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5 Keys to Buying a Vacation Home in Central Florida

Posted by Christy Lim on Jul 3, 2014 8:49:00 PM

It’s not news that Florida is one of the best places to buy a vacation home. As a matter of fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, vacation-home sales jumped 29.7 percent to an estimated 717,000 vacation homes sold in Florida in 2013.

If you’re looking to buy a vacation home in Central Florida, it has just about everything you could look for: beaches, theme parks, wildlife parks and trails, museums, shows and last but not least, the great people. Whether you’ve been here before or are looking to come here for the first time to purchase a vacation home, the Sunshine State might just be the perfect place for you to start your investment. Home values in the Florida market have remained on a healthy rise despite a once slow housing market in other areas of the country. If you’re looking to purchase, here are some keys to getting started.


Key One: Timing

Decide if now is the right time for you. Sometimes, an investor looking to purchase a vacation home gets excited about making that purchase for when they can come down during random weeks of the year and look past the details that count. Real estate takes time to appreciate in value so if you’re looking to buy now, be sure you can hold on to that property for at least five years. Purchasing a vacation home is an investment and a local REALTOR® can help you navigate if buying is the best option for you. You can find out more about investment properties here.

Key Two: Location

Location will ALWAYS make a difference. Choose a place that resonates with you but also be mindful of a future purchaser for your property. Remember, you are investing in something that will contribute to your current happiness and will hopefully make you happier in the long run—selling it for a profit in the future.  Remember when I said there are great people in Florida? Well, get out there and hob nob with the locals so you can learn about the area in which you’d like to buy. Of course, you should speak to an experienced local REALTOR®, but members of the community can also provide you with feedback that will help you make the right decision. Also, it’s never a bad idea to visit the place a few times. This type of purchase isn’t like a pair of shoes that you can just return if you decide they aren't right for your outfit.  

Key Three: Budget

Budget in that vacation… but don’t forget the home. You’re already spending money on your vacation but what about when you’re not there? Vacation homes, just like any others, require upkeep, maintenance, payment of property taxes, etc.  Be mindful of your long term budget and the costs related with owning a vacation home. Speak to your accountant about whether you can afford to keep your vacation home for your exclusive use or if it wouldn’t be a better idea to set it up as a short term rental so that you can accrue income on your investment when you’re not using it yourself. Keep in mind that if you do want to use the property as a vacation rental for others, you’re going to want to use it when everyone else is wanting it, too, so some concessions might have to be made.

Key Four: Options

Have you ever received a call from a telemarketer trying to give you a free cruise if you’ll go to the informational meeting for a timeshare first? I think I’ve only met ONE person who got the cruise and didn’t get drawn into the spin of the timeshare sales rep. Maybe you have a timeshare and it’s right for you but here’s why you should tread lightly. Timeshares are very difficult to sell even in the best market (you really didn’t want to go to that info meeting, so why would someone else go to buy the share you’re trying to sell?). Additionally, there have been scams where agents offer to sell your timeshare for payment and then abscond your money without rendering any services. If you want a timeshare, make sure you’re dealing with a reputable and legitimate company. Typically, a townhouse, condo, apartment, home, etc. will tend to be a more reliable purchase for a vacation home.

Key Five: Security

You may want to eventually retire into your vacation home but what happens during the down time when you’re not there? Will your home be safe if you’re not there to keep an eye on it?  Here is a great time where your local REALTOR® can introduce you to a great property manager (if they’re not already one) who can help manage your property during your absences. Additionally, if you’re looking to do short term rentals, this would also be within their frame of expertise so why not have them help you make a little money off of your investment at the same time? 



Buying a vacation home may be a good way to balance enjoyment and profitability but remember to always ask questions and take sufficient time to think through your decision. Working with a RSPS®, Resort and Second Home Specialist, will ensure that all avenues are covered when it comes to buying a vacation home, which is essentially a second home. An RSPS® is a recognized NAR Certification that allows buyers and sellers to have confidence in the ability of their REALTOR® who specializes in buying, selling or management of properties for investment, development, retirement, or second homes in a resort, recreational and/or vacation destination, to assist them with their search. When working with Dream Builders Realty we can do that for you.


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Topics: Buying a Home, Buying a Vacation Home, Buying 101, Property Management 101

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