4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Vacation Home

There are things that you should know before you purchase a vacation home. Within this list you will learn what to look for, what is a great bonus to your investment, and what to stay away from. Buying a vacation home is a big responsibility, be sure to do your research before you buy.

1. Spend Time Before You Buy

Get to know the lake. Vacation in other nearby rentals and spend time on the water in the area. Find out if the area seems to be what you are looking for, be it a quiet retreat or a party cove. Different lakes have different personalities, and even different areas within the same lake can have a unique vibe to them.

2. Expect Normal Expenses

Just like purchasing a primary residence, lake homes also come with year-round expenses beyond the mortgage (if the home was financed). These costs include things like insurance, property taxes, and lawn maintenance in the off-season.

You should also factor into your budget the potential costs associated with replacing large appliances in the home like the water heater. You must also think about the monthly utility bills for the property like water, electric, gas, and others.

3. Find a Property Manager

Face it; although you love this home, it’s not your primary residence. It will, therefore, be unoccupied during certain times of the year. While you’re not there, consider hiring a property manager or a caretaker to maintain the residence.

You can work with any number of management companies that will assign your property to one of their managers, so you don’t have to handle the search alone. Another option is to hire a live-in caretaker to stay in the home during the times you’re not there. Like property managers, live-in caretakers are paid a salary to maintain the property in your absence.  

Which direction you choose is up to your personal preference; just know that it will need to be done.

4. Research the Demand

Lakes and lake rentals are a hot commodity for much of the year in many places but don’t expect to keep the house rented out year-round. While the lake is a great backdrop for a getaway any time of the year, demand for lake rentals is not nearly as high during cold months.

As a result, you will need to adjust prices accordingly. You may only be able to charge half (or less) of the summer rate if you want to keep year-round occupancy high.

Sometimes the excitement and anticipation for owning a second home on the lake can be a driving force in the purchasing decision. Make sure you stay rational and look at all of what is involved before you officially make your move!

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