Have you and your family fallen in love with a vacation spot and you're wondering whether it makes sense to buy there? Here are some key questions to ask yourself (And keep in mind that a great real estate agent can always help you talk through them!).
1. Do you really, really love the location?
It's a good idea to visit the area during the low season. Do you still enjoy it when the ski slopes are green, or when those ocean breezes are too chilly for lounging on the sand?
2. How often can you get there?
Calculate how many times a year you'll be able to use the home. Carefully consider the commute as well as your career and family commitments to determine how much time you realistically can spend there relative to the costs of owning and maintaining the property.
3. Have you talked to the locals?
Spend some quality time at the local coffee shop or microbrewery and chat with people who live in the area year-round. Ask them what they like, and don't like, about living there – and about any cultural trends they've noticed.
4. Could you rent your place if you had to?
Renting out the home when you're not there brings with it a host of other considerations. Does the HOA allow rentals? Would potential renters be interested in the property's amenities, such as a fireplace in a ski town or an inviting deck or patio in a beach community?
5. What about the taxes?
Taxes for a second home can be more complicated than those for your primary residence. Talk to a tax pro and learn more about the tax implications for your specific situation, including taxes on rental income if you plan to rent out the place for part of the year.
6. What's the tab when you're not there?
Calculate the true, year-round cost of owning the home, including utilities and property management when the home isn't occupied.
Looking for more guidance on vacation properties? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.