Golf Real Estate OnLine News
For Immediate Release
January 2009

In this issue
-- Purchasing Vacation Homes: What You Need to Know (Part II)
-- Local Laws May Dictate Renovations
-- Home of the Month
-- January PGA Tour Events
-- Fun Sites for the Avid Golfer
-- The Golf Real Estate OnLine Library

Happy New Year! Welcome to the January 2009 edition of Golf Real Estate OnLine News.

The information contained within Golf Real Estate OnLine News is designed to provide helpful information about Golf Real Estate, up-dates on our Communities of Distinction and new features on the Golf Real Estate OnLine site.

Click here for more information on the Golf Real Estate OnLine Communities!

Purchasing Vacation Homes: What You Need to Know (Part II)
Part II, continued from the December '08 edition of Golf Real Estate OnLine News
by Chris Whitley

Click Here to Read Part I

The Third Step: Determining the Type of Structure - and Beyond

It is also important to determine what type of structure you'll want for your second home and what type of ownership you are looking for, whether it is fractional ownership, fee simple, a townhome, or a condo. Beyond the size and location of your home, you will need to consider how much work you will want to put into it. Are you considering buying a second home where you will want to do yard work and actively maintain the home or would you prefer to be spared the hassles of maintenance and have others take care of the house while you relax? Find out if the community in which you are thinking of buying a second home offers maintenance, and if so, at what cost.

If you plan on building a custom home, find out about the building process and the restrictions. Can you hire the builder of your choice, or must you use a builder from a preferred builder program? Also, what is the ARB (architectural review board) process like? While loose architectural guidelines may have some appeal during the building process, tighter, more uniformed guidelines that are consistently enforced provide the greatest protection to your investment. If the ARB will let you get away with it today, what will they let your new neighbor do tomorrow? An ARB can help with the resale value of your property in the future by maintaining a consistent look and feel among all of the vacation homes (and other buildings) in the development. The Fourth Step: Thinking about Fees and Obligations Related to Vacation Homes

When you have narrowed down your choices, you can take into consideration the property owner's association fees the vacation homes require. How much will they be, and what do they cover? Can they escalate, and if so, how much and how often? What is the exposure for assessments? Also, when buying a second home in a community, are you required to join any clubs? For example, your community may have a swim and tennis club with mandatory membership. If buyers do not join when purchasing their vacation homes, do they have an opportunity to purchase a membership later, and will there be additional fees? Is it possible to attach the memberships to the sale of your home or land?

Finally, if you are buying a second home as an investment and think you may want to rent your home out at any point in the future, find out if this will be allowed and what rules will govern the process. Ask around about the going rates for rentals of vacation homes, and find out if you have access to on-site management for your property.

The search for the perfect second home can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be difficult. You simply need to take the time to research your options and have all of your important questions about vacation homes answered. If you do so, then you will be able to feel confident when you sign the contract and complete your down payment that you are buying a second home that will bring you many years of pleasure.

About the Author

Chris Whitley is a partner with Currahee Partners, LLC, the developer of Currahee Club, a 1,215 acre, single-family gated mountain community in Toccoa, Georgia offering Hartwell lakefront property. Prior to his involvement with Currahee Club, Whitley served as a development consultant for the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Laurel Springs, and Medalist Golf Club (the home golf club of PGA Tour Player Greg Norman). Whitley is a licensed Florida and Georgia real estate broker. For more information about the Currahee Club development, please visit www.curraheeclub.com.

Click here to learn more about Currahee Club

Local Laws May Dictate Renovations
Home Exterior (MS) -- Despite many of the headlines with respect to housing focusing on foreclosures and the sagging housing market, the home improvement business remains a billion dollar industry. Renovations can be relatively small in scale, such as replacing older windows with newer models; or bigger projects, like an upscale kitchen remodeling. Whether a project is big or small, modifications are typically done to both improve a home for its inhabitants as while increasing the home's potential resale value down the road.

But are all home improvements projects worthy of your time and effort? From a purely financial standpoint, the answer to that question is almost always no, as home improvement projects almost never recoup for the homeowner 100 percent of what is put in when it comes time to sell a home. Of course, as the current housing market illustrates, the economy is as big an influence on the home improvement business as anything.

In their annual "Cost vs. Value Report," Remodeling magazine compares construction costs with resale value, basing their findings on research conducted on the 25 most common home improvement projects in 60 different markets spanning the country. For homeowners considering renovations, the report is a must-read, as certain projects might not prove to be the financial windfall homeowners envision when they commit to an improvement. For example, the 2007 report noted that a home office remodel recouped less than 57 percent of the cost of the project, whereas a minor kitchen remodel recovered 83 percent of its original cost.

Another thing homeowners must consider along with cost and cost recovery are local zoning laws. A set of regulations that limit what a homeowner can do with their property, zoning laws play a big role in home renovations. Even if you've adhered to zoning regulations with past renovations, that doesn't necessarily mean your new project will be in line with current guidelines. That's because zoning laws often undergo changes, essentially shifting and changing in accordance with how much the neighborhood itself is shifting and changing. Some zoning concerns homeowners should definitely consider include the following:

* Usage issues: Most homes are classified strictly as residential properties. This means they're solely for dwelling and not for conducting business. However, recent years have witnessed a boom in work-from-home situations, and many professionals have begun to turn their homes into offices. However, if you're planning to turn your home into a place of business, such as a legal or medical office, you'll likely need to be granted a variance by your local zoning board.

* How you're renovating: Zoning laws are in part designed to protect the value of the property throughout a given area. For example, if your home improvements will markedly decrease the value of your surrounding neighbors' property, there's no guarantee you'll legally be allowed to make those improvements. Zoning laws are divided into four groups: height, bulk, density, and use. If your home improvement is designed to build your house upwards, this could dwarf your neighbors' property, hence lowering the value of that property. Much as with usage, you'll likely need to get a variance from the zoning board, but such a variance isn't necessarily easy to get.

* Privacy: Part of the joy of buying a home is knowing it's all yours. After years of renting from apartment complexes or sharing dwellings with roommates, most homeowners embrace the privacy that comes with home ownership. When buying a home, homeowners receive a survey plot, which includes something called the setback distance. Setback distances are established by the local zoning board and mandate the distance between a building and the property line. This both protects the privacy of you and those around you while also keeping you safe, making your home accessible in the case of an emergency such as a fire.

Home of the Month
Big Canoe Located in prestigious Audubon Ridge in the gated mountain community of Big Canoe, this fabulous custom home is modeled after Southern Living's 1997 Chestnut Hill Idea House and is one of Big Canoe's best.

With its picturesque views of Lake Sconti and Cox Mountain and located directly on the signature hole of the Lake Sconti Golf Course, this is one of Big Canoe's most sought after locations.

The Chestnut Hill inspired floor plan is a unique cottage style design. The home features numerous, artfully constructed interior spaces with an open floor plan and lots of windows to bring the beautiful views inside.

The home has 4 bedrooms, three full baths and two ½ baths and features a great room, a large den/media room, a three car garage with workshop and a large bonus room with bath above the garage. Just under 4000 square feet, this spectacular home sits on a 3/4 acre wooded lot.

Asking Price $845,000

For more information, contact Kim Loftin, 706-268-0179 (office) or 770-314-5408 (cell) or by email at kloftin@progress.com


January PGA Tour Events
Jan. 08 - 11
Mercedes-Benz Championship
Plantation Course at Kapalua, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

Jan. 15 - 18
Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae CC, Honolulu, Hawaii

Jan. 21 - 25
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
PGA West (Palmer Course), La Quinta, California
PGA West (Nicklaus Course), La Quinta, California
Bermuda Dunes CC, Bermuda Dunes, California
Silver Rock, La Quinta, California

Jan. 29 - Feb. 01
FBR Open
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona

For a full list of 2009 PGA Tour Events, go to PGA Tour Schdule

Fun Sites for the Avid Golfer
Eyespygolf.com. A directory of over 16,000 golf courses. Is your favorite course included?

AND be sure to check out...19thhole.com
Now you can amerce yourself in the game-rain or shine. Enjoy!

Need a great golf gift?
Be sure to visit the Golf Real Estate OnLine affiliates page!

New sites are added continually!

The Golf Real Estate OnLine Library