Advice for Retirees on How to Find an Affordable Vacation Home

Our Guest Blog by Jim McKinley. Thank you Jim!

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After years of working, it’s nice when people are finally able to sit back, relax, and enjoy their retirement. Many retirees dream of having a vacation home, but unfortunately, you can’t, or more so, shouldn’t dive right into buying without thinking carefully about such a huge investment. The following are some tips on how to find a vacation home and what you should do before investing in one.

1. Calculate the costs. The first and perhaps biggest thing that retirees should consider when looking into vacation homes is if they can afford it. Consider more than just the asking price for the home. You need to think about utilities, a homeowners association, property taxes, the cost of furniture, and every other little thing before putting down your first dollar. Time.com recommends buying under your budget so you have “wiggle room” to work with if something comes up.

2. Figure out how often you’ll be staying there. If you aren’t planning to rent out your vacation home, you should ask yourself how much use you’re going to get out of the house. If you’ll only be going to your home a week or two every year, you may find that it simply isn’t worth the money. On the other hand, if you believe that you or members of your family will be using it quite often, then that’s an investment worth looking into.

3. Acknowledge the distance between your permanent home and your vacation home. How far are you willing to travel? For example, The Allstate Blog recommends deciding if you’re comfortable flying or driving to the home for any maintenance issues that may arise. If you can’t get to your home quick enough, have a back-up person, whether it be a friend or hired professional, to call in case something happens and you aren’t able to be there in person.

4. Find a great place. Whether you’re moving somewhere by yourself or with a partner, it’s important to discuss all of your possibilities. If you have no idea where you want to go, consider looking at online lists like USA Today’s list of the “25 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home on a Budget.” More importantly, talk with friends, family, or your partner and think about what you’re looking for. Do you want to be close to the beach, mountains, or forest? What kinds of activities will you be doing on your vacations? What kind of weather are you hoping to have? All of these are important questions to ask before deciding where you’d like to go.

5. Be committed. One of the final steps toward finding an affordable vacation home is commitment. After discussing steps one through four, and any other steps you feel are important to consider before purchasing a vacation home, be sure to go all in. Decide if it’s the right time for you to buy. What are your goals for the future, and does your vacation home fit in the picture? Think about your schedule and whether you’ll simply be too busy to go to your vacation home. Ask yourself, is this the right choice? Once you’ve made a decision, don’t let your ideas float in the air, go for it.

These are only a few of the steps that retirees should consider before buying a vacation home. It’s important to think carefully about big investments, and purchasing something as large as a vacation home is no exception. With enough research, time, and personal investment, you’ll be well on your way toward buying your dream vacation home.

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