Thinking about buying a vacation home? Having an extra home that you spend your weekends and time off work and school in can be a great investment, especially if you rent it out during the off-season. But how do you go about buying a vacation home? Here are five steps to get you started:
Pick a house that fits your lifestyle. A vacation house doesn’t necessarily have to be a house that you use only when you are on vacation. If you have an apartment in the city and want an open place to roam on the weekends, a house in the sprawling suburbs that you only drive out to one or twice a week is a great option. On the flip side, if you have a home in the country but want to be able to pop down to the city and stay overnight whenever you want, a condo or small, stylish apartment will do the trick.
Think about how you will use it. Are you going to use it just as your vacation property? Are you going to buy a home states away that you only want in the summer, so you can rent it from October to April? Will it be your second home that sees equal use with the property you already rent or own?
Think about the costs. If you don’t need cable or internet on your vacation property, you can probably save a little bit of cash, but be aware that you will also have to furnish it and factor in the costs of travel. Buying a home in the Florida Keys might sound great, but if you have to buy a plane ticket to get there, it might not be an ideal location, for example. You’ll also want to think about how much it might cost to get someone to do upkeep on the house when you are not there.
Look at monthly costs. You’ll probably finance your second home, just like most people fiancé their first, so you’ll want to look at your final monthly costs in order to determine how much home you can afford.
Use a local realtor but a lender you’re familiar with. A local realtor will know how to find you the best property, but a lender you know will be able to get you the better mortgage.