Choosing Between a Vacation Condo or a House? 3 Things to Consider

You deserve a second home. There’s no question about that. Perhaps the only uncertainty is whether to buy a vacation condo or a house.

Choosing between the two means making certain considerations before buying. For three things to consider, keep reading.

1. Cost

Sometimes, the cost can be prohibitive. Condos are less expensive than houses.

In January 2018, the median house price was $241,700. In that same month, the median condo price was $231,600, the National Association of Realtors said. That gap increases in many markets.

Lower prices mean lower down payments and monthly payments.

Taxes raise the cost, too. For a vacation home classified as such for tax purposes, you may not spend more than two weeks or 10 percent of total rental days (whichever is greater) in it. 

If you rent it out for more than 15 days a year, you’ll have to claim that income with the IRS and pay taxes on it. That could include unforeseen taxes like a tourist tax or lodging tax.

Other hidden costs can add up. Remember that buying a house means paying not only the mortgage but also the property taxes and homeowners’ insurance.

Insurance for a vacation home tends to be even pricier. You should also probably pay for light timers and pop-ins from a local to check on everything. Finally, you’ll have to pay for utility maintenance, lawn care, and gardening. 

2. Freedom v. Infrastructure

That’s another choice you’ll have to make when deciding between a house or a vacation condo.

A house provides more freedom. Condos are uniform. You don’t own a condo, so you can’t change its exterior.

With a house, you can build a playhouse in the backyard, paint it any color you want, or cover the lawn in flowerbeds. You get more land, too. Condos don’t have land; houses do.

Start a garden, build a private pool, or host parties in your backyard. The choice is yours at your house.

Condos have their fair share of advantages. One is more flexibility. You can move on short notice by invoking a lease exit clause to pay two to three months’ rent to move out.

As the realtor’s mantra goes: location, location, location. Condos are generally more conveniently located than houses. Find them in downtown areas.

3. Location

As we just said, location is paramount in real estate. In some cities, a block or two can cause a disproportionately large difference in prices between properties.

Use the power of location to choose some areas that fall within your price range. Set a strict budget.

Next, rent a vacation home in each of these areas and spend at least a week there. Return to these homes throughout the year to see how much tourism the areas attract at different times.

Last, you need to love the neighbors and lifestyle you’d have at your second home. It wouldn’t be worth the money otherwise.

Your Getaway Vacation Condo

A vacation condo or house should be your ultimate escape from reality. It should be your home away from home, especially when real life gets too tough at times.

Let the good folks at Lake Time Realty help you with your search for your second home today.