Considerations for Retirement and Second Home Buyers

Highlands Newspaper

September 13, 2012

Contributed by:  Lynn Kimball

Meadows Mountain Realty

Considerations for Retirement and Second Home Buyers

     Highlands has long been known as haven for second home residents as an escape from the summer heat of the south and a place to enjoy these beautiful mountains and our quaint mountain town.  Our community has been blessed with many amenities that we could only have because of the charitable contributions of many of these summer residents.

When I moved here in 1985, the majority of second homes were conservatively priced and modestly appointed and were selling like hotcakes.  For many years it appeared that there was no end to high appreciation rates.  Many second home buyers started with small condos, then moved on to medium priced homes and ultimately moved up to high-end, luxury homes which became extremely popular starting in the late 90’s.  Homes priced over $1,000,000 couldn’t be built fast enough for the demand.

We all know that times have changed since the recession started in 2008.  It seems that no one, including the wealthy, has been unscathed by the economy since. The inventory of available homes in all price ranges has increased magnanimously.  Since the beginning of this year, we have seen many more people looking at properties and have also seen more sales.  Real estate is stabilizing and those who have been waiting to purchase do not want to wait until prices come up.  There will always be those who are comfortable with purchasing high end homes, but many are going back to more conservative choices.  Stepping stones with prices as low as they are today, will serve as a way to get into a second home in Highlands and allow you to get your foot in the door.  Also, it makes sense to those more conservative buyers to purchase something today that will be easiest to sell later in case things change in their futures.

As a potential second home or pre-retirement buyer today, these are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

Do I need to look at purchasing a high-end home now that I will enjoy for years to come?  Or would it be better to start with something smaller and less expensive that I may rent out or enjoy until the time for retirement comes nearer?  Is it best to pay cash or obtain financing at rates lower than we have seen in generations?  Qualified second home buyers can borrow at around 3 ½% with as little as a 10% down payment.  There are also many sellers willing to hold owner financing at these low rates.  Could your 401K, IRA or other retirement holdings be better served by investing in Highlands for future retirement?

One thing’s for sure, the reason people choose Highlands for a second home remains the same in any economy.  There is truly no place like Highlands.

If you want a good overall introduction of our area and to search available properties, you are invited to visit my user friendly website at  Meadows Mountain Realty has two locations, one on Church Street in the Old Edwards Inn complex and the other is on the Cashiers Road across from Highlands Falls Country Club.  Lynn Kimball can be reached at 828-526-4101 or by email at


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