Purchasing a vacation home can be very rewarding – both personally and financially! Many look at vacation homes for entertaining purposes, while others simply want a home-away-from-home for annual family trips, or even a home that can be passed from generation-to-generation.
Whatever your reason may be, there are several things to carefully consider before taking the plunge!
- Rent First – You’ve done research, perhaps even stayed in a vacation community that you are considering for your purchase. It is definitely a good idea to rent a home in the community before you buy! If you plan to visit year-round, you will want to rent in each season to get a true feel for the home and the area. A home during the summer can be very different than a home in the winter! Also consider whether there are activities close by that your family enjoys, shops for browsing, sites to see, and restaurants to visit!
- Consider the Rental Potential – Even if you decide not to rent the home while you own it, it is still a very good idea to consider the rental potential of the property. Homes that can be rented are more valuable. Should your personal situation change……….you will at least have the option to rent if necessary. There are also some significant tax advantages to renting your vacation home that you may want to consider.
- 5 Year Plan – Real estate is not a liquid investment. To get the most out of your investment, it is recommended that you keep your personal residence for at least 5 years. This should be doubled for vacation properties! Market downturns can be much harder on vacation homes than on primary residences. It is best to have a long-term horizon so you can ride out the ups and downs of the market.
- Location – Your best bet is to purchase a home near a major metropolitan region. More than 80% of vacation-home buyers also make their purchase within driving distance of their permanent residence. Being close allows a homeowner to use their second-home more frequently! Buying a property in an isolated, far-off area will significantly reduce your resale potential.
- Budget – When creating your budget, be sure to include the mortgage costs, as well as an estimate for taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. You should set aside approximately 2% of the home’s value for maintenance. (Landscaping, a caretaker, repairs, painting, etc.) Be realistic! Set aside extra funds for “surprises” and don’t forget to include the cost of traveling to your vacation home!
10 Most Popular Towns in which to buy a Vacation Home (courtesy Trulia)
1. Ocean City, NJ
2. North Wildwood, NJ
3. Kissimmee, FL
4. Ocean City, MD
5. Marco Island, FL
6. Big Bear Lake, CA
7. Lake Arrowhead, CA
8. Panama City Beach, FL
9. Gatlinburg, TN
10. Cherry Grove Beach, SC