If you’re buying a second home that is a dedicated vacation home, there are many factors that will go into the final decision of what home you’ll buy. Between choosing a location, realtor, and a house itself, you are going to make many decisions in your vacation home buying process. Below are some questions to answer that will help make the process as smooth as possible.

Where Will You Buy?

The most important part of buying a vacation home is choosing where the home will actually be. Here are some important factors that you should take into consideration when it comes to choosing where to buy your vacation home:

  • The Culture. Are you looking for a more relaxed, laid back culture? A vibrant culture with a lot of nightlife? A family-oriented town? Whatever culture you’re looking for, make sure that the location you choose for your vacation home matches the culture that you want.
  • The Distance From Home. If you’re buying a vacation home, it probably isn’t near your first home. If you want to be able to visit every weekend during the summer, you’ll probably want to choose a location that is within driving distance. You’ll have to spend money traveling to your vacation house, so you should definitely think about that when you’re thinking about your overall budget.
  • The Surroundings. Are you interested in a vacation home in the mountains? One of the 36% of vacation home buyers looking for property near the beach? Make sure that whatever literal environment you’re interested in matches where your vacation home is.
  • Rental Opportunity. If you’re interested in renting out your vacation home when you’re not using it, make sure that it’s an area where it’s possible to rent it out. A more tourist-centered area will mean that a rental may get more traffic, so take that into account when it comes to buying your property.

After taking these factors into account, make sure you’ve visited before so you aren’t surprised by the environment or culture of the area. Seeing logistics on paper and experiencing them in person can be very different.

What’s Your Budget?

Make sure that you know exactly what your budget is before you start the process of searching for a home. However, you need to think of more than just the initial cost of the home. Make sure that you account for your yearly taxes and any maintenance. Research tax laws local to where you’re looking to buy because some areas have additional taxes on secondary or vacation homes.

Make sure to consider the cost of yearly maintenance. Newer homes built less than ten years ago will need little maintenance, but any home built ten to 20 years ago will need more, and once you surpass 20 years, the amount of maintenance and repairs needed will increase exponentially. If you fall in love with an older home, make sure that you’re prepared for any repairs or maintenance that you’ll need to invest in.

Do You Have a Local Real Estate Agent?

If you are buying a vacation home that is far away from your primary residence, you’ll probably need to get a new real estate agent. Having a dedicated buyer’s agent is always important when you’re buying a new home, but if you’re buying in a new or unfamiliar area, it is extra important. A buyer’s agent works with only your interest in mind, which means that they’ll help you get the best possible deal on the vacation home of your dreams.

In addition, your buyer’s agent will be able to tell you about the area in ways you may have never thought of before. They will know exactly what areas will meet your need and which won’t. If you’re looking for a newer home, they will know what areas will house newer construction and which won’t. 840,000 new single-family homes were built just in 2018, which means it can be overwhelming during your house hunt to find the perfect one for you.

Will You Rent It Out?

Although you should have considered the rental ramifications when choosing your general location, it’s almost important to think about it when selecting your actual home. Make sure that you have looked into the local laws and regulations regarding rental properties before you have anyone pay to stay in your home.

You also should consider where you’ll be listing your property and what you’ll be charging for the rental. Check out comparable rentals nearby to ensure you aren’t charging too much or too little for your rental property.

What Are You Looking For?

Make sure you consider the specifics of the home as well during your house hunt. How many bedrooms do you want? What’s the layout? What amenities are available on the property? Do you have a square foot requirement? If you can answer all of these questions, you’ll end up with a list of things that you feel you need and things that you just want in your vacation home.

Make sure that you share your list with your buyer’s agent so that they can show you homes that fit your desired budget and has all of your must-haves (or at least as many as possible).

Buying a vacation home is an exciting journey, and if you can answer these questions you’ll be setting yourself up to have a great home buying experience.

What do you wish you’d known before buying your vacation home? Let us know in the comments!