We all know that, in real estate, Now-Is-A-Great-Time-to-Buy. And yes, if you’ve been thinking about buying a second/vacation home, now would definitely be a time to give it serious consideration. That said, you still need to evaluate your own financial situation to be sure that you can make the adjustment to buying and owning a second home.
Keep the following things in mind when deciding on a vacation home: Do I have disposable income? And do I want to invest that income in vacation property? How much am I willing to devote to this property? Set a clear budget so that you will not regret anything later. Include the obvious – your mortgage payment, taxes – but also the less obvious: maintenance and repairs. One great way to offset any or even all of these costs is to consider renting out this property, if applicable.
But let’s say you are ready to make the step and look for a second home. Be sure to factor in and evaluate the following in your search:
1. Establish your goals parameters – and stick to them. Where do you want your vacation home? What is your budget? Do I have any financing restrictions?
2. Shop for a mortgage. Do this before you fall in love with the property of your dreams.
3. Research market values. Determine market values and speak with a realtor in the location(s) you are looking.
4. Make an offer. Never offer full value in today’s market (though always speak with a realtor; certain situations may dictate otherwise). Go in with a fair offer, and you may be surprised.
5. Closing. If you make it this far, get ready to celebrate! But bear in mind a few things: try to avoid busier times, like the end of the month and, especially, the end of the year. Also be sure to have any needed cash for closing costs and set a move-in date with the seller.
A vacation home can be extremely rewarding: a home away from home and a relatively safe investment. Just remember to plan so that you can enjoy that property for years to come!