Now that Christmas is over and the cold weather has hit, many baby boomers decide to spend the colder months in a warmer climate by investing in a vacation property. Buying a vacation property requires careful research, planning and investigation. This also includes spending time looking at different properties and spending time with lawyers. The more involved you are in the process, the less likely you will be disappointed with the house you purchase or the final purchase price. Foreign countries often don’t have the same protection policies, so you’ll need to do your own due diligence to make sure you get what you paid for. The ownership of a real estate investment, particularly a property you can personally enjoy—a vacation home or where you plan on retiring can be a profitable investment. Here are some steps to consider before purchasing a vacation property.
Step 1: consider whether you are buying the property for your own vacation needs or if you plan on renting the property when you’re not using it. A condo in Florida might be something you had in mind, but renters might want a bigger vacation property with more amenities and local infrastructure or attractions.
Step 2: decide on a city or region where you want your vacation property to be. Research the neighbourhoods in the area you are considering. Read expatriate forums, guidebooks and local news to see how safe the area is and what the local infrastructure is like.
Step 3: contact the real estate agents in your desired area and ask them to send you local property listings or talk you through them. Ask about the closing prices for recently sold properties, since this information may not readily available online.
Step 4: schedule a two-to-six-week trip to the area you’ve chosen. Rent a condo or house to stay in so you can get a feel for the living conditions in the area. Meet with real estate agents and visit potential properties.
Step 5: outline a budget for purchasing your vacation home, including insurance, legal costs, notary fees, and any other additional fees. Meet with a local lawyer before you put in a bid on any property. Ask them to brief you on the home-buying process in the area. Have a lawyer validate the title and other legal permissions associated with the house.
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