real estate

Four Questions to Ask When Buying a Second Home

Location, location and more!

Things to consider when you're buying a second home:

How accessible is the property? Gas prices dim the appeal of a place that's hundreds of miles away. You can usually hop a cheap flight to Florida, but that's not necessarily true of Corpus Christi, Tex., or Durango, Colo.

Is the community well planned? In rural areas, a beautiful new cabin may adjoin a cluster of rusting trailers.

Is the house in good shape? New construction is fine, but an older place or summer home is likely to be the victim of deferred maintenance and premature wear. Instead of asking for a price concession, you may be better off asking the seller to hire a carpenter and a painter.

Will you feel at home there? Start your search at Web sites such as Escapehomes.com and Lakeplace.com. But nothing beats a visit to see if the locale offers what you're looking for.

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