What to Look for in a Second Home


Welcome back to PDFfiller Realtor Guest Blog series, which brings you advice from the experts!  This week’s post comes to us from John Watkins who discusses how to refine your search process for a second home.  For more great posts from John, check out his website at johnwatkins.realestateone.com.

I work in real estate within a resort community, where many of the houses I sell are second homes. The second home buyer tends to be looking for something different in a second home than in a primary residence. For example, while nearby schools or access to public transport may not be of great concern for a second home, there are certain things that buyers need to consider and rank before they begin the process of searching. This is because what buyers think is important at the start of the search changes as they zero in on certain properties.

For example, this summer I had what appeared to be the perfect home for a couple that was both in their price range and included some unique features they really liked. However, when they started really talking about their vision for their get-away home, they realized they wanted a place where they could walk to get a morning paper and a coffee, and that the house they were considering was 3 miles out of town. To them, driving to get a paper was not the same as walking and talking with people in the community. When we started the process of searching for their second home, proximity to town was not even raised as an important issue!

By examining lifestyle priorities in addition to basic home features, people can develop a more accurate search image for their ideal homes. To that end, I have developed a list of things that I encourage people to rank as we start the search process, then continue to revisit as the process moves forward. This list includes:

Being on the water
Close to town – what can I walk to?
Close to golf
Close to skiing
Close to trails
Sense of community
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
How will you entertain at this house
What does the kitchen need to have
What source of power
Septic or sewer
Number of children and/or grandchildren in house at one time
Will it be used year round
Would you/could you rent
Garage and or out building
When do you want to buy
How much property do you want to have
Upper limit of price range

During our initial conversation we rank these items by most important to least important and only then can the real process of searching begin.

I recommend using and building on this basic list to help people ascertain what their visions are for their second home. In this way the searching process becomes much clearer and the possibilities can be narrowed down to a manageable level. And perhaps most important of all, the resulting home purchase will be a better fit for the buyers’ vision and will help them to fulfill the lifestyle priorities they have identified during the search process.


Real Estate One
113 N. Main Street
Leland, MI 49654