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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Texas Hotel& B&Bs | Hotels | Cars | Air | Cruises | Vacation Rentals

Vacation Homes

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Last week the editor of our local paper wrote an article about his experiences with a vacation home and a boat.

I am always amazed to learn that others of my age have had almost the same experiences as I have. I donít know what to call this, maturity or stupidity, but surely there must be a name for it. I cannot tell you how many times I have engaged someone of my age in a conversation only to learn that they have had similar learning experiences.

Letís tackle these one at a time.

First off, you may be different and you may want to experience the joys of owning a second home or vacation getaway, so donít read any further. Go to the comics or somewhere else, because you wonít like what Iím about to tell you. My advice to you is this: donít do it.

Very simple, donít do it. Rent a place, lease a place, but donít own one. Once you take into consideration the cost of travel there and back, the price of the property itself, the upkeep, the insurance, the utilities, the taxes and then divide them into the number of times you actually stay there, you will be disappointed. The electricity has to stay on whether you are there or not. The insurance is there 24 hours a day even though you arenít. The grass grows and the weeds sprout just like at home, but you arenít there.

Now, this scenario doesnít apply to the super richÖ they have people to take care of all of these things; all you have to do is arrive. Everything else is taken care of. Unfortunately I donít fit into that category. One of the biggest problems with owning more than one house is mustard. You can never remember if you have a bottle at home or at the vacation place, so you always buy another jar. Then you arrive and find you have done this twelve times in the past and now have thirteen jars of mustard at the lake and none at home. Of course, it would make sense to take some back with you, but you are too busy trying to make certain the coffeepot is turned off, the fireplace is cold and your clothes are packed to remember the mustard. It isnít until you get home that night that you think about it while trying to make yourself a cold meatloaf sandwich. Another day in paradise. Add all of this Ďfuní up and then look at what you can spend on a cruise or a resort where everything is provided. Trust me on this one.


The next item is the boat. Remember the two best days of a boat ownerís life are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell the boat. As stated above, you have the cost of the boat, insurance, dock fees, upkeep, replacing lost and stolen stuff that you have to have divided by the number of times you actually spend on the boat. Here again, you will be amazed at how much it costs just to keep something in the water that you might use 8-10 times each year. You can rent one and have lots of money left over.

I know, you are thinking youíll make money since you can rent your house or your boat to someone when you arenít using it. Ask around; find someone who has actually made money this way. I havenít found anyone yet, and Iím still looking. Your rental fees always seem to get eaten up by some unforeseen cost of some kind or another. If you happen to scamper and not have to contribute to the care and upkeep of your house or boat, then Iíd consider you to be very fortunate.

Years ago, we had a freezer go out and all of the deer meat, doves and quail I had frozen spoiled in the process. The insurance people wanted to know the replacement cost. I added up the cost of the trip, travel, guides and other stuff that you need to hunt. Then I divided by the total weight to come up with my figure. They didnít pay this of course, but it made me realize how expensive venison chili and those little bacon wrapped dove breasts cost.

Anyway, the point isÖ. think before you buy. You can always rent.

By the way, the Girl Scouts are out in force selling cookies. I donít need them. Iím wearing some from last year. I passed one of their little tables the other day and gave them some money, didnít want the cookies. They told me that all cash donations are used to buy cookies for the troops overseas. Thought youíd want to know.


© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
- January 25, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
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