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Some Tips on Buying a Vacation Home

Jan 20, 2008
If you're someone lucky enough to be able to afford a vacation getaway home, you're to be congratulated. With so many people in the U.S. who cannot even afford their first home, being able to afford a cottage or country house is a rare luxury. But before you drop your hard-earned money on that beautiful home you have your eye on, what are some things you should first think about before making that purchase?

For one thing, be practical and realistic about what you can afford by way of a vacation home. If you're just making ends meet right now, no matter how much you love that little country house now, you may wind up resenting it when you realize what a dent it's taking out of your budget. And this means other expenses beyond the mortgage or purchase price, including furniture, utilities, upgrades, and things such as these. If your getaway home is near a certain lake or country club, are there dues or fees you will need to figure as well?

Also, how often will you be using your vacation home? If you seriously can get away for only a few weeks every year, then is it worth outright ownership? Would a timeshare be more appropriate? Is it worth actually purchasing a getaway home you're only going to use so infrequently? Are there other arrangements you can make, such as having friends rent it for a few weeks every year so as to cut down on your expense?

Are you planning on renting your getaway home when you are not using it? Who will maintain and clean between rentals? Who will actually rent the home? If you live close enough to your vacation home then you could take care it your self but most people do not live close by.

You may want to consider a rental management firm to take care of your rental for you. Most management companies charge between 8 and 12 percent of the income which does not include maintains or maid service. Be sure to include these figures in your budget prior to purchase.

Some people purchase a vacation home now, intending to move there after retirement. If this is your thinking, remember that your life and your circumstances may be very different when you reach retirement age. Will you still be interested in water skiing or hunting when you're in your sixties? You may want to purchase a home that offers a bit more well-rounded interests. Is the retirement home accessible to those who have physical limitations - in other words, when you're at retirement age, your knees may not be able to handle all those stairs, and you may not appreciate being in a "winter wonderland" when you have arthritis and poor circulation. No one wants to think about how they'll change physically as they age, but in order to make your vacation home a proper investment for your retirement years, you need to be practical and realistic.

Purchasing a vacation home for your enjoyment now can be a great investment for families that are really going to make use of it, and for those who are looking forward to a permanent residence upon retirement. Use common sense and be practical, and you're sure to make a wise decision that will serve you well for years to come.
About the Author
David Cowley has created numerous articles on real estate investing. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to real estate investing. Visit Real Estate Investing
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