Factors to Note Before Purchasing a Vacation Property

If you are mulling over purchasing a vacation home, then you must go over a few considerations before you make the final decision. If done for the right reasons, it can end up being a great piece of investment, as you can save hotel and lodging costs when you visit and then rent it out during off seasons.

  1. Location. Location is essential because you can’t just up and move at will, so consider the area of the property you are contemplating purchasing thoroughly. Will the site accessible and attractive to future guests? Is it located in a place that is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and storms?
  2. Calculate the associated costs. Many other costs come along with purchasing a piece of property such as utilities, maintenance, homeowner association costs, property taxes, and insurance fees. You want to factor all this and determine that they are well within your budget. If you plan on using rental income to cover some of these costs, then you have to be practical about what rental income typically is in that area.
  3. Maintenance Issues. If you are buying that vacation property as an investment, then you have to make arrangements for who is going to manage it in your absence. Things like security and surveillance are critical. The speed at which you repair a bad pipe or faulty wiring may be the final defense between your house going up in flames or flooding. If you aren’t around for long periods, plan to hire a facility manager who can supervise affairs.
  4. Finances. Run a money check with your financial adviser. Get someone to look at other tax issues such as buying out of state property. You might find that property taxes on that new place may not be deductible. Are you going to be able to meet up with your other long term financial commitments?
  5. Local laws. It’s always necessary to run checks on local laws and regulations about homes in the place you choose. Make sure you hire a local property professional too as they are likely to be more thorough. Are you going to be allowed to rent it out, and are there regulations on the number of days it can be rented out?

Whatever you do, make sure you cover all your bases and consult with our realtor before you sign the final contract.

How can you Know When You’re Ready to Buy?

You’ve been a renter for a long time because you knew you had wanderlust and might pick up and move at the end of your lease. Now you’ve stayed in the same place for a couple of years. You’ve put down roots and built relationships. You have a sense of community. But are you ready to buy?

Buying a home feels like a big commitment, and it is, so it should! You may not be choosing your forever home just yet, but no matter if it’s a starter home or the one you want to raise a family in, buying a home locks you into the community, to a mortgage payment, and to the structure.

Learn all you can

When you rent, you only have your rent and a few utilities to factor into your budget. With a home, you’ll have your principle and interest on your mortgage. You’ll also have property taxes and insurance. And, depending on your underwriting situation, you may have PMI (private mortgage insurance), too!

Practice making payments

Use one of the many online mortgage calculators to determine your potential principal and interest. Then, check out the county taxes for where you want to buy—some online calculators even have a place to enter this as well as PMI. Add in an average insurance premium for your area. Now that you more closely have an idea of what your monthly payments will be. If it is higher than your current rent, start setting aside the difference now. You need to know that you can make the payment before you get into the house.

Factor in maintenance

The area buyers are most surprised about is the cost of maintenance. The A/C goes down, oops $4000. The roof leaks, that’s another $2500. Plumbing backs up and ruins the carpet? Now you have to pay for both plumbing and flooring. Insisting on a home warranty (that the seller provides) and mitigate some of these costs in the early years, but ongoing they are all yours, baby!

Landscaping?

You may be planning to do your own and will have the one-time expense of equipment, but if not, you’ll need to add in extra for regular landscaping. If you have a pool, you have to figure extra for pool care.

Pest control

Since you won’t have a landlord to call, you’ll need to factor in pest control for bugs and rodents.

Ownership is a beautiful thing, but being prepared is more beautiful. Ask your real estate agent about classes or seminars on home ownership that you can participate in to adequately prepare.

How To Know Which Bid To Choose When Selling Your Home

One of the toughest choices to make when selling a home can be choosing a bidder. Often because sellers don’t expect this to be a difficult decision! It seems like it would be straightforward. You might think you should accept the first offer or maybe you’re in the camp of accepting the highest bid. And while both of these choices are valid there are other factors to take into consideration. Factors that can make selling your home even easier and relatively hassle-free.

One of the biggest fears people have and one that really throws a wrench in the process is potential buyers backing out of a deal or asking for pricey repairs. And for this reason, I suggest looking closely at all of your bids to review the concessions and contingencies each contract contains as well as the type of financing each buyer will be utilizing.

For example, one thing to look for is earnest money. This is money in an escrow account either held by the real estate agent or the buyer and seller and shows the buyer’s commitment to their bid. It gives the buyer more time to sort out their financing but is also seen as a guard against the buyer walking away mid-agreement.

What is the stability of a buyer’s financing? What institution is it coming from? Do a search online to learn more information about each buyer’s finance provider. A buyer may pay in cash, offering a larger down-payment or be pre-approved for a loan.

Sometimes buyers will also include a contingency in their contract to not begin payment until they have sold their own home. If this is something you are not comfortable with this bid might belong in your “No” pile despite a higher bid or down payment.

Are they asking you to cover any expenses? They may ask for the attorney review fee to be waived, inspection fees to be covered or costly repairs to be made before closing. Again, are you okay with covering these costs? Do the math to see if these requests bring down the value of the bid. Depending on how much of an investment they are asking for you to make this could create a less enticing bid.

Sometimes, choosing a bid is less about the numbers and more about convenience. If you are in the middle of shopping for a new home yourself, bidders who offer flexibility on the move in/out date could move to the top of your “Yes” list. Sometimes buyers want to keep furniture or appliances from a home, which could make moving a much lighter load.

If your head is spinning from all of these different factors to take into consideration when choosing a bid, that’s okay! This is why working with a real estate agent is so beneficial. Look to your agent for advice when weighing out the benefits of each bid and on making the final decision.