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Been thinking of getting a Lake Tahoe vacation home? You and everyone else and their grandfather, says Reno resident Georgia Fisher. Heck, even HGTV built their 2014 Dream Home in Truckee, Calif., which is just a hop and skip away from Lake Tahoe.

Of course, It’s a getaway for wealthy Californians and pretty much all of Nevada, so demand for Lake Tahoe properties is high — and the prices are getting higher. Find out more about how you can find your Lake Tahoe dream home on SecondShelters.com today.

 

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I love Port Aransas and Rockport, but am just now getting to know Corpus Christi. Regardless, there are some amazing homes for sale on the Texas Gulf Coast and some of them are just amazing! The value of these homes is incredible, where you can get a house on the water in the neighborhood of $2 million!

Check out the full list of our Top-5 Texas Gulf Coast on SecondShelters.com.

This article in the Washington Post says that Baby Boomers are changing the face of suburbia and staying put, rather than retiring to the likes of Florida and Arizona, as their parents did, once they retire. The U.S. Census showed how rapidly America’s suburbs are growing — despite efforts to squeeze us into greener, urban multi-family residential cells and one family car — the Baby Boomers are staying put and, in some cases, buying vacation homes on the equity they’ve built in those suburban homes.

But all this is going to mean big changes for the suburbs. Can you imagine, for example, a group of militant citizens clamouring for convertion of pedestrian traffic signals to countdowns so people can gauge whether they have enough time to cross… in their walkers?

Fairfax County, VA now has forums on kitchen and bath remodeling designs that make the areas accessible for wheelchair users. It has collaborated with George Mason University, offering a course on coping during retirement. And a police unit has been formed to focus on financial fraud committed against the elderly. In suburban Washington, D.C., 27% or 1.5 million are Baby Boomers and no longer spring chickens. Can you imagine the shouting matches at civic meetings between parents demanding bigger classrooms and Boomers demanding bigger sidewalks for wheelchairs? The driving scares me the most: I remember how I worried about my mother driving and she drove until the day she died at age 88.

There were 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964 — I was one. We were the very first generation to grow up in suburbia, because our parents settled the suburbs like good pilgrims post World War II. Maybe it just feels more comfortable, but the suburbs are where many of us chose to rear our children. It was unusual that we were able to live in the city of Dallas, not a suburb, but still have a suburban feel. That is because, north of Uptown, Dallas neighborhoods WERE the suburbs.

And everyone was surprised when the 2010 Census showed how much faster the suburbs are growing with older populations when compared with the cities. Four in 10 suburban residents are 45 or older, up from 34 percent just a decade ago. Only 35% of city residents are 45 or older, an increase from 31 percent in the last census, and a clear indication that cities have become havens for the young offspring of the wealthy who can cram into small apartments, work at low-level creative jobs, and count on a check from mom and dad each month to help support them.

“During the past decade, the ranks of people who are middle-aged and older grew 18 times as fast as the population under 45, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, who analyzed the 2010 Census data on age for his report, “The Uneven Aging and ‘Younging’ of America.” For the first time, they represent a majority of the nation’s voting-age population.”

This generation — my generation — will treat aging unlike our parents did. We will break the old people rules mold, and that will be reflected in our real estate buying as well. My guess: we stay in our homes as long as possible, make banks out of them if we can in the form of reverse mortgages, and travel travel travel. Once the tax bases get too painful, we will sell the family homes and by the way, there will be a sweet spot of when to do this so as to not flood the market. I think unusual, out-of-the box forms of home ownership and things like fractional home ownership are going to explode in the next decade for the upper middle class as will ownership of ranches and small beach houses, outright or shared. We are the Kumbaya generation and used to living in dorms. We are going to demand accommodations for our aching feet and backs, faltering eyes and ears.

But then, the final shelter: my son gave me a sign to hang in our hallway that reads, “Be nice to the kids: they select the nursing home!”

Here in Dallas, do you think Boomers will stay in the suburbs or hit the trail? Comment lines are open!

Fly fisherman, you have to see this second home to believe it. And then you won’t believe the price. Seriously, you are going to call me a liar. You know what? I think I’m going to make you guess. First of all, it is owned by a friend who happens to be a bachelor and had a photo shoot for MAXIM Magazine there all day Saturday, the day I visited. (I’ll post those pics when they are ready.) Pretty girls aside, fishermen and lovers of the sea (and birds) will delight in this 4,000 square foot beauty built by a totally OCD physician who overlooked every detail with surgical precision, including insulated concrete construction so utility bills are almost zero. 4,000 square feet, three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a spa master bath with a fireplace, triple tub, double rainfall shower and steam room that puts, sorry to say, Braden Powers/now Lee Bailey’s bathroom to shame (and there’s a shower outside, too!). The gourmet kitchen is as beautiful as it is functional: AGA stove, double dishwashers, space and storage, and there are beautiful spacious formals and open living room.

But go downstairs, via stair steps or elevator, and here’s where the real living begins. There is a huge glass wine cellar,¬† a¬† study and bedroom, and an amazing fly fishing gear room lined with black Corian countertops and walls designed to hold about 60 fly rods and all the flies, perfectly organized. There is a sink to clean the fish, drains in the concrete floor, and a door to get outside. Plus the walls are all cedar and still fragrant though it was built 2 years ago. Walk out that door and you have a selection of boat docks because the home is on a canal with breathtaking views of Corpus Christi and the waterway bridge. The home has extensive waterfront, and get this: a light that illuminates the canal for night fishing. A few steps up is an infinity edge pool/spa that falls over a wall, creating a lush backdrop for a lower level entertainment area. Located on North Padre Island only minutes from Port Aransas and 35 minutes from Corpus, this would be the perfect second getaway home for fishing enthusiasts a short flight from Dallas/Fort Worth, 8 hour drive, in an area that is becoming very hot for second homes. VERY HOT: New Port Dunes Golf Club is Port Aransas’ new “World – Class” championship links course, designed by Arnold Palmer and managed by Kemper Sports . New Port and Beautiful Cinnamon Shore are about ten miles away.

Here’s what I’ll tell you about the price: it’s dramatically reduced, more than $500,000, but less than $2,000,000. Motivated seller, check. How much is it? You tell me!








Grilling Geordie Romer about his properties in Leavenworth, Washington. You did n’t think I’d let him get off that easily!

Second Shelters: Geordie – here’s what we Texans want to know. How dang hot is it up there come August?

Geordie: It certainly can get over 100 degrees here in August, but the average maximum temp in Aug is 88 degrees. More importantly, we don’t really get much in the way of humidity.

And the coldest it gets in the winter? The average low temp in January is 17 degrees, but it can get as low as -20 degrees.

Second Shelters (shivering): OK, you say $1.3 for a house, but I’m writing stories for AOL on how home prices are plunging up there in Washington state. Can we do better than $1.3?

Geordie: Leavenworth certainly hasn’t seen the depreciation that Seattle has. They are about 30% below peak pricing and we are closer to 15%. We really don’t see many distressed properties here – less than 10% of all sales in 2010 were foreclosures or short sales.  Will we break any records for high prices in 2011? I think it depends on the type of homes we see for sale. There certainly are some upper end homes on the water that could fetch higher prices.

Second Shelters: Where do we fly in?

Geordie: Wenatchee is the closest commercial airport and is about 45 minutes away. It is serviced by Alaska Airlines from Seattle. Cashmere has a small airport for private pilots and float planes could certainly land on Lake Wenatchee.

Second Shelters: I like that name, Cashmere. How long a drive from the airport?

Geordie: 45 minutes. The good news is that parking and luggage are easy compared to a larger airport.

Second Shelters: Any barbecue?

Geordie: This is a Bavarian theme town. We have bratwurst, knackwurst, bockwurst, – any type of sausage you need and plenty of good beer to chase it down.

Second Shelters: Nearest medical center and high-level trauma care?

Geordie: Leavenworth has a medical center which is going through a major renovation as we speak. Wenatchee has a Level III Trauma Center and the closest Level I Trauma Center is Harborview in Seattle which is a quick helicopter flight.

Second Shelters: What brought you to Leavenworth?

Geordie: I was a park ranger with the National Park Service before I was in real estate. I had been coming here for the rock climbing and mountaineering for years. It’s Disneyland for the outdoor recreation crowd.

Now here’s the perfect first, second or third home for your Valentine. Brooklyn Decker is a gorgeous super model married to Andy Roddick, and they live in Austin. She is also the star of a new film out just this weekend called “Just Go With It“, the story of a plastic surgeon who convinces his loyal medical assistant (Decker) to come to Hawaii and pose as his soon-to-be ex wife for various reasons. (Oh I could tell you some war stories about this. I know of a local plastic surgeon who did take his two office assistants to a medical conference once and asked them to be a lot more than a soon-to-be ex wife. Needless to say, they soon both became ex-employees.) ¬† But Brooklyn and Andy are trying to sell a delicious home in Austin so, we presume, she can get on with her film career.

Down in Austin, the market is fairly brisk for multi-million dollar homes, and this waterfront estate ought to fetch a premium.  Though they are both under 30,  tennis star Andrew “Stephen” Andy Roddick and his beautiful bride of just over one year, Brooklyn, will likely be moving on up. Their 5558 square foot starter home at 4104 Shimmering Cove in Austin is listed for $3,600,000 is on a cul de sac in an exclusive private gated Westlake community overlooking Lake Austin.  The lot is approximately .71 acres, with four bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, soaring ceilings, cedar closets, master suite with sitting room and two huge closets — I cannot fathom what Brooklyn needs that space for since all she’s ever seen in are teeny tiny bikinis. Also jetted master tub, tons of marble and separate shower. The gourmet kitchen has all the usual upgrade perks, from Sub-zero appliances to granite center island and breakfast bar and gorgeous cherry custom cabinets. There’s also a pantry, formal dining room, game room, exercise room (that’s how these young “thangs” stay so fit!) library, media room, utility room, huge deck, boat dock all in the Austin school district. There is also a private tennis practice court, of course.

Get her this home and a little lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, and you ought to have the perfect Valentines’ Day.

I feel so sorry for our neighbor to the south. I am signed up for several Google alerts — guess which one sends me the most stories? Crime in Mexico, Mexico crime. It’s enough to make you want to never cross the border, which is not fair, of course. The entire country of Mexico is not dangerous. But the government just HAS to get a grip on the drug cartel problem.

Of course, as my Mexican friends tell me, if we Americans would stop buying drugs, there wouldn’t be a Mexico drug problem.

I love every inch of Mexico. Now comes word that, because of crime, some of the cruise lines are refusing to stop in certain Mexican ports — Mazatlan this time. The cruise line, Disney Wonder, stopped instead at beautiful Manzanillo, where we have been many times — Los Hadas, where the movie “10” was filmed, is nearby. Disney says:

“Safety is very important to us and we believe this change is necessary to provide the best family vacation experience for our guests.”

The cruise lines are also making stops in Cabo San Lucas, on the Baja California peninsula — no safety fears there.

Recent security incidents in Mazatlan — a woman had her necklace snatched from around her neck –are troubling the cruise lines, who are, after all responsible for the safety of their guests.¬† Of course, last year Mazatlan was bragging that Disney’s decision to resume stops at the port was a sign of growing confidence in the city, and Disney Wonder had planned 27 port calls in Mazatlan in 2011.

Believe it or not, Mazatlan has continued to thrive as a tourist destination despite drug-gang violence in other parts of Sinaloa state, where it is located, which is also Ground Zero for several Mexican cartels. You would think, of course, that all this would hurt tourism. But guess what: Mexico’s tourism revenue was up 7.1 percent in the first 10 months of 2010, compared to the same months of 2009, with visitors spending $9.8 billion, according to the Mexican Tourism Ministry. (My take: Americans will risk anything for a vacation, and vacations in Mexico fit most budgets. So the Mexican Tourism Industry is benefitting from our economic crisis.) The resort of Cancun in the Yucatan peninsula, and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, for instance, have been largely untouched by the violence.

Still, if those gross Google crime alerts continue, and be-headings and massacres keep making head-lines (pardon the sick pun), tourism and second home sales in Mexico are going to take a major hit. Stay tuned for Central America.

Would you buy a second home in Mexico?

1. Second home trends: Affluent Baby Boomers will retire later and downsize from their large McMansions for which utilities and taxes have become prohibitive, to smaller homes, maybe condos,¬† in the city and a second home — in the cheaper boonies, or in another city. Just last night a reader emailed me that his biggest dream is to own a second home condo in Quebec! Cripes, even Disney is getting into this market.

2. According to a study by E360 Global Research, 45% of current second home owners think now is a great time to buy a second home. Of those, Mexico has a strong pull for almost half — and this survey was done in August, 2010. The drug cartel crime in Mexico is isolated to certain areas, they believe.

3. Of the 54% who say now is not a good time to buy a second home, most say the next two years will be. E360 (who provided much of this information) expects big growth in the second home markets surrounding highly populated areas.

4. Most people want a second home as a vacation haven to de-stress. Most prefer a lake or ocean view, with a mountain view coming in second. North Carolina, for example, is one of the fastest-growing second home destinations.

5. What kinds of amenities are second home buyers looking for? Good question. To some extent, they want great medical facilities (resuscitate me!) and a spa. Golf and eco-green based living also does not turn them on. I’ve read that many want to re-live their college years, with classes and intellectual stimulation (and pot?) nearby. Boulder, Colorado is home to a lot of intelligent people and gaining a large second home population, for example.

6. Pricing sweet spot: $200,000 to $400,000 and pay cash, if possible. I mean, those 401Ks are doing so well, right?

7. Vacation and lifestyle are the reason 46% want to buy; another 41% want to buy for investment. Only 11% give a rat’s tooshie about retirement.

8. 49% of second home buyers want a single family home, and 60% just want a 2 bedroom, 2 bath floor plan.

9. 49% of second home purchasers will buy domestically, but a growing contingent is eying Mexico and¬† Central America — Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama — as a low-cost of living second home and place to retire.

10. The second home won’t be too close to the first: 30% of buyers want to be 100 to 300 miles from their primary home; 40% want to be 500 to 1000 miles from the primary home; 11% are willing to be more than 1000 miles away from the primary home.