4 Ways to Find a Summer House You Can Afford
After a long winter, the idea of owning your own summer house starts to sound more and more appealing. If you think that's outside your realm of fiscal reality, think again. Buying your own vacation home isn't your only option. Consider these four solutions to a summer home:
1. Make It a Family Home
Chances are that you're not the only one in your extended family who would love to own a summer house. You can try pooling your financial resources with your siblings, or maybe longtime friends want to go in on it with you. To avoid disputes, put everything in writing, and not just the deed — decide ahead of time who gets the house when, and whether guests are allowed. Summer homes need maintaining, too, so you may want to create a chore schedule and keep a separate pooled bank account for routine and unexpected maintenance issues.
Consider hiring a real estate lawyer who is familiar with multiple-family ownership or fractional ownership, where each owner on the deed owns a certain percentage of the property. A lawyer can help your group draw up an agreement to head off any other potential problems such as what happens if one deed holder loses their job and can no longer afford their portion of the mortgage payment. The legal form website NOLO offers the other ins and outs of buying or sharing a vacation home with others.
2. Rent the Same House
If you just want a place to call home for one or two weeks out of the summer, but you want it to feel familiar, rent someone else's property each year. And not simply the location — rent the exact same house. Summer house owners also like to plan their time, so knowing you want to lock in a certain week year after year helps them out. Work with a local real estate agent or property management firm to find out which of their clients are looking for more stability with their rentals. If you're willing to rent a week in the offseason, you may increase your chances of getting prime summertime slots.
3. Think Outside the Beach Box
Your summer house doesn't have to be right at the beach or lake. Credit.com's list of the top 25 most affordable places to buy a summer place includes some locations that offer outdoor recreational opportunities. For example, Asheville, North Carolina sits near several lakes and state parks and boasts a vibrant arts scene. You may even consider buying a house the next town over from a pricier, summer destination.
Don't overlook cities for your summertime abode, either. Several of the least expensive U.S. cities to live in according to Kiplinger.com and the Council for Community and Economic Research, including Indianapolis, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, have plenty to do year round.
4. Look at Properties with Rental Potential
Are you still set on owning your own summer house? To help the property pay for itself, rent it out in the offseason or when you're not there. But what about high season times, such as Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, when you'll be able to command top rent but you'll want to be there, too? Consider buying a comparably priced larger home with an in-law suite or a separate entrance. You'll be able to rent out a portion of the space and still enjoy your vacation time. According to Statista, revenue from vacation rentals is expected to grow by 6.6 annually through 2022 with online bookings from websites such as HomeAway and Airbnb helping to fuel the market.
Buying a second home comes with numerous financial and legal concerns. Be sure to consult with a mortgage loan officer to learn more about the various loan options available when financing a second property.