Buying & Maintaining a Vacation Home: A Guide for Beginners

Your Own Oasis Of Vacation

For those tired of snow and freezing temperatures, a winter trip to the state of Florida is a great way to lift your spirits. In fact, just simply planning and anticipating your vacation will quickly warm your mood. As your Florida vacation comes to a close, you, along with many others, may find yourself thinking, “Wouldn't it be great if we owned a home on the beach?”

You don’t need much convincing to see the upside of purchasing a vacation home in Florida. Instead of uncomfortable hotel beds and generic decor, you can add your own style, leave your belongings behind, and escape the weary winter whenever you want. Maybe you’ll even retire there someday.

Those are the fun, exciting perks to owning a vacation home, but the benefits don’t stop there. Here are three other things to consider when buying your own vacation home.

A Long-Term Investment

You aren’t the only person drawn to Florida in the winter, and the housing market shows it (homes in Altamonte Springs have sold for nearly 18% more than last year). Over the years as tourism has increased, the value of vacation homes in the Sunshine State rarely decreases. When looking at purchasing vacation property, think long-term. This is why it’s common for people to purchase their retirement home in Florida long before they’re ready to make it their full-time residence. That way, once it’s time to move permanently, your vacation house might already be paid off.

In the meantime, your home has the potential to provide a steady source of supplemental income if you rent it out when you’re not using it. If you’re going this route, hiring a property manager will often be your best option. The right management company can offer tenants exceptional support, including housekeeping services and local ground-level support. When your guests are pleased, they’ll be more likely to leave glowing reviews which can increase your booking rate.

Amenities Abound

While just being near Orlando is an amenity in and of itself, there are also numerous amenities offered in any one of the thousands of communities scattered throughout Florida. When searching for a vacation home in Florida, look at what is offered around the home, not just in it. If you’re looking to stay fit and active, enjoy travel and adventure with other people your age, or just want to spend your golden years in a community designed just for you, then a home in a retirement community could be just the ticket. Many of them offer fitness classes, daily activities, community dinners and dances, and other social outings. But don’t think amenities are just for retirement. Many other communities in Florida that are open to people of all ages have neighborhood pools, access to private beaches, kayaking and boating, golf courses, lakes, and more.

Maintaining Maintenance

Owning a vacation home means that for at least some time of the year, the house will go unoccupied. You’ll likely have to think about long-distance solutions to the regular upkeep and maintenance a vacation home requires. There are some communities that require monthly fees to cover homeowner maintenance. This is an especially attractive option for people looking at retirement. Regardless of where you buy, you’ll need to stay on top of upkeep when you’re not around, from lawncare to pool care.

While there are many benefits to owning a vacation home, purchasing and upkeep on a second home is undeniably a financial burden. One of the best ways to see if a vacation home can save you money is comparing the cost of buying and maintaining one—from taxes to insurance to electrical repairs—to the price of paying for all of the hotels and expenses of repeated beach vacations. If you make wise choices in purchasing and maintaining one, owning your own vacation home is more than just a pleasurable way to spend time. It can also be a smart way to spend your money.