Stack of luggage ready for vacation

A vacation home can be a great investment in terms of financial gain and enjoyment. Before you buy on Cape Cod, be sure to consider these tips:

Make sure it’s rentable…

Whether you’re interested in renting out your secondary home or not, it’s a good idea to buy with renting in mind–after all, a vacation property’s rental potential will certainly affect its resale value. You’ll want to ensure that local ordinances allow for short term rentals, and that your property is in a location (and condition) that’s attractive to renters. Key amenities for highest rent: Air conditioning, outdoor shower, and onsite laundry.

…But don’t rely only on rental income.

While renting can be a great source of income, it’s rare for rental revenues to cover the full costs of owning and operating your vacation home. Additionally, to benefit from tax deductions associated with renting, you’ll only be able to occupy your vacation home for two weeks or 10 percent of the rental days (whichever is greater). If that doesn’t sound realistic, you’ll need to account for those costs in your financial analysis as well.

Be realistic about price.

Remember that a vacation home is icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Also some banks may impose stricter requirements on loan applicants. Also, remember to budget for off-season maintenance and monitoring. Before you commit your hopes and dreams to a big, beachfront home, be sure you have enough cash flow to make the down payment, cover your new mortgage and maintenance costs.

Conduct hands-on research.

Even if your prospective vacation home isn’t within driving distance of your primary home, you still shouldn’t buy a vacation home without seeing it first. More than that, you shouldn’t buy a vacation home unless you absolutely love the area. Given that a vacation home is a long-term investment, and since you’ll still own (and pay for) your vacation property in the off season, it’s important to get a full experience of the surrounding community before you commit.

Whether you’re buying in, near, or outside the Cape Cod area, reach out to a local real estate professional for in-depth advice and guidance for what to do next as you search for your dream vacation home.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.