You may be tempted to finally buy that vacation place now that the housing market has healed. Here’s what to consider before you start house hunting.
Many Americans contemplating a vacation home abandoned that dream when the housing market collapsed. But now that home values have climbed month after month, with the median price up about 20% since its bottom nearly three years ago, you may once again be toying with the idea of that lakefront, ski or beach getaway place. About 13% of homes purchased last year were intended as vacation homes, up from 11% in 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Yet you shouldn’t let the fact that the market has stabilized drive your buying decisions. Instead follow these seven steps to take to make sure a vacation home is right for you, and won’t turn out to be an expensive headache.
1. Choose the Location Carefully
This may sound obvious, but before you start shopping you need to be able to specify why exactly you want this second home. The answer should shape where you look. For example, 87% of vacation home purchasers in 2013 planned to use the property primarily to getaway with their families, according to the NAR. Thus the typical home purchased was an average 180 miles from the buyers’ primary residence. About 62% of these were lakefront homes.