8 Things to Know Before Buying a Vacation Home

jersey-shore-vacationHaving a second home for getaways sounds glamorous – and it can be – and many times, it’s even a really good long-term investment. But don’t jump in blindly.

Here are eight considerations to make before plunking down on a vacation home:

Spend Time There First
Don’t even think of buying a vacation home until you’ve visited the area a few times. It sounds basic, but you better be sure you simply adore and can’t get enough of that beach town before you commit to buying there, since you’ll be spending a great deal of your free time there in the future. Unlike hotels and timeshares, owning a vacation home doesn’t allow you the option to change destinations if your tire of the scenery.

Explore some of the most popular Jersey Shore Vacation Home Communities

Know All Your Costs
Just like your primary residence, you have to understand the total price of ownership including property taxes, insurance, and any other carrying costs.  Remember, even when you’re not there, you’re still being charged for water, gas, electrical, trash removal, landscaping, and other maintenance services. Be sure to include all these overhead costs into your budget, because nothing ruins a ‘perfect vacation home’ like being in over your head financially.

Who Is Going To Watch When You’re Away?
Speaking of costs, there’s one more expense specific to a vacation homes: management fees. If you plan to visit infrequently – and are even considering renters while you’re away – make sure you find a local property manager that will maintain your home. It will cost extra, but so will the damage from those frozen pipes or leaky roof, especially if it goes unnoticed for a long period of time.

Not Every Day Is A Vacation
Expect that the first weekend of the season becomes an unrelenting (and very un-relaxing) spree of vacation home maintenance and repairs.  In fact, a good number of your ‘vacation’ days may spent at the local home improvement store.  It’s a house, not a hotel, so it needs just as much year-round upkeep as your primary home.

You’ll Want A Rental Income Option
A smart vacation home purchase is one that incorporates rental potential into the equation. If managed correctly, some of your costs can be offset by allowing renters while you’re away. And from a long-term investment standpoint, rental income may allow you to build equity and eventually pay the property off.  Analyze nearby vacation homes, talk to the local Shore-area Agents at Patrick Parker Realty, and look online to see what’s renting (and for how much).  And don’t forget to research occupancy rates; how often people are renting is important, too!

Could Be A Battle
Many popular vacation spots are areas that have a ‘high’ season.  Clearly on the Jersey Shore, the high season is summer. This type of seasonality becomes a battle when the rental demand for your vacation home collides with the timeframe you want to use it.  So if you’re planning on maximizing your home’s rental income, be prepared to give up some of that peak-season vacay yourself.

Safety Never Takes A Vacation
Check crime in the area on Trulia before you buy, especially if you’re going to leave the home unoccupied for long stretches of time. A break in or other crime at your vacation home can be particularly frustrating when you’re not around.  And don’t forget to add the cost of a security and alarm monitoring systems to your budget.

Getting There Is (Not) Half The Fun
How easy will it be for you to get to your new vacation home? Your best options are accessible ones. While it may sound romantic to have an ocean front getaway, if it’s a plane ride, a rental car and three-hour drive away, you can be pretty sure it won’t get much use.

Source: Trulia