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The Hidden Costs of a Vacation Home

By Colin Ryan

Image courtesy Flickr user 401(K) 2013

A vacation property can be a terrific investment. Still, too many owners end up selling or losing their second home because they haven’t taken into account all the hidden costs. Here are a few expenses to consider.

Furnishing

You’ve probably collected the furniture in your primary residence gradually, spreading the cost over several years. But unless you buy your vacation home fully or partly furnished, you now have several rooms to furnish completely and all at once. While you may be able to find an extra couch or table lying around, other items like large appliances and beds will probably have to be bought–and whether you go new or used, procuring this stuff all at once can have a huge financial impact.

Maintenance

Renters can be pretty hard on vacation properties. Consequently, you can expect the expense of keeping your place in shape (cleaning, fixing, replacing, etc.) to be even higher than a standard rental property. If you live far away from your vacation property, you’ll also have to consider the cost of hiring someone to maintain it.

Environmental Factors

However idyllic they may seem, local environments in vacation locales often take their toll on homes in the area. Whether it’s salt and surf at the beach, or cold and heavy snowfall in the mountains, harsh conditions (or natural disasters) can lead to more costly maintenance and repairs in the long term.

Time Off Work

Whether you hire the maintenance of your vacation property out to a manager or company or handle it yourself, you’ll most likely have to take a few days off twice a year: once to prepare the property for rental season, and once to close up for the off season. Whether or not you’re losing money during these days, you’re definitely losing precious time off that you could have spent relaxing.

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