Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/11/2019

Owning a second home or vacation home is the dream of many Americans hoping to retire in style. However, owning a second home can also be a huge financial asset and even an added form of income if youíre savvy with the rental process.

What stops most of us from buying a vacation home in our ideal getaway? The funding, of course. But, there are ways to plan ahead to ensure youíll be ready to take the plunge and purchase a second home when the time comes.

In todayís blog post, weíre going to be talking about the steps to buying a home away from home and give you some tip on how to accomplish this goal in the most financially-sensible way possible.

1.  Location is Key

When you buy a second home, you take on all the responsibilities of homeownership a second time. Since you wonít be around every day to tend to maintenance tasks and troubleshoot problems, you risk discovering costly repairs that could otherwise be avoided.

The most common issues to be concerned with are frozen pipes in northern climates, flooding in coastal areas, and problems like pests that can be found just about anywhere.

Depending on your budget, you might want a home you can drive out to on the weekends, meaning somewhere close by to your primary home. This option also makes it easier to stay up-to-date on home maintenance tasks before they become an issue.

2. Try before you buy

If your ideal vacation home is in an area youíre not totally familiar with, itís a good idea to visit the neighborhood, talk to the locals, and gain their perspective on the area before buying.

This trip will also give you a sense of what you can expect to spend each time you visit the home. And, if you plan on renting out the property when you arenít using it, youíll be able to gauge what a reasonable rent price is for the location.

3. Earning income from your vacation home

Making extra cash from a home that you get to use pretty much whenever you want. Sounds like a dream, right? It can be if done properly, but youíll need to ensure a few things before you can start earning income from your vacation property.

First, be aware that investment properties often require a larger down payment (typically 30%). Lenders also charge extra interest on homes that will be rented out.

Finally, there are local and state-level laws youíll need to adhere to. These laws are designed to protect your interests as well as the people who rent out your property, so make sure you use a standard rental agreement for your area.

4. Making an offer

Youíve been here before. Once youíve decided on a home, itís time to start crafting your offer and negotiating with the sellerís agent.

However, before you pick a number, do some research on all of the expenses youíll be paying on the house in question. Property taxes, homeowners association dues, utilities, and any other costs should be on your radar before determining if itís the right home for your budget.

Youíll also want to be aware of the stipulations of renting out a property you own. This includes reporting income from renting your home to the IRS.


Now that you know the steps youíll need to take to move toward your goal of buying a vacation home, youíll be better equipped to make decisions that are best for you and your familyís future.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 5/23/2013

You have earned it, you have saved your money and now is the time to buy that vacation home you have been wishing for. Buying a second home can be a very different experience than purchasing a primary residence. So, if you are in the market for a vacation home, there are some things you will need to consider first: ?What is the purpose of the home? Are you buying the second home for vacation or investment? Knowing what you intend to do with the property primarily will help you identify the features that matter most in the home. ?If the second home is for investment and you plan to rent it you will need to research how the propertyís use will affect your financing options, taxes and insurance. Before you buy consult an accountant or financial planner to determine which of these factors could impact your financial situation. ?How far are you willing to travel? If you are using the home as a vacation spot, think realistically about how far you are willing to travel. According to the National Association of Realtors, 31 percent of vacation homes are typically within 100 miles of the owner's primary residence. ?See what the area is like off-season. Many times vacation homes are in seasonal destinations and the surroundings can change significantly throughout the year. Find out what challenges you may encounter in the off-season with the home. If you are thinking of buying a second home it is important to use a real estate professional with knowledge of the specific marketplace.