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Posted: 1:19 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2, 2012

Second homes are the best deal in a distressed real estate market

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If you are living large and have money available, I have a frill that is a deal like it has never been in any of our lifetimes: The purchase of a second home, vacation home or a home where you hope to retire.

There are deals like these in so much of the country, especially in mountain communities throughout Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. These are states that had the "half backs," people who moved from the Northeast or Midwest to Florida in early retirement. Then when life changed, they didn't want to go back home, so they went half way back to the Appalachian Mountains.

Normally, as those people needed to move back in with their relatives elsewhere or go to assisted living, there would be a next wave of buyers for them to sell to. There's been no next wave of buyers now. That creates opportunity for you. Properties are being sold at a fraction of what it would cost to build them today.

My family and I bought a foreclosure in the Appalachian Mountains that we use for fun. I was looking at distress sales fliers at a local real estate agent when I was there recently, and all the prices from the 1970s!

Then I was in Las Vegas back in July and we were staying in the Lake Las Vegas resort community. All the foreclosures there seemed to be selling for 30 cents on the dollar.

Think about the opportunity that exists today. You may have heard the story that in 1988 my brother and I bought a foreclosure condo in Park City, Utah, for $53,000. This was during the state's deep real estate depression when no one would buy. So we were one of three owners in a 33-unit building. Over time, of course, all the units sold.

Fast forward to the real estate bubble. We sold our 2BR/2BR condo for almost six times what we paid years before. We were there when no one else would buy and we waited. It really paid off.

Think about where we are today. If it's strategic in your life, seize the day, seize the opportunity. This is the best time ever to purchase a second home -- mountain, beach, resort, lake, you name it.

Editor's note: Today's broadcast originated in Hartford, Conn., at an event hosted by affiliate WTIC News Talk 1080. This segment originally aired in Sept. 2011 and subsequently on Oct. 11, 2011.

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