We have a lot of homebuyers looking for a vacation home or second home up and down Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast. We get a lot of questions on homeowners insurance, the weather, hurricane season, and if mortgages are different for these types of properties. It’s important to understand any of the risks and liabilities that accompany a coastal home. We have to deal with erosion, occasional flooding, and the weather depending on where the home sits and it’s important to inform your homeowner’s insurance company about the property, where it’s located, and if you need any additional insurance. We want our customers to be extremely well-informed when making a decision on a Gulf Coast property.
Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re considering a home along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
#1. What is the purpose of the second home?
Are you buying a house to flip and sell, rent out, vacation in, or just have somewhere permanent in a location you love? Understanding why you’re buying the home and then looking for a home that meets those needs is a great place to start.
#2. How much can you afford?
Buying a second home that you’re not going to occupy regularly will typically require a higher down payment and maybe a higher interest rate so it’s important to run those numbers with a qualified and professional lender before looking at properties. What you think you might be able to afford may turn up higher than you expected because of the higher down payment or interest rate needed.
#3. Who will manage the property in your absence?
If you’re buying a vacation home or a second home that you’ll occupy for less than half the year, how will the property be maintained in your absence? Will you have a property manager? Will you simply lock up and winterize the home? Will you rent it out when you’re not occupying it? There are a lot of companies in our area that specialize in maintaining, managing, and cleaning vacation homes and second homes with you rent them out or not.
#4. Is the location important to you?
Do you want to be within walking distance to your favorite coffee shop, beach nightclub, grocery store, or entertainment? Are you looking to be more secluded? Do you want to live in a condo or single-family home? What about homeowners association or condo association fees? Do you want to view or beach access? These are all questions to ask yourself and write down so that you know what you’re looking for. It’s also important to make a note of tolerable features and deal breakers. If you absolutely want to home on the beach there’s no point looking at properties across the street or that doesn’t even have beach access or a view.
#5. Understand the hazards of Gulf Coast living.
If you’re not planning on being in the property during hurricane season or bad weather, it’s important to be covered for homeowners insurance, management, and to protect any renters that might occupy the space during this time. Have a plan in place and be prepared for our is sometimes rocky weather.
Understanding all of the benefits and disadvantages of Gulf Coast living especially for a second home is important. We want you to have all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision on the right property for your needs, your budget, and your family. Owning a second home or vacation home in Florida is a wonderful addition to your real estate portfolio and we can help make that dream a reality. We can set you up with local lenders that understand the vacation home mortgage situation and provide you with a great list of comparable properties.