Converting a Lake George Vacation Home into a Primary Residence

When the 2020 pandemic hit, many urbanites who were lucky enough to own vacation homes, escaped the cities and sought refuge in their second homes – whether they were in the country, at the lake, in the mountains, or at the beach. Most assumed it would be temporary. Yet here we are, approaching the end of the year, and an overwhelming number of second-home owners remain in Lake George, as well as various other popular vacation home destinations around the country.

Much to the chagrin of local, year-round residents, second-home owners have discovered the beauty of living outside the city. With the newfound ability to work remote or relocate their business to a home office, many are considering whether they should convert their vacation home into a primary residence. And, if so, how.

If you own a second home on Lake George, in Bolton Landing or anywhere in the southern Adirondacks, and you’re contemplating turning your vacation home into your primary residence, here are some things to keep in mind.

6 Things to Consider When Converting a Vacation Home into a Primary Residence

Assuming your Lake George vacation home is properly winterized for year-round living with the necessary insulation and heating, and you’ve got snow and ice clean up covered, there are still a few important things to consider when converting a vacation home into a primary residence.

1. Adding Cable and Internet

Many second-home owners forego cable and internet. After all, a vacation home is where you go to get away from it all and disconnect. However, if you plan to live in your Lake George vacation home full time, you’ll want to make sure that both fast internet and good cellular service are available, as it’s not always a given in more rural areas.

2. Making Lifestyle Changes

It may seem like a minor thing to mention, but moving outside the city can have a huge impact on your lifestyle. Not only will you be moving away from friends and family, but cities offer many modern conveniences that vacation areas may not. For instance, there probably won’t be a Starbuck’s on every corner, and the nearest grocery store and shopping center could be several miles away. You’ll also need to find new service providers, such as a mechanic, plumber, hair stylist and more.

3. Purchasing New Furniture

In order to make your Lake George vacation home more hospitable for full-time living, you may need to purchase new furniture, for example a bedroom set that can accommodate additional clothing storage, or a more supportive mattress. You may need more indoor seating, or a table for eating meals inside, as opposed to the summer months when much of your time is spent al fresco.

4. Rearranging Your Living Space

Even if your furniture is sufficient, your living space will probably require some rearranging. This may be as simple as converting a guest bedroom into your home office, or swapping out the game room for a dining room. If you simply don’t have the extra space you need, adding a separate studio shed may be an option.  

5. Making Renovations

When you live in a vacation home full-time, you’re likely to find that it needs updating. A kitchen that didn’t get much use before, suddenly seems outdated and needs replacing. The bathroom may not be big enough, or you may need more closet space and storage. Unlike simply rearranging the furniture, these changes will require significant renovations, and you’ll want to be prepared for the challenges that come with renovating a home while living in it.

6. Ensuring Safety

One of the biggest concerns when living in a vacation home full-time is with regard to safety. For instance, if it is an older home, it was not built for today’s multitude of gadgets to be plugged into its electrical outlets, which can pose a fire hazard. In addition, the septic system may not be able to accommodate year-round use, and the safety of well water may also be a concern.

Buying a Lake George Vacation Home as a Primary Residence

While the majority of those who own Lake George Vacation homes immediately recognized their good fortune when the pandemic hit, some are still struggling with how to make their home work for them full time.

The truth is, sometimes it makes more sense to buy a home that has the space and amenities you need, rather than trying to rearrange, renovate or build an addition on an existing home that’s lacking.

Since the start of the pandemic in March, I have helped several house hunters from nearby metropolitan areas find their second-home-turned-primary-residence here in the Southern Adirondacks. I’ve also worked with previous clients who have decided to upgrade from their current Lake George vacation home to a property that better meets their needs for full-time living.  

If you’re in the market for a vacation home, or a forever home, here in Lake George, Bolton Landing or the Southern Adirondacks, I’d love to help. Please contact me online or give me a call at (518) 321-1870.