Many people consider buying a second home to be close to their favorite vacation spot, making weekends and unexpected visits much easier to organize. Still, no matter how appealing the joys of Lake Carroll real estate might be, the decision to buy a vacation home should be taken very seriously. Let’s look at several things to consider before making the decision to buy.
A vacation home should be managed like any other property. Owners still need to pay property taxes, insurance, gas and water, and all the other miscellaneous expenses associated with property ownership. Remember that these costs will still accrue even when the house stands empty, so your budget needs to take them into account.
Ideally, a vacation home should be accessible. If it takes a day or more of traveling to get to the property, you may find yourself dwelling more on the origins of the phrase “busman’s holiday” than anticipating your relaxing getaway, and chances are it won’t get much use. Something within easy “striking distance” of your first home will give you more value and satisfaction. It will be convenient to get away quickly and enjoy more time on holiday. Lake Carroll is an example of the right setting, since it’s roughly two hours from Chicago and a short drive from a much of the Upper Midwest.
Ease of Use
A lot of factors fall under this category, but the idea is to examine how easy—and how enjoyable—it is to be onsite at your vacation home. For example, some homes might be fine for a weekend, but are in such an isolated area that shopping and access to needed services becomes an issue. When getting the groceries becomes an expedition and the plumber’s bill is already high before he steps foot in the door because he had to drive from the next county, your vacation could become another source of stress.
Another factor to consider is what recreational amenities are available. Almost any place can let you decompress for a weekend, but will you be shooing bored children out of the house for the rest of the week or the rest of summer? Be sure you choose a home in a community with diverse options for activities so there’s plenty of recreation mixed in with your relaxation.
Know the Local Rules
Local ordinances and rules can impact the way you use your vacation property. Some local housing authorities will limit pets or motorcycles, while others might have equestrian zoning options and ATV/UTV-friendly road rules. Use your real estate agent as a resource and make sure you understand the local rules—and how they might impact you—before buying.
Don’t Make Emotional Decisions
There’s an old saying: Marry in haste, repent at leisure. It applies to real estate, too. Sometimes it’s love at first sight; many potential owners find their ideal property while on holiday and are unduly influenced by the rush of good feelings they’ve had there. But when searching for vacation real estate, keep in …