Buying a Second Home vs Buying Your Primary Residence

Buying a second home can be pretty different from purchasing your primary residence in a few different ways. When you bought your home, you were looking for somewhere that would meet your everyday needs. However, when you start looking for a second home, your priorities are going to be different. You’re looking for a property where you can spend your vacations, whether it’s on a mountainside, by a lake, close to the sea or in the middle of a city. You’re less worried about whether there are good schools close by and more concerned about whether you’ll have everything you need to enjoy yourself on vacation. Before you start looking for your perfect second property, there are some things to keep in mind.

Getting a Mortgage for a Second Home

If you need a mortgage for your second home, it’s important to remember that the process will be different compared to getting a mortgage for your primary residence. The rules are often a little tougher, so it’s a good idea to get your finances in order. One of the quirks of a second home mortgage is that it can dictate where you buy your property. Lenders might require you to buy a property that’s at least a certain distance from your home so that they can be sure you will use it as a vacation home. You will have to convince lenders that you can afford two mortgages too if you’re still paying off your primary residence.

Second Homes vs Investment Properties

Before you buy a second home, you should think about whether you really want a second home or if an investment property might be the better choice. A second home will need to be for your use only, whether you use it for work trips or vacations. But it can allow you to use a second home mortgage and get a tax deduction on your mortgage interest and property taxes. However, if you want to be able to rent out the property while you’re not using it, classing your property as a second home won’t work. You want an investment property that you can also use occasionally when it’s available.

Looking for the Right Location

Choosing the right place to buy your second home can be tricky. As already mentioned, your mortgage lender might dictate where you can buy to a certain extent. However, you should still have plenty of choice for where to make your second home. You might already have a specific location in mind, particularly if there’s somewhere you visit a lot on vacation. You could also be considering looking at some different places based on the kind of vacation experience you like. If you’re looking for somewhere you can go skiing, you can search specifically for mountain homes using a service like You might prefer a beachfront property, somewhere rural or even a city location. Specialist sellers of second homes can be particularly useful to help you find what you’re looking for.

Amenities in the Local Area

When you buy a second home, you’re likely to be looking for different things in the area, compared to your primary residence. You don’t need to worry about schools or your commute to work, but you’re still going to want to have access to the things you need for a good vacation. Some things are going to be obvious. If you’re choosing a summer or winter vacation home, maybe you want to be close to a good ski resort or beach. But there are other things to consider, such as whether there are good restaurants nearby, where you can buy your groceries, if there’s a community of other vacationers, and more.

Buying a Home from Far Away

Another consideration from your second home is the difficulty of buying a property somewhere that could be at least a few hours away from your primary residence. Perhaps you know the area well as a vacationer, but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert in local property. You also can’t be available to view properties at random times. One option is to dedicate a weekend or maybe a bit longer to viewing properties. You can make sure you choose a realtor who knows the area well so they can help you find the perfect property. Some realtors can even give you a virtual viewing, recording or streaming a tour of the property for you so that you can get a good look at it without having to be there.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Ready-to-go vs Fixer Upper

When you bought your home, you might have been prepared to do some work on it to turn it into your dream property. Perhaps it wasn’t a complete fixer upper, but it probably required you to do some painting and get some new furniture, at least. When you buy a second home, think about whether you’re prepared to do much to it. Would you prefer if it’s ready to use as soon as you have the keys? If you’re happy to do some work, you can be flexible about the property that you’re looking for. However, a lot of people want to buy a second home that’s already to their taste and is even furnished as they would want it.

Join a Community or Avoid the Crowds?

When you buy your primary residence, choosing a neighborhood with like minded people is often important. But when you’re buying a second home, you might not be so enthusiastic about being close to others. You won’t necessarily want to be somewhere isolated, but being surrounded by other vacationers doesn’t always appeal, either. When you’re looking for the perfect location, think about how popular the area is.

Your Empty Vacation Home

Don’t forget to consider what will happen to your second home when it’s empty. How will leaving it empty affect the insurance? Do you need someone to take care of the property while you’re gone?

Buying your second home isn’t the same as buying your first. You need to approach it differently, so don’t rush into it.

This is a collaborated post.

Posted on May 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm
Gary Lee Jr | Category: Uncategorized

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