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What Retirees Need to Know about Buying a Vacation Home

Updated: Mar 20

Many retirees decide to purchase a vacation home as their ideal place to rest and relax. A second home can be a gathering place for friends and family, and a supplement to your retirement income via future renting potential. Plus, any mortgage interest you pay is tax deductible as long as it’s a personal residence, meaning you occupy the home at least 14 days a year. Two weeks of vacation doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Renting comes with tax deductions and other benefits to consider as well. If you think a vacation home might be right for you, check out these home-buying tips.


Spend Some Time There

You’ll be using the property regardless of whether you choose to rent it out part of the year. It’s important that you actually get a true feel for the area. Consider visiting during every season, taking rental demands into consideration. Whether it’s peak season or off season, you’ll want to be sure your property has features that appeal to renters in order to help keep your home occupied and your rent paid. Since you don’t live there, you probably won’t be able to do the work yourself. Instead, you’ll need to hire a pro.


Caring for the Property

Renovations and upgrades can be difficult to manage from afar, so building a good relationship with your contractor helps. Just remember to communicate your desires and budget effectively, and be prepared to compromise. In the end, the job will be done to professional standards and you may even save money.


Budget Properly

It’s no surprise that homes come at a price. When you factor in beautiful weather, proximity to large cities or nature’s beauty, you can have high potential for rentals. You’ll find that it all pays off in the long-run. Of course, you still need to budget carefully. Find a real estate agent who is familiar with the area and can be honest with you about price histories and resale potential. You’ll need to factor in costs such as maintenance, insurance, and a second mortgage. Additionally, if the location of the home is a good distance away, you’ll need to budget money for gas or plane tickets.


Plan for Away Time

A vacation home is a second home, so you won’t always be living there. Unfortunately, your home doesn’t go into a protective bubble when you are away, so you’ll need to make plans for upkeep. If your home is a condominium, you can usually count on the maintenance being provided. If not, then it’s up to you to take care of repairs. This upkeep includes yard work, interior cleaning, and general home maintenance. You’ll also need the right tools and equipment as well as a place to store everything when it’s not in use.

Many people turn to storage sheds so extra equipment is not an eyesore for renters.

If time is a factor, the alternative is to have someone else tackle the upkeep. A property management firm can provide weekly visits, maintenance, repairs, housekeeping (for renters), security checks, and overall peace of mind. You need a point of contact in order to remain informed on what is happening to your home so that it is a positive in your life rather than a source of stress. In addition to a professional, get to know the neighbors so that you have an extra layer of security. They can let you know about any issues, including suspicious activity or a rambunctious renter.


Retirement is the perfect time to start thinking about buying a vacation home. A home away from home can be the perfect escape for you, as well as a way to earn some income on the side. Before you jump right in, spend some time there, take a fine-tooth comb to your finances, and determine how you’ll take care of your home when you can’t be there.


This article was provided by Jim McKinley, a former banker who uses his background and skills to provide advice and valuable resources to anyone who needs help with their financial literacy. Money With Jim