Friday, July 22, 2005

 

Summer Homes/Sharing Costs

I have been thinking about the idea of buying a summer place when I return to the US. John O said that both Matt O and Bill H had the idea of doing the same and I thought it would be a good idea to pool our resources and buy property on which we would build our summer homes and then a common entertainment area in which we would share the costs. A common area that we might want but would be cost prohibitive if we tried to do by ourselves. I ran across this article about pool houses and it prompted me to write this entry.

Here is the idea. We buy 5 to 10 acres in Indiana or Michigan. We divide it into lots depending on how many people are in on the plan. Minimum of 3 and we can discuss a maximum if that ever became an issue. We would pool (pun intended) our money for a pool and pool house. At the house I used to own in Harbert, MI. it cost $20,000 to build the pool and small pool house which was set up to have a kitchen, toilet and shower. The cost included moving a lot of land and some very nice landscaping and a fence. I think if we could come up with $60,000 we could have a much nicer pool house and a jacuzzi.

We would incorporate this common area like a condo association so that if one of the houses were sold the new owner would have to contribute to maintenance. Everyone would be free to build whatever kind of house they liked. I would say that we could allow more houses to be built depending on the amount of land that we purchased. Given that these are summer homes and we are sharing the cost of the "entertainment area", for lack of a better name, we can get away with homes that are fairly Spartan. But that would be up to each person. I think it would be a good idea to treat landscaping as part of the common area. Home maintenance would be up to the individual owner.

Here is where I let my imagination run wild. Given increased buying power we could build a common "party house". A place with a poker room/bar, large living room with big screen TV, a kids room for toys and games, sauna for the winter months where we could beat each other with birch branches and drink vodka. (Trust me, this is a lot of fun) What about a tennis court/basketball court? Horseshoes? We could even share babysitting services. You get the idea. We are limited only by our common desires for entertainment. We could have a fabulous place to play and relax which would be out of our individual reaches but is possible if we join together.

Let me know what you think.

Oh yeah, I can't believe I forgot this one. Kegerator!

Update:

I know I am getting ahead of myself but I found a website offering prefabricated homes at good prices. I got a chuckle out of the line under build skill level: 'what's a hammer.' That would be me.

And another thing I forgot, Paintball!

Things that need to be discussed first:

1) What kind of organizational structure would be best. I assumed a condo association but we will need to talk to a lawyer. Limiting liability is important.

2) Where we want to look for property. Let's take lakefront off the list from the get-go.

3) What type of beer to keep in the kegerator.

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