You are going to read the entire blog to see if you can find the answer to the question.
First: Why do you want to buy a vacation home? Do you enjoy vacations at the beach? How often do you visit the beach? Will your family life allow you to spend time at your vacation home?
A second home at the beach can be a very good investment for you and your family. Real Estate is a very good investment with some ups and downs like most investments. Rental income can offset the cost associated with owning a vacation home or condo.
Second: What are your priorities? Family vacations and personal use or rental revenue?
The peak seasons for rental revenue are those periods of time when children are out of school. the high point in the summer season is the week of July 4. There are numerous weekends scattered thru the year when children have fall break, spring break etc, etc than can help you increase your rental revenue.
If family and personal use are your priorities then you might fall a little short of your revenue requirements. I.E. your property might not cash flow. This is defined as ensuring your rental revenue makes all your monthly payments which include debt service, insurance, taxes property management fee's, HOA fee's and keeping a account for future maintenance, upgrades just like any other property.
Third: What is your tolerance to pain?
No one including family members will care for your property like you do. It is not gonna happen so prepare your self for this reality. I have toured many properties after guest have left the property and it is not a pretty sight.
Fourth: How do you plan to manage the property?
This is a business. You want to keep all your monies, not pay someone else if at all possible. Rental management companies will help you make money but you are going to share your money with them. there are a variety of services available but they come with a price. Refer back to number 3. What is your tolerance to pain?
I do have some advice in this area which I can share or you can refer to my web site for MORE INFORMATION.
The biggest mistake most buyers make is they do not treat this purchase as an investment or a business. That is what it is. like most home purchases, learn as much as you can and then learn some more. You will not regret this decision.
Know your numbers.
Cash in and cash out are critical. Servicing a large mortgage payment may not be in your best interest.
You should have two different financial goals. Long term appreciation of your property and short term offsetting of expenses. If you manage the property your self, then you can expect some regular income from the rental process.
I am not the sole source of information but if you can share your experiences with me, I am more than willing to learn from you as well.
Call me anytime. I love taking business. Experience does matter.