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 595Gary.com. 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.
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.
Most times when we move house, we move no more than an hour or so. We are creatures of habit, and often stick to what we know, even when we make changes. But, sometimes, we have no choice but to move further afield. Perhaps you’re jumping the gun and moving abroad . Or, it may be that you’re moving across the country for a new job.
Whatever the reason, you’ll soon find that house hunting across countries isn’t as easy as doing so close by. In fact, if you aren’t careful, this could become a real, and expensive challenge. It isn’t cheap to cover plane tickets or fuel costs. Before you know it, your house hunt will have cost a significant amount, leaving you with less to spend on your property.
Which is why we’re going to look at ways you can save yourself money on a search like this.
Make use of the internet
Not so long ago, the best chance of getting onto the market in any area was to head to local estate agents. As you can guess, house hunting across distances was even harder then. Now, though, we have a fantastic invention called the internet on side. Make sure to use it to your advantage. It’s possible to find real estate options for any destination online. All you have to do is take your time and find sites which offer the best variety. Online searching like this is fantastic at the best of times. It provides you the chance to specify houses on your search. And, when it comes to dealing with distance, this allows you to find homes without going anywhere.
Book all viewings for the same stay
There will come a time when you need to see houses in the flesh. Pictures can only do so much, after all. When this time comes, save yourself on travel by booking all your viewings for the same stay. This could mean getting them all done in one day or staying for two or three days. It may be best to book yourself into a cheap hotel and give yourself time to play with. This is also a fantastic excuse to get a feel for the local area and make sure it’s the place for you.
Take pictures and measurements
In a typical house hunt, it isn’t unusual to return to a property two or three times before making an offer. These subsequent viewings give you a chance to look past that all-important ‘gut feeling’ when you first love a property. This is when we take measurements and pictures, and imagine ourselves living there. But, this isn’t an option if you have to travel four hours or so to do it. Instead, you want to take care of this stuff the first time around. During that weekend of viewings, bring your camera and a tape measure. If you think a house is a contender, be sure to do the legwork so that you can refer to it later.