Buying a second home is a bit like getting married: After enjoying the destination as a casual visitor, it’s time to make a long-term commitment and settle down.
Choosing where to buy depends largely on where you live, what you can afford, and whether or not you will rent out the property when you’re not using it. So before saying “I do,” give some serious thought to these core issues:
1. How will you get there? Proximity to your home is especially important if you plan to visit the property frequently. Much as you loved your trip to Fiji, you’re not likely to fly to the South Pacific for a three-day weekend.
2. Will you need rental income? Most owners of vacation homes do not rent out their properties, but if you can’t quite make the mortgage payments without some rental income, it’s best to choose a popular destination where demand for short-term lodging is high. Experts say the most desirable spots are near oceans, lakes or rivers, or at mountain recreation areas.
3. Will the location suit your future lifestyle? While vacation homes can gain value over time, most buyers settle on a property they’ll enjoy for many years to come. Planning for long-term enjoyment can mean buying a place that’s big enough for a growing family, or choosing an area with a range of recreational opportunities to accommodate evolving interests.