7 Steps to buying a vacation home

Posted By Tiffany Hereda @ Sep 3rd 2014 9:45am In: Buying

Buying a vacation home can seem like a daunting process.  Good news, it doesn't have to be!  Start with these simple 7 steps and you are on your way to making your second home dreams a reality! 

Determine if this will be a rental or private vacation home? – Before you begin your search, decide what your goals are.  Are you planning to use this as a rental or simply a second home for your family?  If you plan to rent out your place, during your home search you need to consider things such as location, rental history of a property, rental company options, taxes, insurance, etc.

Secure financing – Depending on the location, type of property and your personal history, you need to get mortgage pre-approval before searching for a property.  For example, you don’t want to get your heart set on an oceanfront condo and not be able to get financing because it is considered a “condo-tel”.   Knowing ahead of time what your financing options are will come in to play during your home search.  Whether it is going to be a cash deal, conventional loan or you are looking for owner financing, you will need to inform your agent of this from the start so they can best assist you. 

Narrow down your options – Now that you know if you plan to rent out the home or not and what type of financing options you have, make a list of your must haves.  At a minimum, answer these questions:

  • What are you looking for in home features (do you need your vacation home to be updated, are you ok doing updates yourself, are you ok with outdated features)? 
  • What are you looking for in an area (for example, close to shopping and hustle and bustle or quiet and tucked away)? 
  • What are you looking for in a specific property location (oceanfront, ocean view, on a golf course, access to a boat slip, etc)
  • What type of property do you want (condo, townhome, detached home, etc)
  • What is your budget?  You most likely have a goal amount you want to spend and then also a threshold that you won’t go above.  Determine what these are.

Answering these questions will help take thousands of property options down to a reasonable search pool.


Find an agent -  As you will most likely be searching from out of town, it is extra important to find an agent that will be a good communicator.  They need to listen to what your goals are for your vacation home as you will most likely have limited time to view homes.  They need to be accessible when you have questions.  They need to be able to guide you every step of the way.  Explain to them your answers to the questions above so they can best assist you. 


Make every visit count  - What is your timeframe for purchasing a vacation home? As this is your vacation property, you most likely won’t have as much time on the ground viewing properties.  Do as much homework as you can before you go so that ever visit can be the most productive.


Be Ready – Be prepared to put in an offer when you find a home you love.  The market is picking up and you don’t want to loose out on your favorite property.  Mentally prepare yourself before you go out to be ready to put in an offer when you find something you like.  Determine your closing timeframe that you will put into your offer.  Make sure your agent has your pre-approval letter and/or proof of funds so that they can include that in the offer as well. 


Prepare for closing – What attorney do you plan to use?  Are you able to attend the closing or do you need to get a Power of Attorney for someone else that will go for you?  You need to answer questions like these so you can be prepared for a smooth closing. 


If you do these things we believe you will have a more productive, smooth and successful experience in purchasing a vacation home.  For questions or to get started contact us.  

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