Whether your ideal vacation home is a lakefront home, a cottage by the sea, or a ski slope condo, now may be the perfect time to buy that vacation property. Residential prices are extremely reasonable right now, but they are slowly rebounding upward. Combined with record low interest rates and sellers possibly feeling like spring- and a new crop of buyers- may never come, you could find yourself with incomparable deals.
There are concerns when seeking a vacation property. How will you find what you are looking for? Once you buy, how do you keep a handle on the costs of upkeep and taxes? By pairing up with a Realtor® you will have a real estate professional to guide you to the best vacation homes to select from, ones that fit your needs and hopefully “the one” that will serve as your family’s vacation destination for many years.
As for managing the costs of a vacation property, it is best to ask an attorney to advise about taxes and using the vacation home as an investment property when you are not enjoying it (there is a restriction on the number of weeks you can use it if you are claiming it as an investment property). In other words, renting it out in off-months or weeks when you will not be using it. Some people cover all their costs this way and some even make money.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- If your family has a favorite vacation location and the area just seems to call to you, this may be the location for you. Decide whether this is a place where you’d like to spend every vacation. Base your decision on your lifestyle and recreational interests.
- Choose the size you will need in a vacation home. Make sure it fits your family and their comfort level and has enough bedrooms.
- Figure out what you can comfortably spend. Look into getting pre-qualified for a loan if one is needed. Get an idea of budget before you contact your Realtor®.
- Contact your Realtor® with the criteria of what you want in a vacation home and set up some tours of properties for sale.
Your real estate agent will help you with the possible selections out there on the market. Once you find one you like, have your agent do a market analysis on the property (comparing it to similar properties that have recently sold) to determine if the pricing is fair. Sellers of vacation homes sometimes have inflated expectations, and buyers sometimes don’t realize the higher value a home has by the water or a ski area. Get educated and make your offer based upon this research and the advice of your agent.
If all goes well with your offer, the home inspection, and your financing, you may be the proud new owner if a vacation home. Time to make plans on how you will take care of the property. Are you within reasonable driving distance? Get references of rental management firms that can take care of maintenance, upkeep and rentals when you are not there.
Now is the perfect time to secure your future vacation memories as well as make a sound real estate investment that will gain value in the years to come. Start now to get a jump on the spring buyers who will come out as soon as the weather turns warm. The less competition you have in offers the better your chances of getting the best pricing!
original photo courtesy of Wendy Piersall