Buying a Vacation Home

Buying a Vacation Home

Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home
 
All it takes is a great ski weekend or an idyllic weekend on a cottage dock to get us thinking about buying a vacation home.  After all a vacation home means good times and relaxation, doesn’t it?
 
Think again.  A vacation home is a second home, generally with the same costs and upkeep as your primary home.  If you can’t fathom it, picture this:  you mow the lawn at home, drive for three hours and then mow the lawn at the cottage.
 

If you’re still up for the challenge after reading that, maybe you ARE ready for a vacation home.  Here are some things to consider:
 

  • What is your primary motivation?  Enjoyment or investment?  Although a vacation home usually does both, understanding the priority of the two before you buy will help guide you to the right property.
  • If you are planning to rent the property out when you’re not there, understand whether you’re looking for a bit of extra income toward the mortgage or if you want the property to pay for itself.  If the latter, consider the cost of the property against the potential for rentals including length of high season, desirability of your location and degree of competition.  Don’t forget to budget for a local management company to manage bookings, keys and cleaning.
  • Thoroughly check out the area where you are considering buying.  Stay there before you buy if you can to make sure it’s the spot for you.  If you’re buying a golf getaway property, be sure to try out the golf courses and amenities.  Make sure the property is accessible and supplies are within reasonable distance.
  • Understand all the costs involved – just with a primary home, the carrying costs are as important to consider as the mortgage and closing costs.  Consider a home security system if planning to leave it empty for long periods of time.
  • Be prepared for the work involved.  It is, after all, a second property that needs maintenance and upkeep.  Budget the time as well as the money.
 
Before you buy, it is a good idea to speak to someone currently owning the type of property you’re considering – find out what lessons they’ve learned along the way.  And work with a good local realtor who understands the market and the property type you are considering.