As a homeowner, you’re probably familiar with the benefits attached to owning a house, such as the tax benefits, secured and permanent shelter for you and your family, freedom to make improvements, and the pride of having made this huge investment.
Being a homeowner also comes with responsibilities, like regular maintenance, possible home repairs, landscaping, and yard work, but overall, having a house you can call your own can bring tremendous satisfaction.
Investing In buying a Second Home
Those responsibilities double when you invest in a second home. Some homeowners love the idea of buying a second home; they like to use it as their residence when they’re on vacation.
Since you’ve already experienced buying a house, the home-buying process is likely something you’re familiar with, and you already know what to expect.
However, if you’re thinking of buying a second home, also known as a vacation home, there are a few factors you may need to consider first, especially if you’re the type of homeowner who travels between homes frequently.
Here are some points to consider while buying a second home.
This is the first and most important consideration to think of when buying a second home. The question here is simple: can you afford to invest in a second home?
If you have enough cash for it, you may not have problems getting one. But if you’re thinking of taking out a mortgage for it, you’ll need to understand the requirements carefully before you even submit your mortgage application.
You’ll need to comply with the strict credit requirements when applying for a mortgage. Besides that, you also need to have a large sum of money for the down payment, especially since most vacation homes require at least a 10% down payment or more.
So, before you start looking at vacation homes, check your finances first and see if it’s something you can afford.
You ought to have a clear idea about the tax implications surrounding your second house, especially if you plan on using it as a rental property in the times you won’t be living there.
With your taxable rental income, you can avail yourself of tax deductions in the form of property repairs, property taxes, and operating expenses.
Thus, if you intend to buy a second home as a rental property, make sure you keep all records of your expenses and income so you can have a complete report ready for when you prepare your tax return.
If you’re buying a second home to be used as your vacation or retreat house, you’re in control of how you use and maintain the property.
But if you plan on using it as a rental property while you’re away, you might need to think of a strategy for how you can manage and maintain it, especially if you’re always away or frequently traveling.
You have to ensure that you’ll earn rental income to counteract your second home’s monthly and annual expenses.
It might be ideal to outsource rental property management services from https://www.tetonvalleypropertymanagement.com/ or other property management companies within the area.
The property management company will be in charge of buying a second home or rental property through the following:
- Pricing the rentals for the guests
- Answering inquiries from potential or existing home guests
- Listing your rentals on booking channels
- Keeping your property clean and well-maintained
Meanwhile, if you need to use your rental property for a few days or months when you’re back from your travels, they can set up the house for you before your arrival.
Potential Home Expenses
Like your main house, buying a second home will require you to spend money on its expenses, whether you’re staying in it regularly or not.
Thus, it might help to create a list of potential home expenses and compare it with your second home budget. Some expenses you can expect include the following:
- Maintenance costs
- Property taxes
You may also need to seek special insurance if your property is located in a flood-prone area or near the beach.
Picking the right location is a must, regardless of how you’d like to use your second property. If it’s solely for vacation purposes, you may want to pick a location that’s close to a tourist spot or anywhere you think is a perfect place to unwind (e.g., on a hilltop, beachside, or beside a farm).
On the other hand, if you expect it to be mainly an investment or rental property, you’ll need to pick a location that’s accessible and marketable to your potential guests.
Buying a second home in a deserted or unpopular address may lead to months or even years of it being unoccupied, which will adversely affect your expected rental income.
Either way, you should take the time to research the best properties before moving forward and buying your second property.
Most often, the best places to invest in a second home are those near popular tourist destinations or cities that offer numerous career opportunities.
Last but not least, you’ll need to consider how you will maintain your second home. Considering that you’ll mostly be away and traveling, the upkeep and maintenance of the property could be a challenge.
However, this is crucial, especially if your second home is located in a disaster-prone area. Thus, before you invest in a second home, make sure you have a plan for how you can regularly maintain your second home.
To help you find an effective strategy for the upkeep of your second property while you’re away, this article will discuss some ideas below.
Maintaining A Second Home
As mentioned earlier, though owning a second home comes with its own perks and benefits, it also comes with responsibilities. One of these is maintaining that second home.
Since you’re rarely around to maintain and watch over your property, your second home may be vulnerable to property mishaps, like unattended damages or targeted burglary and robberies.
These things could go unnoticed for a while in the time that you’re away, especially if your regular life is busy enough that you often forget to check on the second property.
There are steps you can take to ensure buying a second home is secure and well-maintained even if you’re somewhere else. These include the following.
#1 Keep Up With The Repairs
This may seem obvious, but if you’re always traveling and rarely around for extended periods, it’s easy to let the small house repairs slip your mind.
When left unattended for a long time, those minor damages could quickly turn into big ones, and by the time you decide to repair it, the cost to do so may be much bigger than it would’ve been earlier.
If possible, make it a habit to make a quick stop at your second home at least once a month to do a routine check of the house.
If this isn’t doable or if it sounds like too much of a hassle, it may be best to hire a regular contractor who can do routine maintenance calls on your behalf.
When hiring a contractor, opt for someone based near where your second home is located. Make sure they’re also licensed, certified, trustworthy, and knowledgeable about all kinds of maintenance services you might need them to do.
Having a professional keep an eye on your second home’s maintenance will help you keep up with the repairs before they get worse.
#2 Monitor Your Home Through A Security System
You could ask neighbors or close friends living nearby to watch over your second home and check on it while you’re away. However, even if they do look over your property every once in a while, it might not be a good enough safety measure to keep your home secure from potential burglars.
To maintain the security of your second home, you may want to consider investing in a home security system. This will allow you to see full video surveillance of your property through your mobile phone or laptop, anytime and anywhere.
It’s also recommended that you set up high-tech alarms, top-notch motion sensors, and light timers that could go off and notify your phone when something is even slightly off.
With a tight security system, you can easily monitor your second home and have peace of mind knowing your property is safe.
#3 Hire A Rental Property Management Company
As previously discussed, hiring a rental property management company is essential, especially if you have plan to buying a second home as a short-term rental house for vacationers.
But aside from the benefit of allowing you to more effectively earn a rental income, hiring a rental property management company also means you no longer have to worry about your second home’s upkeep.
It’s up to the property management company to maintain your home’s overall state and condition and to keep it in good shape for your existing and potential guests.
Furthermore, having vacationers stay in your second home while you’re traveling will keep your house busy and potentially discourage burglars and robbers from targeting your property.
#4 Secure Your Property From Potential Disasters
Being away from your second home constantly will make it harder for you to prepare your property in case any natural disasters occur in your absence. Thus, before taking off for your next trip, see to it that you’ve prepared and compiled all the necessary documents regarding your property’s insurance.
You can also take the time to review the insurance policies so you know which disasters or occurrences are covered by your insurance company.
Furthermore, make sure you have complete papers, documentation, and records of your possessions and other valuables you left in your second home.
This way, if a natural disaster does happen while you’re not around, you can easily access your complete insurance information.
#5 Make Your Home Look Occupied
This is applicable if you don’t plan on renting your property out to other people. Leaving your second home with an exploding mailbox, untidy yard, and unpruned shrubs will surely make it look like an abandoned place.
Not only will this promote clutter, contamination, and possible pest infestation, but this will also give potential burglars the idea that your property is empty.
So, buying a second home by making it appear occupied. For example, you can temporarily unsubscribe from any newspaper and mail services that may be delivered to that address, so you can avoid having a full mailbox.
Then you can hire a reliable gardener to keep your yard clean and prune your shrubs. To remove the chance of your lawn dying or staying un-mowed for too long, you could consider replacing it with artificial grass, as it doesn’t require any maintenance.
You could also set light timers so that they automatically turn on during the night, thus making your second home look occupied and lived in.
#6 Invest In High-Tech Door Security
Maintaining your second home also means tightening your door security. Basic locks may not be enough, as they can always be picked. For more high-tech security, you could add digital locks that allow you to lock and unlock your door with a mobile app.
Certain types of door security systems also allow you to have a camera installed on the front door so you can see and record anyone ringing your doorbell or knocking at your door.
By investing in high-tech door security, you’ll be more assured that no one else can access your property other than you.
#7 Inspect Your Roof
If you can manage to take the time to check out your second home once in a while, use it as an opportunity to inspect your roof. Generally, your roof should be checked and inspected at least once a year to ensure it is in good shape.
However, on occasions where the area has recently experienced extreme weather, it may be best to have an expert contractor conduct the roof inspection on your behalf to ensure your roof hasn’t incurred any damage.
Your second home should be a place you can retreat, relax, and de-stress; it shouldn’t be causing or adding more stress to your life.
By putting in the time and effort to keep your home well-maintained and in excellent shape, you will have assurance and peace of mind knowing that your second residential property is in a good state.
You’ll also have fewer home-related problems when you’re able to make your way to the property for vacation. Buying a second home may feel like extra work sometimes, but it’s surely worth the investment.