Just imagine the sand between your toes, views of the sunset over the ocean, waking up and going for a swim first thing in the morning. Owning your own vacation property can be very rewarding. Not only will you get to enjoy it for vacations for years to come, it is a real estate investment that can not help but net you gains in the long-run. Also, it may become your retirement home. So plan carefully, think hard about what you want and what you can afford.
You will need to decide if you are going to be renting it out when you are not using it. Very few people can afford not to rent out their vacation condo, and renting creates special considerations, so it's good to know in advance what you will need to do. If you will be renting it out, consider this from the start. Everything from the state the condo is in, to the furnishings, to the upkeep, will impact how much return you can get for your investment. Remember to set your rental amount for at least 10% more than your mortgage payments, so that you can easily pay for maintenance of the home without it coming out of your pocket.
When you are considering what you can afford, do not forget to factor in furnishing the home.It is best to buy new, high quality furniture. It will get a lot of wear, and needs to look good for a long time, so do not skimp. Also, depending on where you live in relation to the vacation condo, chances are you will need to hire someone to do cleaning and maybe even repairs. If you are renting it out by the week, it will need a thorough cleaning in between each tenant.
If you are able to keep the home in really great shape, chances are you will get repeat renters each year. This should be your goal. When people come back year after year, that means less marketing required by you to keep your home rented. Plus, when a tenant returns to a condo, chances are they are going to have a certain attachment to it and respect your property a little more than just a flash-in-the-pan long-weekend tenant.
The benefit of a vacation condo above a home is that a lot of the maintenance is already included in your monthly fees. The condo may even have a cleaner they use regularly, reducing your need to shop around in an unfamiliar city.
No matter what, a vacation condo is going to be enjoyable. If you need to rent it out to be able to afford it, yes, it will take a bit of work. But careful planning can insure your condo pays for itself, and still nets you big gains, both financial and personal, in the present and future.