By Jim McKinley
You worked hard your entire life and it’s finally here: retirement! According to research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, retirement improves a person’s overall happiness and health. Of course, you have to put in your share of the work to get that happiness– which may mean taking a risk or two. If you’ve always dreamed of using your savings to invest in a vacation house where you can escape the winter cold, bring family together, and live your best life, now is the time!
Deciding Where to Buy a Second Home
If you don’t already have an idea of where you would like your second home to be, consider what you want from it. You may want a place to stay that is closer to family, or perhaps you are looking for a tropical escape you can flee to in the depths of winter. Of course, there are some other logical things to consider, such as which areas you can afford and how long it will take to get there. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, book a flight to go visit each potential place. Spend some time living like a local and deduce which city feels like the best fit.
Researching Homes in the Area
Once you’ve decided where you want your second home, start paying close attention to the real estate market. You can browse homes in your price range and get ideas for what kind of features you want. Remember: you can save money when you are more flexible regarding location. For instance, if you want a vacation home where you can meet your grandkids for trips to Virginia Beach, consider getting a home close enough that day trips are possible, but the listing price doesn’t set you back too much. For example, the average listing price for a home in Richmond, VA is $250,000.
Keep Insurance Costs Down
Home insurance is really important for a second home. This is especially true if you are looking in a place that is a high-risk area for natural disasters, like in Florida. Of course, as a retiree, you have to live on a budget, so the more you can keep the costs down, the better. Ask your current agent about bundling deals to cover your second home as well as your car, boat, or anything else you have covered. You may also qualify for discounts based on your age, claim history, and the safety features on your property.
Find Help for Maintenance
Homes are the kinds of things you can just set and forget. Your yard will grow, mail will arrive, and dust will accumulate all over your furnishings. When you can’t be there to take care of your house, you want to make sure it is in capable hands. Of course, you likely don’t have an extended social circle in this new town that you can access to find help recommendations. When looking for a housekeeper or gardener, you can cross-check review websites to ensure you are getting quality service. Test out their services while you are in town, and don’t be afraid to try a few different people before deciding on the right one. You can also install a security system you can access remotely to keep an eye on their work when you can’t be there in person.
If you aren’t going to buy your dream vacation home in retirement, when will you do it? Buying a second house is a big decision, but with the right planning, it can be a great experience. Consider what you want from a vacation house and decide on a location based on that, and then research homes in the area. Once you’ve found the best home, do your research to cut down on insurance costs. Finally, hire capable hands to care for your house when you are not there.