The Basics Of Buying a Vacation Home

Posted by Nancy Windscheffel on Friday, December 13th, 2013 at 5:42pm.

Almost everyone who spends time on vacation in a place they really love will have the same experience sooner or later. It usually happens around the end of the first week, when you have really got used to the place where you’re staying and you are enjoying walking through beautiful European villages and serene countryside, or maybe looking out from your cruise ship at a glistening sea with small boats and yachts bobbing around on sun-speckled water as your cruise ship heads into San Diego harbor. Or maybe you look out at the sea from your hotel room, and at this point you turn to your partner and you say the thing both of you have been thinking — that it would be a wonderful idea to buy a vacation home in San Diego and then you could spend as much time there as you liked.

It’s a very common thing for people to believe they would want to spend vacation after vacation in the same place. In many cases the feelings are absolutely correct, but you do need to make sure you're doing things in the right way so that you do not end up making a mistake, something which can cause you a great deal of financial trouble — if you do actually decide to purchase a second home.

Take Your Time to Decide

However, the first thing you need to do is think about whether or not you really would like to spend many vacations in the same place. The fact is when you see a place for the first time everything is fresh and exciting, and that can give you a false idea of how the place actually is. There’s a big difference between spending two weeks in a vacation spot and going back there year after year, perhaps to spend the whole of the summer vacation in one place. You need to sit down and write down the pros and cons of coming back to the same place many times and coming to a decision about what your true feelings really are.

If you do decide that you want to buy a vacation home in a particular area you then need to do some serious research before you take the plunge. One of the best things to do is to go on internet forums and find people who've done what you are planning to do. This is especially important if you are thinking of buying a vacation property in a foreign country, because there may be pitfalls you do not see, and having someone who has gone through the process already will be extremely helpful. Experiencing foreign travel and culture is one thing; becoming a resident is something else. There are many forums available where you can post questions regarding buying property in certain countries, and most people will be glad to help you out. In most cases you will not only get your question answered, but will also get extra advice about other things you need to be thinking about and what you need to be aware of before you spend any money. For instance, if you are looking to buy in the San Diego, you may want some pointers regarding real estate costs. Other questions might cover things like healthcare in particular countries, tax regimes, and how best to convert money to the home currency.

Choose Professionals Wisely

If you do decide to go ahead, it goes without saying you should choose a reputable real estate agent, and before you sign any contract to engage an agent it is essential to do research into the agent and his track record. Again, this is where internet forums can be helpful, since there is almost certainly someone who will be able to point you toward a good realtor in the country or region of your choice.

Once you have started your search you need to look at properties with a cool head and do not allow yourselves to become too enthusiastic too quickly. Have a list of questions that you want to ask the realtor, and make sure you get answers to them. You also need to do your own research into each property you look at, and just some of the things you need to consider are the costs of the upkeep of the property, whether the property is likely to appreciate in value, and whether you will be able to rent out the property during times when you are not using it. Some properties can be very expensive to maintain, and of course these are ones you want to avoid, while you want to make sure any overseas property you buy has a good chance of appreciating in value over the long term so you not only get an excellent vacation home but also a good investment. If it is possible to rent out the property when you are not using it, this can also make for a very nice secondary income, which is something you should consider before making your final choice.

For instance, San Diego can be a great place to buy a vacation home for this very reason, since there is no shortage of prospective tenants for good-quality property. Many people are looking to rent a vacation home for the summer, and with rental prices starting at around $2,000 a week, renting out your vacation home for just a few weeks a year can offset a good proportion of the mortgage and maintenance costs. Meanwhile you get the opportunity to spend time whenever you feel like it in one of the liveliest vacation destinations in the US — with attractions ranging from beer tasting in Napa Valley, getting up close with animals at San Diego safari park or Sea World or, for the more adventurous, hang gliding at Torrey Pines. In San Diego, there really is something for everyone — which makes a vacation home in this region an investment certainly worth considering.

Specialist Advice

Once you have decided which property you wish to buy you really need to find a specialist legal adviser, especially if you're buying property overseas. Property laws can vary greatly between countries, and you need to make sure that all the legal documents are in order. Failure to do this could mean a nasty surprise if you discover that you do not actually have legal ownership of the property, or that you only bought a part interest. However, if you choose a reputable realtor and you spend time doing research, particularly by asking questions on forums, you're much less likely to make a bad choice, and then you can look forward to spending many wonderful vacations in the place you fell in love with.

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