Buying a vacation home is a wonderful way to reward yourself during retirement. But it can be a bit confusing as well. Purchasing a home, keeping up your property and settling in can cause a bit of tension, but it doesn’t have to. If you are looking to buy a new vacation home, here are some basic tips to get you off to the right start, without causing a lot of stress:
Using Online Resources to Research Properties
If you have a good idea of areas you are interested in, you can easily start your search online. Researching vacation properties in your desired area will give you the opportunity to see what’s available and what amenities you are likely to find. You can also get a better estimate of home values in your desired vacation areas. For example, in the San Jose, California, area, homes typically sell for $1.1 million. While you are online, look into the neighborhoods and attractions nearby as well — the Monterey Bay is less than an hour drive. Access to wineries, gourmet grocery stores, recreational activities, and quality restaurants could influence your decision to buy a second home.
Maintaining Your Property From Afar
Once you have settled on a vacation home, you will need to think about how you will maintain it while you are away. Many second homeowners will want to hire a caretaker or property management company to attend to their property while they are away. This ensures that someone local is checking in on your home, attending to issues and available for emergencies when you are not around. In many cases, caretakers can stay in your home while paying you a little rent, giving you peace of mind for your property and a little extra income, too. Caretakers tend to tasks such as cleaning, repairs and landscaping work. If you plan on spending winters in your new vacation home, make sure you take steps to winterize your home before you begin your travels to warmer weather.
Ensuring Home Security and Safety
In addition to maintenance and cleaning, you need to make sure your property is secure, when you are there and when you are away. If your vacation home is not already equipped with a home security system, consider having one installed. Choose an option that includes home monitoring, break-ins and fires, so that you know emergency services will be called even when you are not nearby. You will also want to take basic security steps, such as installing new deadbolt locks, motion-sensing lights and lockable windows, to keep yourself and your valuables safe from possible break-ins.
If you have a pool, make sure fences are secure, proper signage is posted and your pool is properly covered when not in use, to keep your pool safe while you are at home or away from your property.
Connecting With Your New Community
Now that your home is purchased, set up and secured, it’s worth your time to get to know your new town, and the people in it. Take some time to get to know neighbors, since they can be a valuable resource for keeping your property secure. Connecting with neighbors also helps retirees create a network of support, which comes in handy if you ever need help or even some company, while you are staying in town. You should also get out and explore your community.
Circumventing Financial Strain
The decision to purchase a second home should not be one made in haste. Adding a second mortgage when you’re already tight financially will only add stress. Before you begin your dream home search, make sure you can afford it. Calculate your income, assets, and outgoing expenses and use an online calculator to define an affordability range. When it’s time to pull the trigger, research your mortgage options, with the understanding that a second home loan will likely cost you more — including more of a down payment — than a first home. Most importantly, don’t over-borrow and make sure to partner with a realtor who knows the area in which you’d like to relax and rejuvenate.
For homeowners who purchase vacation homes in San Jose or Northern California, you have a vast array of activities and attractions nearby. From the wineries in Napa Valley to breathtaking views in Yosemite, there is something for everyone. Adventure is only a car ride, train trip or bus tour away from your new vacation home.
A vacation home is the perfect way to have the best of both worlds in retirement. You’ll have a permanent spot to enjoy an area you love, while being able to return to the comforts of your own home. So take some time to find the right spot and then spend time enjoying your retirement. You deserve it.
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