10 Essential Things to Consider When Buying a Second Home (Part 1)

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

10 Things to Consider

When Buying a Vacation   Home (Part 1)



Buying a home you will use as a second or vacation home is different than purchasing a primary home where you will spend all your time.  There are a number of important considerations to give some thought to before getting too far along in the process. (Here's the link to Part 2).


 Carlsbad bluffs


There’s a lot to think about, so here is Part 1, in no particular order:




What lifestyle are you hoping to have in your second home? And how will it differ from life in your main home…or will it be much the same? Many people live somewhat differently when enjoying their vacation home than they do at home, depending on how long they are there and how often.  Indeed, for many that’s exactly WHY they want a second home – to enjoy a vacation away from home and all the routines like cooking, shopping, and of course work.


Buyer Lifestyle QuestionnaireI created a questionnaire I share with buyers that focuses on lifestyle issues, relevant for any purchase actually. Read more in this lifestyle post about issues you should consider.


The type and size of the home may be different, for example, or the condition (e.g., turn-key) may be more important if you don’t want projects during your vacation time.


Lifestyle issues should also involve some thinking about amenities you might desire - a pool, tennis, extra storage for beach items, secure parking for leaving a vehice there when you are not in residence, nearby shopping and dining, public transportation, and so much more.



Financial considerationsFINANCIAL

Obviously budget is an important consideration, and as with any house purchase you need to know upfront what you can afford, plus make some decisions about either paying cash, or getting a loan.


Mortgages for second homes vs. investment properties can have some different rules so be sure to check with your lender, and of course get pre-approved BEFORE you start your search. If you are hunting for a second home in a hot market like ours, you will want to be ready to make a decision, and an offer, right away which includes having either your Proof of Funds or a current Pre-Approval letter.


Other financial issues to keep in mind are the costs of having an additional home – the mortgage (if you have one), homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees (if any), maintenance, repairs, furnishings, travel to and from the home, utilities (gas, electric, phone/cable, trash, sewer, water), and property taxes, among others.




There are a number of considerations here, and they may be different from what was important to you when purchasing your primary home. Lifestyle certainly is a big part of the equation – do you want to be at the beach, as most people do who are buying second/vacation homes here in Carlsbad or nearby along the coast, or do you prefer the mountains or desert, or perhaps being in a big city? Do you want great weather year-round (America’s Finest City, San Diego, offers a wonderful outdoor lifestyle year-round because of our weather) or is the change of seasons important, with snow for skiing for example.


You will also want to consider how far away you want your second home to be? Do you prefer a place that is just a couple hours drive so you can use it every weekend, or is a longer drive, or even a flight, ok? How often do you plan to use it and how much time are you willing to spend to get there.



money for rentRENTABILITY

Some buyers of vacation and second homes want the option to be able to rent their home when not using it. There are, of course financial and tax implications of doing this so you will want to have a chat with your CPA so you understand the issues about rental income and related matter depending on how must you rent your place.


The other important question, IF you want to be able to rent, is to understand what, if any, restrictions there might be around renting depending on the community the home or condo is in, as well as any restrictions from the city.  In some places you can do vacation rentals, or AirBNB-types of renting. In others (and becoming more common in my area) you must rent for at least a month at a time.


The other consideration is whether you WANT to rent a place you consider your home, and how often. Or would it, perhaps, just be for family members and friends?



Pool maintenanceMAINTENANCE

Maintenance issues are often important for those who are buying a second home. Your idea of lifestyle in your vacation may be “no maintenance!”


Do you want a property that is low or no maintenance, especially the exterior, or are you willing to take care of that yourself as needed, and pay for others to do so when you are not in residence or just because you don’t want to DIY? This might prompt a choice between a condo, where your HOA fees cover exterior maintenance and landscaping, versus a single family detached home.



Stay tuned for Part 2 for other important things

to consider in your second home purchase.



I am happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about purchasing a second home in the Carlsbad or North San Diego County area, especially along the coast. Please give me a call at (760) 840-1360 so we can discuss your particular needs and budget, and I can address any questions that you have before you get too far along in the process.



You can search for your second home in Carlsbad here, and elsewhere in North San Diego County by clicking on link below. Or I will create a custom search for you once we discuss your particular needs, budget and location interests.




Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gabe Sanders 10/08/2017 11:45 PM
  2. Joyce Marsh 05/03/2018 11:13 PM
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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I'm not in a big second home market, Jeff, so I found this interesting to read and will look forward to part two.

Sep 29, 2017 02:06 AM #7
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Jeff.

Congratulations on the feature.  My problem is that there is no place that I've been to where I would want to go back on a regular basis.

Sep 29, 2017 02:49 AM #8
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

These are all excellent things to think about before purchasing a second home. There are definitely a lot of costs associated with house number two that should be planned for up front.

Sep 29, 2017 02:58 AM #9
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Congratulations on your feature recognition. This is excellent advice to share.

Sep 29, 2017 03:24 AM #10
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Winter Haven, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

Great post. In Cocoa Beach we sold a lot of condos as second homes because they knew they didn't have to worry about maintenance. 

Sep 29, 2017 04:20 AM #11
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Jeff - I enjoyed reading this and look forward to the next one.  It certainly contains many of the thoughts my wife and I had when we bought our second home in Florida.

Sep 29, 2017 04:25 AM #12
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

These are all valid reasons but all you really need to know just one thing: Contact Jeff Dowler and let him guide you accordingly

Sep 29, 2017 06:51 AM #13
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Very good information - we will someday be purchasing a second home and you've brought up some important things to consider. 

Sep 29, 2017 09:11 AM #14
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Excellent points, Jeff.  We have many who have 2nd homes here in South Florida and these points need to be considered first. 

Sep 29, 2017 11:03 AM #15
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Why stop at two?

Sep 29, 2017 12:50 PM #16
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

I find many buyers are looking at a second home as their future retirement home. For some that means covering expenses with long term rental income, for others enjoying it for occasional personal use until they can finally make the move. But all of your points still merit careful consideration even for the future-retirement-home buyers.

Sep 30, 2017 12:14 AM #17
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Jeff.  Excellent tips and advice for those in search of a second home.

Sep 30, 2017 06:17 AM #18
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


Some worthy advice for those considering the purchase of a second/vacation home. As a realtor who specializes in waterfront property (inland lake) I would add one additional question to your list of items to consider........How often do you plan on visiting your second or vacation home?

I work with many buyers who "demand" to see Trump "Mar-a-Lago like" properties, ultimately make a purchase, then use the property six days a year on average and then in two to three years put the property up for sale........"we decided to sell because we weren"t using it?"

As a realtor, can you imagine selling the same piece of improved property four or five times within a twelve year span? If one is not completely commited to spending a reasonable amount of time using their second or vacation home.......rent a vacation property for two weeks a couple times during the year, you'll quickly find out if you are second or vacation home aficionado's.

Owning a second or vacation home property is not closely related in any way, shape or form.....to spending a few nights at the uptown Hilton!

Sep 30, 2017 08:07 AM #19
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

The information in this post is why I would highly recommend Jeff Dowler for your Carlsbad, CA agent. He knows the market and cares about what the consumers needs are.

Thanks Jeff for an informative post.

Sep 30, 2017 03:16 PM #20
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lottie Kendall  - that's an excellent point and something to give serious consideration to. If the traffic is too ugly, you won't use the home and what's the point of having it then?

Thanks Anthony Kirlew  - I get that. There are plenty of people with second homes here from AZ!! Keep working toward that goal!


Oct 03, 2017 07:44 AM #21
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That works for a lot of people Joe Pryor  Good for you!!

Very true Laura Cerrano  - I have worked with a number of second home buyers who use their homes alot, and others who found it hard to use as much as they would have liked, and ultlimately decided to sell.


Oct 03, 2017 07:46 AM #22
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Jeff Dowler ,

What an excellent choice for Gabe Sanders to re-blog! I missed it and this is a well written and informative post offering well thought out advice for those considering the purchase of a second/vacation home.

Oct 09, 2017 05:02 AM #23
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

It IS different and lots to consider when snowbirds here think they will fly off to a warmer climate.

Oct 09, 2017 06:28 AM #24
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


An outstanding post and information for buying a second home.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Oct 09, 2017 06:40 PM #25
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Congratulations on a well deserved feature for your post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Oct 09, 2017 06:42 PM #26
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??

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