How to Find the Best Vacation Homes for Retirees

Finding the Best Vacation Homes for Retirees

By Jim McKinley

Retirees need vacations, too! As an added bonus, in many cases, vacation homes can double as a second home during retirement. There are many questions to consider when you first begin to think about acquiring a vacation home for yourself. Here’s how you can start looking into buying the vacation home of your dreams.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home

For many seniors, a vacation home can be a great investment. Not only do houses tend to retain their value, making them extremely useful in retirement if extra money is needed, they also can be used as scenic retirement destinations. Before you buy a second home, always calculate the expected value of the house. This value is based on the home’s location, as well as the current state of the local housing market and the home’s general quality. Price should play a large role in your deliberation, as you may be living off of your retirement savings. Make sure that you will be able to not only purchase the house in the first place but also maintain it. Keep in mind that if your vacation home is in a tourist destination and you plan on keeping hold of your first home for part of the year, you may be able to get a good deal of income through renting your vacation home out when you’re not currently occupying it.

How to Search for Your Vacation Home

Once you’ve decided to buy a vacation home, it’s time to start searching around. Plenty of online services will allow you to search for a home in your desired area. Be sure to narrow the search results down to your preferred price point, and be prepared to pay according to the dictates of the market. Researching the market itself is highly recommended; figure out the best time of year to buy a vacation home in your location, as well as the average listing price. This will also allow you to begin saving up for the expense of buying a house, such as a down payment, fees, taxes and insurance.

Always Consider the Location

If you’re planning to rent out your vacation home, location is critical. In general, try to find a home three hours or less away from a major metropolitan center. Keep in mind, though, that if you’ll be relying on the rent from the home itself to pay for your mortgage, you may end up with a higher interest rate. Due to this, it is best to pick a house that’s affordable to you right now. If your insurance cost is an issue, you can cut it by raising your deductible, improving the house to lower your premium, and keeping your credit score up.

Maintenance of the Home

You’ll also need to consider the maintenance of the home. If it’s near you, you may be able to maintain it yourself. However, if it’s in a distant location, you may wish to hire a local caretaker to clean and keep an eye on the house. Factor this cost into your total running expense -- as a general rule, to find the cost of a caretaker, add up the total number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and then multiply the sum by $20. You may also want to research rental management companies in the area for service quotes.

If your finances are in order and your lifestyle can support it, a vacation home can be a great investment, particularly for retirees who can put many hours into the home’s maintenance. Whether you intend to rent it out or just want to be able to retire in comfort, the process of acquiring a vacation home is a great adventure.

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