How Often Will You Stay? Questions to Ask When Choosing a Vacation Home



Are you looking to buy a home? When you look at the new homes listing in the paper, you’ll see the houses referred to as a condo, or a townhome, or a single family home. If it’s a brand new home, the home designer will have decorated each room to look practically perfect.

Yet no home is perfect, because no house can fit every need at every stage of life. Single family homes are built with a layout that supports one family made up of one or two adults and several children. A townhome is a house with at least two stories and shares a wall or two with the house(s) next to it. And vacation homes are special because they represent something special to you.

Townhomes are most often purchased by millenials, at 23% of the total purchased. The website Zillow claims that 83% of buyers look for a single family home. But does that help you find the right home for you and your needs?

Single family homes work well for the average homebuyer with a family. Some reports referred to a “sandwich generation” that cared for both aging parents and their own small children. In cases like this, a single family home may not provide enough room for everyone, at least comfortably.

Even a clever home designer would have some trouble creating the illusion of space in such a situation. A house that makes allowances for flexible family arrangements makes the task easier. For example, many two-story layouts include a bedroom and bathroom downstairs, and the remaining bedrooms upstairs. This other bedroom is referred to as a “guest bedroom,” however that guest may be long-staying.

Townhomes can also be a single family home, abet an attached one. Some homebuyers shy away from attached residences, fearing that it too closely mimics their situation while renting. If you are looking seriously at townhomes for your new home, ask about air blocks and how close the walls between the homes were built. You don’t want to be sharing a wall.

On a lighter note, vacation homes are an area that some home buyers fall into. While it will not be your primary residence, a vacation home still has its own unique worries. Essentially, know what your priorities are before you fall in love with a location. Know what the home will be used for: a respite from family members? A cozy place to receive guests from out of town? Or maybe a home designer will turn this vacation home into a hot spot to enjoy the area.

The main purpose for the home will dictate where you buy, and for how much. If possible, Time Money recommends renting the place before you buy, that way you have a clearer picture about the location, the house, and how you will use it. Then comes the question of money. How will the house be paid for, and do you plan to rent out the place when you and your family are not there?

Try to answer these questions truthfully, and underestimating can help too. It’s better to pay a little less for a vacation home, because it’s will not be used as often by you. Meaning, the little features that frustrate you are not daily annoyances each and every day, year after year.

Buying a home is a stressful endeavor. The trick is to know what you’re looking for, know how much you want to invest, and hiring a home designer when you want to spruce things up a bit.