shutterstock_148713014.jpgA vacation home plays center stage in some many homeowners’ fantasies, it’s safe to say that it’s possibly neck and neck with the tradition American dream of homeownership. And although a home-away-from-home sounds incredible, it’s important to make sure it looks good on paper as well.   

Buying a vacation home is a great accomplishment, but it’s one you’ll appreciate that much more if all your expectations are met. To ensure you are completely satisfied with your decision, take extra time to research and determine if this is the right investment for you. Here are some factors to think about.

1. So close, yet so far

Who wouldn’t love to have a beachfront vacation home with breathtaking views? But having a free weekend to get across the country is not always practical. Between the cost of gas or airfare, not to mention time lost in travel, your weekend vacation has now dwindled down to a night off in another city. More than 80% of vacation home buyers choose areas that are located within driving distance of their primary residences – and half of those are located less than 50 miles away. The ideal location – and one that is certainly important to consider – is where you and your family are assured to make the most of your quality time together.

2. No room service – and you’re the housekeeper

In most cases, when we think of owning a vacation home we envision going there on holidays or weekends. But the reality of it is that we can’t always find the time to escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Be realistic about how much time you’ll be able to spend in a vacation home throughout the year. If you don’t think you’ll be able to go as often as you’d like, maybe choosing a hotel would be a better option.

3. Dollars and “sense”

The real question is, can you truly afford a second home? The idea of owning a vacation home may sound great, but remember that the cost of ownership can escalate well beyond the price of the home itself. You have a lot of other expenses to consider. What will the cost be for insurance and maintaining the property? Will you need to hire a caretaker or someone to manage the unit/house?
If these supplementary costs seem steep, working with industry professionals can make the difference.  For example, mortgage companies often demand higher interest rates and/or down payments for second homes, but an experienced mortgage lender can help you find financing options that work for you.  Likewise, insurance rates may be higher than anticipated, so be sure to requests quotes from several agents to select the best policy. There are a few reasons that factor into these increased rates – insurance companies will consider things such as natural disasters or flooding, increased vacancy, and whether the home will be rented out during the year.

4. To rent or not to rent

If your vacation home is in a managed community, it’s important to check whether short-term rentals are allowed. Property management companies generally have requirements that you’ll need to abide by, and this is certainly something you need to look into if you plan to rent out your property during your down time. An added value to consider is whether the community offers recreational amenities. These perks are sure to enhance the deal both for you and potential renters. It’s important to keep location in mind when deciding on a vacation home. You want a prime location that attracts vacationers and offers ease of access to beaches, lakes, and nearby cities. Lastly, a factor that may determine if owning a vacation home outweighs a hotel room is realizing that prime, income-generating time is to be had around the holidays. That being said, you may need to sacrifice the option of staying in your vacation home if it’s being rented out. However, if you and your family are able to take trips to your vacation home often enough, altering your holiday destination may not be an issue for you.

5. Keeping everything running smoothly

 In most managed communities, routine maintenance tasks are generally covered in your maintenance fees.  But don’t forget to factor in other upkeep and ongoing repairs. Added expenses to keep in mind are lawn care & landscaping, painting or plastering, and fixing leaks when necessary. Again, a good property management company can explain what you need and make suggestions regarding local vendors who will provide the best service and rates.
Thoroughly consider these factors when determining if buying a vacation home is right for you. Family vacations are meant for enjoying quality time and memorable moments. You’ll want a cozy home that you can enjoy for many years to come.  For more tips and insights into buying a vacation home, contact FirstService Residential today.
Wednesday November 25, 2015