Things To Consider When Buying A 2nd Home

Most of us have dreamed of owning a second (or third) home. The idea of being able to just leave your current home behind any time you wish for a long weekend without having to think twice about reserving a hotel room is rather great. Or the thought of earning income on either your current home or the second home seems to put the goal of an early retirement within grasp.

For the fortunate ones who are in a position to be able to buy a second home, there are countless things to consider.

If You Are Looking For A Vacation Home

The situation where you want to buy a vacation home for you and your family is where you have the most freedom when it comes to buying something that meets your tastes and preferences. When you start your search you can just make a list of your wants and needs, and answers to questions like:

  • How many bedrooms? (Is this a home that will be just for you and your spouse? Or will you plan to host big family reunions and need room for 20 beds?)
  • How close to the lake? Is being right on the water the most important thing? Do you enjoy waking up and dipping your toes in the lake? Or do you prefer to be close to the convenience store to walk and pickup your morning coffee?
  • How many appliances do you need? If this is a weekend getaway than a dishwasher and laundry machines may be optional.
  • Is one or two stories needed? As people age, stairs can be troublesome. Will a master bedroom on the first floor be a must? Or having all bedrooms away from the noise of the living room and dining room preferred?
  • How far away is the second home from your current home? Is a 4 hour drive too much? Or are you okay with something that you have to fly to, as long as it is perfect when you get there?

But keep in mind if you are buying a second home that will be just for your use, this is where you will need to have the most financial strength. There will be no supplemental income coming from the property. This means that to pay for the home, money will need to come from your savings and/or a mortgage. And the monthly mortgage payments will rely solely on money you have or generate from other sources (i.e., your salary, other investments).

If You Are Looking To Rent The 2nd Home For Income

For purchasing a home that will be used as rental property, there’s a little bit more to consider. You need to keep potential renters’ preferences needs in mind. If you don’t, you might end up owning two homes that you love, but are unable to get the extra income you want because no one else does. Some good things to keep in mind if you are looking for extra income with your second home are:

  • What type of rental do you want to have? Seasonal? Weekly? Yearly? By understanding the different types of renters you will be better prepared to make the right choices when it comes to choosing a home.
  • For the type of renter you are looking to target, consider their needs:
    • How many bedrooms suit them?
    • Do they need to be close to the lake? (those who rent weekly or seasonally probably prefer this)
    • They will need appliances. So when looking at properties, consider the age and quality of those that will come with the home.
    • How much will they desire privacy from neighbors?
  • For the type of renter you are looking to target, consider the demands it will put on you:
    • For seasonal and weekly renters, most of the property upkeep (landscaping, small repairs, etc.,) will probably fall on you. Do you have the time or money to manage a large property?
    • If the property does not rent as often as you need it to in order to meet your financial obligations, is it a property that can be sold rather quickly? Or transformed into a different type of rental property?
  • How much of your own money can you afford to use towards the second home? This will help you start doing the math as to what you can afford and what you will have to charge for rent. This includes realizing that there will be times when you may want to use the property, as well as times when it won’t be rented out.

The good news for those looking for a second home is that the Lake George area is a terrific town for it. There are also many homes in this region that are used as vacation homes and rentals. Want to learn more? Please give me a call. I’m happy to talk about my experiences with home buyers looking for a second home here in Lake George.