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Tips on Narrowing Down Where to Buy a Vacation Home

So maybe you’ve been thinking about buying a vacation home after that amazing time you had this summer with the family, but you’re wondering if that destination is the place to put down your vacation roots. As a child, my family traveled each summer to the Great Smoky Mountains, and when I chose to attend college in Western North Carolina, it made perfect sense to my parents to purchase a home in this area. At the time they thought it would be a vacation home, but they eventually fell in love with the area and moved there permanently.

The original plan was finding a home in Asheville because that was the town they knew best. But after exploring the area, they soon learned that their budget prevented them from affording this market. Perhaps you too have been wondering how to identify which area is best for your vacation home purchase. Here are some things to consider when trying to determine where to buy a vacation home.

Google Maps. Take some time on Google Maps to look around the region you’ve identified as your vacation home destination. Maybe you’ve been vacationing for a few years on St. Simons Island and dream about having your own place on the Golden Isles of Georgia. But there are so many other wonderful (and perhaps more affordable markets) on the Georgia and South Carolina coast that you may be missing. Get to know the region and make a list of all the possible cities that provide access to that “thing” that makes you keep coming to this area.

Market Research. Now that you’ve pulled together a list of other cities to consider, do some research on each of the markets. Some initial things to find out would be:

  • Short-term rental demands and occupancy rates
  • Tourism demographics (Is it growing or declining?)
  • Medium sales price for vacation homes (also try to find historic information to determine market growth or decline)
  • Inventory levels of vacation homes for sale
  • New housing construction projects
  • What are people saying about each community on sites like

Here’s to Another Trip. Most of us go on vacation and typically never leave the area we’ve come to visit. But now that you’ve done your research and identified other communities to consider, it’s time to go visit. Reach out to a local real estate agent in those markets to show you some properties that are currently for sale to give you a better idea of each market’s inventory. Also try to set up appointments with property management companies while you are in town to explore your options if you choose to rent your vacation home while you’re not using it.

Main image credit: Flickr user MaxGag

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