Guide to Buying a Second Home or Vacation Home

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If you’re thinking about buying a vacation home, you’re not alone. The rate of second-home ownership has jumped in recent years, as large numbers of baby boomers move into their prime wage earning years. Between 6 and 10 percent of homes in the United States are second homes. And in desirable vacation communities like Scotch Hall Preserve that number is much higher. Here are ten steps to consider when buying your vacation home: 1. Think About Location. 

What are the best locations to consider when thinking about your personal tastes, interests, and hobbies? How far should it be from your primary location? So if you’re the type of person who thinks anything over a two-hour ride is too long, then you’ll have a fairly small geographic area in which to conduct your search. But if you only plan to use your second home for a few vacations every year, and long holiday weekends, then you can expand your search to a larger radius. 2. Then Think About Location Again. Many second-home owners purchase properties that offer what they have enjoyed on past vacations like boating, fishing, being close to nature. So are you a water person or a mountain person? Do you want a lot of added-on manufactured frills or are you hoping to enjoy the amenities of nature and see yourself kayaking, sailing, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, hiking or just being in a beautiful place? 3. How much are you willing to spend? 
Prices can vary greatly. Up and coming communities are less expensive than established vacation hotspots that are fully amenitized. If you are hoping for waterfront, think about your choices. Many communities offer stunning waterfront lots on rivers, lakes or the Sound which can be as appealing (with much less upkeep) than ocean front. Prices can vary greatly – a home on the beach may be worth $1 million plus, while the same-sized or even larger home on the Sound or Intracoastal Waterway can be found for much less. 4. Try It On For Size.
 When considering a property, particularly for a vacation home in an area you’re not already familiar with it’s a good idea to try it on for size by spending at least one night there as well as enjoying the amenities the location has to offer. Discovery Weekends are a great opportunity to get to know places like Scotch Hall Preserve. If booked in advance you can often stay on the property. These weekends are designed to give you a true feel about what life would be like, so take advantage of them. Also, don’t be afraid to jump in the car and spend some weekends looking for different vacation home options. 5. Talk to the locals.
 Even if you’ve been vacationing in the same area for years, talking to residents of the community you are considering can give you a good ‘inside’ view of what life will be like. 6. Adventure Out Beyond the Community. Since this is a second home purchase your list of ‘must haves’ is likely to be different than your primary residence. So it may not be important to you to have everything you have at home. In fact, you may want something completely different. So check out what is around the community you are considering. Do you really want the big malls and big box stores, or is it a refreshing break to have the charms of small town life? 7. Think About Size. Is your escape just for your immediate family or are you wanting to enjoy time with extended family and friends as well? Are you looking to become the family gathering place? Consider how you hope to use your vacation home to determine a square footage and design that will work. 8. Consider the Investment. One of the many great things about owning a vacation home is that it can be an investment you enjoy now. Today’s trend of second-home ownership shows no signs of slowing. People in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even beyond are much more active than their parents were. They’re seeking outlets for fun, and with two wage-earner homes having more disposable income than ever, the trend will continue. So this very fun place could have investment potential. 9. Think About Owning Vs. Renting. Owning your vacation home is not like renting. Not only do you get to leave your “stuff” there, but you get to truly make it your own. You can make impromptu escapes, leaving the stress of everyday life far behind on a moment’s notice. You get to bring your pets and your children and grandchildren will feel more comfortable in a place they have learned to call home. 10. Work with an Experienced Agent.
 A seasoned real estate agent can help you weigh your criteria and make all the difference in a second home purchase. Your agent can even help you with the finer points of owning a second home – everything from trash removal to finding someone to watch your second home when you can’t be there. And if you’re considering renting out your second home, the agent can help you determine the rental price.