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What to Consider Before You Buy a Vacation Home

So you’ve decided you want to invest in a vacation home, but where do you begin the search for finding one that fits all of your needs? From updated appliances and neighborhood amenities to location and privacy, there are tons of things to think about when looking for the perfect home away from home. Check out our guide below for ideas on what to consider when buying a vacation home!

Figure Out Your Budget

Before you begin your search for a vacation home, you need to come up with a budget. You could be dreaming about a home that comes with a pool and has easy access to the beach, but it might not be within your price range—especially when you have to factor in unexpected fees or expenses like buying new furniture. Stick to looking at homes that fall within your budget to help narrow down your search.

Don’t Forget Additional Expenses

Owning a vacation home is expensive—and it’s not just the price of purchasing the house that will cost you. Utilities, property taxes, HOA fees, specialty insurance, pool and lawn maintenance, and cleaning services are other expenses you’ll have to factor into your budget when you have a vacation home. Also, you may run into surprise expenses, such as replacing burst pipes or getting new shingles on your roof.

Pick the Right Vacation Home Type

A-frame cabin in Kerhonkson, NY. Photo by Instagram user @dirtandglass

Photo via @dirtandglass

There are so many options for beach houses, mountain cottages, high-rise condos, and lake houses that it can be overwhelming to sift through all of them. That’s why it’s important to focus on your lifestyle and what you like when looking for vacation properties. If you’re someone who prefers a cabin in the woods, don’t look for luxury condos on the beach or in the city.

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Consider How You’ll Use the Space

One of the best tips for buying a summer property is to think about how you want the space to function. If you want to spend most your time outside soaking up the sun with friends and family, then the best vacation houses for you would be ones with large backyards, outdoor kitchens, and access to the water. Prefer to stay in, do some cooking, and catch up on your reading? Quaint cabins or cottages with fireplaces, cozy bedrooms, and spacious kitchens might be at the top of your list. Having an idea of how you want to spend time on vacation will help you simplify your list of potential vacation homes.

Evaluate the Location

High-rise condo buildings in Miami, FL. Photo by @lmcala

Photo via @lmcala

Finding a good location for your vacation home should be a top priority, not only in terms of real estate market value, but also for determining which amenities are important to you. Do you want to live within walking distance of the beach? Are you hoping to be close to golf courses or ski resorts? Would you like to head into the city for nightlife, dining, shopping, and entertainment? Think about what cities and areas would provide you with the best vacation experience and look for properties there!

Determine Your Preferred Season

Along with location, you’ll need to consider what season you’d like to vacation in when searching for the perfect vacation home. Maybe you’re a snowbird trying to escape the cold, so you want to head south to the beach. Or maybe you love to go skiing, so you want a winter vacation property. Researching the local climate and seasonal weather is also important for getting the right insurance protection for your second home—especially if you’re not used to things like hurricanes, flooding, or wildfires.

Understand How to Get There

How you’re going to visit your destination is a major factor to contemplate before buying a vacation home. You don’t want invest in a property that won’t get used often due to expensive flights or 20-hour car rides. Think about what you want to spend on travel costs and how long it will take to get to your favorite spot when picking out your vacation home.

Protect Your Property

Home in New Jersey protected by Smart Homz. Photo by Instagram user @smart_homz

Photo via @smart_homz

Buying a second home means you have another house you’ll have to protect from break-ins, theft, and vandalism. Look into the crime rate in the prospective area and browse for homes that have a security system installed to monitor the house. If you’re buying a vacation home in another state where friends or relatives are in the area, you could also ask them to check on the place every so often to make sure nothing has been damaged.

Opt for an Updated Home

While buying a vacation property that’s newly renovated or has updated appliances might cost you a little extra upfront, it will save you money in the long run. You won’t have to worry about washer and dryers breaking as easily or walls needing a fresh coat of paint. An upgraded home is also a great thing to keep in mind if you plan to rent out your vacation home when you’re not using it!

Maintain the Grounds

Luxury house in the countryside. Photo by Instagram user @hgtv

Photo via @hgtv

With certain types of vacation homes come more responsibilities. Second homes on an acreage, a beach, or even in the mountains will have property that will need upkeep, such as pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the gutters, or fixing roof shingles. So if you’re someone who doesn’t want to do the extra labor, consider a place where maintenance is minimal or included in your HOA fees.

Look for Nearby Self Storage

Extra Space Storage self storage facility in Rio Rancho, NM. Photo by Instagram user @arco_murray

Photo via @arco_murray

If you’re going to rent out your vacation home while you’re away, you might want to consider renting a self storage unit near your property. That way, you can store any furniture, appliances, breakable items, or sentimental belongings that you don’t want around visiting guests. Our storage facilities have units in a range of sizes for whatever you need to store.

Now that you have a few ideas on what to look for and consider when buying a second home, it’s time to start your search for your dream vacation home. Check out this guide to vacation homes to find the option that’s right for you!


Need to store items while renting out your vacation home? Extra Space Storage has more than 1,700 self storage facilities throughout the U.S. that can help! Find self storage near you!

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