Move-up vs. Second Home: Which one is right for you?

The pandemic has brought with it big changes in the way many of us live, work, and attend school, and those changes have made a lot of us rethink our living space. Move-up vs Second Home: Which one is right for you?

According to a recent survey by The Harris Poll, 75% of respondents who have been working remotely would like to keep doing it. 66% would consider moving if they didn’t have to commute as often. Some of the top reasons were to gain a dedicated home office space (31%), a larger home (30%), or more rooms overall (29%).

Also, with online learning becoming a reality for many families, that need for additional space has only intensified. While some have moved up to a larger home in their own area, a growing number of buyers are moving further from the city as they seek out more room and less congestion. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 40% of urban dwellers had considered leaving the city because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Like other rural areas, Grey County has seen a huge influx of new residents since early 2020, as those families chose to leave the city crowds behind in favor of the fresh country air.

Of course, not everyone is sold on living full-time in either the suburbs or in the country. Instead, some are choosing to purchase a second home. Restrictions on travel, combined with less need for a five-day commute, have fueled the demand for second homes as a retreat from the daily grind. Many families are dividing their time between the two and enjoying the best of both worlds

If your family is feeling cramped in your current home, you’ve probably thought about a move. How do you know which is right for you: move-up vs. second home? Here are some things to think about as you make your decision.


How your home can help you strike the perfect work-life balance









Move Up?

What factors impact the decision to move up in the market?

Often, it’s the need for more space. Those choosing to move up are typically after a larger home or one with more ‘extras’ – an extra bedroom, a second bathroom, a pool, or a dedicated home office space. Life changes, and as it does, our housing needs change, too. The condo that was your perfect starter home got a little cozier once your partner moved in, but was still livable, even with the dog. Now that you’re expecting, there’s no room for the baby (and all the baby gear!). It’s time to move up to a larger home; from a condo to a house, or a townhouse to a fully detached home with a private driveway and a 2 car garage.

As we move through life, our priorities change as well. A yard, nearby parks, and schools are important to many families with kids but may not have even been on your radar just a few years ago. You may be tired of a long commute to work and want to move closer. At the other end of the spectrum, it could be that your current neighborhood has you priced out of a move-up home in the same area. Some people choose to move further away from where they work, trading a longer commute for a home that better suits their needs.

Market fluctuations can also drive the decision to move. Most move-up buyers choose to sell their current home and use the proceeds towards their next one. If you’re struggling with a lack of functional or outdoor space in your current home, a move-up home can greatly improve your everyday life. And with mortgage rates at their current low level, you may be surprised how much home you can afford to buy without increasing your monthly payment.

One major benefit of choosing a move-up home is that you can typically afford a nicer place if you spend your entire budget on one property. However, if a place to get away is on your mind, a second home may be a better choice for you.



Second Home?

Buying a second home can be a great investment. From a cottage or chalet in a recreational area to an income property, the possibilities are endless. Why should you consider a second home?Make home your happy place

Once reserved for the wealthy, second homes have become more mainstream. Home sales are surging in many resort and bedroom communities as city dwellers search for a place to escape the crowds and quarantine in comfort. With air travel on hold for many families, some are channeling their vacation budgets into vacation homes that can be utilized throughout the year.

A second home can also be a good option if you’re preparing for retirement. By purchasing your retirement home now, you can lock in a low-interest rate, start paying down the mortgage and begin enjoying the perks of retirement living while you’re still fit and active. Plus, it’s easier to qualify for a mortgage while you’re employed, although you may be charged a slightly higher interest rate than on a primary home loan.

One advantage of choosing a second home is that you may be able to offset a portion of the costs, and in some cases turn a profit, by renting it out on a platform like Airbnb or VRBO. However, be sure to consult with a real estate professional or rental management company to get a realistic sense of the property’s true income potential.

Another reason to consider a second home is its investment potential. You may decide to buy a second home to rent out, building equity while most of the costs are covered by the rent. Keep in mind that dealing with tenants is not always easy and that you’ll still be responsible for repairs and maintenance on the property.

If you’re looking for a project with a potential return on investment, you may choose to purchase a fixer-upper to renovate and resell at a higher price.




You may read this and think, “I’d really like both a move-up home AND a second home!” But if like most of us, there’s a limited budget, you’ll probably need to make a choice.

Determine Your Time and Financial Budget

You may meet the bank’s qualifications to purchase a home, but do you have the time, energy, and financial resources to maintain it? This is an important question to ask yourself, no matter what type of home you choose.

Most buyers realize that a second home will mean double mortgages, utilities, taxes, and insurance. Also, consider all the extra time and expense that goes into maintaining two properties. Two lawns to mow. Two houses to clean. Two sets of systems and appliances can malfunction. Second homes aren’t always a vacation. Make sure you’re prepared for the labor and carrying costs that go into looking after another property.

Of course, some move-up homes require more work than a second home. For example, if your move-up option is a major fixer-upper, you could end up spending more than you would on a small vacation condo by the beach. Have an honest discussion about how much time and money you want to spend on your new property, and how you’d like to use it. Would a move-up home or a second home be a better fit with your lifestyle?


Rank Your Priorities

If you’re still undecided, make a wish list of what you’re looking for in a new home. Then rank each item from most to least important. This exercise can help you determine your “must-have” features from those that would be “nice to have”. Here’s a sample to help you get started.

Dedicated home office
Extra bedroom
Ensuite or second bathroom
Larger kitchen
Big backyard
Pool or hot tub
Near parks/walking trail
Walking distance to school
Close to friends/family
Shorter commute to work
Investment potential



Move-up vs. Second Home: Explore Your Options

Once you’ve determined your wants and needs, it’s time to begin your home search.

If you’re still not sure whether a move-up vs. second home is right for you, we can help.

Contact the team at Sea & Ski to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss your options between move-up vs. second home and help you assess the pros and cons of each, given your unique circumstances.

We can also send you property listings for both move-up vs. second homes within your budget so you can get an idea of what kinds of homes are available. Sometimes, viewing listings of homes that meet your criteria can make the decision clear.



Whether you’re ready to make a move or need help weighing your options, we’d love to help. Contact the Sea & Ski Team today to get started. We’ve been helping families realize their Real Estate dreams since 1994.



Sellers Guide









  1. Zillow –
  2. The Harris Poll –
  3. MarketWatch –
  4. Toronto Star –
  5. Kiplinger –
  6. The Press-Enterprise –