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Transportation and travel timeNo matter where you live, you're likely to use your second home more if you don’t have a spirit-breaking slog to get there. The commute must compute!If you want the flexibility of driving to your destination, identify communities you love within a 2- to 3-hour drive time from your primary home. It's the reason Palm Springs and Las Vegas have long appealed to Angelinos, and why Napa, Sonoma and Lake Tahoe are retreats of choice for many San Franciscans.If you don't mind hopping on a plane and plan to use your home less often but for longer stretches, you could buy a second home in another part of the country. This will make planning ahead important, so factor both time and cost of travel into your buying equation.
Your second home wish listConsider the kind of life you want to live in your second home.Does a remote home surrounded by nature appeal to you, or do you want to be a stone's throw from urban amenities? Are you semi-retired and looking for new adventures, or a young family seeking fun, safe activities?No matter which you prefer, most of us expect modern conveniences and amenities. As you shop for a second home, ask:
- What recreational activities are nearby? Explore area hiking and biking trails, and check out boating and fishing spots. Public parks will likely offer skateboard areas and basketball courts. If it's a ski hill you're after, see what it offers in both in winter and summer. Are golf or tennis must-haves? Look into public and membership-only options. If you'd rather work out indoors, take a tour of local gyms or yoga studios.
- How close do you want to be to food markets and restaurants? Whether you love to cook or just eat well, proximity to good food can be a draw for many buyers. Explore your potential neighborhood and ask locals where they love to eat or grab a coffee.
- What services are essential to you? You may feel better knowing there's a hospital close by. Or you may need to be near a train or airport. Some want access to a public library. Identify the services you don’t want to forego while spending time at your second home.
- Is the internet service suitable for both work and leisure? In addition to streaming Netflix, you may want the option of working remotely.