Both eyes open when buying a vacation home

If you’ve ever thought about buying a vacation home, now might be a good time to do it.  Prices are still low, as are interest rates.  There are a lot of ideal homes on the market that could function perfectly as vacation homes.  But don’t just jump right in.

Most people buy vacation homes within 200 miles of their primary residence – meaning within driving distance.  Unless you have the resources and the desire to get on a plane for every vacation, stick close to home.

If you buy a home much closer than 200 miles, it could be used for weekend getaways in addition to actual vacations.  For instance, if you live in the city, buying a lake front home 10 or 20 miles out of town might be a good move.  You’re still near home, but it’s like a different world out there by the lake.

That leads to another consideration, particularly for a vacation home too far away to get to with a quick drive.  The house won’t maintain itself, and if you’re not going to be there very often, you have to determine how maintenance will be handled.  There are repairs that will occasionally need to be done as well as normal seasonal maintenance.

In considering the house itself, remember – you’re not going to be year-round occupants, so you don’t need as large a home as you have now and you probably don’t need nearly as many amenities.  People can have fun on vacation from a hotel room, so don’t go out and lay down a ton of money for a house you might live in two or four weeks a year.

Another very important aspect in searching for one of these homes is to spend some time in the neighborhood and area where the potential homes are located.  Each community has its own flavor, and you might find some of them aren’t to you’re liking.  Just because you’ll be staying in the house doesn’t mean you won’t be traveling around, eating, shopping, attending events.  You want your new community to be one you’ll enjoy spending time in.

A good way to get to know a new city or town is to talk with the local Chamber of Commerce.  Most of them have websites that you can browse from your permanent home and learn all kinds of interesting facts.  Also check out the online version of the area’s newspapers, which will also provide you with good info.

Vacation homes can be a lot of fun.  So if you’re headed in that direction, follow these tips to make the process a little easier and a lot more rewarding.

Vacation time!  In your own new home!

Nick & Ellie