Choosing a vacation home requires a completely different mindset from how you go about choosing a permanent home. Unlike a primary residence, where things like convenience to a job or good schools are factored in, the main focus with a vacation property should be fun. After all, it's your vacation!
Right off the bat, the most important consideration is whether or not you plan to rent the property when you are not using it. I won't go into detail here, but I highly recommend you read my post on vacation rentals. Once you know the answer to this question, you will know whether to take renters into account as you consider all the following.
Location, Location, Location
While this may seem like a trite statement, location is everything when choosing property -- especially vacation property. You may have found the most charming cottage with the most amazing interior, but unless you plan on staying indoors during your vacation, you will want to explore the surrounding area before you pull the trigger.
What are the kinds of activities do you like to do when it is time to unwind and get away? Be expansive in your thinking here. While it is easy to make general statements like “go to the beach,” the reality is that you won't be spending all your time there. Perhaps there are other activities you may want to explore? If there are plenty of options in the area, you know that you will certainly never be bored. Remember to include local dining possibilities in your evaluation. And, if the property will be used by your extended family, you will definitely want to consider what kinds of attractions, both near and within a few hours' driving distance, are appealing to them. This is especially true where kids come into play.
Maybe having a game room, big lanai, swimming pool, barbecue, or a hot tub aren't necessarily luxuries you may want or could possibly have at your primary home, but hey -- this is a vacation property. It is time to open yourself up to these awesome possibilities. A good rule of thumb is to always make sure there is something appealing and fun about the interior of the home. Even if you are looking for a simple cottage near the beach, it is important to remember that it rains sometimes in paradise. Built-in indoor attractions (or even something as simple as a spacious kitchen or family room) can save a vacation that gets rained out. Check out this listing (pictured) at 1714 Billings St. in Sarasota -- a great example of a vacation property that offers plenty of wide-open space and a luxurious kitchen.
A Room with a View
If you live in a suburban area, you probably never gave much thought to having a great view. But for a vacation property, perhaps this is worth considering? Since you won't be on your way to work every morning, perhaps coffee overlooking a beach, bay, quaint village street, or city skyline would be a wonderful way to start the day? A notable advantage to being on the West Coast of Florida is being able to watch the sun set over water. There are lots of properties even off the beach (like the one pictured here at 5300 Ocean Blvd.) that offer this great perk.
Consider the Possibilities
As a final thought, it is important to be forward-thinking in your evaluation. Will your extended family and friends come along with you on occasion? That means more bedrooms and baths. Will you possibly purchase bikes, kayaks, or even a boat to use on your vacation? Make sure you have adequate and secure storage for your toys. Are there any restrictions in the neighborhood that could limit these possibilities?
In the end, your vacation home should be a place you and your family can't wait to visit and make great memories. Even if you plan on purchasing it as an investment, a vacation property that is ideal for your family will most likely be ideal for other families, and that should be taken into account when assessing its overall value to you. Again, the operating word here is “fun,” so let smiles and imagination guide you in your decision.
Want more information on the beautiful vacation homes in this article? Get directly in touch with Julian via the SPF Contact Form.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist