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What Should I consider When Purchasing a Vacation Home?

Updated on July 26, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has published a selection of travel articles and destination guides, accompanied by a wealth of photographs.

A Villa Gives You More Privacy

A villa with a pool makes the ideal vacation rental
A villa with a pool makes the ideal vacation rental | Source

Finding the Ideal Vacation Home at Home or Abroad

Prospective purchasers of vacation homes should ask themselves several vital questions before entering into any solid sales agreement. This advice applies to properties anywhere in the world.

Is the property located in an accessible area? Of course the sales agency will tell you it is – they want to sell it. They will employ all sorts of tactics like telling you there is an airport soon to be built and that routes are shortly due to commence with budget airlines. The wise buyer will not believe all this until they have done their own detailed research to see that this banter is not just another sales ploy.

Can you afford to run your vacation home once you've bought it? It might seem too obvious a question to ask, but all possible running costs must be factored into the equation.

What about furnishings and equipment? A standard furniture package can add another five thousand pounds to the purchase price. Pool maintenance costs alone can be something that is easily forgotten. And then there's insurance and utility charges etc.? All these costs will have to be met by you even if you raise no income from the property.

How far is your prospective purchase from the nearest port, airport or train station? However prestigious the property it is still going to be hard to let it if it is a four hour transfer from the nearest airport. There’s nothing worse after a long flight than a tedious transfer too People especially those with kids want to be whisked from airport to accommodation in no time at all and will not appreciate a long trek however scenic the route.

Is there a possibility for year round rentals? Again, the sales agency will tell you there is but if it turns out not to be the case you could be making a costly mistake if the vacation home is to be bought with finance and you are depending on the monthly rental income to pay the mortgage.

Would anyone want to go there at all in certain months? Is it cheap because it is so far off the beaten track that no one can get there? Do local facilities close for the season or do they remain open all year round? Are communal pools drained at certain times of the year? Check on the weather pattern throughout the year at your chosen location and see if there is anything else that might affect your prospective vacation home’s rental potential.

Is there an agency that will be prepared to take over the management of the property for you? You don’t want to travel several hundred miles just to change the sheets between renters. Even if it is not your intention to rent out your vacation home will still need to consider access for repairs and maintenance. If the property is in the middle of nowhere you will need a designated key holder who will be willing to go and ventilate the place from time to time in preparation for your arrival. Gardens will have to be kept tidy and the outward appearance of the property kept looking neat.

Is your purchase likely to turn out to be a white elephant that costs you more money than it’s worth? If it’s going to cost you more to get there than you think and more to maintain than you have estimated it may turn out that you would be better to buy somewhere not quite as remote.

You are absolutely in love with the location now but will there enough places to visit and attractions to see to keep you occupied every time you visit? People do like to return to places year after year but can you see yourself doing this or would you become bored with the location? There is a solution to this if you can arrange a two week swap with someone else who has a vacation rental home elsewhere in the world. A good website for this is home for home

Pool View Properties Make Ideal Vacation Rental Homes

A purpose built apartment with a pool or beach view is  a great place for a vacation
A purpose built apartment with a pool or beach view is a great place for a vacation | Source

Are You Still Interested?

That was a lot of questions so if you're still interested in owning a vacation home you will need to do a great deal of research. Luckily there is no end of useful information on the internet that will prove invaluable at every stage of the buying process and beyond.There are indeed many things to consider but the key factor before purchasing a vacation rental home is to be armed with as much information as possible about the area in which you are keen to buy. Look in holiday brochures for the latest flight details and ask travel agents if the destination is as popular as you think. Resorts with golf courses, safe and clean beaches and those which boast family friendly facilities will always prove popular and property there will be sure to increase in value.

Basically, people want sun sand and sea and are willing to pay the right price if your property is in a prime location on a sandy coastline in a hot climate so be careful with every detail.

A Vacation Rental With a Sea View is Well Worth Paying extra For

Front line beach properties are always in demand
Front line beach properties are always in demand | Source

Family Caravans are the Height of Luxury

The interior of a modern caravan
The interior of a modern caravan | Source

Caravan Holiday Parks are Far from Basic Nowadays

For those not wishing to travel abroad why not opt for a luxury caravan on a site that has every facility for an enjoyable break - whatever the weather You can have the option of renting out the caravan when not in use by yourself and this will help you pay for your site fees

Typical Spanish Villa

Villas like this are easy to let online
Villas like this are easy to let online | Source

After the Purchase

After the purchase you can delight in furnishing your property but again you must ask yourself some questions. Will you be letting the vacation home to other holiday makers or just keep it for your own use? It makes a difference as to what furniture you purchase. A fully convertible sofa bed in the lounge is always a good idea for rentals because then you can say: 'sleeps six' rather than: 'sleeps four,' if your vacation home is a two bedroomed property. Of course to appeal to the vacation home renter you will need to keep the property in top notch condition and purchase and occasionally replace broken items on the inventory that will frequently get lost or broken such as cutlery and plates. You will also have to provide parasols and sun loungers, cots and high chairs. A reputable lettings agency will advise you of all the recommended items to assist the smooth running of your vacation rental.

You may be lucky enough to find a local key holder who can manage the property for you and do things like change bedding and towelling on changeover day and make sure the property is well kept and will still be in pristine condition next time you arrive.

Market your vacation home rental in much the same way as the agency who sold it to you. Take lots of photos of the newly furnished property and also include information and photos of the general area. You can even set up your own website for free which can help you keep track of bookings. It even provides an availability calendar to help you keep up to date with all bookings and enquiries: Independent owners is a fantastic site to place all the details of your holiday home for prospective renters to see.

Over the years you will be certain to spend many memorable vacations in your property and hopefully it will increase in value and pay for itself if you hire it out to others.

Investing in a Vacation Rental

Tips for Vacation Rental Owners from Homeaway

© 2015 Stella Kaye


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