How to Buy a Second Home

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How to Buy a Second Home. People buy a second home for many reasons, including finding that perfect spot for a family vacation, investing in a rental property (or possibly a flip) and looking to the future for retirement. Whatever your motivation, here are some tips that will help you make the purchase the right fit for you.

Compile a list of potential locations, and then invest your time, not your money. It helps to start with places you have enjoyed visiting for past vacations, and move on to locations that interest you. Spend a couple of weeks there, preferably in a home rather than a hotel, to really experience the lifestyle.

Research the area. This can be done in a couple of ways beginning with the locals. Ask around to find out why they live there and if the tourist season becomes a problem. Utilize Internet resources to save time by comparing second home options, tax information and issues concerning local government.

Consider the type of second home you would like to buy. Now you need to decide the lifestyle you desire. Real estate is not just about location, it's also about investing in that lifestyle. Single-family homes require more maintenance but offer more privacy, while condominiums take care of maintenance issues but charge fees and offer less privacy.

Find a real estate agent. Doing your own legwork is essential to buying the second home that's right for you, but hiring an experienced professional can make your search easier. An agent who specializes in second-home purchases will make the time you spend house-hunting much more efficient.

Love everything about the second home you buy. It's important to choose a location, type of home and lifestyle that you can personally enjoy for years to come. Even if your second home is intended as an investment property, keep in mind market fluctuations and the fact that you may have this home if no one else wants to rent it or buy it.

Tips & Warnings

  • When choosing a location, consider your hobbies. Whether you enjoy the sun, warm weather, a cold climate, sporting activities or just relaxing will play a huge part in selecting the geographical location of your second home.
  • Take into account the time, distance and mode of transportation you're willing to endure to get to your second home. This will help you decide how far from your permanent residence to consider buying a second home.

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