Real Estate can be a great investment with unusual appreciation. We have had several years years of exceptional annual appreciation. We are still having great appreciation, perhaps as much as 20% annually in some areas. But, it is not as extensive nor as much as it was. Real Estate as an investment can be fairly good to best in the world — but it is an investment that is best viewed over the long term; There can be long periods when it does not go up in value much, if at all. Taken over a period of decades or even centuries, nothing on earth beats it. Another problem with real estate is that it is not liquid, that is, it is not easy to convert to cash — like stocks, bonds, and savings accounts are. Real estate is particularly non-liquid during a downturn in our markets. You will not likely hear this anywhere else, especially from other Realtors, but real estate is not a great investment, it is usually a good investment but not always, and not all the time — when looked at short term. Too many people buy real estate as an investment and forget that there are other reasons to buy. I suggest that you will be much happier if you purchase real estate for use and for lifestyle rather than as an investment, when it comes to your place of residence or your second home. Perhaps it should be almost entirely about lifestyle. After all, a primary residence or a second home should be a place to enjoy a lifestyle that allows you to relax and wind down from the rest of life. If you live a very public life, one where people are always seeking you out, where you are always in the light of public scrutiny and often in the press for instance; if your normal life is one where you must always been on your best behavior and always crafting each word and action for it’s best value – then perhaps a private place, away from others, a place where you don’t know your neighbors, is just right for you. There are some communities that are unique. There is one just for you! Perhaps the lifestyle you want is right in the middle of everything. Take a look at various properties for sale. Each of these properties has it’s own personality of location and lifestyle. Ask your Realtor for lifestyle particulars about any of them. Most importantly, visit them on your own and find out from the other residents by meeting them and asking. Weekends are a great time to walk the area and speak to those working outside! One of the things I try to convey to people who are at stages in life where lifestyle is really the only reason to purchase a home — is to think about only “lifestyle”. Are you really trying to buy an investment that will appreciate over a period of time so that you can sell it for a profit in the future? Or are you trying to settle into a lifestyle that will allow you to enjoy your home and surroundings and other aspects of your life? Perhaps your other investments are in place, you are seeking a retired life and you wish to enjoy the lifestyle of a million dollar home, but don’t want to take that money out of liquid investments, that you might need to access. In such a case, you might want to purchase a home on leased land. The owner of the land will get the appreciation but you can save, in some cases a million dollars or more, by getting a home on leased land. In some cases that might be a mobile home or manufactured home on rented or leased land. In our area of southern Delaware, most of the people living in land-lease communities do NOT look at the home here as an investment! They have investments. Perhaps your perfect lifestyle home will not appreciate in value much or at all… at least not in the short term. BUT as long as you keep your home in top shape and are in a desirable community, you are most likely not losing anything at all. If you are considering a community that involves leased land, or “ground rent” as some folks call it, then consider what else you may be getting out of the deal. Here and in other areas, some land-lease parks or communities allow you to live life like one of the wealthy without paying for it and without time and cost of maintenance. You may get benefits such as swimming pools, private beaches, marinas, tennis courts, grass cutting, trash removal, daily or hourly security drive-bys, etc. The communities that I know of that are in “fee simple”, that is where you own your own land, do not provide all of these benefits, (though I do know of many that provide some). Consider what it is you want out of home or out of a vacation home. If low maintenance is a priority for you at this point, the manufactured home community may be the best choice, perhaps. Also, you need to consider how much you are willing to spend on a vacation home. This will hold a major bearing on what you will eventually purchase. There are many options for people who are in your situation. You just need to balance your wants and needs in priority order. Next, consider your finances. There are many desirable factors in owning each different type of residential real estate. All we ask, is that for YOUR improved happiness, please consider Lifestyle instead of only investment appreciation!