I'm headed to Tahoe next week for Labor Day and thought it appropriate (and timely) to invite my COMPASS colleagues, Nicole and Jamison Blair of Team Blair Tahoe to speak about vacation-home ownership. While I don't usually feature other writers (because, why?), I loved how Nicole captured both the pain and the pleasure of owning a second home. Nicole and her husband, Jamie, are my "go to" Agents in Tahoe and this article points out why. Please enjoy.
Falling Out of Love?
It’s always love at first sight, until you can’t stand the sight of it anymore. (I'm not talking about your boyfriend, I'm talking about your second home.)
Owning a vacation home can sometimes seem like an exotic romance as viewed on a perfectly-manipulated HGTV reality show; (Uhhh, where's the "real" part?) however, things can quickly change when the cameras turn away and moonlit walks on powder-white sandy beaches are replaced with traffic-congested commutes to get there, yellow pine pollen EVERYWHERE, snow-covered roofs & driveways, bears upsetting your trash cans, endless loads of sheets and towels, and untidy friends and family.
“Who left this mess in here!?!” (The bear.)
"Good morning," I said to the mother and her son, as they walked past my garden. "First day of school?"
"Yes," his mom said with pride, "Zachery's starting kindergarten."
"Good luck," I said to the sweet young boy as they walked on, his new Spiderman backpack disappearing around the corner.
Which reminded me that even though it's only August, school is formally in session and as my house sits en route to the local elementary, I happily get to watch the parade of darling children (and their helicopter parents) walk by each morning, while my dog, Riley, barks hello. These young kids (and their parents) are excited, nervous, anxious, hopeful and uncertain . . . kind of like your average Buyer or Seller.
I'd spent 20 minutes on hold listening to elevator music and still no answer. The reason for my call? A puddle of water roughly the size of Rhode Island I'd found on my kitchen floor. It seems the freezer had malfunctioned overnight and melted everything inside, including a 5 lb. bag of ice. (Anyone who knows me, knows I'm all about the ice.)
Mr. Kim is my tried-and-true East Bay appliance repairman and he's great, but I'd been told that if anyone other than a "certified Kitchen Aid consultant" serviced the refrigerator, it would void the warranty on the coolant system; thus, the call to an 800 number and the loooong wait.
While out on rounds last week, I stopped at a lemonade stand and bought, perhaps, the worst glass of lemonade I've ever had. Fizzy, warm, no ice, out of a can, and not much flavor, but that's beside the point. I NEVER pass up a lemonade stand if I can help it, having both manned such booths myself as a little girl in Sacramento (of course I did), and then helping my boys and their friends much later on, when I had kids. Lemonade is about the principle, never mind the product.
The thing is, these little girls didn't stand much chance at success even if their lemonade had been the BEST I'd ever tasted as their stand was in the middle of the block on a quiet residential street in Berkeley. Had they been thinking strategically, they would have moved their table down a few houses and placed it in front of their neighbor's listing on Brokers' Tour, thereby acquiring a highly-captive audience. (I'm not the only Realtor with a soft heart and an open wallet.)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 14 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.