12 Tips For Buying Your Dream Vacation Home

Photo via http://ow.ly/OGQYj

Photo via http://ow.ly/OGQYj

Who doesn’t dream about buying a vacation home? I know I do! No matter where you are in the process, there are important points to think about. At the very least, you’ll be ready when the time comes, right? From location to finances and renters to friends, read on for a dozen tips for buying your dream vacation home.

  1. Come up with a budget and stick to it! While you might have hopes of renting out the property to help cover the mortgage, don’t count on it. What if you can’t get enough renters to sign on at the weekly or monthly rate you have in mind? Talk to your mortgage lender and really listen to their advice about what kind of price range could be comfortable for you.
  2. Buy for the right reasons. It can be hard to recoup a financial investment on a vacation home, but if you love the home itself and the surrounding community, then what you’ll gain by spending time there is priceless.
  3. It’s more than just the mortgage! Every vacation home comes with added monthly expenses. Think utilities, property and school taxes, homeowner’s insurance, homeowner’s association fees, and more. Calculate the cost of regular maintenance, and add in the cost of paying someone to do it if that person’s not going to be you because you live too far away.
  4. Take advantage of local experts. Talk to a realtor in the area: They will be knowledgeable about the neighborhood and available properties. A realtor’s job is to help put you in the right home.
  5. Love it year-round. What may be heaven in the summer can be a real headache in the winter. Rent a home in the area for a full year first to make sure you like being there in dreary weather, too.
  6. If you’re planning on buying a vacation home outside of the United States, go into international purchases with your eyes wide open. Know the local property laws. Understand that things can turn on a dime in another country, and realize that if they do, it’s pretty likely that your options are going to be limited as a non-resident and non-citizen.
  7. The emphasis of a vacation home becomes “home.” You’re responsible for maintaining your vacation home. Your role changes from vacationer to homeowner. By the same token, you have the opportunity to put down roots and make this place where you’ve enjoyed so many great vacations your home away from home.
  8. Love the community, too! This is your new neighborhood; as a vacation homeowner, you’re not just passing through anymore.
  9. Consider the liabilities and pressure of having renters. If you plan on renting out your vacation home, realize that your insurance costs may go up. You’ll also need to keep furnishings updated to cater to a rental market. You may also need to adopt a more rigorous maintenance schedule. Remember what kind of state you expected properties to be in when you were a vacation home renter?
  10. Is the house too big or too small? Before you buy, figure out how much storage you’ll need. For example, will you want to store seasonal items or sports equipment? Will there be enough space to store your own things securely when your place is being rented out by others?
  11. Consider the pros and cons of buying with friends or family. Make sure you’re on the same page as far as usage, taking turns, and expenses. What happens when one party decides they want out of the arrangement?
  12. Decide to build or to buy an already-built home. If you’re building from scratch, you may be spending a lot of time going back and forth getting plans approved and supervising work. On the other hand, you’ll get exactly the home you want!
Photo via http://ow.ly/OGROb

Photo via http://ow.ly/OGROb

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