If you've ever dreamed of owning your own vacation home, now may be the time to make that dream come true. Fueled by the roughly 80 million baby boomers now moving into middle and retirement ages, experts predict that the vacation-home market will boom well into the new millennium -- with some predicting a strong second-home market through the year 2030.
Here are a few points to consider:
Yours exclusively or an investment property: Before shopping for your new vacation home, you'll need to decide whether the home will be for your exclusive use or used as a rental on a part-time or full-time basis. Start by talking with your tax advisor to learn about the tax regulations and liabilities of a vacation versus an investment property.
Easy access: The old real estate cliché "Location! Location! Location!" still holds true in the second-home market.
Keep your lifestyle in mind. Think about what you and yours like to do on vacation. Keep your interests and lifestyle in mind when considering a second home purchase.
If you enjoy tinkering in the workshop, a "fixer-upper" vacation home may be just for you. If not, be sure to take a close look at the current and future maintenance requirements of your prospective second home.
Ask about community covenants: Find out what covenants or other restrictions may affect your property. Many waterfront communities, for example, have regulations on how close to the shore a home can be built or just what kinds of expansions can be done on a property. Planned communities often have homeowner associations to cover the costs of maintaining common areas and amenities, as well as overseeing architectural standards and standards of conduct. Review the restrictions (CC&R's) for the area and make sure they suit you.
Rent first: One way to ensure you will like your new second-home community is to rent a home before buying. This is a great way to "try on" the concept of a vacation home, particularly if you have not spent much time in a recreational community. You can rent a home for the weekend or by the week.
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