No Regrets: Why Buying a Vacation Home Was One of Our Best Decisions Yet.December 01, 2020
We have all had those moments in life. Those few big decisions when you have two choices: Stay firmly within the boundaries of your comfort zone, or leap into the unknown.
What was that moment? That moment when you knowingly said to yourself, “No Regrets.” before taking a leap of faith?
In 2015, we took our first big leap off the well-worn path of the norm.
Instead of investing in Boston where we were living and working at the time, we decided to buy a vacation home on Cape Cod. Like many, “No Regrets” moments – it has proven to be one of our best decisions yet.
It was initially a lifestyle choice, without question.
We knew we wanted a getaway at our fingertips for whenever we wanted to get out of the city – and we knew we only wanted to drive an hour on most days. But we also knew there is an upside when investing in real estate. Our small investment would pay off someday and, in the meantime, it would help us enjoy life NOW.
What we didn’t know at the time:
We would get much more bang for the buck
It didn’t take us long to get discouraged looking at real estate in Southie and Dorchester in 2015. Prices were already hovering around $500,000 for a one-bedroom and we needed two. And despite working in the city, we knew our love for all things Southie would eventually have an expiration date. Our love for The Cape, however, was one thing we knew would never change.
With a change in mindset, we soon realized we could have the things on our wish list for significantly less cost: THE OCEAN, a large yard, extra bedrooms and bathrooms for guests, and in our case, a barn for entertaining and storage for that lawnmower we would soon need.
2. Our friends and family would grow to love The Cape as much as us
Our investment wasn’t just in our own memories, buying a vacation home was an investment in memories we could share with our family and friends. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend, holidays in the offseason have all become annual traditions.
Our next generation is growing up with sandy toes and salty hair and it is truly the best feeling ever.
3. There was a vast opportunity in the vacation rental market
We closed on our house in June 2015 and received our first HomeAway rental for 10 weeks before we had even moved in. In our first half-year of owning a vacation home, it paid for itself.
By year two, we were averaging $3,000 per week in peak season, with rentals extending into the off-season and throughout the winter.
By renting our vacation home, we were able to not only cover all our expenses, we were able to invest in home improvements we could also enjoy year after year.
4. It would result in a source of income, which would lead to a career change, a move, and a full-time business.
After the first or second year, we knew we were onto something; by year three we couldn’t deny the data. Our investment in a vacation home had become a full-fledged source of revenue averaging well over $30,000 of income per year. And we were still using it ourselves!
By year five, it was clear – not only did we tap into a steady source of revenue for our family, but we also loved all things homes, home improvement, and vacation rental management. It was also clear there was an opportunity to support existing homeowners on Cape Cod and help educate new vacation homeowners who were considering their own No Regrets approach to real estate.
In 2019, we took our second leap of faith and moved to Cape Cod to start THE CAPE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT offering real estate, property, and vacation rental management services. Today, THE CAPE serves as a go-to resource for existing and soon-to-be homeowners on Cape Cod.
5. There would be a global Pandemic
There are some things in life you can never quite anticipate and other things you wish never to be true. While we never envisioned a global pandemic could be a reality, it came and impacted our lives and business like so many others.
COVID-19 has changed the landscape of nearly every aspect of life – specifically impacting the real estate and vacation rental market in ways we never could have imagined – remote work, social distancing, canceled vacations, a new norm, and ultimately, a newfound appreciation for the small and big things in life – like toilet paper and making memories with family.
Spring has never sounded sweeter as we walk into another cold, dark New England winter - especially this year. While we know there is some light at the end of this long pandemic, no one can quite predict how the future will look. What we do know is how much our appreciation has grown for things we knew would never change – the smell of the salt air, walks along the water after a long day, watching our new pup run around his yard and slowly but surely, tackling the never-ending list of projects at our big old house on Cape Cod, so hopefully, we can enjoy them in the sun with friends and family next year.