Buying The Dream Vacation Home

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The Dream Home

Congrats ~ You Made It!

You made it! Accept the obvious pat-on-the back that even considering buying a second home deserves, and let us not waste an opportunity to give you great advice to help you through this. One should not take this moment lightly, one has to be prepared when undertaking such a life defining decision. Without the right planning, foresight and information, buying a second home can turn a dream into an expensive sweaty night terror. We are here to give you a metaphorical cuddle accompanied by a sweet – yet informative – lullaby about the dos and don’ts of buying a holiday home.Below is our take on how to buy the most beautiful and well suited home possible for you, for your family, and for your future.

What To Consider

When Purchasing A ~ Second Home

  • The list of reasons for which you are buying this second home should out-weigh the negatives by a measurable amount of fun, relaxation and hedonistic potential. It’s not rocket science but there a series of questions and checklists to cover before you take the next step. We know it won’t all be daffodils and porch swings but we want to help you plant the seeds and tighten the screws. There is no point in accepting the challenges of a new home if you’re love of the place isn’t grand. Your relationship with the town, community and surrounding environment should have potential to extend far into the future.
  • If you plan correctly the house, condo, townhome, apartment or whatever haven you choose may be able to take care of itself (via a management company), pay for itself (via renting, family fun in the sun, skis on snow, bodies in water, swings on the links).
  • Seasonality: Research all seasons – most likely you’ve checked this out and you’ve got a firm understanding of how the location responds to each seasons’ particular demand. Locations generally have a high and low season: some are Spring/Summer destinations; others are snow or sun driven, whatever your place; it’s important to consider these factors in contrast with your own usage of the property. If you’ve got kids and have to travel based on a their vacation schedule you’ll want to take into account that some places get bombarded with debaucherous spring breakers. These factors will come to affect your use of the property as well as its value.
  • Proximity: Second homes are kind of like a needy significant other; you never know when you’ll need to rush over there and unclog a drain. There are ways to cover your back such as outsourcing help from a local property management company. This gives you a bit of breathing room incase of an emergency. If the home is going to be your weekend getaway you may not need to seek assistance from a property management company. Bottom line and is one way or another you want to keep close and personal tabs on your property. Homes that aren’t cared after tend to fall apart. In a lot of ways a second home requires more attention than your primary residence. If you want to enjoy your vacation it’s smart to have a trustworthy groundsman who you can call to check on the place, help maintain the exterior/interior and to respond in case of severe storms or unforeseen emergencies like flooding and fires.
  • Call an agent: They’ll have the most current and relevant information about your location. It’s essential to understand the current market, whether it is a buyers or sellers market and to understand the general history of the location: i.e how it has changed over the last decade what neighborhoods have a steady market as well as the up ‘n’ coming parts town. Find out what is desirable and not desirable about each location- are you right next to the train station, or is your potential vacation home on the equivalent of Bourbon St.? Maybe you can handle the infrequent choo-choo’s of passing locomotives but hearing bass filled sounds of ‘All Night Long’ from the bar down the road will get old quick.
  • If you plan to rent your house or even if you don’t – ask what the renting market is like. Renting may be the ticket to buying the home of your dreams.
  • When buying a home you’ll want to know exactly what you want out of it. Do you want to be able to walk to town or do you want a cabin in the woods? These types of factors will be important if you ever decide to rent or and if you plan on selling. Most renters want to arrive at their destination and not get the in the car again.
  • More amenities means more options. The number bedrooms, bathrooms and the sleeping arrangement will alter the value of the home. This will also affect the appeal to rent the home and perhaps even how quickly you’ll be able to sell it. Also, decor, level of finish and amenities will affect upkeep and maintenance.

To Rent Or Not To Rent

That Is The ~ Question

  • With invested awareness, proper due diligence and a storage area for valuables you wont have to worry about a renting your home. Use a screening process, baseline set of standards for renters and ask for a security deposit to ensure a flawless renting experience. Renting your house out for a few weeks a year, or for an entire season can be profitable and easy.
  • When you talk to your local agent find out what rents well, what the hot locations are, the current daily/weekly rate standards to find a home that will maximize rental attraction. For example we know that in Telluride, Tahoe and Breckenridge houses on the mountain with tubs are 15% more likely to rent than those without. Versus a place like Santa Barbara or the Emerald Coast where access to pools increase rentals by 20%, proximity the ocean by 20% and town access 15%.
  • Renting your home may mean you can buy a bigger, nicer home. You’ll be able to afford more with the supplemental income.


Everything You Need ~ To Know

  • HOA’s can have a large impact on your homeowner experience. They can be your best friend or like a mean older brother who doesn’t let you play in the sandbox. It is important to investigate how your HOA functions. An HOA can be all knowing and omnipresent or non-existent but hopefully somewhere in the middle.
  • HOA things to consider: fees, environmental practices, community ideals and past/present conflicts surrounding the community. See if you can dig up a printed history of HOA dues by year for the past several years. This will give you a ballpark figure of your yearly expense as well as if the cost will go up and up or stay relatively balanced.
  • Be Magnum PI and investigate if the HOA has sued anyone and how these issues were resolved. If you have a specific home in mind you’ll want to be sure that it’s not already out of compliance with the HOA’s rules.
  • HOA rules can interfere with the development of your home, but they will also protect you from a neighbor installing an outrageous flamingo themed nativity scene in the front yard.

What Can You Afford?

Money ~ Matters

  • Taxes: A couple things to consider when you are buying any kind of home is property tax. If you buy in a well developed town you’ll probably be hit with a high tax but a sneaky trick for lower rates can be searching for a house just outside of the town’s border. Income taxes come into play if you plan to rent- depending on what state or county you’re in, rules may vary. A local real estate agent will be able to provide you all the information you need on the taxes in that area.
  • Mortgage: without renting you’ll pay off your mortgage in 30 years, perhaps with the ROI from renting you’ll be able to narrow down those fees and free up funds to save or spend on fun things like boats, paddle boards, snow mobiles and other grown-up toys.
  • Protection: You’ll want all the bells, whistles and alarms. Find out if you home is a danger zone for floods, fires, storms and get the right coverage. Security system: get one.
  • Maintenance: If you can afford the time to work on your second home and it won’t get in the way of your enjoyment, by all means go ahead. Mow the lawn, empty the gutters, paint the patio and take responsibility. An alternative to self-inflicted homeowner indentureship is to hire a local property management company. Consider their fees in comparison to the time you would need to maintain the property on your own. Also important to consider some HOA’s will only let you use their management companies.
  • If you rent, you can hire a local company to do so, a national brand or do it yourself. In today’s market an internet presence is essential to renting. Rental companies have resources that homeowners do not and will likely provide better results. Fees for using these services range from 10%-30%. In the end they leave you with more free time as well as a relatively painless source of income.

Sleep On It

Decisions Are Better Made ~ After Some Shut Eye

  • You are almost there but before you sign the papers you want to be confident that this home will suit your needs today and tomorrow.
  • Think about us! If your home is in one of our locations we take care of everything. We list your homes on all the national and international sites. Maintain the property. Keep you in the loop and make it as easy for you and your guests as possible. 
  • We wish you luck! Have fun!

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