Second Homes for the Rest of Us

second homesSecond homes were once only the provenance of the very rich. But decades of American prosperity (the last few years excepted) made the weekend home a middle-class dream. For many, however, it remains just that: a dream. But Kristine Hansen of our sister site,, explores how to make a home away from home affordable, even if your budget is more suited to barely affording just one.

It may be out of reach, but I dream of owning a lake house someday. Here's how I plan to buy one.

I opened up a savings account yesterday -- to save for a second home. Since it's going to be a seasonal cottage, I'm looking at spending less than $200,000. So I'm trying to put in $100 a month for the next 20 years. In my account right now: a meager $200.

At this point in my life, I can only daydream about that cute little white house with Adirondack chairs facing a Wisconsin lake. And the awesome barbecues I'll host. And the canoe rides at sunset. I'm not ashamed to admit I spend many hours cruising real-estate listings. So I decided to at least try to make that dream a reality.


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This article needs to be taken down, guys: incorrect usage(provenance?) no valuable, or even interesting, information, and worst of all, an incredibly naive take on the financial aspects of purchasing a home. As others have pointed out, with the author's savings plan, she won't even have enough money for a decent down-payment on her dream house in twenty years at her current rate of savings. Seriously, for an article in "AOL Real Estate," this is an embarrassment.

February 06 2011 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your dream of owning a second home is a DREAM, it will never happen. At the rate of $100 a month it will take a lifetime to save enough for the down payment. And then, how will you pay the mortgage if all you have is $100 per month? Suppose you had it paid off, you can even afford the maintenance, taxes and insurance with $100 per month. This article is useless!

February 06 2011 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Hayslett

I wish I could have just one house again..Work all my life for nothing..

February 05 2011 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some time ago my wife and I bought a second house on a small lake. The first year was wonderful and we enjoyed the good life during the summer months. The second year wasn't quite so much fun and the third year was a collosal bore. The house ate up time and money and the best part of owning it was getting rid of it.

February 05 2011 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's providence of the rich not provenance you nitwit. Provenance means the history of ownership of an object.

February 05 2011 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
legal farmhand

I am only wanting to keep my home I bought with a retirement account earned before marriage. With this house and its mortgage , my $1400 social security I can exist [ presently 73 ]
But I got a problem to face

It will be a lawyer’s game; they will milk all the money away then walk. They do not work for justice, just job security and more money.

My lawyer in Columbia Mo wants me to give my wife 35,000 $ out of [maybe 50,000$ left of my retirement], she has gambled away about $ 200,000, gone bankrupt on $35,000, sold a $20,000 family car and much more., Accused me of illegal porn on one of three computers [the one she bought]. Fulton Mo Lt detective analyzed the computer, found no illegal porn. Wife took computer to US attorneys , they found porn but told me anyone could of caused it to be on computer. In a previous divorce Helene had threatened Jim with sexual misconduct if he did not make payments on a newer car for her. Her former husband and his wife volunteered to testify for me. My lawyer will not bring up these facts, because the Judge will get mad.

My lawyer and wife’s lawyer did not show up for the pretrial conference, [probably] had already agreed on getting money out of me]
She took the computer to the local police; they did not find illegal porn, the Lt Detective stated she got upset that he would not arrest me on her word. The detective suggested calling the FBI. The agent for the western district of Mo could not find any record of any reports involving this allegation.
Later my NJ called, demanding household items, I refused, she informed me all she had to do was call the U.S. attorney in Saint Louis and I would be prosecuted for child porn.
I hung up, and immediately called the U.S. attorney, asking for the name my NJ had quoted. The U.S. attorneys office confirmed that there was illegal porn, but they could not prove how / or who caused the porn to be on the computer. I informed the U.S. attorney of wife’s former husband contacting me, volunteering to testify in my behalf, that she had demanded a new car when they divorced or she would charge him with sexual misconduct with her teenage daughter. The reason for the divorce from her former husband was her having an affair. I wish I had known before marriage what I know now.

The lawyer’s still insist I give her $35,000 and pay her health insurance until the FREE obamacare goes into effect
She is presently living in a government paid apartment at all taxpayers’ expense and gambling.
I do have documents supporting the money she gambled away and how I used my retirement to purchase a house. And much more. I do not want to make this so long, but there are more details.


Spencer Chaffin
Fulton Mo 65251.

February 05 2011 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ref. Second Homes for the Rest of Us.
There is either a typo error or the math is in error. A person can not hope to purchase a $200,000 home (in todays or future dollars) by saving $100/month for the next 20 years(starting with $200). It would be more realistic to expect to have to save about $1000/month to make that type of purchase (very dependent upon future ROI and Real Estate prices and could still have a large mortgage). One also has to consider the other costs associated with owing a second home, taxes, maintenance, security, insurance, utilities and obligations. I consider renting for those periods that we want to get away and leave all the headaches to others. It may seem more expensive to rent, but unless one spends a lot of time at their second home and it is close, renting is a good alternative and you have the freedom of going to various locations without any of the second homeowner headaches and may well turn out less expensive than a second home. I think it is a somewhat different consideration if one is looking at it from an investment stand point and are considering renting out the property even after considering all the possible associated problems.

February 05 2011 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm agree with you....ROOM SERVICE.....

February 05 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Financial Guy

Here is the financial aspects of the above.

If you deposit 100/month (PMT) (today) for the next 20 years (240 periods) and you can earn 16.922%, yes you could have a future value of 200,000! Very Cool, except that rate is unreasonable, unless you are investing with Madoff! haha. So in reality, with the same facts but a 3% interest rate, you would accumulate $32,912.

So great in theory, but need to really look at the financials reality of this is that you would have to put away $607.67/month earning 3% to reach 200K in 20 years. "Just the facts" as they used to say.

February 05 2011 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Financial Guy's comment

True, that. Maybe the author is trying to save up a 16% or so down payment, and intends to spend the following thirty years with a $900/month mortgage payment. So in fifty years, he (or she) will be the proud owner of a little house, or a cottage, or probably a shed, actually, since $200,000 probably won't go all that far twenty years from now. How depressing.

February 06 2011 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yo, AOL. Where's my comment/reply?? You guys need to step up....cause lately, you suck....fix it!!

February 05 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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