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People approach the whole idea of owning a second home from a hundred different perspectives simply because a second home can answer so many different purposes. If you are an Rehoboth Beach homeowner at the stage in life where making retirement plans is becoming a more immediate imperative, you might want to buy a second home as a vacation destination—but one which is also a tryout for your family’s future center of operations. Those who have spent a good part of their lives in cities sometimes seek a second home in the mountains or at the shore as a restorative refuge. People living in less crowded environs might crave a pied-à-terrefor proximity to a city’s cultural riches. There really can be a hundred different reasons (and that’s not even counting all the financial ones)!
Once you begin to seriously entertain the notion, it becomes evident that deciding on which of many possible directions to pursue will involve weighing the tradeoffs each presents. In addition to an opening a conversation with the Rehoboth Beach real estate professional whose advice you’ve come to trust the most, some of the main points you will want to consider—
· If the second home is going to serve even temporarily as a weekend getaway spot, then buying within reasonable driving distance may be more important than you might assume. Keep in mind that the drive (or flight) will grow steadily less interesting as time passes.
· In most instances, a second home will be occupied by members of your family only on a part-time basis. This brings up a number of issues—among them, insurance. Vacant properties present a different profile to insurers than do homes that are occupied most of the time. Hazard insurance tariffs could also differ from what you are used to (especially in flood-prone areas). Investigating insurance coverage and costs early on in your search will help you to avoid surprises.
· You should consult your tax expert for details, but as a general rule, if the home is not rented out as a business proposition, you’ll likely find that you are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on your Federal tax return. Then again, if you are thinking of renting the house out for more than 14 days per year, rental income is taxable. In that case, though, you’ll be able to use deductions for expenses, such as insurance, maintenance, professional fees, and sometimes even depreciation. Each situation will be different—again, your tax professional will have the relevant answers.
· Financing a second home is similar to financing your main residence. You are likely to need a down payment of 10% to as much as 30% in some cases. If you will be drawing on the equity in your current home, it’s only prudent to be able to retain a reasonable amount of reserves for unforeseen emergencies.
Many people buy a second home in anticipation of retirement. If that is the case, think of factoring in the availability of quality medical and support services in your search areas. A remote cabin in the woods may seem appealing now, but as a retirement venue, maybe not so much! Thinking about the long range is never more important than when you are entertaining the purchase of a second home. I’m here to help clarify those issues, as with all your other Rehoboth Beach real estate need.
In Rehoboth Beach real estate, there are happy words (“sold!”) and there are troubling words (“default”). Because of the associations they conjure up, some phrases just automatically make us happier. Two of the leaders in the positive category are the magical words, ‘vacation home.’ All by themselves, they can trigger a smile. Why not? “Home” is comforting; “vacation” is fun. Put them together in “vacation home” and you’ve got a double positive. It’s a real estate equivalent of Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise.
As the economy recovers, some American families are doing more than just smiling at the idea. The Wall Street Journal says that vacation home sales jumped more than 50% in 2014—up from 717,000 the year before. Quicken Loans reports a jump “in both the number and dollar volume of second home mortgage applications.”
To a Rehoboth Beach homeowner with sufficient wherewithal, there are some practical, real life incentives for moving the idea from daydream to the ‘to do’ list. The primary motivation is what comes first to mind. Just as a vacation is a welcome respite from the day-to-day, a vacation home needs to qualify as a destination that is pleasurable in itself. Where that could be differs for everyone, but whether it be the beach, desert, mountain, lake, cultural metropolis or outdoor sporting mecca, any Rehoboth Beach homeowner’s vacation home should be a haven inherently suited to relieving the stress of the workaday world. Although it would seem to be properly classified as a pure luxury expense, vacation homes can be more financially sensible than that.
The Kiplinger web site has a number of observations for vacation home buyers. It finds that some mortgage interest rates on second homes have lowered to first-home rates. Another alternative is the “favorite source” for all-cash purchases: a home equity line of credit. According to Kiplinger, “Mortgage interest on a second home is deductible on as much a $1 million in principal for both homes combined.” If lenders calculate eligibility via the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, a borrower’s total debt payments should not exceed 36% of gross income…but if the second home is to be rented, that income can be part of the calculation.
Which brings up some other possibilities. A vacation home can not only cut down on vacation expenses (hotel and restaurant prices are rising, after all); if rented out some of the time, it can contribute offsets to its cost. To take advantage of IRS rules regarding personal versus rental classification, you should consult a tax expert. Since a quarter of vacation homes are rented out at least some of the year, it’s a tactic that deserves investigation.
Perhaps the advantage that’s talked about most for second home buyers is the contribution it can make toward retirement. If a retiree ultimately converts a vacation home to principal residence, profits from the former home can make a handsome contribution to the retirement nest egg. And if by retirement time that vacation home has been paid for in whole, it can make for an even more pleasing financial picture.
For an Rehoboth Beach resident with sufficient resources, purchasing a vacation home can be a practical as well as emotionally sustaining venture. If it sounds like an idea worth investigating further, talk it over with your financial advisor—and I’ll be standing by to help with any and all real estate considerations! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.