7 Things to Consider Before Investing In a Vacation Home

The thought of purchasing a second home or vacation getaway in the beautiful Texas Hill Country can be both exciting and overwhelming.

But the questions are endless… will I find a solid deal?

Will it be all it’s cracked up to be as a relaxing and enjoyable place to gather with family and friends?

What will the inevitable ongoing costs of maintenance and upkeep be, and who will help me coordinate all that?

That said, here are 7 points to consider that will work to simplify your decision-making process and help to make your vacation lifestyle dreams a reality:

1. Be Realistic about Amount of Use

Roughly 75% of second home owners report using their home less than expected after the first year of ownership.

As rewarding and relaxing as it can be, a vacation getaway takes just that… the time and effort to get away.

Most of us live busy lives, which is okay; just make sure to account for that.

2. Outline a Maintenance & Upkeep Plan

Knowing that keeping pace with maintenance even at your primary residence can be challenging, what’s your plan for the potential vacation home?

The lawn will grow and odds and ends need to be looked after whether you’re there or not, and that friendly next door neighbor didn’t necessarily sign up for full time handyman work.

This is when a professional Canyon Lake, Wimberley, or New Braunfels property management company potentially comes into play for your Hill Country vacation home. Even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll need a reliable go-to service to ensure you also have time to enjoy your home.

3. Research Short-Term Rules & Laws

If you are interested in renting your target property as a short-term rental, the first place to start is to research if it’s even a possibility.

Vacation rentals in the Hill Country and other areas have become more common over the years, but the legal considerations need to be reviewed in advance.

We’ve spoken with individuals who have purchased, remodeled, fully furnished, and decorated a home with intent of marketing the property as a vacation rental, only to find out that the HOA/POA or city limit designation doesn’t allow for it.

Even if vacation rentals are technically allowed, if you’re operating the only rental in an area, be prepared to be the odd man out and without the support and encouragement of your neighbors.

A local expert with Vacay Realty Group can help point you in the right direction.

4. Find Reliable Data for True Rental Revenue Potential

If your plan is to factor in future rental income into the affordability of your rental, make sure the data is reliable, detailed, and tracked over the course of at least a couple years.

A passing comment from a friend or neighbor that their house rents for $1000 per night, and with no details on how that revenue is divided between taxes, cleaning fees, and if it’s sustainable over time, isn’t the best place to start.

5. Understand the Home Features & Amenities that Increase Rental Demand

Look for guidance from the experts on this, but to get you going, Hill Country real estate with a pool, hot tub, modern design, and an optimal amount of living space (but not too much) is a good place to start.

Guadalupe River real estate and Wimberley waterfront homes are also ideal.

The initial investment in a waterfront property will of course be higher, but future rental demand and income potential can help offset that.

6. Agree on Your Goals in Advance

Always a good rule of thumb but especially when investing with a spouse or business partner, know your goals.

This helps target the best potential property on the local real estate market to begin with, but the detailed work pays off in the long run, too.

Agree on how you will define success in terms of amount of owner use, offsetting expenses via vacation rentals, who will do the heavy lifting of maintenance and other chores, and even the long-term plan for the home, i.e., will you plan to sell at a certain life stage, if the property appreciates in value by a certain amount, or do you plan to leave the home for future family generations to enjoy?

7. Decide if You’re Looking for a Dream Vacation Getaway or an Income-Producing Property

Related to outlining your goals as discussed above, determine your priorities in advance.

What do we mean by dream vacation getaway vs income producing property?

If you’re looking to have the property perfect for your personal use all the time, rentals might not be right for you.

Even with full service property management options like Vacay Hill Country, a certain amount of wear and tear will happen.

When renting, have high but reasonable standards for guests and/or management companies, but know that a certain amount of preference and control is conceded when opening to vacation rentals.

If you’re eager to explore further and connect with a professional who understands the area, market, and a proven positive history with vacation homes, don’t hesitate to reach out to Vacay Realty Group. We’d love to connect remotely or even over a cup of coffee, if you prefer.

Best of luck on your Hill Country real estate search!

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