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Second homes are hot right now with lots of folks plunking down spare cash on weekend retreats to give themselves an escape and a nice return in their investment. Michael Maynard, a principal at Quechee Lake, a private home community in Vermont, has these words of advice for buyers. Avoid cookie-cutter properties that look like all the others around them. Stay away from properties in buildings or developments that are rarely occuppied by owners. Look for areas with natural beauty and natural boundaries—protected lands for example—that will guard against overbuilding. And pick places with amenities that match your lifestyle interests, be they golf, skiing or boating. “It’s rarely a smart move to invest in second residence just to get in on a real estate frenzy,” he says. “People should really want the home and want to use it.” Maynard’s got an interest in this—he sells second homes. Still his words of caution are worth noting.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.