INTERO Real Estate Services
Chuck Townsend CalDRE # 01970251
Chuck Townsend
Article authored by Jim McKinley

When you’re in the market for a vacation home, it’s important to do some thorough research before making any decisions. There are a lot of details to consider, from the location of the home to whether you want to use it solely for your family or rent it out to help pay the mortgage and upkeep costs. Not only that, you’ll also need to decide who will take care of it when you’re not there, so setting a budget is essential.

Sit down with your spouse, partner, or financial advisor to hammer out the details before you do anything else. Once you have a good plan in place, you can move on to the bigger things, such as how much time you’ll spend there and whether you need a pool. Buying a second home is a big commitment, especially if you are a retiree with health or mobility issues, so it’s important to look at the big picture from the very beginning.

Here are some great tips on how to get started with buying a vacation home.

Location is key

When buying a home, location is always key. A vacation home is especially dependent on location, because not only do you want it to be a getaway, it should also be an appropriate distance from your current home. If you don’t want the extra expense of hiring a caretaker during the weeks you’re not inhabiting it, the home should be close enough to you that you can travel there to make repairs and check on things.

Keep in mind that homes in very touristy areas will be more expensive, and if you’re going to rent it out for a portion of the year, you want to make sure it’s in a prime location. Unless you buy a cabin in the woods, renters want a place that’s close to local natural wonders (like the beach), shopping, restaurants, and family activities.

View it as an investment

Whether you’re going to use the vacation home solely for your family’s needs or rent it out is a big decision. If you want to view it as an investment, renting it out can help you make money for several months out of the year, which will certainly help when it comes to paying the bills. However, you’ll need to remember that a rental property may require different insurance, and you may need to make updates to the home to attract renters, which will cost some money up front. Look for ways to save money, such as making small repairs yourself rather than hiring a caretaker. You may be able to keep insurance costs down by looking for a home that doesn’t have a pool or buying in a city that isn’t prone to hurricanes or tropical storms in the summer. Read on here for some great tips on buying a second home.

Set a budget, then spend beneath it

Set a realistic budget for your vacation home and factor in everything you’ll need to purchase for it, including decor, furniture, kitchenware, and bathroom accessories. Remember to include taxes and insurance. When you come to a final number, start looking for homes that fall well beneath that line. You want to have some padding in your budget for maintenance and updates, unexpected repairs, and lawn care, so don’t make things so tight that you’ll be stressing about how to make the mortgage payment.

Buying a second home can be a lot of work, so make sure you and your spouse or partner are up to it. Once you find a good location, stay there for a week or two, if possible, to check out the community and get a feel for the type of people who live there. This may help you make a decision about whether or not to rent. 

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What my clients are saying  

We are very grateful to Chuck Townsend for helping us find a beautiful peice of property in Foresthill. Chuck provided excellent advice on how to evaluate the cost/value of raw land based on how much site work would be required (water, electricity, sewer/septic, etc) and referred us to a contractor to get a preliminary estimate on construction costs. We learned a lot in the process, and were able to make an informed decision. Thank You Chuck!


~ Peter & Pam

Chuck is a professional who knows the ins and outs of the real estate business. He knew exactly what we needed to do as a family in order to get us into our dream home. We are very happy with the service that he provided. He will get the job done for you! We highly recommend Chuck Townsend for all of your real estate needs.


~ Scott & Jennifer

“I must admit that I was blown away with the amount of work that Chuck has done to help us with this transaction. The property was originally offered at a price above market. Chuck did an amazing job of analyzing all of the comps in the area and preparing multiple documents that convinced the seller to move forward with our offer. He helped us resolve the hand full of offers / counter offer issues related to rent back arrangements and other details. He has also taken a huge amount of his time to coordinate all of the follow up activities (inspections, appraisal, etc.) so that the escrow can close without any hitches. If you do not already have an agreement with another Realtor, it would be worth your time to give Chuck a call to see if he can help you.” Thom & Suzanne Kay San Jose, CA


~ Thom & Sue

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