It’s official—vacation home sales are booming. In fact, according to the recently released National Association of Realtors 2015 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, sales of vacation properties increased over 57 percent from 2013 to 2014.
For those homeowners thinking about buying a vacation home, Long & Foster Real Estate, the largest independent residential real estate company in the country, has prepared this list of eight questions to consider before making the leap into vacation ownership.
How will you pay for it? If you prefer to pay cash, that’s simple, but if you want to finance some of your vacation home purchase—like 70 percent of the buyers reported in the NAR survey, a lender can work with you to find a home loan that meets your current needs and your financial goals.
How far are you willing to travel to your vacation home? If you plan to use it every weekend, you’re better off choosing a home within a reasonable driving distance.
How do you intend to use it? If you plan on enjoying holidays with friends and your extended family, make sure you buy a home with enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate your crowd.
What do you enjoy doing on vacation? If your priority is golf, choose a home in a community with a course you love or plenty of nearby courses. If you want to enjoy entertainment and dining out, pick a place with easy access to nightlife and activities. On the other hand, if you want peace and quiet most of all, choose a home that’s more isolated. The important thing is to identify your priorities and buy a home that makes your preferred vacation activities as convenient as possible.
Do you plan to use the residence as your retirement home? If so, no matter how young you are, look at the possibilities for aging in place such as a one-level home or a house with a first-floor master suite. Of those who purchased a vacation home, almost one-fifth (19 percent) plan to use the house as their primary residence in the future, according to the NAR survey.
What type of resale value will you have? While your priority may be having fun on vacation, this home should also be an investment. If you’re buying in a beach community, get as close to the water because those are typically the most attractive to buyers. Make sure to talk to your real estate agent about the home’s investment potential and your insurance representative about any additional coverage, like flood insurance, you might need.
How much maintenance will the home require? The last thing any vacationer wants to do is to spend the weekend painting window sills and mowing the lawn. You can buy a home in a resort community where routine maintenance is taken care of or consider the benefit of a property management company, which can handle both maintenance and rental, should you choose to do so.
Do you want to rent your property to vacationers? Renting your property for a few weeks or longer can offset the cost of the property, and about 11 percent of vacation owners purchased their property to generate rental income, the NAR survey reported. An experienced Realtor can help you identify a property that will be appealing to other vacationers, and a property management company can oversee all aspects of the rental.
Whether you are a sun worshipper or a snow bunny, there are multiple considerations for buying a vacation home that are different from buying your primary residence. A real estate professional with experience in the vacation home market where you want to live can help you address these questions and find the vacation home of your dreams. For more information, visit www.LongandFoster.com.