Get pre- approved for your mortgage. Talk to Mortgage Broker before beginning to shop in your desired market. It is prudent to shop within your price range, not above it. Get pre-qualified so that when you are ready to make an offer you are prepared.
When purchasing in a resort or beach town it is wise to choose a local mortgage company. Typically, these brokers know the market as well as the rules revolving around purchasing all types of properties: single family, multi- unit, condominium and apartments or condotels.
Once you have identified a property determine the estimated upkeep costs before you buy. These include basic utilities such as water, electric, cable packages, gas, etc. In addition, items such as power & window washing, carpet and & upholstery, seasonal landscaping, awnings being removed, stored & re-hung. If you intend to rent, calculate a yearly budget for replacing damaged and missing items, as well as updating bedding and linens every couple of seasons.
Think about your needs when shopping for a summer home. Is this a purchase you intend to grow into? Or a stepping stone? If your children are little now, does that change the desired location of the purchase as compared to when they are older? Are your adult children about to get married? Are you expecting more grandchildren? Do you need a large dining area or do you plan to dine out when in town? If you intend to rent, think about what would give your property a competitive edge over another when a renter is shopping? Bedrooms, bathrooms, deck size, and things like the number of parking spots should all factor into these decisions.
Once you have identified a specific area be sure to scope it out. This means driving or biking by at various times of the day. You should also take a ride by on Saturday during rental changeover periods. In addition, visit the area during high tides and if possible after storms. This enables you not only to get to know your potential neighbors but also neighborhood conditions.
Don’t try and time the market. In a resort area there is not “perfect” time to purchase a home. If you find the home that fits your needs and you are ready to buy, then go for it. Often buyers who are trying to time the market wait and miss out on the house they were hoping to purchase. Then they are forever left chasing the one that got away.
Hire a Realtor. Buyers and sellers tend to think they are getting a better deal by avoiding using a professional. Truth be told most “For Sale By Owner” sellers hire an agent within 30-60 days of unsuccessfully selling their home. For that period they are without a strong representation in the marketplace and you as the buyer may have missed the opportunity to tour their home and may have settled for something else.
Hire a local Realtor. Real Estate agents provide valuable services. A good local agent is a student of his or her town and can help you to make an informed purchase. Also, the local agent usually knows of new listings hitting the marketplace before out of town agents. In most towns the agents work together to facilitate both the sale and purchase of their clients’ homes. In many cases homes are sold right as they hit the market. Without having hired a trusted local agent on your team, you may never know about these listings.
It is said that buyers know within 10 seconds of walking in the front door of a home if it is the right fit for them. That being said, avoid buying a property strictly on emotion. Be sure to know the lot size, taxes, any necessary repairs, age of the home, roof, etc. You may be wowed by the wallpaper and décor, but don’t let that cloud your decision.
Get excited! Most people can only dream of purchasing a beach home or investment property. Allow yourself to start imagining all the memories you will make with your family and friends for years to come. I cannot tell you how many times I tell people where I live, and they have a story to tell me about their time spent here. It is never ending. Count your blessings and get ready to dive in head first to beach living!!