In preparing for a short talk about how to convey various kinds of vacation real estate, I arrived at the unbrilliant conclusion that people make decisions to buy vacation real estate (RV lots, lake houses, timeshares) based on what they think they want at the time of purchase, with some attention, but not enough attention, to the future. A short version of my presentation is posted here.
Many decisions to purchase vacation property are made when buyers are in a state of vacation bliss, a kind of wistfulness, that makes them less critical than when they’re on their home turf. They hope the vacation property will be a place of togetherness for family and close friends, where memories are created. Perhaps it will become a retirement home, where the grandchildren will want to visit. The sales techniques for vacation property are addressed squarely at those sentiments.
Many of those good things do happen. But vacation properties have the same drawback as all real estate investments: real estate is immobile. If you must to sell it quickly, the price must be low. You probably can’t sell it yourself, because you’re not there.
Ownership of most objects becomes undesirable. Our family situations change. Rising fortunes suggest that we should upgrade. Declining fortunes require that we sell. Seclusion that initially provided peace now brings feelings of loneliness. Or seclusion is ruined by the tasteless vacation home just built next door. The only time available to be at the vacation property is consumed with mowing and repairs.
Now is a great time to buy, because many owners need to sell. Get some advice about your purchase from people who aren’t going to make a commission if the sale goes through, whom you can confide in about your needs.
The advisors you need when considering purchasing vacation property should be able to advise you on such topics as:
- the history of the project (subdivision, resort, condominium), including the reputation of its developer
- subdivision restrictions and plats
- maintenance fees
- responsibility for road maintenance
- recreational amenities
- water and sewer systems
- lake or river access
- police and fire protection
- homeowner association status and activities
- distance to medical facilities
- resale opportunities
- nearby employment opportunities
The information that you need probably isn’t available from just one person. Take your time in making a decision. Don’t sign anything while you’re in the wistful state.