How to Buy a Vacation Home

It's vacation season, and everyone wants to get away for some summer fun. Wouldn't it be great to spend money on a vacation and have it actually be an investment? Vacation homes can be a great solution, but there's more than just proximity to the beach to think about, so read on for five tips that will help you get the most out of your vacation home.


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    Determine which amenities are most important to you. Spend plenty of time vacationing in the area where you want to buy a home to figure out your ideal location. Do you want to be in a quiet neighborhood? Closer to trendy dining and nightlife? Near the stadium to attend your favorite team's games? Prioritize the area's amenities, and then look in the neighborhoods that best fit your top picks. Don't forget to consider ease of transportation to and from the airport or major roadways, and whether or not you want to be able to travel easily to other locales. A secluded cabin is peaceful, but no good if you crave changes of scenery.
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    Consider the resale value. What makes a second home affordable today will make it more difficult to sell tomorrow — think unsightly power lines, road noise, or a run-down neighborhood. Imagine what future home buyers will see. What will this part of town look like in five to 20 years? And the quality of local schools is always important, unless you're buying in a retirement community.
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    Decide whether or not to rent out the home when you're not using it. If the home is furnished and in a popular location, demand will not be a problem if you want to rent it out. But keep in mind that someone needs to market the property, manage the booking calendar, clean the unit between renters, collect fees, and more. Make sure you're willing to do the work, or willing to pay a rental property management company to do it for you.
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    Be aware of extra costs. If you're not planning to rent out your vacation home, consider who will watch it for you when you're gone. What happens if there is a leak or break-in, or an alarm goes off? Who will maintain the landscaping? You can hire a variety of people to take care of your home, but be aware of those costs upfront. When you buy a vacation home in a new area, it can be difficult to find trustworthy maintenance services. Be sure to read reviews of vendors on sites like Yelp, Angie's List and Redfin Open Book. Keep in mind, too, that many homeowners insurance companies will not provide coverage on a vacant home.
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    Choose the right real estate agent. You need a local with deep knowledge of the entire area to help you understand the pros and cons of each part of town. Devote at least three or four days to exploring homes for sale in the area. You can start your search online; the most popular sites to check out homes for sale are Redfin, Zillow and Trulia. Build a list of homes you're interested in, discuss them with your agent to narrow the list based on what's most important to you, drive by each home to get a feel for the neighborhood, and then tour the homes that best meet your needs.

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Categories: Buying Property