Tips on Narrowing Down Where to Buy a Vacation Home
Thinking about buying a vacation home? Consider these suggestions on finding the perfect destination.
So maybe you’ve been thinking about buying a vacation home after that amazing time you had this summer with the family, but you’re wondering if that destination is the place to put down your vacation roots. As a child, my family traveled each summer to the Great Smoky Mountains, and when I chose to attend college in Western North Carolina, it made perfect sense to my parents to purchase a home in this area. At the time they thought it would be a vacation home, but they eventually fell in love with the area and moved there permanently.
The original plan was finding a home in Asheville because that was the town they knew best. But after exploring the area, they soon learned that their budget prevented them from affording this market. Perhaps you too have been wondering how to identify which area is best for your vacation home purchase. Here are some things to consider when trying to determine where to buy a vacation home.
Google Maps. Take some time on Google Maps to look around the region you’ve identified as your vacation home destination. Maybe you’ve been vacationing for a few years on St. Simons Island and dream about having your own place on the Golden Isles of Georgia. But there are so many other wonderful (and perhaps more affordable markets) on the Georgia and South Carolina coast that you may be missing. Get to know the region and make a list of all the possible cities that provide access to that “thing” that makes you keep coming to this area.
Market Research. Now that you’ve pulled together a list of other cities to consider, do some research on each of the markets. Some initial things to find out would be:
Short-term rental demands and occupancy rates
Tourism demographics (Is it growing or declining?)
Medium sales price for vacation homes (also try to find historic information to determine market growth or decline)
Inventory levels of vacation homes for sale
New housing construction projects
What are people saying about each community on sites like TripAdvisor.com
Here’s to Another Trip. Most of us go on vacation and typically never leave the area we’ve come to visit. But now that you’ve done your research and identified other communities to consider, it’s time to go visit. Reach out to a local real estate agent in those markets to show you some properties that are currently for sale to give you a better idea of each market’s inventory. Also try to set up appointments with property management companies while you are in town to explore your options if you choose to rent your vacation home while you’re not using it.
Tackle these to dos this month and your home will be fall ready in no-time.
Our to do lists always seem to grow in September. Summer is coming to a close, school is kicking into full swing and the homework just keeps piling on. To make your fall home prep just a little bit easier, here is your home’s Honey Do List for September.
1. Clear out those closets – As you pull out the sweaters and jeans this fall, make a point to weed out the clothing items that don’t fit any longer or that are no longer in style. Donate or trash unwanted items.
2. Sneak in one last backyard bash – Host a barbecue before the weather gets too cool to host outdoors. These 10 cleaning tips from Maids.com will make you a rockin’ backyard party host.
3. Brighten up your kitchen – We spend a lot of time in our kitchens in the fall and winter months. We cook holiday meals, gather with family and pour over homework on the kitchen counter. With shorter days coming quickly, a few simple changes to brighten up your kitchen can make a big difference. Bonus: they won’t break the bank!
4. Inspect and Repair Your Roof – Now is the time, before the snow and ice arrive, to inspect your roof for leaks and cracks. Today’s Homeowner suggests paying particular attention to the area around the chimney as that is the most common spot for damage to occur.
5. Add a pop of color to the porch – Consider adding a fall wreath and some fall-blooming flowers like garden mums to give your home some extra curb appeal this fall.
The Reason First Time Homebuyers Should Shop Around
Homebuyers, particularly inexperienced ones, often become enthusiastic about pursuing the first home they look at. I can personally attest to this as I am in the process of house hunting for the first time.
It is common for first time buyers to contact an agent after seeing a property and say they are sure they want to buy it. This sort of hurried enthusiasm is not necessarily as promising as it sounds, as it is often beneficial to buyers to examine several properties before deciding to make an offer.
The Process of Buying a Home
Buyers should have a general idea of what they are looking for in a home as well as what general area they would like to live in. The process of looking at different properties can often help them refine their criteria. Because it is common for buyers to adjust their expectations and reconsider their desires throughout the process, buying the first home seen can be problematic.
Doing so means there is no time or opportunity to compare homes or re-evaluate properties. Often, comparing two homes is how buyers decide what factors are more important to them. For example, buyers may initially think that they want to have a larger backyard, but decide when actually looking at homes that one with a smaller yard is more appealing.
Beyond individual homes, the chance to look at different neighborhoods may also be lost. It is important for buyers to remember that neighbors can be as important as where and how large a home is. For example, parents with young children might find that the chance to live near other families is worth more than an extra bedroom.
Pacing the Home Search
Looking for a home can be a complex process. For busy individuals balancing the search with other aspects of life, it may become difficult or stressful. Buying the first home they see may be a way for some buyers to try to cut the process short.
Many buyers who initially wanted to buy the first house they looked at were later glad they did not end up doing so. Again, I have just recently gone through this experience with a home that I fell in love with but realistically was just too small for my family. Looking back I am so glad my husband was able to snap me back to reality!
Unfamiliarity with local markets can also play a part, since buyers may not initially understand what types of choices are available to them in a given city, town or region.
Working with a real estate agent can help to guide you through the home buying process and will give you expert advice and insight on the best way to compare homes and locations.