March 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm EST | by Jeff Hammerberg
5 things to know before buying a second home
second home, gay news, Washington Blade
Buying a second home? Here are five things you should know.

Without question, buying your first home is a momentous occasion. It’s a huge milestone in most people’s lives. It’s exciting. It’s wonderful. And if we’re being honest, it can also be a little intimidating. After all there’s a lot to learn. 

By the time you’re considering buying a second home, chances are that you’re at a different place in your life. You probably feel more prepared, more knowledgeable, and less anxious – and understandably so. Certainly, when you buy your second home, you’ll have the benefit of knowing the basics about home buying because you’ve already been through it at least once. Despite this, however, buying a second home is also a momentous and significant decision, and there are some factors you’ll want to be aware of, and be sure to consider thoroughly.  

At GayRealEstate.com, we’ve worked with countless clients looking to purchase a second home for one reason or another, and we have been honored to have the opportunity to help connect those clients with agents who have helped them find the second home of their dreams. In the course of doing that, here are five pieces of advice we’ve come to learn about making this exciting purchase:

• Think Through Your Long-Term Needs and Goals: Spend some time to carefully think through what type of second home might best fit your needs and your lifestyle. Are you looking for a home that you can visit as a quick weekend getaway? If so, purchasing a home within a day’s drive of your current residence might be a smart move. Or perhaps instead, you may be considering purchasing your second home as a retirement spot. If this is the case, really think through what you’ll want and appreciate in a home and in a location as you grow older. Are you purchasing the home as an investment, and planning to rent it to others throughout most of the year? If so, investigate the popularity of the area, and any rental requirements that may apply.

• Thoroughly Consider Extra Expenses: A second home is more than just another mortgage payment, and it’s important to keep that in mind when you consider making a purchase of this nature. It also means a second set of utility bills, budgeting for any additional maintenance or home repairs that will be necessary, potential homeowners association costs if the neighborhood has an HOA, and potentially a second insurance policy for your second home, depending upon the rules set forth by your insurer. Generally, in fact, second homes tend to be more costly to insure, particularly if they are going to be vacant for any prolonged period of time, or if they are in popular vacation destination areas that can be sometimes more prone to things like floods, hurricanes, or high winds. As a result, it can be wise to truly think through and lay out a detailed budget, taking into account not only the mortgage, insurance costs, and taxes on your second home, but also any other contingent expenses that might arise.

• Understand any Renting Rules: Renting out your second home can be an excellent way to supplement your monthly mortgage payment, but it is important to realize that renting does come with its fair share of responsibilities. It means either hiring a qualified and capable property manager who can oversee the day-to-day rental needs, or being able and willing to take care of these matters capably and promptly on your own.  There are also important things to realize about renting from a tax perspective as well. Generally, you don’t have to pay taxes on rental income if you rent out your home for fewer than 15 days a year. If you rent the home for more than 15 days a year, you do have to report the income on your taxes, but you will also be able to deduct expenses for maintenance and cleaning up to a certain amount. It’s also important to find out whether any rental rules exist in the community where you’re considering purchasing your second home. Some require a minimum rental time, and others have certain bylaws and other requirements that may apply.

• Take Taxes into Account: Depending upon where you purchase your second home, property taxes might add a significant amount to your housing expenses. This is not to mention the fact that all vacation homes are either classified by the IRS as a personal residence, or as a rental property. If you rent the home out more than 14 days per year, then it is classified as a rental property, and you won’t be able to claim the mortgage interest tax deduction that you would be able to claim on a personal residence. It’s also important to remember that you can only deduct interest paid on mortgages of $750,000 or less in total, on all of your homes.

• Hire a Local Real Estate Agent: The truth of the matter is that no one will know and understand the area in which you’re interested in purchasing your second home like a resident of that area will. The value of having an agent who is familiar with and knowledgeable about the community in which you want to purchase your second home cannot be overstated. At  GayRealEstate.com, we have access to the nation’s top gay real estate agents – agents who work in communities across the country, and who would be an excellent resource for your second home search.

Purchasing a second home is an exciting occasion – one that signals a wonderful new chapter of your future in a new place that you love. If you make that decision fully informed and aware of all the important factors that you should consider, chances are good that you’ll have many happy years ahead to enjoy the home you ultimately decide upon, and all that it has to offer. At GayRealEstate.com, we would be honored to have the opportunity to help you with the search for the second home of your dreams. Contact us today!

Jeff Hammerberg is the founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Reach him at 888-420-MOVE (6683), via e-mail, manager@gayrealestate.com, and on Facebook via gayrealestate.

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