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Tips & Considerations Before You Purchase a Vacation Home

Congratulations! You’ve reached a point in life where the dream of buying a second home may soon be coming true. Here’s what to know before you settle on a vacation home.

Tips for Purchasing a Vacation Home Marina at Sunset

Buying a Second Home is a BIG Deal

Buying a vacation home certainly sounds like a dream come true! That’s because it kind of is... It’s a big move and you’ll want to make sure all of your research is done and options are taken into consideration before you settle on a location and make your purchase. So before signing on the dotted line, read our tips on finding and purchasing a vacation home that will serve your family for many years to come.

Tips and Thoughts to Consider Before Purchasing Your Vacation Home

Take Your Time & Explore All the Areas You Would Consider Living

It’s important to spend a lot of time at your favorite vacation spot before investing there. Renting a house is the best way to see if the location is really a good fit. Visit the area several times, during different seasons and holidays and during off-peak times too. Stay as long as you can, up to two weeks if possible. This way you can truly experience the location in a variety of different ways. You will get a more complete picture and it will be easier to determine if it is the place for you.

Renting To Explore the Area Before You Buy a Vacation Home is a Fantastic Move.

Is the Location Convenient?

A second home is a getaway for you and most people want it to be a gathering place for friends and family. According to the National Association of Realtors, almost 90% of buyers purchase a vacation home that’s less than 200 miles from their primary residence. If it is relatively convenient to get there, you and your guests will use it more often.

This shouldn’t discourage you from getting a property across the county if you intend on spending larger parts of the year there. It’s just important you deeply evaluate the convenience of a location. Really be certain that this something that will work years down the road.

Does the Home Offer the Amenities You Want?

Think about the activities you enjoy the most. Does the home you’re considering have features and recreational amenities that support your lifestyle? Vacation homes are all about free time so make sure the home or community you choose enhances the very things you enjoy.

Sense of Community

Some folks appreciate a tight-knit community and sense of belonging where they move. Others just want to get away and enjoy privacy. Where do you fall? Is it somewhere in the middle? It’s all about your values. The options are there for you to choose from. Wherever you decide to move, just remember that it’s an opportunity to put down roots and establish a sense of belonging somewhere new.

Think About the Memories You Will Make

Another top priority for a number of vacation home buyers is having a place for family and friends to spend quality time together. Vacation homes provide a chance to step away from your busy day-to-day lives and go somewhere to focus on loved ones and creating amazing memories. Perhaps you think back fondly on your own childhood and the special places your families spent time together. A vacation home is another way to recreate that same legacy for your own kids and grandkids.

*Interiors & Exteriors From Homes at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa, IL.

Be Realistic, What Do You Actually Want?

Take an honest, non-emotional assessment of your travel habits. If you’re not already visiting your favorite vacation spot regularly, then buying property there may not change things. Owning a second home brings a lot of new and costly elements. Expenses such as property management, maintenance, cleaning, and landscape upkeep can really add up. Will you visit frequently enough to warrant the additional stress and responsibilities, or is renting the best choice?

The Tax Situation…

The tax implications of a second home can be tricky. If you plan on renting out your vacation home, you must pay taxes on that income. In some states, the property tax on a second home is higher than that on the first. Make sure you understand exactly how a vacation property will affect your taxes before making a purchase.

Other Factors to Consider

Setting your budget, choosing the right time to buy, and hiring a property manager if you plan on renting to other vacationers are a few of the other factors to consider when deciding if a second home is right for you. Before making the final decision, you may want to explore alternative ownership options such as co-owning or see if you can make long-term reservations at a vacation home you already enjoy.

Final Thoughts

We know this is an important decision in your life. Buying a second home is a huge deal and it's easy to get overwhelmed with all there is to consider! Even after doing all the research and preparation you can, it comes down to, "where will we I be the happiest?". You're next home should truly enhance your life and be somewhere that you're proud to put down roots. Wherever you decide to go, you'll be making some valuable memories and enter an exciting knew phase of homeownership.


We hope you found value in these tips. For more home advice, explore the Home Channel TV blog!


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