Buying a Vacation Home–Steps to Take

Do you see yourself relaxing in your favorite vacation spot while sitting on your own deck? Even if you don't plan on renting out the place, a vacation home can still be a good way to lock in predictable vacation costs at a place you return to year after year.

  1. Determine what you want and compare it to what you need. Be careful not to buy based on emotion. See the section Choosing a Home and complete the Wants and Needs Checklist.
  2. Learn about real estate brokers and how to select one, see the section Real Estate Brokers.
  3. If you plan to borrow money to buy the property, financing the purchase is as great a consideration as finding the property itself. Decide on your down payment. See the section How Much Can You Afford? and Mortgage Financing to read all about these important issues.
  4. Determine if you and your pocketbook are ready for this new investment. See the section How Much Can You Afford?.
  5. Decide how often, if at all, you plan to rent out your new home. See the section How Will You Use the Property?.
  6. If your vacation home will primarily be rented out to strangers with minimal use by you and your family, see the section Buying Investment Property.
  7. Come to grips with the complicated IRS rules governing vacation homes. See the section Uncle Sam: Your Partner in the Deal.
  8. Consider other ways to structure your vacation home purchase, such as timeshares and partnerships. See the section Why Pay Full Price for Part-Time Use?.
  9. You learned about mortgage options in Mortgage Financing. Now get up to speed with the types of lenders out there and the application process. Become familiar with the steps involved and the decisions you must make. See the section The Buying Transaction.
  10. Decide how to own the property from a legal standpoint if you are buying with someone other than a spouse. See the section Legal Forms of Ownership to give you some background.
  11. Your lender and good financial planning both require you to insure your home. Get up to speed with issues surrounding homeowner's insurance, see the section Insuring the Property.
  12. Before you begin the process of closing title on your home, it pays to be familiar with the details and know what to expect. See the section The Closing.
  13. Review the steps you need to take to get moving.
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