What would you consider now if you were looking for a second home – a place where you would be happy to split your time with your current home? That would depend on what you want to achieve with your satellite home. Is your intention to go to your second home to relax and unwind, to simply continue life as usual but with a change of scenery, or perhaps to practice the next phase of your life? Depending on your answer to this question your requirements for the potential location may change. Access to mass transit may not matter if you don’t plan to work at your second home and may even be exactly on the list of items you’re trying to avoid. But waterfront access may be very important to you. An active nightlife scene may be more important to you or access to art and cultural attractions. Would you look for a location that is “walkable” – meaning less need for a car – or “walkable” meaning a place with hiking trails. Not necessarily the same thing.
Whether you consider an HQ2 to be a second home to split your time with your current home or an HQ2 to be the home after your current home, you can take some cues from Amazon and make a list of amenities that are important to you. Use your list as you evaluate potential locations and have some fun with your research.
Test out your potential locations. Services like AirBnB and VRBO allow you to rent spaces in residential areas and you can really get a taste of what life is really like in those areas. Do the things that you normally do and do the things you want to be able to do. Beach, golf, museums, concerts, hiking, shopping – check it all out. Don’t forget the mundane things too – check out grocery stores, local retailers and larger chains, find the movie theater. Check into town/city services – see the library and parks and medical facilities. Experience the rush hour traffic.
As you begin to narrow down your list of potential homes, it is important to determine the financial aspects of your choice. Determine the cost of living in the area. Check with the local government and civic organizations regarding future development plans. Revitalization projects, development projects, and local stimulus plans can have tremendous benefits for the area but they can also affect taxes and assessments and those costs should be included in your analysis. And remember to keep in mind that the future development plans of any area may or may not come to fruition. Be sure that you can live and live happily whether the new development occurs or not.