Tips for Buying a Winter Home
Are you deciding whether or not to buy a winter home? Perhaps a cozy chalet near a ski run or a warm-climate retreat that's just perfect for enjoying the season?
Owning a second home for fun, comfort or both can bring you and your family great joy. It can also help diversify your investments. However, maintaining two residences can be tricky. Here are some tips for purchasing a winter home:
Consider the Varied Expenses
While Mortgage Payment Calculators can help you determine your ideal price range, what about the associated costs involved? Expenses, like moving, travel, furnishing the property and doing renovations, are costly. Likewise, if you're not able to maintain your home year-round by yourself, you'll need to hire someone who can help keep it in great condition. Likewise, if you're planning to spend the whole season in your winter home, it's a good idea to find someone who can help keep your primary residence in tiptop shape if no one will be living there.
Be mindful of utilities cost, taxes and insurance coverage. Living in a coastal town, the mountains or other exciting locations could have different risks than what you're used to in your primary residence.
You also won't be the only one considering all of these expenses — your lender will need to feel confident that you can afford another mortgage, especially if you're still paying off the mortgage of your primary residence.
Choose an Optimal Location for You
Convenience is important when choosing a getaway. The 2017 NAR Investment & Vacation Home Buyer's Survey found the typical vacation property of those surveyed was 200 miles from the buyers' primary residence. It might be worth factoring in the mileage your vehicle will accrue.
If you plan to fly to your winter home, proximity to an airport and frequency of flights are two other factors to consider.
Get to Know Your Future Community
It's likely that you've spent time in the area you're considering for your future home — your love for the place is probably driving your desire to lay down roots there.
If you've only enjoyed the town from a visitor's perspective, you should take the time to see it through the eyes of a resident, too. You should get to know as much about the locality as you can. Consuming local media and speaking with residents can help.
Ruminate About Renting
Consider whether or not it would be more practical to rent a property in the winter. Doing so might be more cost-effective, and since you wouldn't be tied to one place, you might feel liberated to explore other areas in the future.
Or, if you decide ownership is the right choice for you, will you rent out the property when you're not there? Doing so can generate cash you can put toward your mortgage, but you may need to use some of that income to pay a property manager. Renting has different tax implications and insurance requirements.
Ultimately, winter homes can be a wonderful escape and could one day become your primary residence in retirement. Putting in the hard work of due diligence before buying a winter abode can help make your home an investment you cherish.