Tips when shopping for a second home
December 16, 2003
Second-home buyers also prefer rural settings to those more urban, but in most cases, second homes are within less than a day’s drive from the primary residence.
Second homes are everywhere. Among the 359,000 second homes sold last year, second homes were found in every state and in every region, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Determining the best location for your second home isn’t easy. Clark Thompson’s Escape Homes gives us Ten Tips For Finding A Perfect Second Home: Define your lifestyle interests. “It’s well known that people who buy second homes are primarily looking at areas that have to do with their recreational interests. So ask yourself `What is it that I like to do?’ Some of it is subconscious. It might not be something they are aware of so they have to define what is the appropriate type of place where they’d like to be.”
Determine the ideal travel distance. Ideal traveling time is a matter of personal preference and tolerance, but it’s best to limit yourself to a few hours traveling time. If it’s too far or too expensive to reach within a few hours, you likely won’t use an owner-occupied second home enough to justify its cost. Don’t sell yourself short by insisting if you buy it you’ll use it. Before you buy, rent in the area for a season. See how often you actually manage to get to your vacation home. Research locations. You’ve defined your lifestyle but what about affordability, climate, population and all those other issues? Check with the local chamber of commerce, use the Internet, use your Realtor to find out more about a community. Select the desired location. “Within the destination you have to pick the community. You pick Vail, Colorado. Do you want a ski-in ski-out property or to live on the golf course? Do you want a single family home or condo or town home?” Make inquiries with locals. Talk to neighbors and people in the community to find out what it’s like. Contact a real estate professional. A real estate professional is your eyes and ears in distance places. How many second-home owners are there? Are they true homeowners or renters? Too many renters and they might not be keeping the place up. You need community details often available only from the residents.
You can do a lot of things without a real estate agent, but there is a point when that picture you saw and that virtual tour isn’t enough. A Realtor can highlight areas of interest and has knowledge of the community. A resort real estate agent is very different from a regular real estate agent in a resort area. You have to rely upon someone who knows the area, rather than someone who merely sells homes.
Visit destinations. “Most people will visit a destination two or three times before they purchase. You start finding out about the resources, what the travel time is really like if you drive or fly. The other thing is most people buy a second home have in the back of their minds that the property will be their primary residence at some time. Are you really sure this is where you will want to live?”
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Review financing options. Some places deal with high-end purchases that are almost always without loans and are 1031 exchanges. Can you use your equity line to buy a second home? Financing for a second home is different and you pay more, about 1/2 point to 1 point more. There are also different insurance criteria. The good news is you still get that mortgage write-off (up to certain limits, depending upon how the property is used and its value).” Involve your tax professional in the financing part of the deal.
Purchase through a resort specialist. People selling in a resort area know more about a particular area and typically take it very seriously that business comes from second-home buyers. Second-home buyers’ questions are quite different from those inside the area.
Enjoy the process. This isn’t your primary residence so have a little fun with it!! The Kleimer Company helps families every day make second-home choices. Give us a call today at 970-845-7776 so we can help you make the right choices for you and your family in the Vail Valley. Take a Virtual Home Tour of many gorgeous Vail Valley homes at http://www.kleimer.com