As people whove been on this board a long time know, I've been so happy with my decision to buy a small 3 bedroom/2 bath cottage at teh Cottages at Camp Creek in 2003 and then bought the one next door in 2004. We have had many wonderful family vacations there, and built irreplacable memories by going to our cottages over and over again with friends and family. It goes with teh old adage "there's no place like home". Now that both kids are soon to be in college (one is and one goes in September), I'll be at the cottages more oftgen with my sweetie and that will help me make the transition to a prent with no kids at home. And someday the kids will use the cottages with their friends and children and we will use them during the cold winter months. That said, here's my less romantic advice: 1. we like having small places - easier and cheapter to take care of and we can do a lot of the work ourselves and less likely to have big crowds renting. if we can't afford both someday, we can sell one and keep the other and still have our "home" at the beach. 2. you have to be secure financially with a steady job(s) to be able to pay the mortgage and have a back-up plan if you get sick, lose a job, etc. The mortgage shouldn't cause any financial stress. rentals take the edge off, but don't pay the mortgage and other expenses. One the cottage mortgages are paid off, I expect the rentals will take care of most of the bills for the cottages. 3. we have had very few problems with renters. Of course, we use rental companies so by the time we show up, everything is in good shape. There are always some broken things when we get there and someone once stole a guitar we had under the bed, but all in all we've been happy with the quality of the renters. you definitely can't be fussy at all if you're going to rent. We have really enjoyed the renters that we spoke to and met over the years and we like giving people a chance to have a special place at the beach. we are as careful as we can be to not rent to groups of teens, partiers, and mostly we rent to families and couples and snowbirds. I suppose I'll be singing a different tune if we ever have a really bad experience, but that hasn't happened yet. 4. we need to learn to relax more when we're at the cottages because I in particular spend a lot of time deep cleaning the cottages, gardening, updating things, etc. it's harder to relax when it's your own place and it's a rental. 5. it would be nice to just own the place and not have to rent, but for now renting is fine for us and we do make other people happy by renting. someday, we may decide to rent one of the cottages less often so that we don't have to do as much to maintain it for renting and so that we can keep our food in the fridge. at that point, we may rent it to people we've come to know well over the years and the other as an "open" rental. 6. we like having a rental company to keep an eye on things. No rental company is perfect, but it's better than having no oversight. 7. make sure wherever you buy has a really good association and leadership (we do) and that the association fees are reasonable not only at teh beginning when you buy into a new community but over the years (our's are very reasonable) 8. Consider hurricanes when you buy. Newer construction has more hurricane protection, being up on a high dune is nice, and ask if the windows are impact resistent. Few places have those, but they'd be nice to have. 9. We love, love, love having a big porch - we pretty much treat the porch as an extra room most of the year. OK, that's all I have for now and now I have to go back to work to keep my job to pay for the cottages! I hoe this info has been useful, even thugh it's quite stream of consciousness.