How to Find an Affordable Vacation Home

Home Buying

How to Find an Affordable Vacation Home

Guest post by Frank Pipolo, FP Internet Marketing

9039 NE Juanita Dr, Kirkland, WA, 98034
This Kirkland, Wash., home is on Lake Washington. It is listed for $545,000 by Redfin agent Sinead Fennell.

We’ve all heard the saying “bigger is better,” and that can certainly apply to real estate. Bigger homes are worth more, particularly if they come with large pieces of land. But the same old rules of real estate don’t necessarily apply when it comes to vacation homes. A vacation home is a place to relax and spend time with family, and it doesn’t have to be luxurious to be a good investment.

Have you always dreamed of having a vacation home, but think you can’t afford it? Well, it’s time to get creative and think outside the box (or beyond your local market). There are a number of affordable, unique options for vacation homes, as well as plenty of tricks to find more value for your money.

Defining the Lifestyle: What Vacation Property Suits You Best?

Owning a second property can be financially advantageous in the long run, since real estate tends increase in value. But the type of property you choose will depend on what kind of vacation home you and your family will most enjoy. Think about your family’s lifestyle as you decide what kind of property to purchase.

1. Beachfront

This type of home is ideal for swimming and water sports, but keep in mind that beachfront properties tend to lack privacy and quiet, as beaches are popular vacation destinations.

2. Lake

This is a great option for people who enjoy living by the water and participating in water activities, but without the noise and crowd that comes with the beach.

3. Secluded Cabin

The peace and quiet of seclusion in nature is appealing, but these types of vacation homes may lack amenities such as television or Internet. If your idea of a vacation includes unplugging, a cabin may be the perfect choice for your vacation home.

4. Condominiums and Time Shares

81 Vine Street, Seattle, WA, 98121
This downtown Seattle condo has views of Puget Sound and is near lots of outdoor recreation spots. It’s listed for $439,000 by Redfin agent Chad Dierickx.

Have you fallen in love with a tropical destination, or want to spend a few months a year in one of your favorite cities? Did you know that you can own a small condominium for a reasonable price in some popular Caribbean destinations? Or you can buy a place in a big city, and rent out the space when you’re not using it.

And if you don’t mind sharing and may want to switch up your destination, you can always invest in a timeshare that lets you visit different locales.

5. Ski Home

For fans of winter sports, a home with rustic beams, a stone fireplace, cozy bedrooms and views of snowcapped mountains would make for the perfect vacation home.

Finding Your Home

  • Recognize that beauty isn’t just skin deep. When you are looking for value, train yourself to see potential. By recognizing what a property can become, you’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunity to buy low and make improvements to maximize your investment. If there is nothing wrong with a home, you can expect to pay a premium.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. You know what you can afford. Sit down and evaluate the additional costs of owning the property, including property taxes, utilities, repairs and maintenance, and be sure to factor that into your budget to give you a maximum purchase price before you begin shopping.
  • Consider the maximum distance you would be willing to travel to access your vacation property. While you want to find a reasonable price by looking for vacation homes away from expensive major urban centers, you also want to be realistic. If driving to your cottage takes three or four hours each way, the commuting time may limit the recreational time you will be able to spend there (long weekends etc.).
  • Contact real estate agents in the areas where you are interested in buying. Why do the searching when you can have the professionals email you available listings? They will also have valuable information on the area to help you weigh pros and cons of each property and location.
  • Time your purchase. While fall is usually the best time to buy vacation homes, especially those located near a beach, the right time will depend on home prices in the area.
  • Once you buy a place, hire a property manager to take care of your home if you plan to rent it out. You can earn rental income from your vacation home when you’re not using it, but you’ll need to be sure the property is clean and that someone can handle any issues that come up when you’re not on site.

A vacation home can be a place of solace and relaxation, as well as a solid real estate investment. Take time to research your options and budget and allow yourself enough time to shop around for the best deals. Taking the time to find the best property will help you rest easy in your new home once you find it.

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About Frank Pipolo

Frank Pipolo is President of FP Internet Marketing, a certified Internet marketing consultant, professional marketing advisor to new home builders, real estate agents and brokers, and a writer for WCICommunities, a Florida home developer.

Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.

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