense/feel for the pricing, style, and availability of homes in a given market.
A great place to start is at our Lakefront Communities Map!
You’ll find an uncluttered map layout of the lakefront communities and resort destinations along the Lake Michigan coast in Southwest Michigan (including Holland MI, Saugatuck MI, Douglas MI, South Haven MI, Covert MI, Le Lac Appelle… The Lake is Calling, Coloma MI, Paw Paw Lake MI, Watervliet MI, Sister Lakes, Benton Harbor MI, Harbor Shores MI, St. Joseph MI, Stevensville MI, Featured Properties SW Michigan, Berrien Springs MI, Bridgman MI, Sawyer MI, Lakeside MI, Union Pier MI, New Buffalo MI, Grand Beach MI, aka “Harbor Country MI”).