3 Things to Consider When You Buy a Vacation Home

All it takes for people to decide to come back to Destin or 30A is a look at the water and the feel of the sand between their toes. During the summer months, the roads and beaches are filled with people who can’t get enough of the area. In the winter, snowbirds come down for the mild weather and the beautiful views.


It makes sense that people want to own a corner of paradise. Vacation homes are popular in our area, and every owner has their own reason for why they buy. Whatever your reason, buying a vacation home isn’t something to do without careful consideration. If you want to buy a vacation home, consider these things before putting in an offer.


Vacation Home


When you buy a property as a second-home or vacation home, whether on 30A or in the heart of Destin, it’s because you love the area and want to own a little piece of it. That makes sense, and it can be a wonderful way to spend time with your family and invest in a place you want to retire to in a few years. One spectacular visit to the Emerald Coast might be all it takes to convince you to buy here, but give it some thought before you buy.


How often will you visit? The extra costs of a home, property insurance, and taxes may not be worth a single visit each year. If, however, you’ll live in the home part of the year or rent it out when you’re not in the area, buying may be the right option. Can you get away as often as you want? And will you be able to travel during a time of year that allows you to enjoy the area and your home?


Rental Income


Maybe you bought so that you could visit once or twice a year but you really want to cash in on the rental income you can make while it’s vacant. This can be a good way to invest in your future retirement home now and help pay for it when you’re not visiting. What many second-home buyers don’t realize, though, is that being a landlord is a lot of work and comes with unexpected expenses.


  • Rental income isn’t always predictable, and you may have vacancies.
  • Tenants can cause damage to your home that must be repaired. Your property could be unrentable until it’s fixed.
  • You’ll need a special kind of insurance to protect yourself and the property in case of damage or injury.
  • Working with a reputable property manager is a good idea so that you have someone to help take care of problems, market your property, and screen tenants.


Renting out your vacation home is not as simple as advertising the available space and price. You need to make sure you know the COA or HOA rules for rentals if your property is part of either. You’ll want to check to make sure vacation rentals do well in your building or neighborhood. You should find out if the property was rented out previously and get a rough estimate of the income the former owner made.


Selling For a Profit


Buying a property to flip it in the short or long term isn’t for the faint of heart. If you plan to enjoy your vacation home for a few years and then sell it for a profit, think long and hard first. While the market is currently increasing in value, there’s never any guarantee that a property will sell for higher than it was purchased for. It may sit on the market for a while. Big storms may deter people from buying on the coast. Anything can happen.


It’s much better to buy a vacation home that you genuinely want to live in during different times of the year. You should also make sure you choose an area that you like visiting. The best part of a vacation home is having a home away from home to give you freedom to travel to the area whenever you can. Buying simply for a potential future profit can be risky. Buy a vacation home for the view, the activities, and the experience. Watch the local market and sell when it’s the right time, but don’t bet everything on future housing values.


Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to own a vacation home, whether it’s here on the Emerald Coast or up in the mountains. Before you put in an offer and commit to a second property, think about why you want to buy and consider the future risks. Homes, first or second, are a big investment. Talk to a real estate agent who can help you understand the local market and find the best vacation home for your needs and goals.



  1. My husband and I want to buy a single family home as our second property investment. We hope to use it as a vacation home and you make a great point that we should use it more than just once a year to make the taxes worth it. I’ll be sure to show this article to my husband to make sure we are ready for the investment, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to go out to the home quite frequently to make it all worth it.

  2. I want to make sure that I get the right vacation home. It makes sense that I would want to ensure that I get it at a good price! That way I might be able to sell it for a profit.

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