Owning a vacation home is everyone’s dream, but hunting the right one down can be tough—especially if it’s your first time. Instead of searching blindly or settling for something that isn’t quite right, here are four tips that will help make it easier to nab you the getaway you deserve:
- Location is more important than amenities – We’re not suggesting you get a hut with no electricity (unless that’s your thing). But the fact of the matter is that a vacation home is far more enjoyable when it’s in a great location, and this should be your number one priority in your search—even more so than what amenities it has. Bear in mind that your family will likely only use the place for short periods, so having one bathroom instead of two or no washer/dryer may not be that big of a deal. Plus, it’s a lot easier to upgrade the property than it is to change locations. And a vacation house in a great locale will appreciate substantially over the years.
- Do your flood homework – An inspection and some basic research is part of buying any property, but make sure to look into disaster history in particular with a vacation home—especially past flooding in the area. Many vacation homes are located near the ocean, pristine lakes or rivers large and small, and these areas will often be in flood plains. Find out how often flooding happens, how high the water gets and how likely it is that your cottage will be flooded. Also, you may be required to get flood insurance for the property, so take that into account.
- Know what you’re looking for and stick to it – This seems like a basic thing, but it’s easy to forget. What do you want? A reclusive retreat with no one around for miles? A stroll of less than 20 steps to the beach? Being close to restaurants and night life? Know what R&R means to you and only look at vacation houses that match your vision.
- Put your vacation property to work – If you’re not using this property year-round, consider renting it out when you’re away. You can do this long-term, like an apartment, or short-term as a vacation rental. Hiring a property manager allows you to outsource the work, but will also raise your overhead. If you live in the area and can personally manage the property, sites like AirBnB offer an easy way to list it for vacationers.
One of the best ways to make sure you get the vacation home of your dreams is simply to find a realtor you can trust. Follow the tips above and look for a coastal realty service with good reviews, and you’ll be relaxing in a hammock in no time!