Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Your Money or Your Life

An uncrowded recent morning in Cocoa Beach.

[ I'd like to thank Doug Heddings of the True Gotham real estate blog for the kind words and for selecting this post for this week's carnival of real estate. ]

One afternoon this weekend, I selected a Gurkha Legend Aniversario Perfecto from the humidor and sat down on my front deck to unwind and enjoy the show of the approaching thunderstorm. My mind, as it often does, wandered to considerations of the dynamics of our current market. I had to pull my rocking chair back from the edge of the upper deck overhang as the rain moved in. The clouds, as they moved overhead, defined the edge of the front like overlapping watercolors. As the thunder boomed, the echoes rolled from south Cocoa Beach off into the distance to the northwest. The osprey across the street continued to hunt for fish, seemingly oblivious to the rain as it swept in across the Banana River from the west. At that moment, I realized how much the nature of my life in Cocoa Beach is directly related to the exact spot where I live. My experience of the storm would have been completely different in another place or might not have happened at all. I chose the location of my home very carefully. I knew before I bought, exactly where I wanted to live and why. For buyers of property in Cocoa Beach, location may be more important than they think. Thinking more about this I realized that buyers' motivations fall into two main groups; investment and lifestyle, or, more simply, their money or their life.

For buyers who plan to live in their property, location is of maximum importance. For those who plan occasional personal use, location is still important. Those who are buying strictly for investment have the luxury of pursuing the absolute best deal they can find across all areas. If you're looking to buy it would be a rewarding exercise to decide where you fit in the gradient between exclusive personal use and pure investment and then to target your areas accordingly. Your income in an oceanfront condo will be higher in a weekly rental building but your personal time in a weekly rental building may be less of a reflective beach experience than you were hoping for. If you want action when you're in town, you probably don't want to own in my part of the beach. Likewise, if you want serenity, the view over a beach crowded with people may be less attractive to you. Talk to your agent about the differences in the areas where you are looking and do your best to define the things that will be important to you when you own your place in this special part of Florida. You can probably find a deal in the area or building that fits you best but it may cost you a little more for the perfect spot. Make your choices carefully. It's your money or your life or an acceptable compromise of the two.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."
Henry David Thoreau