The idea of a vacation home couldn’t be more alluring. You avoid the hassle and expense of renting a room and you can make the space your own.

At the same time, you are giving yourself a ready-made excuse to visit some favorite hideaway to forget about the stress and struggles of everyday life.

Sounds smart and enjoyable, right? But adding a second property isn’t the best option for everyone. Here are a few things to consider before buying a vacation home:


This may sound like common sense, but it’s one of the most critical questions to ask. Vacation homes mean second mortgages, second sets of furnishings, second sets of utilities and insurance, and other additional upkeep responsibilities.

That’s a lot of financial responsibility, but particularly so if the property sits unused. If you sit at home, something purchased for leisure becomes an unnecessary burden. So before buying a second property — even if it’s for sale at a good price in an area you love — make sure you’ll actually go. In some cases, that’s as simple as researching cheap airfare.

Finding a regular flight at a great price helps smooth the way for more regular returns.


It’s a home away from home, meaning your pets are never a problem, your belongings are safe and you never have to worry about booking a hotel again.

You can decorate in the perfect vacation style, so it’s always a welcome space. They make travel lighter too, because you have so many things already in place that would take up space in your luggage.

Buy fun clothes meant to echo your vacation setting, and they’ll always be there to greet you upon returning. Vacation homes also make good financial sense, if you intend to generate income by renting to short-term visitors or perhaps selling the property down the road.


Study your expenses closely, in particular if you are still carrying a primary mortgage. There will be monthly bills, of course, but also property taxes to contend with. Oceanfront properties can incur rising insurance rates because of increased storm activity.

If you choose to become a landlord, there will be additional costs involved with renting out your vacation home. You’ll need someone to regularly clean the space, and a property manager to handle the day-to-day operation in your absence.

Even with those things in place, damage or theft can occur, and that will create additional, unplanned expenses.


Buying a vacation home doesn’t have to be a “yes” or “no” proposition. There is a third way: Owning a piece of property through a timeshare agreement. You get all of the benefits of special getaways typically found in premium tourist destinations with lots of nearby amenities like shopping, recreation, entertainment and dining — but at a reduced rate.

Owners are allowed to occupy the unit for specific periods during the year. They can also be sublet to other vacationers, if you don’t plan to visit during that window. Remember, however, that when you’re not there, others will be.